Just had a great dive on our house reef in Bunaken, the last dive of 2010! Appropriately my dive buddy was Ben (pictured right) – visiting us for the 8th time, he’s now done more dives on our house reef than me!!
A gentle drift, we saw lots nudibranchs, scorpionfish and lots of large reef fish like snappers & sweetlips.
Happy new year everyone!!
Andrea had previously been diving in other places in Asia but started her first trip to Indonesia with a two week stay with Two Fish Divers Lembeh before then heading off to enjoy some diving in Manado. She thoroughly enjoyed her time with us and definitely got the bug of critter hunting and muck diving – she is already planning her return visit to us next year! When she arrived Andrea had a new camera but she quickly got to grips with and managed to get some excellent shots that has shared with us. Here are some of my favourites.
A real rarity in the Critter world is the Rhinopias, which is a type of Scorpionfish. Here in Lembeh we have occasional sightings of the Weedy Rhinopias (Rhinopias frondosa). You will mainly see these guys alone but if you are really lucky then you will them paired up with a Paddle Flap Rhinopias. They tend to live in coral rubble or hide amongst some hard corals. Once they find an area that they like they tend to stay in that area for months and even years! This fella is seen at the same dive site for months at a time!
Another occasional sighting is the Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commersoni), we tend to see lots of his smaller ‘cousins’ but seeing a Giant is always a treat!
They like to sit on large sponges and you’ll find them in positions that do not look comfortable but offers great camouflage so that they can sit, wait and launch a surprise ambush on whatever fish they decide will be dinner! You can also see them sitting amongst corals on reef so keep an eye out on all of our dive sites!
Whenever i swim past a bubble coral I always have a look to see if there is an Organutan Crab or lovely Bubble Coral Shirmp (Stegopontonia commensalis ) hiding in there. As you can see from the photograph, you can see that most of its body is transparent with the exception of its purple appendages and also a line that runs through the centre of its body.
Thank you again Andrea for letting us use these photographs and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
If you would like to see more Andrea’s photos then please follow this link to her online blog www.andreaonline.de and you can read her write-up of her stay in North Sulawesi!
One of the most recent discoveries we have here in North Sulawesi is the Pontohi Seahorse. They are named after the dive guide who discovered them in the Bunaken National Marine Park in 2007.
Other Pygmy Seahorse like to live on Gorgonian Fans but the Pontohi has been found in living in Halmedia algae and Aglaephenia cupressinina hydriods. We have seen them at various depths between 5-20m.
As you can see from this photo they have a rounded trunk but when viewed from behind they look flat. They can range in colour from white/yellow to brown and red. They are a really rare find and this is partly down to their tiny size – they grow to a maximum size of around 20mm!
Thank you to Rohan for allowing us to use this photo – he was very happy with this sighting. An experienced Instructor with thousands of dives had never seen one of this beauties and he said it made his year when we found this for him last week! We have also found a few more of these guys at other sites, so why not book a trip to see us and you could be able to tick this off your Critter Wish List!
Yemi stayed with recently and planned to complete his EFR and Rescue course with us. We did managed to complete the EFR course and he passed the exam with nearly full marks but due to illness we were unable to complete his Rescue course.
Yemi was a great sport about this and decided to throw himself into doing lots of critter hunting instead and after renting a camera from Two Fish ( his camera had died whilst diving with us in Bunaken – poor guy wasn’t having much luck!) he continue to work of his photography skills instead and with great results!
You will often find Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) sitting on rocks, blending in with their surroundings awaiting their next meal. This critters is almost as flat as a leaf (hence the name!) and its skin can have blotches of colour that help with its camouflage. We usually find these fish alone but they can also hang around with another one for some company! They come in variety of colours from white to pink and red to black!
Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) is a very rare find and they were first discovered over on the east coast of north Sulawesi in Bunaken National Park! These tiny seahorse are found amongst algae or hydroids and have small skin flaps as you can see in the photo.
If you would like to see your photos included in our Lembeh blog then please send through your best and favourite photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them published!
As you will have read in previous blogs, we have been seeing a large number of Octopodes ( the correct plural of Octopus or so I have been told!) over the last few months and one that has been a regular fixture on our sighting list as been the Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena sp.) . All these sightings have made us and our guests extremely happy as they are normally very rare!
The Blue Ringed Octopodes are normally solitary creatures but some of our guests were lucky enough to see a couple of them mating – see the picture to the right. The larger one is obviously enjoying it – look at the size of his rings!! Thanks to Vicky for sending us this photo.
It is amazing the amount of people who do not realise how venomous this critter is – its bite can kill humans! Don’t get too close when trying to take its picture! The blue rings become more obvious when the octopus is agitated or feeling threatened, it is its way of saying ‘Back Off’.
Keep an eye out for later blogs on some of the other Octopodes that we see here in Lembeh.