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Trying out some new toys.

I could be posting about the Hairy Octopus, billions of Blue Rings, Wonderpus, Bumblebee Shrimps, Harlequins, Ambon Scorpion Fish, Hairy & Green Shrimps etc, but im too busy to go out taking pictures and im so out of practice it will be embarrassing to compare them to Bent‘s Pictures.
In the mean time, Paulus and Joni were able to go out yesterday afternoon and try getting to grips with some different cameras.  They were using a Canon 7D in a Nauticam, a Canon S95 in a Canon Housing, and a Canon 5Dmk3 in an Aquatica.  We headed out on the housereef and within a few minutes they found a mantis with eggs in about 3 m.  So after a while i signaled to them that i would go to the wreck and leave these two highly experienced guides to finish off with the Mantis and then meet up with me at the wrecks.

Joni Simon Paulus

Joni, Simon and Paulus getting ready for a housereef dive.

I happily started taking some snoot pictures at the wreck and got so engrossed I lost track of time, about 30 minutes passed and they still hadn’t arrived.  It turns out the two muppets were playing around with the camera so much they had lost their reference points and swum in the wrong direction (about 200m away!). So for anyone that has got lost during a self guided housereef dive at NAD, you don’t need to feel bad, some of the best guides in Lembeh also get lost when distracted with taking pictures!

Eventually when we met up again, they made some attempts at Lembeh Sea Dragon Shots. Next time they are only going to be allowed to shoot some of the easier things, the hit rate of good shots was a little low.
One thing that I found interesting was that both of them only took about 30 pictures between them, if it wasn’t going to be a good shot they didn’t even bother to pull the trigger.  Many people only shot like that when they had film in their camera.  They also wanted to to the new ‘Shoot 5’ rule that we have been using for the last month, shoot 5 pictures nice and slowly then let someone else get 5 whilst you review.  It makes your pictures a lot better in the end as you are forced to check and avoid silly errors, and stops too much unnecessary flashing of the critters.

Soon the other guides will be finished with their guests and it will be their turn to start the learning process!

 

Porpoises on our housereef

Porpoises in the Lembeh Strait

Porpoises in the Lembeh Strait

Over the last three days we were lucky enough to have a pod of porpoises staying just off our housereef.  They spent most of the day doing these strange manouvers, raising and lowering their tails out of the water.  We were even lucky enough to see them whilst freediving from a kayak, in the evenings we could hear them breathing just in front of our diveboats when sat on our jetty.    It is not unusual to see Dolphins and Cetaceans in the Lembeh Strait but it is unusual to see them underwater.

 

Other than this the diving has been good, with sightings of Blue Ring, Mimic Ocotopus, Wonderpus, Hairy Frogfish, Halameda Ghost Pipefish

 

 

 

 

 

Pipefish couples on NAD Housereef

Pipefish Couples on NAD Lembeh Housereef

The housereef at NAD-Lembeh Resort is very popular – specially for a late afternoon dive to jump in quickly after coming back with the PM boat. People usually jump in then around 7 PM to see the courting of the Lembeh Seadragons, the Twin Spot Gobies (before it gets dark) and then some bobtailsquids and other cool critters after sunset. On the way back to the beach the people then pass the seagrass in the shallows – and this is where these pipefishes can be observed. They are a very common type of pipefish here in Lembeh and can be seen virtualy anywhere. But in the evening hours the couples tend to “sleep” together on the seagrass leaves. There is some bent leaves that make very good photosubjects as it is very easy to get the two pipefish at an good angle. And the best thing is: There are so many of these couples, that you can cannot miss them.

Creature Feature: Lembeh Seadragon

A Pair of Lembeh Seadragons

Happy Chinese New Year everyone and welcome in the year of the (sea) Dragon! The Lembeh Seadragon (Lembeh Pygmy Pipedragon, Kyonemichthys rumengani) is a recently dicovered species that has been seen for the first time in Lembeh Strait in 2006. It belongs to the Family of seahorses and pipefishes and is closer related to them than to the actual seadragons that are known from Australia. But the Lembeh Seadragons got their name because of their unique way of swimming, which reminds much of the Australian Seadragons.

The Lembeh Seadragons live in pairs (sometimes up to 10 pairs in one area) and are usually hanging with their tails attached to overhanging walls and crevices. Before Sunset they can be seen free swimming and courting. They are extremely thin (about 1mm) and grow to about 3-4 cm in length.

Best Places to see Lembeh Seadragons in Lembeh Strait: They can be basicly on any bigger rock or coral bommy. Nudi Falls, Pulau Abadi and similar sites are usually good to look for them. But the best place to find them is NAD Lembeh Housereef where there are constantly several pairs around since many years.

Photo Tips: A 100mm Macro for photographing individuals or a 60mm Macro for photographing swimming pairs.

Housereef Update

Even though we have “Low Season” there is still a lot going on our Housereef … here is a little Update on the Critters we are seeing right off the Beach these days:

Our little colony of Lembeh Sea Dragons is spreading from Banggai (our older Wreck) to our newer Wreck – there are now 5 Lembeh Sea Dragons on the new Wreck. Around the Wreck (aroun 7 Meters depth) you can find a small Population of Twin Spot Gobies. If you then swim from the Wreck and keep the Slope on your right shoulder you reach a little Rubble area where we have seen a nice Wonderpus Octopus and Bobtail Squids recently. Skeleton Shrimps are also very common around the wrecks.

Every now and then we see a juvenile Sailfin Snapper on the housereef (usually in the area between the wrecks) which is a VERY beautiful fish … the threadlike fins will grow shorter once the fish turns adult.

Everywhere on the Slope you will find little brown sponges with a lot of spoge carrying crabs that camouflage themselfes with pieces of sponges that they cut out and hold on their bodies. Some sponges also have Paaron Shrimps on them.

The deeper Rubble area under Banggai still offers good nudi life including well camouflaged Sponge Slugs and the beautiful Ceratosoma Sinuata. Also several Chromodoris, Halgerdas and other cool nudibranchs are around.

In the Corals in the shallows you can find the “Hairy Coral Goby”, Orange Spearing Mantis, Mandarin Fish, Squids & big Shrimps (at night) as well as a Double Ended Pipefish in the seagrass.

… of course there are also many other things to see – and sure we did not find all of them yet. But maybe you want to find the next cool thing on NAD Lembeh Housereef?

Silent Night – Christmas in Lembeh

Christmas at NAD Lembeh

Before i even start with this post: Thank you to everbody crazy enough about diving to read our BLOG on Christmas day. We hope you all have a good time where ever you are – even if there is no Muck diving around.
But back to the post: Of course we don’t have snow here in Lembeh and also no real Christmas Trees. But North Sulawesi is still a strongly Christian region and Christmas is very very important to the people here. So even if you don’t want: these days you hear Christmas songs all the time. Having these melodies constantly in my head since a month (or more) i knew straight away that i found the perfect shot for my Christmas BLOG Post when i saw this goby sitting on the cover of a old generator on NAD Housereef. As if he knew it, he posed exactly on the one spot, where you could still read the print that says “silent”.

And actually: Here at NAD Lembeh it is really gonna be a “Silent Night” as most divers checked out yesterday. We only have 3 guest left and are getting full again from tomorrow on. So we whish everyone a “Merry Christmas” and say good bye with a little Christmas present for all our BLOG readers: A picture of a Soft Coral Shrimp – such a beautiful shrimp … found at Pante Parigi by our Guide Joni.

Barracuda Point @ NAD Lembeh Housereef

Barracuda juveniles schooling at NAD Lembeh housereef

In Lembeh Strait, there are a lot of things to see. Also on NAD Lembeh housereef – We have wrecks, coral patches, algae fields, seagrass, rubble, coral and sand. But we also have something that is not really something that you would expect on a “mucky” housereef: A school of Barracudas. Ok, they are juveniles, but they are still Barracudas.

It is a quite big school inhabiting one of our housereef wrecks. They are about 5-7 cm in length now and already behave like proper barracudas. Which means the swim in a school and sometimes even turn as a little “Barracuda Tornado” over the wreck – just like in other famous Barracuda spots. Unfortunately visibility is not sooo good on the housereef these days, so we could not take a wide-angle image of it yet.