Curiouser and curiouser

“If we look at a globe or a map of the Eastern hemisphere, we shall perceive between Asia and Australia a number of large and small islands. Situated upon the Equator, and bathed by the tepid water of the great tropical oceans, this region … teems with natural productions which are elsewhere unknown.” In 1860,…

Postcards from Raja Ampat

I finally made it to Raja Ampat, the “four kings” of Indonesia! And it totally lives up to the hype. There aren’t enough superlatives to adequately describe this place, so here are a few postcard pics from our adventures through beautiful Raja Ampat so far: The magic began right away:  as we sailed into Raja…

Hairballs!

Bali is famous for its surf beaches, Jogjakarta is famous for its ancient temple, but the Lembeh Strait, in North Sulawesi where we anchored for the past week, is famous for hairy marine critters! And so divers from all over the world come to “muck dive” across the volcanic black sand to see all sorts…

Gorontalo giants!

“Bucket list item number one: swimming with whale sharks” In Gorontalo, North Sulawesi, I finally got to tick off that bucket list item! Whale sharks (Rhincadon typus) are the world’s largest fish, growing to more than 12 metres – the same length as our sailboats – and weighing more than twenty tonnes! They are gentle…

Atoll anchoring ⚓️

Nerves were piqued. Hearts were beating fast. Three sets of eyes were darting about! We were entering the narrow pass through an extremely shallow reef into the atoll lagoon of Maratua. Whitewater was breaking over the treacherous shallows and we had a 4 knot current running against us, but we kept our wits about us…

Alert, not alarmed

We have made it safely into Tawau! The combined forces of the Eastern Sabah Security Zone, known as ESSCOM, escorted us through pirate-infested waters (literally), but we are all safe and sound now. We had zippy little police boats, big naval warships, and planes and helicopters buzzing overhead at times keeping an eye on us….

MCM: Crinoid shrimp

On a recent dive in Miri, Malaysia, the viz wasn’t flash so we were hunting small critters: nudis, shrimps, etc, but my favourite find of the day was this little crinoid shrimp,   As their name suggests, crinoid shrimps live on a crinoid (AKA elegant feather star),  Tropiometra carinate. Apparently lots of stuff lives in commensal relationships with…

MCM: Trapezia crabs

Trapezia are a genus of guard crabs that live in a symbiotic relationship with corals. They defend the corals from predators, like crown of thorns starfish, and in return get fed! I’ve spotted these guys all over the place, tucked into little clumps of coral. There are 23 different species, and I’ve found at least three: Trapezia…

MCM: Electroma Zebra

It’s marine critter Monday!! I spotted this week’s subject critter, the Electroma zebra (AKA delicate winged oyster), while snorkelling at Pulau Panjung in the Natuna Islands in Indonesia. They were tiny little blobs attached to some feather hydroids: They were approximately 1 cm in size, and the hydroids were flopping around in the current, so it took…

Masters of disguise

Lots of marine critters use camouflage to hide out, but this week’s marine critters – a couple of scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) species – take camo to a whole new level! As it’s name suggests, the leaf scorpionfish, Taenianotus triacanthus looks like a leaf. Passers by are easily fooled as it sways gently side to side. I…

Another fancy shrimp

Following on from last week’s marble shrimp, this week’s marine critter is a little shrimp I spotted while diving in Pulau Redang [hyperlink] a few days ago – the camel shrimp, or Rhynchocinetes durbanensis, also known as hinge-beak shrimp, or dancing shrimp. These guys are adorned in a beautiful red and white pattern with big…

Have you lost your marbles?

Well if you have, I’ve found a few hiding out in some coral nooks and crannies! This week’s marine critter is the Marble Shrimp, Saron marmoratus. Wikipedia calls them “a rather hunch-backed dumpy species of shrimp”, and I guess that’s probably true, but I love their crazy costumes! They are mainly found in the Indo-Pacific region…