Thursday, July 17, 2014


I really wanted to see seahorses in Raja Ampat, and I imagined them as I'd seen them in the aquariums - cute, clinging to plants, looking adorable.  This was not to be.  It turns out that the pygmy seahorses, the teeny ones, are deeper than a snorkeler can see - and so small most divers have a very hard time seeing them too.  They have great camo.  What you can see, however, is the larger "common seahorse" and we were told to look for these in "just a few inches of water."

Sure enough, one of our guides found one  - and another nearby - very near the beach in the sandy area where just a few inches of water covered them.  When he said 'Seahorse" I swam over really fast thinking I might miss it.  Then I saw this:

"Ummm," I asked him, "Is it dead??"  "No, it's fine.  That's just how they are." He replied.  Oh.  It looked very sad and depressed and totally lethargic.  It just sort of floated in the waves not moving on its own.  Here are a few views from right over the top of this male:

The second one was brighter in color, but not any more active or less sad looking.

"Less like a horse and more like Eeyore" my clever husband remarked.  Absolutely true.  I ended up feeling bad for the poor things.  We saw one other seahorse on another day - same level of lethargy and melancholy.  I was really glad I saw them, but this is an instance where the reality of wildlife in the wild differed sharply from expectation.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Two Neat Fish

We saw these two very cool fish as the first sighting on a lagoon snorkel - but unfortunately I have already forgotten what type of fish they are!!  Ah well, I still enjoyed seeing them and they were a bit unusual.


Alot More Nudibranch!

The variety of nudibranch we saw was astounding - here are several more varieties.  The colors and patterns are just amazing.

The bright yellow ones are nudibranches, and the pale yellow ribbon is actually nudibranch eggs - which we got to see being laid on this snorkel.


Archer Fish

In about three snorkel spots we saw these archer fish, which are very arrow shaped.  These are the best pictures of them I managed to get.  I haven't seen them elsewhere.



We had a lot of wonderful shark sightings on this trip.  Most of them I did NOT get photos of!  I saw several black tip reef sharks, usually towards the deep, where the reef or wall would fall off.  They swam by quickly - too quick for a photo.  I had an AWESOME sighting outside Raja Ampat, near Komodo, of a black tip that was very close to me in shallow water - but of course I didn't even have time to turn the camera on before he was gone.

I also saw a white tip shark - again, very quickly.  Also, an epaulette shark, which was in shallow water and swam RIGHT past my shoulder, very, very quickly.

Ironically, I never saw this shark - but those who could free dive did, so I have a photo of it taken by someone else!!  It's an adult brownbanded bamboo shark that was hiding under some coral.  I was trying to photograph a porcupine fish who went under this coral - when some in our group looked down to find it, they found instead the shark!  

Finally, we saw a very cool wobbegong shark.  Although I did see it, it was at a fairly decent depth along a wall, and only those who dove down got a good look.  All the same, I have a free diver in the family so we have some nice shots of it!!!


Another Puffer

I have no idea what type of pufferfish this is, but I love puffers.


Still More Clownfish

Somehow, regardless of the fact there are clownfish in some shade in some type of anemone virtually every time you drop in the water in Raja Ampat, they don't lose their appeal.  Here are some more lovely clownfish shots.


Spade Fish

We saw spade fish in a variety of sizes, sometimes in twos and threes, sometimes in greater numbers.


Fish Through Coral

I just really liked the windows in coral where you can see fish swimming underneath  - like cut outs.

Porcupine Fish

Several times we saw porcupine fish.  These large fish are so interesting, with their spines, their huge child-like eyes, and their mouths that seem to be in perpetual, small smiles.  I don't think I was able to get photos of the first one we saw.  So when there was a second one, I tried really hard to get a photo.  Although I swam very hard, the fish was just always ahead of me so I never got a face shot - this was the best I could do.


The next time I had the chance, I worked really hard to get a face shot - and it took quite awhile!!  This smaller porcupine fish was very obliging, however, as I swam around it for some time.


And finally, I got the face shot!!!


The same snorkel I saw a larger porcupine fish which had some facial scarring (healed up).  This was the best shot I could get.

These porcupine fish were really cool!!!  It would be really fascinating to see one with its spines out.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Still More Nudibranch

Still more interesting nudibranch!


Moray Eel

We had many moray eel sightings this trip, I would guess at least 8 to 10.  My favorite sighting was this eel, however.  He stayed up for a period of time and I was able to capture a variety of expressions, with no other photographers to compete for space with.