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…

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: 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…

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…

A big dose of vitamin sea

After the murky waters of the Malacca Strait, and shore excursions to Myanmar and around mainland Malaysia, we were overdue for some vitamin sea. Fortunately the Johor Islands along Malaysia’s east coast obliged. Actually the Johor Islands were a pleasant surprise. A little cluster of islands ringed with great beaches and fringing reefs, with welcoming…

Anchor chain bootcamp!

Here’s an idea for bootcamp: dragging a tonne of anchor chain back and forth across sand. I wonder if anyone would turn up if that’s what was advertised? Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have a choice. Ever since we had the chain regalvanised in Penang  , it was constantly skipping on the gypsy, making it…

Whistlestop tour!

Welcome aboard Debs!! Thanks for being our latest guest crew member on Angel Wing! And even though it was only for a brief whistlestop tour, we still packed a fair bit in: Paddling through the hongs in Phang Nga Bay, followed up with some pretty classy sundowners!   Diving and snorkelling at Koh Racha Yai,…

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…

Ring of Fire

SUMBAWA – LOMBOK – GILI ISLANDS – BALI It’s pretty cool to be able to park your boat next to a volcano… “Precariously located above the grinding and mashing of tectonic plates, and ringed by a chain of fire-breathing volcanoes,”* Indonesia is located along part of the “ring of fire”, one of the most volatile…