Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flight to the Flipside

Whew.  This is my last day at Villa Markisa before I get on a plane home.

It has been a great trip, but not as relaxing as I thought it would be.  I am going to spend some quality time in the pool with my iPad catching rays.  Yup, I can do that here because there are no splashing kids.  J  They have this cool slanting area to lay back with jets pummeling your whole body.  Very nice.

I am looking forward to getting back, although I already have a very long list of things to do.

I left at 2:30pm for an 8:05pm flight.  I had the biggest goodbye committee you ever saw with Christiane and Anthony and both Martha’s.  I couldn’t believe it.  We are all buzzing about another trip in early 2014.  Graham said he’s already trying to organize something.  Yay!

So that’s it my friends.  One liveaboard.  One resort. 48 dives (which brings my lifetime total to 1381).  238 unique species of nudibranchs and one weary Nudi Gal.

Until the next trip (Turks and Caicos over Christmas – although I’m not sure I’ll see a single nudibranch there)…

Friday, October 5, 2012

Last Look

This is it.  My last day of diving for this trip.  I did four dives today.

I’m still so far behind on all of my species ID and categorizing.  I really do need to upgrade my software and probably hardware as well.  I may go Apple this time.

It was amazing the number of nudi skewers set out on the dives today.  At one dive site, it looked like an avalanche of rocks with stick-and-photographer after stick-and-photographer.

I am now officially a member of SOSH.  So Over Sea Hares.  They are everywhere and just don’t think they are as cute a nudis.

Right by the dining area, there’s a turtle name Camilla. 

There is also a male turtle who has no name, so I suggested Prince Charles.  ;)
I also wanted to share this cool shot of the three amigos:
Note that the one on the right is actually an anemone, not a nudi.
Total Tally:
222 - Chelidonura sandrana
Super boring but ups the overall count!
223 - Elysia tomentosa
Look like a little green bull.
224 - Favorinus sp.
225 - Costasiella usagi
This one looks like a lamb.
226 - Unknown - Even the experts couldn't ID
This is an alien like nudi that we couldn't find in any books!

227 - Eubranchus mandapamensis
Oh, Mandy...
228 - Cuthona sp.
229 - Elysia sp. 20
I love this shot.
230 - Doto sp. 9
231 - Chromodoris rufomaculata
232 - Platydoris ellioti
233 - Caryophyllidia dorid
234 - Carminodoris bifurcata
It's a party!  There are three in this shot.
235 - Armina cf. semperi
I love the detail on this guy.
236 - Hypselodoris whitei
Look closely, there is another one underneath.
237 - Rostanga lutescens
238 - Tritonia

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spiral Margin

The dining area here at Villa Markisa is outside.  You have to walk across a pond to get to it. 


The table setting is so fancy that before I even got my Mie Goreng (noodles for breakfast!) I had so many dishes around me I took up two spots at the table!


I did three dives today.  One boat dive and two on the house reef.

It is pretty awesome here.  There are a lot of amazing creatures, but the house reef does not seem to be as littered with nudibranchs as I remember when I was next door at Scuba Seraya.

I had one (hopefully final) challenge today.  On the last dive on Cheng Ho, my spotter light unscrewed and fell out.  Seems like a simple fix but the allen key I brought doesn’t fit the screw… so I had to appeal to Christiane’s business partner Pedro to fix it.  Everyone thought the screw was too short but once I gave Pedro the attachment arm and the housing, he was able to fix it easily.  Whew!
This nudi was not new for my trip count, but this Chromodoris colemani was really cool as a abnormality.  Look how the margin on the right spiraled out!
Malacologist Mania

215 - Chromodoris albonares
Look at the definition in the rhinophores!

216 - Costasiella kuroshimae
Super tiny!

217 - Platydoris sp. 1
With eggs... but the eggs look sorta wrecked and not that fresh.  Weird.

218 - Carminodoris flammea

219 - Atagema intecta
Hmmm... what's that coming out of its right hand side?  Could it be?

220 - Carminodoris estrelyado
This guy was kinda scrunched up but I love the coloring and detailed specks!

221 - Bornella stellifer

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Voyage to Villa Markisa

Today was a travel day.  No diving.  L

Even though I paid for the trip beforehand, there are always some incidentals on the boat.  My diet cokes, Nitrox, tip for the crew.  They didn’t accept American Express as payment which I guess is to be expected… so I gave them the only other credit card I had, my Chase Visa.  And then that one wouldn’t go through.  What!?!??!?  OK, well, it is also an ATM card so the crew ran me in to the closest ATM in Labuan Bajo.  But it wouldn’t dispense any money either (even if it would, it didn’t allow anyone to take out more than 1.5 M rupia at a time and I needed much more than that).  Martha K helped me out and paid for me on her credit card.  What a lifesaver!  She said that someone did that for her once in the past, so she’s happy to “pay it forward”.  Sending her a check is the very first thing I’ll be doing when I get home.

Note to self:  travel with cash (or traveler’s checks) next time.

Before we all got off the boat, we made sure to have a picture taken of all of us.  My camera was last and I made everyone “put on their rhinophores” for one last shot.


We had a short flight back to Bali and I swear, I just can’t keep it all together!  On the shuttle from the plane to the Bali Airport I realized I left my iPad on the plane.  Grrrrr.  Nobody at the airport knew what the heck I was talking about, so I had to go Graham.  Yet again.  I got it back.  Whew, I was worried about not having anything to read for the rest of the trip.

I feel like I can’t hold on to anything lately!  I’m a comedy of errors, I swear.

We had a 2.5 hour ride (I slept through most of it) up to Tulamben where I was just floored by the accommodations at Villa Markisa.  The buildings here are beautiful.  Every detail is perfect.  No dirt or cobwebs in the corners, no worn out towels. 

The beds are draped with mosquito netting which I loooooooooooooooove. There were fresh flowers on the bed and fresh fruit in a basket nearby. 
Oh, and the bathroom – it’s OUTSIDE. Gorgeous huge shower and yes, you do you business in a super nice toilet outside (it’s under an overhang in case it’s raining), but whoa.
Martha, Anthony, Martha and I are here at Villa Markisa but there are other guests here as well.  They only have 8 bungalows but they are so amazing.  I envision renting out an entire place like this for a milestone birthday and inviting all my family and friends.  Wouldn’t that be just about the coolest thing ever?  I would just need to wait until my youngest niece Molly could have her SCUBA Certification by then!  Although I get the feeling that the vibe of this place is not really all that kid friendly.

We had a nice dinner and turned in.  I have only two days of diving here – I’d better make them count!

And the diving here is all about the nudis.  I can’t wait.  I’ve been next door at SCUBA Seraya two other times but each of those times it was only for a couple of days as well.  At some point, I do need to make this a destination for my vacation and stay for at least a week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Counterfeit Chromodoris

This is the last day of diving.  On the first dive the divemasters pointed out a big fat yellow-green Chromodoris with red rhinophores… whoa! 


Isn’t that cool?  But wait, look closely.  It’s fake!!!  The crew created a nudi out of pumpkin, q-tips and parsley.  Good one!
Cheng Ho Count Up
205 - Nembrotha lineolata
Laying eggs.

206 - Marionia sp.
207 - Cuthona sp. (tiny white with pink cerata and orange rhinophores)
208 - Chromodoris sp. 26
209 - Marionia sp. 4
210 - Polycera abei
Those are grains of sand on the left.  This guy was so tiny.
211 - Tritonia sp.
212 - Cuthona sp. (white cerata with lavendar hue and orange rhinophores)
213 - Cerberilla albopunctata
This guy looks like an alien and moved soooooo fast!
214 - Pruvotfolia sp.
See through with white triangles on its Cerata.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scooter Service

Today is the last full day of diving.  This has been a great trip but not so relaxing really.  I wish I could keep up with my pictures better.  I hope that upgrading to a new faster software/hardware will help that!

Today Graham gave me an underwater scooter ride.  I was hanging out hovering motionless and he just took my fins and pushed me like 20 yards or so off to the next nudibranch.  I didn’t move a muscle.  Hilarious.  Now that’s service!

Jayne told me even more interesting stories.  She was an early guest of Wakatobi (an Indonesian resort I myself went to in February 2011).  It was pretty rustic then and I guess wherever the guests hung their wetsuits wasn’t all that sterile.  Jayne had a cut on her arm and flesh eating bacteria got into it.  Ugh.  She had several surgeries and has a scar on her arm.  It must have been pretty scary.  But fear doesn’t hold Jayne back from all of her diving trips over to Indonesia!  She’s who I want to be when I grow up.  J 
Indonesia Inventory:

188 - Dermatobranchus sp. 12

189 - Mexichromis multituberculata
Candy anyone?

190 - Aplysia pulmonica
This is just the head of this sea hare. Look a the "eyes"!

191 - Cuthona kanga

192 - Phyllidiella rudmani
Super similar to the Pustulose Phyllidia.

193 - Chromodoris coi
Laying eggs.

194 - Durvilledoris pusilla
Never saw this before.  Awesome!

195 - Chromodoris leopardus
Lurve these guys.  Snuggling.

196 - Phyllodesmium sp. 1

197 - Chelidonura amoena

198 - Godiva rachelae
Super pretty - worthy of the name Godiva.

199 -Pleurobranchaea brockii
This guy reminded me of a cockroach.

200 - Doto sp. 15
On a leaf.

201 - Marionia elongoviridis
Yeah, funny cropping... I didn't spend any time fixing.

202 - Chromodoris magnifica

203 - Phyllodesmium magnum
204 - Chelidonura fulvipunctata