One of the most recent discoveries we have here in North Sulawesi is the Pontohi Seahorse. They are named after the dive guide who discovered them in the Bunaken National Marine Park in 2007.
Other Pygmy Seahorse like to live on Gorgonian Fans but the Pontohi has been found in living in Halmedia algae and Aglaephenia cupressinina hydriods. We have seen them at various depths between 5-20m.
As you can see from this photo they have a rounded trunk but when viewed from behind they look flat. They can range in colour from white/yellow to brown and red. They are a really rare find and this is partly down to their tiny size – they grow to a maximum size of around 20mm!
Thank you to Rohan for allowing us to use this photo – he was very happy with this sighting. An experienced Instructor with thousands of dives had never seen one of this beauties and he said it made his year when we found this for him last week! We have also found a few more of these guys at other sites, so why not book a trip to see us and you could be able to tick this off your Critter Wish List!
Yemi stayed with recently and planned to complete his EFR and Rescue course with us. We did managed to complete the EFR course and he passed the exam with nearly full marks but due to illness we were unable to complete his Rescue course.
Yemi was a great sport about this and decided to throw himself into doing lots of critter hunting instead and after renting a camera from Two Fish ( his camera had died whilst diving with us in Bunaken – poor guy wasn’t having much luck!) he continue to work of his photography skills instead and with great results!
You will often find Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) sitting on rocks, blending in with their surroundings awaiting their next meal. This critters is almost as flat as a leaf (hence the name!) and its skin can have blotches of colour that help with its camouflage. We usually find these fish alone but they can also hang around with another one for some company! They come in variety of colours from white to pink and red to black!
Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) is a very rare find and they were first discovered over on the east coast of north Sulawesi in Bunaken National Park! These tiny seahorse are found amongst algae or hydroids and have small skin flaps as you can see in the photo.
If you would like to see your photos included in our Lembeh blog then please send through your best and favourite photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them published!
Yesterday we said goodbye to our Divemaster Interns, Nick & Zina. They were with us for 7 weeks doing their internships that consisted of Rescue courses in Bunaken, specialities courses in Lembeh (wreck, deep, night, nitrox and search & recovery), and divemaster courses in Bunaken.
We gave them our traditional DM send-off on the last night – the dreaded snorkel-test where they have to drink beer through a snorkel whilst demonstrating a skill. Hard to do but VERY funny to watch!! Zina even got Jan involved, he is our new DM internship and it will be his turn in 4 weeks!!
During their stay with us they spent alot of time helping with other courses as part of their internship, and we will miss them. Thanks also for all your help & hard work, and good luck with your instructor courses in Jan!
As you will have read in previous blogs, we have been seeing a large number of Octopodes ( the correct plural of Octopus or so I have been told!) over the last few months and one that has been a regular fixture on our sighting list as been the Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena sp.) . All these sightings have made us and our guests extremely happy as they are normally very rare!
The Blue Ringed Octopodes are normally solitary creatures but some of our guests were lucky enough to see a couple of them mating – see the picture to the right. The larger one is obviously enjoying it – look at the size of his rings!! Thanks to Vicky for sending us this photo.
It is amazing the amount of people who do not realise how venomous this critter is – its bite can kill humans! Don’t get too close when trying to take its picture! The blue rings become more obvious when the octopus is agitated or feeling threatened, it is its way of saying ‘Back Off’.
Keep an eye out for later blogs on some of the other Octopodes that we see here in Lembeh.