A Paddle Flap Immerges!

A Paddle Flap Immerges!This week in Lembe….. A Paddle Flap Immerges! Our first Rhinopia encounter this year was with what we think is known as a “False Rhinopia” or “Hipposcorpaena Filamentosa”. This time a Paddle-flap Scorpionfish  or “Rhinopias Eschmeyeri” has popped up to say hello. These are a popular find in the photography world so lets hope it stays around.

Helena 1 – New Adventures on Divemaster Course in Lembongan

Helena 1 - New Adventures on Divemaster Course in LembonganThe last two weeks of my PADI divemaster training in Lembongan has been truly amazing. I have barely seen such a variety of dive sites that can be explored all from just one dive center!

One day the boat could be heading north to one of the sites with beautiful corals, an abundance of reef fish as well as the occasional turtle and on the next day the boat may head south to find the mantas, the seahorse at crystal bay and if lucky also a mola mola.

Hairy Mania in Lembeh!

Hairy Mania!This Week in Lembeh…… we have had Hairy Mania! One tends to wonder, why must there be a hairy version of everything? Well…. Why not? Like the minute Hairy Shrimp, usually too small to see features with the naked eye, this version of shrimp is a great challenge for the macro photographer. Often looking like nothing more than a tiny piece of fluff, our guides have a special knack for picking out these odd little critters. To join these guys we have also been seeing hairy frogfish, hairy octopus, hairy gobies, and hairy ghostpipefish.

Sheep Graze?

Sheep Graze?This Week in Lembeh….Sheep Graze? A popular subject at the moment is the famous “Shawn the Sheep” more correctly known as a Sapsucking Slug (Costasiella). This little guy can be quite a tricky subject growing to an average size of about 7mm. Being that size obviously and smaller can make it tricky to fully see them in all their glory with just the naked eye. Either way it a great find and even better when a photo somewhat works out!

We get close up Diving in Lembeh!

We get close up!This Week in Lembeh…. We get close up! One thing we here at Lembeh are known for is being a Macro Photographers wet dream (pun intended).  Very similar to this Napoleon snake eel, many of the critters here allow you to get close up and personal. Many of these critters going about their business on the sand, making appearances while buried in the sand or just saying a quick hello. Its possible to accommodate everyone from simple point and shoot cameras to 4k Cameras and beyond.

Lembeh is where Frogfish shine!

Frogfish Diving LembehThis week in Lembeh…. Lembeh is where Frogfish shine! Like this Juvenile Painted Frogfish, they have been popping up everywhere lately. Hairy, Giant, Painted, Warty, all have been making an appearance. Always a favorite with divers the frogfish come is all sorts of colours, markings and sizes. They often blend in quite well with their surroundings, but not always…. Sometimes they really stand out. Makes you think “Who are you trying to fool!?” While fishing, sleeping, yawning or doing anything else, slow and steady is the case with them. Rarely will they be in a rush for anything.

We Sea–Horses!

Sea Horse in Lembeh Strait, MonadoThis week in Lembeh…… We Sea–Horses! Recently a fairly common site our guests have been noticing are the abundance of Seahorses around the strait. From the tiny Pygmy to the much much larger Common Seahorse, they can come in all sorts of forms. The Pygmy’s can range from brown to yellow to pink/purple they ranging from 1cm-3cm. Where as the Common and thorny seahorses regularly range from 17cm-20cm. Unfortunately they are highly prized in the aquarium trade which adds to the rarity to see them in their natural habitat. Though at the moment spotting them here isn’t difficult.

Who you calling a shrimp?!

Mantis Shrimp in LembehThis week in Lembeh…. All shrimps aren’t “Shrimps”. As I’m sure the Giant Mantis Shrimp think, “ Who you calling a shrimp?! ” Something we have a bountiful amount of here in the strait is shrimp. They come in all colours, shapes, and sizes. For example the whip coral shrimp is only about 1 cm, compared to the Giant Mantis Shrimp who’s eye alone can be larger than 1.5cm. Even if there is little to find on a dive, one can guarantee shrimp. The variety of shrimp in the area can keep a diver and photographer coming back for more.

Cheerleading Lembeh Style!

Cheerleading Lembeh Style!This week in Lembeh…. This is Cheerleading Lembeh Style! We have been seeing our own versions of pom pom wielding cheerleaders in our waters. The cute yet elusive Boxer crab (Lybia) is a type of small crab from the Xanthidae family. They are most recognizable from the pom pom like anemones they carry in their claws. Though very shy our guides have a knack for finding these small guys.

Black Is Back!!

Black Is Back!!This week in lembeh…… Black Is Back!! Not to sound redundant but it is worth mentioning, This is the Second Black hairy frogfish seen this year! This rare color variation of the hairy frogfish is an incredible find. So far they have been seen nestled near big groups of fire urchins. Our guests didn’t know what to look at because 5 meters away a mimic octopus was swimming about as well!

Puff?….Puff?….Nah Pass…

Puff?….Puff?….Nah Pass…This week in Lembeh…. Puff?….Puff?….Nah Pass… One thing we do not lack here in the Lembeh strait diving is puffer fish. Like this juvenile star puffer fish they can come in an assortment of colors, patterns, and sizes. Ranging from <5cm to >100cm these slow and awkward fish have an odd method of defense. Though preferring to run away, puffer fish can inflate their bodies in attempt to become too large for a predator to eat. They do this by taking in  large amounts of water, or air if on the surface, which can increase their size by 2-3 times! This does put quite a lot of stress on the puffers body and in the case of inflating with air, can be very dangerous for the puffer. As with any marine creature it is very discouraged to harass them to prompt this behavior.  These cute and passive fish should be enjoyed by viewing from a distance, allowing them to enjoy a hassle free day.

Nudies Nudies Nudies

Nudies Nudies NudiesThis week in Lembeh….. Nudies Nudies Nudies. Not quite the x-rated action you are thinking about…well actually it is…. We have been seeing mating action in the strait. From Nudibranchs mating to laying eggs, the whole life cycle can be seen right here. With an abundant number of different species in nudibranchs, to try an see them all, seems like an impossible task. They range from the tiny sap sucking slugs to the much larger pleurobranchaea and everything in between. Different sizes, shapes, and colors make them an exciting part of Lembehs critter hunt.

Harlequin Shrimp Pose

Harlequin Shrimp PoseThis week in Lembeh …. Harlequin Shrimp pose for the cameras. The beautiful Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera Picta), have been spotted on a number of sights around Lembeh lately. Often living in pairs, these usually shy critters have taken a few moments to pose for our guests. They are most recognizable for the unique blue or purple spots upon their white exterior, almost having a flowery pattern. They feed exclusively on starfish and are well equipped for doing so. Sadly they are highly prized in the aquarium trade, but here in the strait our guests have been seeing them O’natural.

To Shave or Not To Shave in Lembeh

To Shave or Not To Shave in LembehThis week in Lembeh…. The question is “ To Shave or Not To Shave in Lembeh”. Here in Lembeh there is no shortage of “Hairy” critters, bearded on the other hand is another story. The bearded goby is one that is sought out specifically for the 9-o-clock shadow it sports. Also known as a Hairy goby or Bearded papa, the Yellow coral goby (Paragoiodon Xanthosoma) is one cute yet timid critter. We are lucky to have many residing in our house reef at the moment, though that doesn’t make getting a picture of one any easier. A lot of patience is needed, also a bit of luck to get that perfect shot as they tend to be quite skittish.

Angela Week 2-4 – Completely Different World

Angela Week 2-4 - Completely Different WorldSo I have had 2 weeks in Lembeh now and I feel like I have entered a completely different world of diving. Once you think things can’t better they always do. I am fully into my dive master training course which is seriously intense but so much fun at the same time. Here in Lembeh I have had many new experiences such as muck diving, wreck diving and night diving.

Cephalopods say Hello

Cephalopods say HelloThis week in Lembeh…. Cephalopods say hello. With the number of cephalopods being seen, guests are wondering if they can go a dive without seeing one! Between all the sightings of blue ringed octopus, Wonderpus, Mimics, Broad club cuttlefish, Bigfin reef squid, bobtailed squid, just to name a few, its been hard to find time to fit in the frogfish, sea moths, squat lobsters, nudies, etc. Not that anyone has been complaining, we have been seeing many happy faces dive after dive.

We Like Sinking Boats

We like sinking boatsThis week in Lembeh….. we like sinking boats! We were able to add a new structure to our house reef this week, it came in the shape of one of our old transport boats. With the help of Dom and Ina, from Bunaken, we anchored down the boat just on the slope of our house reef as another artificial structure. DMT Philippa and Gerri helped in scouting the location for it and all the guides were very enthusiastic getting the boat and anchors out to the drop site. Plenty of lifting and sinking devices were used to make the project go off without a hitch. Now all we have to do is wait for the critters to find their new home!

Dive Against Debris on my Eco Divemaster Internship

Dive Against DebrisAs rubbish in our oceans is a big problem, and as part of my Eco Divemaster Internship I had to organize a Project Aware Dive Against Debris reef cleaning.  So last Friday an intrepid group of 8 divers (some were even volunteers) went to one of the Two Fish dive sites and after I gave my first dive briefing, we descended into what looked to be basically an underwater rubbish dump.

We Love our Frogfish!

we love our frogfishThis week in Lembeh…. we love our frogfish! One thing we are not lacking here in Lembeh is frogfish. From the family Antennariidae, these fun angler fish come in all sizes and color. As an ambush predator they are often found waiting and waving its lure to attract an unsuspecting meal. This is one reason it is one of the favorite creatures for photographers. We have been seeing everything from Giant frogfish to the tiny Randalls frogfish this week.