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!
This week has been fantastic for both large and small marine creatures in Bunaken with a particularly lucky group seeing a pod of ten eagle rays on one single dive! All around the island we’re seeing plenty of ornate ghost pipefish on many of our favourite dives. And there is a new face around as well!
I am about to finish my time in Bunaken, and again I am not at all ready to say goodbye. Although, I have almost finished checking all the boxes for completing my Divemaster program! With my last two weeks so near, I really have no idea where the time went, and I am not ready for it to end. The past two weeks have been quite action packed, finishing up more specialty courses and assisting with guiding and other courses.
It’s been a very lucky week for sighting big stuff in Bunaken with Mola-Molas and Dugongs being seen by our guests. In fact, one lucky open water diver student saw not one, but two Molas right at the end of her very first open water dive! How do you top that?
Bunaken is home to Asia’s best wall dives, making it easy to marvel at the sheer length and depth of them whilst overlooking the smaller creatures that live underwater in Bunaken – but this week, we’ve been fascinated by a tiny little marine dweller called candy crab or soft coral crab. Hard to spot as they mimic the soft coral they live on almost perfectly, it’s down to our guides’ amazing eyes to find them.
We might not have been hunting for Easter eggs or chocolates, but we’ve been lucky enough to spot plenty of pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipefish around Bunaken this week. It’s definitely been a week for macro photography fans (thanks for the picture, Alex Schade) with our guides spotting numerous pregnant Pontohi Pygmy and Severn’s seahorses as well as ornate ghost pipefish all around the island.
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!
Here in south Lombok we find a wide variety of Scorpion fish from the bearded to the Indian Ocean Walkman to the Ambon. Although we have so many here at times they can be difficult to find due to our abundance of reefs and places to hide.
This week in Bunaken we had the unique opportunity to dive during the full solar eclipse. And, as a double treat, senior dive guide Fenly picked a rarely visited site which usually offers a good chance for larger marine life. But that’s not what happened on this magical dive…
To witness a full solar eclipse, you really have to be in the right place at the right time. Turns out, Bunaken was the place to be this week as we had a chance to see a 98% solar eclipse just before 9 am. Some of our guests opted to dive later, but a few hardy ones wanted to know what it might be like to dive when the sun disappears.
This week’s diving in Bunaken had something for both macro fans and lovers of big marine life – our guests saw Pontohi Pygmy Seahorses as well as increasing numbers of Spotted Eagle Rays.
Thanks to our eagle-eyed dive guides Frankli and Fenly, Mads from Denmark managed to get the fabulous shot for this blog. These miniature seahorses are fairly rare and we don’t have a lot of information about them. They’ve been spotted in (eastern) Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
January blues? Not in Bunaken!Statistically speaking, this week is when most people around the globe are hit by the so-called January blues – but not our team in Bunaken.
Granted, this is one of the quieter times of the year, but with guests completing three dives a day, our dive guides are still busy looking for creatures large and small. What’s even better is that with fewer divers around we have a good chance to have our chosen dive sites all to ourselves – plenty of time to hang out with Napoleon wrasse, watch our favourite sea turtles munch away in the morning and search for smaller critters.
This Week in Lembeh … all Critters have Eggs in Lembeh, and sometimes it takes a camera to spot them!
Have you ever reviewed your dive photos only to notice something in your photos that you completely missed in person? That is one of the many reasons I enjoy underwater photography so much: it allows you to see things post-dive that may not be easily apparent to the naked eye.
On your next dive holiday to Indonesia you will definitely bump into at least two types of sea turtles, the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle.
We get both types of these sea turtles at all of our dive locations in Indonesia.
To ensure that you get the most out of your encounter with these beautiful and gentle creatures here is some facts about them, some tips on how to tell them apart and some pointers on how to interact with them.
Last week we had 10 Ambon scorpionfish on one dive in Lembeh, but what are they?
The Ambon scorpionfish is only 6-12cm long, it is shaggy, and the most distinguishing feature is the large growths above eyes, making them look a bit like Fu-Manchu!
If you thought that the frogfish in Lembeh were weird, then this ranks in the same league. The red-lipped batfish or Galapagos batfish is found around the Galapagos Islands at depths of 30m or more. It is mainly known for its bright red lips, and they look just right for a kiss!
This week we had a Frogfish-tastic week in Lembeh with lots of different species: Hairy, Giant, Painted, Warty / Clown, all of varying colours and sizes. PLUS we found three Sargassum frogfish when cleaning our beach in front of the resort!
But what are these weird fish?
This week we saw 5 Mola Mola on 1 dive in Lembongan so I thought that I would find out what a Mola Mola is, and the first thing I discovered is that the Mola Mola is the heaviest bony fish in the world!! (sharks and rays can be heavier, but they’re cartilaginous fish).
The Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish, resembles a big floating blob, and the adult has an average weight of 1,000 kg and is 180cm long (250cm fin to fin).
We have been seeing Hairy Octopus on a few sites recently, and are certainly seeing more at the moment that at any other time, so what is a hairy octopus?
They may be extremely cute looking but pufferfish are the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world, after the golden poison frog. Certain internal organs, such as liver and eyes, and sometimes the skin, contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish.
We have been seeing loads of Blue Ring Octopus recently in Lembeh so we thought we would tell you a bit about them!
There are possibly 10 different species of blue-ringed octopus but only 4 have been formally names and all are inhabitants of asian-pacific waters:
- Greater Blue-ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)
- Lesser Blue-ringed Octopus or Southern Blue-ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa)
- Blue-lined Octopus (Hapalochlaena fasciata)
- Hapalochlaena nierstraszi
The mandarin fish is one of the most beautiful fish in the ocean and their special mating display can be seen right here in both Bunaken and Lembeh waters!
• Scientific Name: Synchiropus Splendidus
• Found: Indo-Pacific Ocean (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia)
• Size: 1 -2 Inches
• Diet: Carnivore – feed on small worms, protozoans and small crustaceans
• Habitat: Broken coral rubble beds or under dead coral
• Depth: 1 – 18 metres
We are seeing alot of Robust ghost pipefish in Lembeh at the moment so we thought that we would tell you what they are.
Ghost pipefish belong to the family Solenostomidae. They are closely related to Seahorses and Pipefish, are from the same order and share the long tube like snout. They live in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters from Indian to Western Pacific oceans.
Spending most of its time in a head down position, they tend to make their homes in shallow areas or close to coastal reefs that are current swept and therefore have a steady stream of food. In many regions Ghostpipefish are only seasonal visitors, settling on the reef for only a few months each year to breed.