This past week has seen various celebrations and amazing critter spotting here in Lembeh, as well as a lot of fun and laughter. On New Year’s eve, all the guests and staff in the resort got together for some games, silly hat wearing and singing, which made for some entertaining photos as I’m sure you…
This week here on the Gili’s, North Lombok we have been seeing a rise in Giant Frogfish. The first spot we had was a few weeks ago at Hans Reef and then nothing, but then this week we had a spot of this black variation at Gili Meno slope followed by a Red variation at the Home Reef Gili Air! All of these being a fairly big size hiding with feather stars or sponges and on artificial reefs.
Amed’s House Reef is teeming with life at the moment: we’ve been spotting families of ornate ghost pipefish regularly, and a few days ago, this brightly colored Rhinopias (weedy scorpion fish) made his home here (thanks Nina Banks for the picture). Not enough? There have been blue-ringed octopus, too.
The rare Engagement Ring Fish was spotted in Lembeh this week after Will arranged for a beautiful underwater proposal to Jo. The ring was placed in a Giant Clamshell and left for Jo to discover. After she check-marked “YES” on a provided slate, they received underwater congratulations from 15 fellow Two Fish divers. It was an unforgettable proposal to everyone present, and one guest admitted to even tearing up a bit in her mask… Two Fish sends a huge congratulations to Will, Jo and their families on their beautiful engagement!
Everything Halimeda is impressing Two Fish divers in Lembeh this week! If you are not already familiar with the small green leaves of Halimeda Algae, there’s good reason to become acquainted on your next visit to Lembeh. Halimeda Ghostpipefish are just one example of the rare and beautiful creatures that hang out in beds of Halimeda. Called Ghostpipefish because of their uncanny ability to disappear and reappear like an apparition, the Halimeda Ghostpipefish does a perfect impersonation of the algae that it camouflages against.
This week in Amed, Two Fish Divers organized lot of dive trips in Padang Bay. Padang Bay muck diving is comparable to Lembeh. Our fun divers Rob and Peter joined the trip, because they are macro lovers. They could go on the dive site Jetty and spot lots of critters such like frogfishes, gurnard lionfishes or ghost pipefishes.
Watching behavior is a favorite pastime of many Lembeh divers. Animals feed on other animals, fish spawn with one another, and of course there is plenty of egg laying going on. This week in Lembeh, Two Fish Divers guests were shocked to see a Shaggy Scorpionfish gobble down a Wonderpus! For a moment it looked like the Wonderpus had a fighting chance as its tentacles braced against the face of the Scorpionfish, but in the end the Scorpionfish won the fight. And this isn’t the first time a Wonderpus has seen the inside of a fish’s mouth. A few months back Two Fish divers saw a Wonderpus eaten by a flounder. However, the dive-guide’s gentle tap on the flounders nose made it spit the dazed Wonderpus back onto the sand! For now it remains 1:1 for Wonderpus against predatory fish…
Who knew there was beautiful reef diving in Lembeh? Often overlooked because of all the world-class muck diving sites, there are also some amazing reef dives in Lembeh. Angel’s Window is a regularly requested site amongst return guests because of all the incredible animals encountered there. Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorses are easily located at a few sites, but the Denise Pygmy Seahorse is a rare sight in Lembeh Strait these days. The Denise is differentiated from the Bargibanti by its smoother look: while the Bagibanti has many tubercles to match its host Gorgonean fan, the Denise has fewer tubercles, giving it a smoother appearance. And while the Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse is usually found living on pinkish colored fans, the Denise is assumed to more often reside on orange fans (though not always).
This week in Lembongan… Last night a few of our divers headed out for a night dive in Lembongan Bay. A fairly shallow dive site which in terms of currents and waves, is a strong contrast to the other dive sites around Lembongan and Penida but it is these differences in conditions, that make it a great spot for night dives. Normally Spanish Dancers are pretty rare to find around Lembongan, but it is these crazy nudibranch that are dive guides are looking for on night dives.
A photo speaks a thousand words, so here’s over ten thousand words as we show you a lovely gallery of Amed critters photos taken by our guest Olly Tindall. Olly was here for a few days last week diving with our guide Baron – Baron found the creatures and Olly took these awesome photos. Thanks for the photos Olly and hope to see you again soon.
So, how many of these species you can identify??
Divemaster in Training Lily was fascinated by the Shrimpgobys and their Snapping Shrimp counterparts in Lembeh this week. The Shrimpgoby lives alongside a nearly blind Snapping Shrimp in a burrow and provides the vulnerable shrimp with the protection of “eyesight”. The bull-dozing shrimp provides the Shrimpgoby with a clean burrow as it spends its days cleaning out their home. Any time it leaves the burrow the Shrimp maintains physical contact with its watchful Shrimpgoby. At the first sign of danger, a single flick of the Shrimpgoby’s tail sends them both diving for safety back into their manicured burrow.
It’s not often that a guest is able to show an experienced dive guide something new in Lembeh, but leave it to John Hoover to take on that challenge! Hoover, the authoritative word on Hawaiian fish and critter life, brought Flasher Wrasse Fever to Lembeh this week as he shared his excitement for this beautiful animal at meals, on the boat, and underwater. Who knew that Nudi Falls is teeming with one of the most beautiful fish in the sea? Not a single one of us at Two Fish Lembeh! We were too busy scanning the weeds and rubble for hidden wonders such as Rhinopias, cryptic Frogfish and tiny Nudibranch to notice the plethora of Flashers chasing about.
It is not often that Bryozoans and Echinoderms are highly sought after in Lembeh, but this week’s visiting Marine Biologists, Simi and Basti, couldn’t get enough of them! The Bryozoan is a collection of tiny, invertebrate marine animals that live in large colonies. These tiny animal colonies create beautiful structures that are big enough to house fellow reef creatures. The Lacey Bryozoan (pictured) made headline marine news of recent when a new species of Goby, Shrimp and Crab were discovered living inside of it. Extremely cryptic animals, and localized to a select few regions of Indonesia, the Bryozoan Goby is the most recent “newly discovered animal” that Lembeh has to offer.
Much to the surprise and delight of our Two Fish Divers, the rare and beautiful Velvet Ghostpipefish made an appearance in Lembeh this week! Though we are accustomed to seeing Ornate and Robust Ghostpipefish with some regularity, the Velvet Ghostpipefish is rarely encountered. Its bright red coloration might make you question its ability to camouflage, but in reality it does a beautiful job of impersonating a common red sponge that grows throughout Lembeh. Next on our wish list is a Halimeda Ghostpipefish sighting, which is just as rarely encountered as the Velvet. The Halimeda Ghostpipefish lives up to its name by impersonating Halimeda algae, and it just as fascinating as its beautiful Velvet cousin.
This week, our whole team – from dive guide trainee to assistant manager – got together for an underwater clean-up of our house reef. Amed’s house reef might initially look like a sandy slope, but look closer and you can spot many amazing creatures like the longhorn cowfish or the flying gurnard.
Sometimes it’s the simple Lembeh critters that excite people the most!
This week at Two Fish Lembeh, Emperor Shrimp, Blue-Dragon Nudibranch and territorial Anemonefish are the main topics of conversation at the dinner table. And rightfully so! Though common to Lembeh, these crazy critters are not so common in other areas of the world.
This week in the North Gilis, Lombok we had Jacqui Join us from the UK. It was an absolute pleasure diving with her, we visited the sites called: “Turtle Heaven”, “Bounty Wreck”, “Shark point” and “Bat Fish Point”. Jacqui is a diver just like me, extra slow and hunting for macro. We knew that here in the north gili’s there is a lot to see from the bigger sea life to the small stuff but in those 2 days I was surprised to see such a vast amount of macro.
Interested in seeing a variety of Octopus in Lembeh? The best way to catch the most variety is to vary your dive schedule. The morning dives are the best time to see Reef, Mimic and Coconut Octopus. Mimic Octopus sightings are well sought after due to the animal’s unique ability to imitate venomous animals when threatened. The Mimic Octopus plays an amazing game of charades and can convincingly mimic venomous Lionfish, Banded Sea Snakes and Banded Soles in its attempt to scare off potential predators. And though it is our most commonly encountered Octopus, the Coconut Octopus is not to be dismissed! The right individual can be endless entertainment as it plays peek-a-boo and shows off it’s attachment issues as it runs across the reef holding a house of shells or coconut husk!
Lembeh’s Divesite Police Pier is known for its plethora of Pipefish (alongside it’s spawning Mandarinfish and fantastic Frogfish population). This week one of the Banded Pipefish found itself in a slightly awkward situation when it got a bit to close to a hungry Ribbon Eel. Luckily, the Ribbon Eel immediately realized that the physics of his meal was simply too complicated and let the Pipefish go without so much as a scratch. If you look closely at the underside of the fish you can see that the Pipefish is carrying eggs. As it turns out, a whole generation of Banded Pipefish was spared!
Bobbit Worm sightings in Lembeh night dives are not uncommon, but this week’s Bobbit Worm sighting was ridiculously cool! Our guests came across two different Bobbit Worms that were both spewing white gunk into the water column. Thinking it was a defense mechanism, the divers were annoyed that it “screwed up their photo opportunity”. Little did they know, these Bobbit Worms were spawning, which is an extremely rare sight in Lembeh! Bobbit Worms are broadcast spawners, which means that Bobbit Worms release their sperm and eggs into the water column all at the same time, resulting in successful fertilization within the water column (rather than within the animal).
It has been a Frogfish Frenzy in Lembeh this week! From big to small, from Hairy to Warty, from orange to black, and mated to single, I think we’ve seen a bit of it all! It hasn’t been only the variety of Frogfish that has impressed our Two Fish divers, but also the behaviors. Many of the Frogfish have been very active, awkwardly moving about the reef, chasing one another, chasing our divers (true story!), yawning and luring. Once again, Lembeh proves to be a Frogfish paradise!
Whether you are a first timer or have been here numerous times before, an encounter with a Mimic Octopus in Lembeh is bound to enchant and fascinate you! The Mimic Octopus was named after its unique ability to imitate venomous animals, providing it with some semblance of defense in an otherwise soft and tasty, defenseless body. Discovered only 15 years ago, the Mimic Octopus created quite a stir in the scientific community for being the first of its kind to go beyond traditional camouflage as a form of defense.
In Bunaken this week, we couldn’t decide where to look – the blue for big stuff or the reef for small creatures. There have been plenty of both, including another Mola-Mola sighting! And just as our dive manager and instructor Dion is off to get to know our Bali and Lombok dive centres better, we’ve been busy teaching PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses.
“TK II” is our featured Lembeh Dive Site of the Month. All black-sand, algae growth and desolate landscape, Teluk Kembahu II is definitely not one of Lembeh’s prettier dive sites. But does that old trick really fool anyone anymore? When we take a closer look at TKII it comes alive; it is absolutely overflowing with some of Lembeh’s coolest critters!