Hi guys. First of all, I want to apologize for the pictures that was not posted. It was supposed to have been, but I'm not sure what happened. I just returned to Bali from Sulawessi after coral hunting. The corals will be shipped to Jakarta over the weekend, and I will be there to receive on Saturday. I can post pictures of my finds early next week. As usual, I found some awesome stuff!
I'd like to welcome Steve Tyree to my blog. Steve is the pioneer of aquaculturing acroporas and montiporas. He was growing these things when we were still trying to figure out how to keep them from turning brown! He is famous world wide for his collection of limited edition corals. A few of my pieces are in his collection. I have added a link to his website on my favorites. For all the sps reefers around the world that are looking at my blog, you guys should go check it out, you will learn a thing or two.
I also would like to welcome members from the MARS reef club. I'm sure the old members will remember me from the days of Tropical Paradise. I will be joining Steve Tyree to auction off some corals. More on this event at a later post.
The following pictures are from my last trip to Northern Bali for aquacultured acros.
Off the main highway, we took this tiny dirt road to get to the beach. On both sides were corn fields and chili pepper plantations. This was real backroads of Northern Bali.
We ended up in a clearing near the ocean. We drove through the mud and came across these little cottages. They look like they have been abandoned for quite some time. I can picture backpackers staying in these kind of places. Kind of creepy to me!
Here I am at the beach, waiting for the boat to come to take me to the floating platform to pick out the aquacultured acros. My wife always complains to me that I don't post enough pictures of myself on my blog. She just misses me because she is in the States while I'm here. So here you go honey, I will see you next week!
Some local kids giggling and trying to speak English to me. The kids are always curious and seem to want to talk to me. At least they know "hi", and sometimes, "how are you?" I wished I had some candy for them.
I'm not sure what this is, but I can tell you that these same things, built over water, in Vietnam are called toilets! There is a good chance that it is one of them.
Can't make out clearly the plants growing on the sand, but they are ice plants. This is the first time I've seen ice plants in the tropics. It reminded me of back at home in the SF area. The shorelines of the SF bay has lots of ice plants.
Check this out. Cactus growing on the beach. I always thought they only grew in the dessert. I wonder if those red things growing out are edible? They look like some sort of cactus fruit.
After an hour of waiting, the boat showed up. I was expecting a little bigger one and not so ghetto!
Ok, so I was thinking that there is no way that this little motor would ever run. It looked like old junk that has been sitting outside for a long time.
We hopped on with a styrofoam box and the captain used this little thin rope to start the engine. On the third try, it started turning! Wow!!
It was quite noisy for a little fellow, but it would do the job. Believe it or not, this thing was pretty fast. But again, the boat was the size of a bathtub.
Everything about the motor was ghetto rigged. Rope was used to hold everything down. Since the motor was fixed, the captain had to hold the rod part of the motor down in the water while steering the boat with wooden rudder. I was impressed! Note the small bottle of gas hanging on the beam above the motor. It reminded me of when I was in the hospital with Dengue fever and the IV drip.
Talk about being creative. Check out this fin. The guy actually sewed a rubber shoe to it! Pretty cool! For me, I would just go buy a new one with straps. But again the locals don't have much money to have such luxuries. They work with what they have, and if it breaks, then they find a way to fix it - or rig it!
Check out this pile of aquaculture plugs in the boat. These are cement based hand made pieces. Some plugs use a mold, but these are made piece by piece. My first experimental ones in Tonga looked like these.
A close up look and you can see the small pebbles that was used in the mix. Sometimes a dye is used to color the plugs to look like coralline algae. I know in Fiji, a dye is used to color artificial liverock.
We got to the floating platform and a diver was already there collecting samples for me to look at. Some of the deepwater acros are grown on the bottom of the reef.
These guys know that I like purple and blue. Here I am checking out the samples that the diver had brought up. If there are certain species I like, I ask to get more pieces for me to choose from. Kind of fun!
Some of the other coral species are grown on these racks that hang down from the platforms.
Upon returning to the beach after getting my corals, I noticed this fisherman getting off of a tiny boat. He didn't have a motor but paddled. I caught up to him and I pointed at his bag.
He was catching ornamental fish for the aquarium trade. I thought he was a food fisherman. The good thing is that I didn't see any cyanide squirt bottles. He had a small barrier net and a scooper net. He was a net catching fisherman for sure. A really good sign that the reefs around this area were in good shape.
He had mostly damsel fish.
Another bag of damsels that he is proudly showing. Much of the local fisherman who don't have expensive equipment, like big boats or compressors, rely on catching these shallow water bread and butter fish for a living. It is sad to see this kind of situation. But there is little choice in what they do. This guys will probably get less than a dollar for all of his fish, but it may be enough to feed him or his family. A true reality check of how things are in the third world, and how lucky I am to have lived in the US all of my life.
Let's finish off the thread, with some pictures of corals from recent shipments.
Ok this is got to be one of the most unique pieces of a fungia I've ever seen!
I passed it up the first time thinking that it had been damaged during the boat ride from one of the islands. But a closer look reveals that the white pattern is symetrical. The tissue is lacking the zoxanthellae precisely where the white pattern is. How is this possible? Nature works in mysterious ways for sure!
Check out this beautiful liverock. A customer have requested large pieces for a giant reef system. Each one of these rocks will fit in one box and weigh up to 25 kilos (55 lbs).
Some of the nicest chalice type of corals come from Indonesia. This piece of echinophyllia was slightly damaged during shipping. The edges always stresses but recovers quickly. Sometimes, the edges turn into real nice colors, like the watermelon chalice does. I used to ship out crazy pieces from Tonga back in the days.
Another gorgeous piece. This one has small orange eyes. Only time will tell what color it will turn into under artificial lighting. These can easily turn into a limited edition piece quickly.
Never mind the blue palys, notice the peach with green center paly in the middle? A killer piece. I found only a small patch of it on this rock among hundreds of colonies. Some lucky reefer will end up with it.
A deepwater lobophyllia. This coral is insane! I just had a chance to see it under t5 actinics in Makassar. One of my friends has a developing reef tank and had just put one of these beauties in. I couldn't believe my eyes! I knew they were beautiful, but it really impressed me. I can just imagine what colors it will turn into under artificial lighting in the long run.
My friend Johan has a very impressive tank. The reef is just getting started
and he has documented everything from the first step. You should go take a look at his thread and check out the equipment he is using. The rockwork is also very impressive. Here is the link:
I'm taking off to Northern Bali again to look for some cool pieces to bring to the MARS reef club auction in about five hours. We will leave again at 4 am as usual. If I get back early enough, I will post again with my findings.