Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snorkeling over the coral reef for the first time

Last week, I accompanied Georgie - a Biologist from England on a snorkeling trip to Mansinam island. This is a small tropical island located in the middle of Dorey bay. The southern coast of the island was surrounded by coral reef. We walked for around 30 minutes along the concrete path that led us to a newly built hatchery. We passed by it and continued walking for around 15 minutes. We arrived at a point where the beach was relatively clean. The high tide was going down I could feel its current when I was swimming to the coral reef area which was around 100 meters away from the beach.
It was Georgie's first experience snorkeling over the coral reef. She looked really excited.
Also read: Snorkeling along the shore of Arfak mountains
Wearing snorkeling mask and snorkel, she walked into the water and began swimming to deeper water. I was quite surprised when I saw a snake coming towards me.  I swam away from it following the current. Later, when I and Georgie were talking about the reef, I saw that the sea snake was under my feet again. I warned her and we swam as fast as we could to shallow water. When the sea snake had disappeared, I asked Georgie to go to deeper water again. We were snorkeling to the wall. Because it was her first experience in the coral reef, she told me that it was scary to be at the edge of the reef. I said that she'd get used to it.
Coral reef and ornamental fish
During our snorkeling adventure over the coral reef of Mansinam island, we were able to see various species of ornamental fish including clown fish, butterfly fish, and damsel fish. The marine environment in Mansinam island may not be in its pristine condition right now but the biodiversity is quite high. Unfortunately, I was not able to take underwater pictures because my underwater camera was broken. Below is the photograph of the reef fish that I took in the same spot during my previous snorkeling trip with some Dutch tourists.
I dived several times and Georgie ask how I did that. I told her that it was not difficult to dive. I told her to blow the snorkel to remove the water when she was about to reach the surface again. She practiced diving several times and finally she could do that easily. The snorkeling trip was fun. She really enjoyed it. Before leaving Mansinam island, we drank some coconut water at Peter Rumbruren's art gallery. She said that she would try to get diving certificate before visiting West Papua again someday.
As a matter of fact, she was not the first British Biologist to visit the island. In 1858, a British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace landed on this island to explore the wildlife of New Guinea particularly its birds of paradise. by Charles Roring

No comments: