The PADI Wreck Specialty is a fantastic course which, once completed, opens the door to truly magnificent wreck diving around the world. Big congratulations to Brent Heckendorf and Jackie Murray for finishing the PADI Wreck Specialty, despite a few frustrating days beached on land watching the calendar with a worried eye. However, an ear infection and a dwindling time schedule were not enough to deter Two Fish’s newest DMT’s from completing the Wreck Speciality on Lembeh’s famous Mawali Wreck.
Look closer, Lembeh teaches, on the first day as your eyes adjust to the tiny. No, closer, comes the whisper. Can’t believe this shrimp is so tiny! No, look closer, Lembeh teaches, by the third day as the shrimp is one-sixteenth the size of the last one. No, closer, Lembeh urges, as that speck comes to life and moves.
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.
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).
A few of our guests were lucky enough to witness baby Flamboyant Cuttlefish hatching in Lembeh this week! Their eggs were first discovered a week prior and a few dedicated guests and guides returned time and again before finally witnessing the big event! As if it’s not incredible enough to watch the juveniles squirm about inside their eggs, to see them shift color just moments before pushing through the egg must be truly incredible! Once out of the egg, the teeny-tiny Flamboyant Cuttlefish remained brightly colored as it sought out its first meal on the reef…
All good stories have an end and this end was a struggle with theory! So you have this smart people who tell you ‘at the start of the course go through the book and do the exams immediately so you have that out of the way’ Perfect idea no?
To the surprise and delight of our divers, one of the rarest octopus in the Strait, the Hairy Octopus, graced us with his delightfully-playful presence this week. There also continues to be an excess of Juvenile Frogfish on the reef, in all colors, species and sizes. Everyone from super macro photographers to compact shooters will be taking home an incredible selection of Frogfish photos! Add the Halemeida Ghostpipefish sighting to the mix, and it was quite the eventful week of diving!
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.
We had a successful Rhinopias hunt this week at Two Fish Lembeh!
Third time return guest David heard that there were some recent Rhinopias sightings in Lembeh, and it was his goal to see one. Just as his no-deco time was getting low on his first morning-dive back in the Strait, he spotted a big, beautiful, Weedy Rhinopias (Rhinopias frondosa). Though Rhinopias are common in a select few dive destinations, Lembeh is not one of them. Because of their relative rarity in Lembeh, they are a highly sought after sighting for divers and photographers alike. But the hunt is not over yet! Word in the Strait is that there is a second, smaller Rhinopias nearby. David, and all the dive guides, will continue the hunt all week!
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.
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!
Hatching Flamboyant Cuttlefish, one of the famous critters in Lembeh, greeted eighteenth-time repeat guest Nicole this week! She says she keeps coming back to Lembeh time and again because there is always something new to see! The tiny, squirmy, Flamboyant Cuttlefish were encased in eggs that had been laid in an overturned coconut husk. The white eggs turned nearly clear when the baby Flamboyants were ready to hatch. The 8mm juveniles instantly took on their full Flamboyant coloration as they squirmed free of their eggs and began hunting for food in the sand.
It was an exciting week in Lembeh as Martin, a first time visitor to Lembeh, asked his girlfriend, Carola to marry him! He hired Two Fish Lembeh’s transport boat to take the two of them to a beautiful, private white-sand beach where they went for a long, romantic walk before asking the Big Question. She said “Yes”, of course, which makes Lembeh a very memorable place for the both of them! A huge congratulations to Martin and Carola from the whole Two Fish Divers crew.
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.
We want to welcome Scott and Robyn to the Two Fish Lembeh Management Team, and as semi-pro photographers they promise to help you improve your Underwater Photography Skills!
“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!
Looking to take an Underwater Photography Course in order to improve your photography skills on your next trip to Lembeh?
Divemaster in Training Tristan Stafford took Scott’s Digital Underwater Photography course this week, with amazing results! Here’s a wonderful account of his experience…