Lionfish in Bunaken National Park!
Lionfish, Pterois, are native to the Indo-Pacific so, unlike in the Caribbean sea, west Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, in Indonesia we don’t see them as a pest or hunt them with spears, we actually enjoy seeing them and they make great photography subjects.
They mainly eat small fish, including smaller lionfish, invertebrates and mollusks and not much is known to prey on them. Groupers, Moray Eels, Cornetfish and some species of shark have been observed eating lionfish with no ill effects from the venomous spines sticking out of them and here in Indonesia the Bobbit worm has been filmed preying upon lionfish. The spines on the lionfish make them excellent predators but also a risk to fishermen and divers so take care when looking at these beautiful fish.
If you do somehow manage to get stung by one the best thing to do is soak the wound in hot, not scalding water for at least 30 minutes. This breaks down the protein and avoids it entering the bloodstream and is very effective at controlling the pain. You might also consider taking an antihistamine and a pain killer with an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to reduce the pain and swelling. Keep the wound area clean with an antiseptic and seek medical advice.
So lionfish are not trespassing in Bunaken National Park, actually, we are, but at Two Fish Divers we try to leave as little impact as possible on this natural wonder, and try to protect it by being responsible divers.
This week at Two Fish Divers we have seen plenty of other cool critters while diving Bunaken and some people have even tried diving for the first time. Rebecca from the U.S.A. did the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience with Instructor Colin, breaking boundaries and pushing comfort zones first in our excellent training pool and then out on the coral reefs, well done Rebecca for overcoming your fears and discovering something new. Eric, also from the U.S.A did his PADI Open Water Course with Instructor Maia and now he can dive anywhere in the world. Pretty cool achievement, nice one!
Other guests from around the world have been getting wet too with David from Australia trying out his new camera set-up, Florian, Fadey and Jos like the 3 Musketeers, cracking jokes above and below the surface, Rebecca, John and Maxine (must be cheap flights from America!) all surfacing with smiles after every dive. Welcome to Henthorne who has just arrived to Indonesia on business but decided our underwater office is much more appealing, so will spend some time with the fish. Maybe he will see a few lionfish while he is here.
If we are lucky we will keep finding them on the reefs and walls of Bunaken and they will continue to pose for photos but remember, don’t get too close!
Photo Credit Maia Brooke