Friday, April 27, 2007

Bob's Rock - West

Site Name: Bob’s Rock West AKA Behau Forest
Location: About 48km east of Dili on the coast road, Behau
Getting there: After driving through Behau village, with the white-walled ex resort, carry on up and over the cliffside road. Once you get to the bottom, sea-level, part of the road look on the left for a rock with ‘HB’ spray-painted in white. Turn off the road here and head down the track to the waters edge.
GPS Co-ords: TBA
Entry/Exit: Just east of the overhanging tree. Swim out about 30metres until you are over an area of coral rubble. Descend here.
Shade: Plenty
Diver Experience Level: Open Water and above

I think this is one of the most under-estimated sites in ET. Lots of different terrain, coral species and depths. On the entry there is a nice big stack of staghorn coral, full of Anthias, Basslets, Coral trout and Lionfish. Also at least 5 different species of clown fish including Spine-cheeked, tomato, pink, false and Clarks.
Just to the east of the staghorn, at about 12metres, is a big barrel sponge. This is a great place to look for critters. On or under the sponge itself look for leaf scorpionfish, ghost pipefish in the crinoids and banded pipefish under the sponge. About 1metre west of the sponge is a mushroom coral, host to 2 white pipefish.
On roughly the same line as the sponge but at 21metres is a solitary gorgonian fan. This is home to at least 4 Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti). The area between the sponge and the fan is also a good hunting ground for different species of Nudibranchs.
Just west of the staghorn is a big sandy patch. Halfway across the patch is a very large colony of garden eels (Heteroconger hassi). These are the longest garden eels I have seen anywhere.
After the sand you come to more coral. A wall stops at about 10metres depth with a gentle slope to a bommy at 12metres. The base of the wall has numerous little overhangs where you may find a crocodilefish (or flathead) lying in ambush. The bommy is also good for critters eg: banded shrimp, leaf scorpionfish.
From the bommy I usually head down to about the 18metre mark and continue west. After a while you will come to a wonderful overhang at a depth of about 24metres which juts out into the open ocean. The overhang itself has a lot of life, including the biggest Spanish dancer (Hexabrancus sanguineus) I have ever seen at 67cm! Also it is a good place to hang and just look into the blue for passing pelagics. The wall carries on here for a good while but by now most divers are at about 100bar so its time to turnaround. Slowly ascend to around the 10/12metre mark and make your way back to the starting point via a wonderful coral wall. This is best dived at around midday with the overhead sun lighting the place up like a tropical garden.

Highlights: Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti), white pipefish (Siokunichthys nigrolineatus), Garden eels (Heteroconger hassi) and Harlequin ghost pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus)

Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti), Bob's Rock

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