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!
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.