“Hot Rocks” (2019-1-20), so called because the reef is located at the base of an active volcano.
Dive site notes: 8:07-9:08 (61 min). max. depth=30.5 m. 30% oxygen. 25.6ºC. A thermally active site at the base of the active, albeit dormant, Sangeang Volcano. 5-10 m viz. Descended into black sand though the reef structure was nearby. A much older coral assemblage than at “Lava Flow” in the Bandas. Soft corals, stingrays, strange thermoclines, orangutan crab, SC very common at site, young coral community growing on lava, Pocillopora acuta (PA). Euphyllia and Plerogyra both common. Weird, yellow “Raja Ampat” sea cucumber=very common in places. Pocillopora verrucosa. Low average live coral cover (ALCC) @ 28-30 m (~5%). Mostly gorgonians, though some Pachyseris. Pygmy seahorses, some large, fluorescent green, foliaceous sheeting corals @ 26-27 m. At 25 m, some areas dominated by corallimorphs. Large Bohar snapper. Stylophora pistillata common in areas. Nipple sea anemones also very common. PA relatively common in areas. Diploastrea, small Galaxea with attack tentacles, weird colonial anemones growing on stalks (got some beautiful pictures of the latter). Soft coral-dominated @ 13-14 m. Huge brain corals and some large Diploastrea. Really beautiful soft corals at 5-10 m. Sand was warm on account of volcanic activity. Relatively more poritids at 5 m. Hot water seeping from cracks. Soft corals dominant in many parts of shallows. Cool macro life in muck off reef.