Friday, June 21, 2013

Riau, Indonesia

Just south of Singapore with an hour ferry ride away is Batam Island, here is the based of Batam View Resort and DiveRiau DC. The DC was run by a Canadian and owned by a rich Singaporean group who run some casino business. The DC was established in year 2001 but the Resort was quiet old, it has a few hundred rooms in a 5 story building block and some villas by the waterfront and a good spa.

During the initial stage, we were exploring diving just off Batam View Resort. Which means the channel between Singapore and Batam island. The visibility was average 3m and can only dive during slag tide. :-( Muddy at the bottom but plenty of nudibranches.
Dive boat

Soon as they got a dive boat in, we started to venture south to the Riau Islands. We explored new dive sites every weekend. As the customers are mostly from Singapore, the dive trips are run only on the weekend. Divers will arrived on a Friday night on the last ferry. A dive briefing will be given. Lunch order taken and equipment rental checked. 

The dive day starts at 8am, divers will be dispatched with a mini van 1.5 hour to the most southern island of Riau where the dive boat awaits. It will take another 30 mins to arrive at the first dive site. We usually do 3 dives on Saturday and 2 dives on Sunday with packed lunch on board or on one of the remote island. 

Gorgonian and Beaked Butterfly Fish

Diving in Riau is unpredictable. Visibility is average between 5 to 8m and current can be crazy due to the surrounding islands. Usually we don't bring more than 4 divers per DM. The condition is usually below average divers' expectation. One has to appreciate macro to appreciate the dives in Riau. A day dives can eventually turn to into a night dive or sometimes you will be sweep a few hundred meter away from planned surfaced area. Good thing with these bad condition, it help to built my confidence diving in these water, I learnt to perfect my buoyancy as a bad kick on the silky bottom might cut the viz, I learnt where and how to find the creatures, not looking all over the place but to look at their habitat, what they eat or live in, I learnt how to navigate in bad visibility condition, learnt how to read current to better prepare for a dive. It was this place that brought the best out of me. :-) However the dive center has since been shut down in 2005.
Petong Island

Travel date :  Frequent between 2001 to 2004
Travel route : Singapore -B-> Batam
Accommodation : Batam View Resort (
Dive Center : DiveRiau
Type of diving : Muck, Wreck
Water temperature : 28-30°C year round
Best time to dive : Diveable all year round

-F-> Flight -B-> Boat

Photos of the trip
Bornella Anguilla
Front of a cannon
Ceratosoma Trilobatum
Giant pot
Cuthona sibogae 
Tritonia bollandi
Plane wreck

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