We’re already half way through MantaWatch Internship Program 2015, and the time is going so quickly! Today Muti surveyed Karang Makassar with Dive Komodo, while the rest of the team stayed on shore. Let’s see what they did today.

Muti gives a manta briefing onboard

Extract from Muti’s Diary

Today I had a chance to join Dive Komodo, and we had great conditions for manta surveys. My first dive was at Siaba Besar. This dive site is shallow with a sandy slope, and gentle current. I saw a blue spotted stingray, and three green turtles. Not bad for our first survey dive.

Our second dive was at Karang Makassar. This is what we’d been waiting for, a chance to meet the mantas! Before the dive, I gave a briefing about manta diving to the other divers, MantaWatch style! I was nervous before the talk, but I’m really happy to discuss mantas with the guests, and they asked me many questions. When is the best season to see mantas? How ca we recognize males and females? Why should we try to minimise our exhaled bubbles when the mantas are overhead? All these questions and interest made me excited to explain more about manta behaviour to the guests, and of course Andy was there to help me with the difficult questions. Maybe I need to learn some new languages! Today there were people from Mexico, France, Australia, and Indonesia on the boat.

Then it was time to jump in the water. I was sad as the end of the dive drew near. Sixty minutes of searching, and still no mantas. Time was running out, and we were heading towards shallow water for our safety stop. And suddenly, we saw four mantas swimming towards our group, and swimming around us for several minutes. We floated there motionless, hanging from the surface marker buoy as we prolonged our safety stop to watch the show. The mantas were below us, making it difficult to get an ID photo, but we waited patiently and soon enough one or two showed their ventral surfaces and we managed to get a picture. I’m so happy that we met mantas today, this was the reason we came to Manta Point!

We only did two dives today, and then we set sail for Rinca Island to trek with the Komodo dragon! I saw five adults and one juvenile Komodo dragon – the first ones I have ever seen in the wild! Unfortunately after all the manta photos, the battery in my camera was drained. A small disappointment, but I’m still happy I had the chance to visit Rinca Island, and I hope I can come back soon to take a selfie with a Komodo dragon!!

 

Komodo dragons resting under the ranger station at Rinca Island

Back on shore, Haries, Lucy, and I worked to finish the tasks given to our team. Haries worked on the interns’ video diary, while Lucy and I prepared presentations for the elementary school and tourism high school that we will visit tomorrow. Next it was time to practice our presentations. A couple of children who were playing outside our classroom stopped to listen, so we thought this could be a good opportunity to practice in front of an audience, and we invited them in. It’s not easy for me to present to children – you must have a friendly voice and a good expression. Remember to always smile, or maybe the kids will be scared! I still can’t imagine how to talk to a class of children in a good way. Will they listen to us? Will they understand the topics we are talking about? Or will they just run around the class shouting as we try to give our presentation.

I am nervous about tomorrow’s visit to the schools! What will happen when we bring our environment and manta talk to the classroom? Stay tuned to find out tomorrow!

Practicing our marine environment presentation for elementary school

 

Divo Noerchayo

Divo Noerchayo

Divo holds a B.Sc. Marine Biology from the University of Indonesia. His undergraduate thesis examined methods for surveying coral reefs. After successfully completing MIP-2015, Divo developed a training module and materials on underwater photography that was launched successfully during MIP-2016. Divo is currently working as an intern for the Government of Indonesia’s Marine Fisheries Research […]