Tuesday, January 15, 2008

POSTIARS expedition 2005 & 2006

POSTIARS or Post-Tsunami Impact Assessments Reef Survey was intiated by Mr. Affendi Yang Amri of Univ. Malaya in 2005 to look into the damage caused by 2004 Tsunami to the Island nearest to Indian Ocean, which is Pulau Perak. There was two expedition where the first expedition was collaboration between Univ. Malaya Maritime Research Centre (UMMReC), Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences (MSMS) & WWF-Malaysia. During the 1st expedition in 2005, we did survey in Pulau Langkawi at a few site before continue on to Pulau Perak on a small speedboat. We spend a night at the only jetty available before travelling back the next day. One-way journey using a speedboat will take 6-7 hours, so that is why we was required to spend a night, because that part of the sea is very dangerous at night...according to the boatman la :). During the 2nd expedition, Marine Park Malaysia & UKM play a part in the expedition with the participation Marine Park Rangers and a experience diver and the use of UKM's compressor. From the experience of the 1st expedition, we decided to spend more days at Pulau Perak to collect more data and rented a makeshift fishingboat to be temporary live-a-board.

We have seen and experience many hardship during and after the expedition, which has made us more determine to do more. Many has said that there are not much island in the Malacca Straits which is equivalent to Sipadan waters, which i totally disagree after our expedition. The water in Pulau Perak is so crystal clear that i was at 42 meters and still can see the ripple above. The fish are so abundance that grouper are everywhere! The uniqueness of this area is that it is a wall dive all the way. It has the similarity of diving in Sipadan drop-off and if one is not careful, we can be in the depth longer than we suppose to be. At the first expedition, i have a photo of a nudibranch which was suspected of a endemic species of Phi Phi Island, Thailand. But i was not able to collect samples of it during the 2nd expedition. I am hoping that i would have more chances to visit the place again and document more of the macro-invertebrate in that area. Below are some of the photos from both of the expedition :D. (Used Canon Compact camera with underwater housing, but unfortunately haven't started using underwater strobe during this time so photos are so so only :p..)

Curtains of bubbles from divers from the deeper waters

Our accomodation, transport and refuge against all odds!

Our workplace, bunker, dining area, discussion & meeting area :D, it brings new meaning to All-in-One :p

Instant noodles never tasted so good!

Here fishy fishy...

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