We are currently enjoying a couple of quiet days before the summer rush and we are making the most of it, getting in as many fun dives as possible. The last few days have really rewarded us with lots of Frogfish and Flamboyant Cuttlefish action and lots, lots more!
We have found a site where there are 3 Hairy Frogfish (Antennarius striatus) now residing and the one that has been living at Jahir 2 for months is still loving his home! Gizmo managed to get a great shot of one of the newly found Hairy’s yawning at us!!
We (the guests as well) have also enjoyed an up close encounter with one of the largest Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commerson) I have ever seen and most impressively we have discovered another Randall’s Frogfish, which is one of the rarest inhabitants of the Lembeh Straits!
Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) have also been in abundant supply and of many different sizes - ranging from around 8cm down to the a tiny one that was only about 1cm long. We also got this picture of Flamboyant Cuttlefish eggs on the underside of a coconut shell, the female injects them through a hole in the top to protect them from predatory fish! Juvenile Flamboyant’s start to show the normal coloration from birth, so letting any predators know that they are a pretty toxic snack!
Also in the last couple of days other sightings numerous Thorny Seahorses, Zebra crabs, Long Armed Octopus, Wunderpus, Ornate / Robust / Halimeda / Rough Snout Ghost pipefish, Pygmy Seahorses and Pipehorse, Ambon Scorpionfish…I am getting exhausted from just writing the list!!
Lisa Scott, from the United States, came back for her second visit with Two Fish Divers. During her stay in Bunaken, with many dives on our amazing walls and with a camera in tow, Lisa captured some beautiful photos of typical days diving. We were very lucky to receive five of her favourite photos to share with everyone, including critters and larger sea life common to Bunaken, which are always loved by every diver.
Starring first is a favourite to all, the Green Turtle, a friendly chap who likes to hang around at one of our dive sites, Lekuan 1. A sweet little Bubble Coral Shrimp trying to hide, a beautiful Nudibranch from the Chromodorididae Family, an elegant Whitemouth Moray Eel, and a colourful Smashing Mantis Shrimp, who are known to have a quick and fierce strike to catch their prey, and also to use as a defense weapon.
Thank you very much Lisa for your great photos, and come back to see us soon!
“Who??,” we hear you cry! Its the lovely Boxer Crab of course!
We found this little guy at a close-by dive site, recently, hiding in some coral rubble extremely shallow. As you can imagine we and our guests were all pretty excited to see him as they are pretty rare and are often hiding under small rocks, so making them even harder to find!! It seems like there was some kind of crustacean party going on – look at the two other little crabs he was hanging around with!!
You will notice it has a distinct colour pattern and enjoys a mutualistic relationship with small anemones, which is carries in its claws. The anemone’s stinging cells protect the boxer crab against predators, in return boxer crab provide food for its protectors. Boxer crabs use at least three different species of anemones, Bundeopsis sp and Triactis producta. The bonding with the anemone is not required for their survival and boxer crabs have been known to live without them and sometimes substituting other organisms such as sponges and corals.
We had already enjoyed a lovely dive before we happened upon the crab on our safety stops ( which went on for about 20 minutes so that everyone could get a good look!) – we had seen Wonderpus, Seahorses and a free-swimming Ribbon eel which is another rarity!
This week in Bunaken something we haven’t seen here before was found. Luckily one of our divers, Sebastien from Brussels, had his camera with him. Coming from the Sea Urchin family, Sebastien found a Lovenia Elongata (long-spined heart urchin). It just goes to show that even our local dive guides who have been diving the walls of Bunaken for years, can still be surprised and see something new.
Sebastien was kind enough to share some of his other favourite photos with us, including a picture perfect Moorish Idol who are normally difficult to catch on camera, for the critter lovers a Halgerda Batangas Nudibranch, and a favourite for everyone of an Ornate Ghost Pipefish.
Thank you for your stay with us and come again soon for some more discoveries.
After a quite noisy night due to a huge storm that blew over Lembeh Straits last night ( the thunder was so loud it rattled the bungalows!!) everyone got onto the dive boat looking a little bit sleepy this morning!! As we headed away from the resort, the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds and as we arrived at the dive site we were greeted with crystal clear water ( well very clear for Lembeh!!) so we kitted up quickly and back-rolled in!
As we descended down we came across a Gorgonian fan with 6 little pygmy seahorses on it! I was already pretty impressed with the dive! As we continued descending down to around 22m we met Peacock Mantis Shrimps, pipefish, beautiful nudibranchs and a pair of Robust Ghost Pipefish but as we were watching them Opo and Man ( our Two Guides for the morning) shook their rattles to get our attention and after a minute of staring at this tiny frogfish I realized the significance of the find!! We had come across a Randall’s Frogfish, one of the rarest critters we can find here on the Lembeh Strait!
Antennarius randalli are found on sandy or rubble bottoms and maybe hiding in a soft drinks can or beer bottle! They tend to be found alone and their color can vary immensely from white to yellow to brown or black in order to match their surroundings. It can be distinguished from other frogfish species by a series of small white spots on its body and pectoral fins as you can see from the picture on the right.
Thanks so much to Liz Ward for these great photos that really show off the spots and capturing one of the best and most special finds I’ve experienced!!