A variety of Harlequins have made an appearance in Lembeh this week. Harlequin Shrimp, Harlequin Swimming Crabs and Harlequin Ghost Pipefish have been keeping our photographers and recreational divers busily entertained! Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) are a highly sought-after sight in Lembeh, and are often found near their favorite food source: the blue Linkia Sea Star. Harlequin Shrimp feed on Linkia Star tube feet; they remove each tasty foot with their tweezer-like claws before cutting into the Sea Star and consuming it further. A few lucky Sea Stars are able to shed an arm when the Harlequin Shrimp first begin to feed, but others are not so lucky. Harlequin Shrimp have been known to slowly consume a living Sea Star for many days, sometimes going so far as to feed their Sea Star in order to prolong the life of their food source!
In the North Gilis, Lombok this week we have had an overload of various types of Eels. The white eyed moray eel’s have shown themselves the most. They don’t get particularly big but then again they are not shy either. Among the white eye morays we get here the giant moray eels, usually hanging out with the banded shrimps in a rock somewhere and the beautiful but ever so shy garden eels. All 3 we truly love to see, from the small garden eels to the big giant moray eels. I have noticed that almost all divers take a good 2-3 minutes just looking at them.
Dive Zone is back to school this week with a visit from one of the local schools who paid us a visit to practice speaking English and to learn about the tourist industry and what we do here at Dive Zone. An absolutely amazing day with laughter everywhere and a good chance for us to talk to the next generation about looking after their environment. We had a great morning with the kids making conversations, talking about diving, telling them about what we can see under the water.
This week in Lembongan…. It has been a week of large creatures. The start of the week was full of manta rays enthusiast which resulted in us heading, by request, to one of the manta dive sites 6 times over the course of 5 days. We are very understanding with our dive site picks and if that is what the people want, that is what the people get. On one day, we went to a manta dive site for all 3 of the dives. With all these trips to see mantas, our guests were not disappointed and they had the chance to see lots of manta rays as well as some other large creatures.
Sometimes, what divers see from the surface can be as impressive as what we see underwater. This week in Bunaken, an extraordinarily large dolphin pod kept us company not once, but two days in a row. We estimate the pod of around 100 at times, circling both boats. And even seasoned dive guides get a little excited by that.
This week in the north Gilis, we have had an overload of turtles!!! The north gilis being Gili Air, Gili Trawangan and Gili meno have been popular for decades now, tourists from around the world come to see the beautiful landscape, underwater paradise and either party or chill out. We can almost guarantee 90% chance of turtles on a dive in the north Gilis. We often run into both the Hawksbill Turtles and the Green sea turtles, sometimes growing to a size of 4-5 feet in length.
“Do you ever see “Madonna’s Bra” in Lembeh?” a guest asked at the Two Fish dinner table this week. After finally figuring out what exactly the guest was referring to, a whole conversation about hilarious critter names ensued. As it turns out, “Madonna’s Bra” is the common name for the rarely encountered Platyctene Ctenophore (pronounced “teen-a-for”). Though it resembles a sea slug as it attaches to the seabed, Madonna’s Bra is not in fact a sea slug at all. Similar to other animals in its Comb Jelly phylum, two stinging tentacles protrude from each mound of the “bra”. When unsuspecting planktonic animals get ensnared in the tentacles of the Ctenophore, the tasty morsel is drawn into the body of the animal for consumption.
Diving with the stars this week in south lombok we have the guys from Trans TV here shooting a movie “my trip my adventure”. All the staff were very excited when the stars of the movie arrived at the dive center especially Husnul our office girl, who i thought was going to faint when i got 1 of the stars david to take a picture with her [i think she had a bit of a crush on him]. Two of our dive guides also went out with the film crew to help out with some of the diving and they were very happy hanging around with the movie stars all day.