INDO UPDATE 2 – October 2021 – diving & Stereo-photogrammetry!
In unserer neuen Kategorie “Indo Update” gibt Janis aus dem Team der MMF in Indonesien Einblicke in deren Arbeit, die aktuell zum Großteil aus unserem MANTAHARI Projekt finanziert wird. In der zweiten ausgabe berichtet Janis vom letzten Monat in Indonesien. viel Spaß beim Lesen!
Hi Mantahari Community! Can anybody please tell me just how fast September passed by? I mean, how is it October already?
Anyways… The past month, thanks to persisting COVID19 dramas causing low tourism numbers, the interns and I only went out to sea once, visiting our beloved research site, Manta Point, and Nusa Penida’s most famous dive site, Crystal Bay. So we really made the best of this opportunity by having our Interns Maul and Aulia give their first ever dive briefing! They were so nervous before the briefing started, but they did a really good job of communicating the facts and the dive code of conduct for mantas and turtles!
Despite the somewhat murky conditions, during our dive at Manta Point, we managed to see a couple of mantas in line on a mating train! Who knew they would be in their mating action this time of year, hey? Our previous records indicate that we mainly see them doing reproductive activities (i.e., mating trains, courtship, and mating) between the months May – June. So seeing them in a mating train this time of year is pretty cool and curious!
Our second dive at Crystal Bay was, as the name states it, crystal clear… and cold. We’re not sure who’s luck it is we’re stealing from, but once we descended down we immediately saw a mola on the sloping reef, around 20 meters deep! This might not be special to some, but it definitely was for me, as it was my first time seeing a sunfish, ever, despite countless dives at this site! I was so happy that day I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
Besides the dives, we managed to get our science hats on as we did our first in-pool trial for our stereo-photogrammetry method! We had a call the previous month with one of the stereo-photogrammetry pioneers on marine megafauna, and learned a lot from the call. Although we haven’t brought the gear to meet the mantas just yet, we managed to do some calibration runs, and will try to measure random objects in the pool before going out to sea. We’re hoping to get our instruments running, as this would be the very first time stereo-photogrammetry will be used on manta rays!
Although our fieldwork days were to a minimum, we had a lot of manta and microplastics talks, thanks to the platform provided by Aquamarine Diving Bali, Udayana University, and OSEANIK Padjajaran University. We also managed to volunteer our time with the Plastic Exchange Nusa Lembongan, where the community brought their single use plastics and other types of trash in exchange for rice! Thanks to Mantahari for supporting our involvement in the activity!
So that’s a little recap of what’s been going on in the MMF Indonesia HQ the past month. Our interns ended their internship last week with an intern experience presentation, so I might be spending most of my time in front of a screen this month… Hopefully with a couple of dives here and there (fins crossed!).
Have a mantastic October!
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