Komodo National Park dive 1: “Siaba Besar” (2019-1-19)-among the best hard coral sites in the park.
Dive notes: Coral down to 20-22 m. 10 m viz, 26-27C. Absolutely stunning hard coral cover. Acropora (large, very old colonies). Several large, green turtles, one of which may have been pregnant. Stylophora, Seriatopora, Pachyseris, and numerous other lettuce corals. Coral assemblage at 5-10 m particularly rich. Merulina, plating Acropora, bottlebrush Acropora, Anacropora, murky, high sediment load, many corals feeding, some Acropora mortality. Enormous/ancient sheets of Pachyseris @ 15-20 m. Notable absence of Pocillopora. Pregnant turtles. Very high diversity and cover @ 10 m. Large areas dominated by Acropora. Fluorescent green Stylophora very common at site. Some Fungia, Pavona, massive Porites (though not a major framework builder), fish life diverse but average size=small. Some garden eels in interesting sand apron. Tiny nudibranchs. Never-before-seen (NBS) anemone (small), some algae in sand, Dictyota, some Acropora colonies in sand. Some Culcita damage, though not much. Beautiful soft corals and sea anemones though this was definitely a hard coral-dominated site. Zoanthids and corallimorphs common. At least five species of soft coral. Need to look up most common one (called it “Sinularia” though unsure). Finally saw Pocillopora verrucosa at the at the end of the dive @ 6 m. No P. damicornis/acuta.