Diving in Natsepa Beach

Ambon, Maluku is the cluster of island which stretches between Sulawesi and Papua in the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago which is known as the Spice Islands. Because of that, it consists of luxurious coral gardens and a huge variety of colorful fishes.

Ambon is undoubtedly famous for its dive sites. It is a huge array of critters that can be observed and photographed during long dives at the shallow sites. Diving in Ambon includes regular sightings of resident marine life. The interesting and varied diving sites around the islands stand among the best in the world. They offer you dive sites with magnificent and rich of marine life. Divers and nature lovers who visit this small ‘paradise’ landscape will enjoy themselves there.

Have you ever imagined diving in Ambon? Ambon is a great place to visit because it has a gorgeous dive site. It also has stunning beaches that have wonderful scenery, clean water, and blue sea. Natsepa Beach is one of them.

Natsepa beach is the main tourist destination area on the island of Ambon. Although it is located on the island of Ambon, it is already included to the administrative regions of Central Maluku district with the capital city of Masohi on the island of Seram.

Nestepa Beach
Nestepa Beach

This beach is famous and suitable for playing, sunbathing, swimming and other beach activity. Ambon’s people said, “You never go to Ambon if you never go to Natsepa beach”. So, do not hesitate to come to Natsepa Beach once you have a chance visiting Ambon. How to get there? The exotic Natsepa beach can be reached by car within 40 minutes from the airport. The access is pretty easy. From the station in Ambon city, you can ride public transportation to Suli and arrive to Natsepa beach for about the next half hour. But if you use such a private transportation, you will only need for about 20 minutes from Ambon to get there.

Natsepa beach is a clean beach with white sand. It has a stretch of blue sea and the waves are very gentle. This beach is comfortable and relaxing. It is located in the village of Suli, Ambon, Moluccas Islands, 14 km from the city of Ambon. Natsepa beach also provides several watersport facilities for tourists, such as water skiing, fishing, snorkeling, and diving.

The most favorite watersport is diving. People go to Natsepa Beach to have and enjoy the beauty of underwater world. Diving in Natsepa Beach is unforgettable. It offers several variations of dives that are not found in many places in Indonesia, especially the condition of the caves and underwater valleys are very charming, as well as hordes of pelagic fish cakes. There also can be found several species of sharks, manta rays and napoleon wrasse. Its main attraction is the wide variety of “rhinopias” and “frog fish” colorful can be found quite easily. Diving in Natsepa Beach will give you precious experience because Natsepa beach is one of interesting and prosperous topographical dive sites in the world.

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Scuba Dive with Seahorses

Scuba Dive with Seahorses
Scuba Dive with Seahorses

Scuba divers have long been fascinated by these often extremely tiny critters. Seahorses are illusive photo subjects as they camouflage themselves by changing colour quickly to blend in with their surroundings. They also allow encrusting organisms to settle on them and they can grow long skin appendages to match their surroundings even better. During mating their skin will lighten and darken. Generally the easiest part of the seahorse to spot is the tail.

The seahorse is 1 of 4 families in the syngnathiform family order which also includes pipefish, flag tail pipefish and seadragons. They swim in an upright position with their tails down and their heads up. Their dorsal fin moves them forward and the pectoral fin controls steering and turning.

The pygmy seahorse is a recently discovered relative of the common sea horse and one of the divers most sought after finds. A lot of deco time and a magnifying glass will help in the search for these cryptic critters. They are roughly 15mm in length although some are smaller, and as their tail is always curled around a seafan, they appear even smaller.

Very little is known about their life cycle. They are thought to eat the same zooplankton as the seafans that they inhabit and they seem to prefer seafans to other family members, as there are normally few other inhabitants on a pygmy’s seafan.

Sea horse Fact Sheet

Family name: Hippocampinae
Order name: Syngnathidae
Common name: Seahorse
Scientific name: Hippocampus

Distinguishing Features

They are characterised by an elongated body encased in bony rings. Instead of scales that are found on most fish, seahorses have a thin layer of skin stretched over a series of bony plates. These plates show themselves as the bony rings along their body’s trunk. They have no pelvic fins but most have small pectoral fins and a single dorsal fin. They have a prehensile tail (able to grasp) and a tube-like mouth with no teeth, and small gill openings. Unlike (most) humans but similar to chameleons, seahorses can move their eyes independently of each other. They range in size from 10mm to 35cm, the largest species being the Pacific seahorse. Seahorses also have a coronet on the top of their head which is distinctive in all seahorses, in the same way that a thumb print is in humans.

Feeding habits

Seahorses eat small crustaceans which they catch by staying still and lying in wait. When prey comes near they snap them up. Their tube like mouth creates a vacuum that sucks prey in and they swallow their food whole. They can eat up to 3,000 brine shrimp per day.

Reproduction

Sea horses are unusual in a couple of ways. One is that they are monogamous and have long courtship periods when mating. Monogamy is unusual in all animals but especially in fish. There is some evidence to suggest that the longer a couple of seahorses stick together, the better they are at producing babies. Indeed, a male seahorse that is involved in an intimate relationship can be pregnant for as many as 7 months of the year. Once the male has given birth, he often becomes pregnant again right away.

Another unusual aspect of the sea horse is that it’s the male of the species that becomes pregnant and carries the eggs in a pouch on his belly, after the eggs have been deposited there by the female. The eggs are fertilised in the pouch and incubated until they hatch. Incubation lasts between 10 days and 4 weeks, depending on the species and water temperature.

At hatching, the male gives birth to fully developed but tiny versions of its species. The natural lifespan of seahorses is not known, but believed to be from 1 year for small species to 5 years for a larger species.

It is common in the fish world for the males to take care of the eggs by guarding them or fanning them to keep them clean and provide enough oxygen. But seahorses take parental care to an extreme unknown elsewhere in the animal kingdom. A capillary system provides nutrients to the young.

Want to Know Where to Scuba Dive with Seahorses?

The Barbigants pygmy seahorse (hippocampus barbiganti) can be found all over Indonesia in various colours and at all depths. They can be found in the muricella sea fans in Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Malaysia. These sea fans have bulbous red polyps as do the pygmy seahorses. This, along with their small size, is what makes them so difficult to spot.

Denise Hackett recently discovered a new pygmy seahorse species in Indonesia. It’s named after her, hippocampus Denise, but it’s often called the ‘plucked chicken pygmy seahorse’ due to its unusual appearance with a lack of the typical bumps (tubercles). Hippocampus Denise is normally found in light yellow gorgonians which, like the pygmy, are less bulbous with smaller polyps.

The weedy pygmy seahorse is an even newer discovery. First recorded in the Banda Sea in 2000, they are now regularly seen at Wakatobi and the Lembeh Strait. The Raja Ampat area is another good place to find them. This species is the smallest and most cryptic. They seem to move around more than other species making them even harder to pin point.