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…

Turtly terrific Terengganu!

Less than half the rally boats made the effort to travel 170 nautical miles north to the sultanate of Terengganu, but we are seriously glad we did. It was awesome! For starters, the state capital Kuala Terengganu has a healthy maritime industry, so we were able to get our dinghy repaired quickly and easily. So…

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…

Shark!

Don’t be alarmed, this week’s marine critter is the usually shy, sometimes friendly blacktip reefshark, Carcharhinus melanopterus. We really haven’t seen many sharks during the trip. Sadly numbers are declining globally due to overfishing. But there were lots of friendly reef sharks hanging around the Johor Islands in Malaysia. At Pulau Sibu, on the house-reef…

An unusual find: Coriocella sea-snail

Welcome to Marine Critter Monday! Now we are back in clear water and diving heaps, each week I’ll profile a cool critter I’ve found. This week: Coriocella sea-snails! I found this little guy hanging out under a shallow rock ledge while hunting nudibranchs in Nai Harn Bay in Thailand. I thought it was some kind of…

Sawasdee Surins and Similans!

Sawasdee carp, greetings from the Surin and Similan Islands! Little islands dotted around the Andaman Sea that are rich with abundant marine life and amazing water clarity. As a marine-biologist-wannabe, I was in heaven! Surin Island tranquility As we arrived into Tranquil Bay in the Surin Islands [bold] we picked up one of the numerous Government…

Hermaphrodites and hermits (Marine Biology 101)

Ah, it’s so great to be back in clear water, with diving and snorkelling spots around nearly every corner! And in Kamala Bay, Phuket, we found nudibranch heaven!! We spotted more than ten species, including a few mating pairs, and lots of nudi egg ribbons. (According to Google), nudibranchs are a group of soft-bodied marine…

The mysterious red stripes of Langkawi

There are 99 islands in the Langkawi group. And nearly all of them are marked in various places by three horizontal red stripes. On trees, rock walls, along roads and beaches, around corners…everywhere! But what do they mean? Who knows. Even after three weeks in Langkawi, we are still none the wiser on what the…

Langkawi: where eagles (and sails!) soar

Lang is the (shortened) bahasa word for eagle and kawi means brown stone, so Langkawi, our current location, is named after the sea-eagles that are ubiquitous around these islands. As we sailed into the Langkawi island group, we spotted lots and lots of sea-eagles circling the limestone pinnacles that jut out of the sea. Brahminy…

Marine Biology 101: Jellyfish

Actually  “jellyfish” is a misnomer. Fish are vertebrates (i.e. they have bones) and jellyfish don’t, so they aren’t fish at all. In any case, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to dive or snorkel, so the only marine wildlife I’ve spotted in the last two months have been various jellyfish. Each day…

A change of pace in Johor

Puteri Harbour (our first stop in Malaysia) was a big change of pace! After three months in Indonesia, it was both strange and refreshing to be parked (at anchor) in a marina beside high rise buildings and shops and stuff. We hadn’t been in a marina since we left Cairns in July! We didn’t waste…