August 28, 2017

 On 25th April 2011 we were diving "City Extra" as the 3rd dive of the day. "City Extra" is in front of a fairly popular seafood restaurant (of the same name) that is just out of Manado. It is a dive site that is mainly sandy bottom with patches of reef and a lot of "interesting critters", a sort of a muck dive. I have had fantastic dives there, both day and night, on every trip since 2002. Always interesting.....but this dive provided a mystery that took me years to resolve.

 Photo taken 2nd July 2012 - 14 months after the original sighting 

The description in my log book that day was ....." came across a transparent, gooey, jelly grey brown invertebrate with fine brown blotches and a thin white border with white spots at the back edge. Could be a worm but had two bumps or mounds toward the front from which 2 tentacle threads emerged and which were observed to move out over the rubble to about 100mm. When the tentacle encountered food, it grabbed it and the retr...

August 19, 2017

Sometimes a good memory helps. 

Like most divers I have always been interested in nudibranchs & flatworms and, like many divers at times, it became, for a while, a bit of an obsession. In the 1980's I was lucky to be able to volunteer to assist Dr Bill Rudman, who was the head of the Australian Museum's malacology department, with collections and preparation for field collecting trips around my home Coffs Harbour, Australia, which includes the unique Solitary Islands - so observing nudibranchs was a large part of every dive in those years. 

At this time my diving mates used to joke - "don't dive with Derek, he spends the whole dive on one rock looking at things the size of a grain of rice". They were right, I had my own little project and was tracking the growth and colour change of a species of aeolid nudibranch for 2 years. The same wall of rock, basically every 2 weeks, weather permitting - starting with juveniles about 3-5mm long. For our group of divers...

August 18, 2017

4th July 2017 and after three fantastic wall dives, including "Mandolin" and "Tanjung Kopi", we decided on a night dive at "Black Rock" situated along the coast toward "Tanjung Pisok". The site has a depth of about 11m with areas of reef and sand providing a habitat for small critters, so I changed the lens on the camera for close-up work and checked the torch batteries.

The intermittent failure of my torch, meant I was often swimming in the dark, or by the light of others, or the light of the moon off the sand, or, when necessary, by the focus light on my strobe.

Despite this small inconvenience it was another great dive and one full of Crusty Critters, with lots of hermit crabs, decorator crabs and various species of shrimp. I have never had so many weird crustacea rock up on a single dive. 

Hope you enjoy some of the photos from what turned out to be a surprising 90 minutes on what we may have expected to be a fairly ordinary dive...

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