Bunaken is home to Asia’s best wall dives, making it easy to marvel at the sheer length and depth of them whilst overlooking the smaller creatures that live underwater in Bunaken – but this week, we’ve been fascinated by a tiny little marine dweller called candy crab or soft coral crab. Hard to spot as they mimic the soft coral they live on almost perfectly, it’s down to our guides’ amazing eyes to find them.
So, how do you find them? As with most marine creatures, knowing where they tend to live is key. These tiny, pink crabs only live on dendronephthya soft coral, so this is where our guides start looking thoroughly, but gently. The search isn’t made any easier by the minute size of the crab, ranging from a few millimetres to around 1.5 centimetres (thanks to Alex Schade for this picture).
What they lack in size, though, they make up in ingenuity when it comes to creating a near-perfect illusion of where their coral home ends and where they start. The crabs’ sticky extensions on their legs and bodies mimic the corals’ polyps and some crabs even attach a piece of coral to their shell. Candy crabs are native to the Indo-Pacific region and we are lucky to see them regularly around the Bunaken walls.
And whilst our local guides are extremely skilled at finding critters, our Divemaster trainees are catching up quickly, too. We recently said good bye to Tristan who is off to Lembeh and welcomed Marissa who is joining us from Two Fish Lembongan. Marissa’s time here started with her Wreck Diver speciality course and you’ll hear more directly from her in tomorrow’s Divemaster blog.
Coming up next week: find out how our group of hardened British drysuit divers fared in warm tropical waters. So far, they loved their first day!