Lembeh Strait is famous for rare Critters, Black Sand Muck dives, and the Mekka for divers that want to see rare creatures. But it is also a place that often has very limited visibility. Like for example the last week: After a long period of reasonably good visibility (for Lembeh that means 10+ meters) we started getting water with 5 meters vis and totally green water. But as you are looking at tiny creatures it does not really matter. Actually it even opens new photographic possibilities! This little Frogfish we found on a dive at “Bianca” last week, when visibility was really bad … even though it was a PM dive with good weather, at 15 meters we had the impression, that it was dusk. And the water looked really, really green. So i decided to try something new and do a “Green Water Anbient Light Macro”. With an Aperture of f8 and a shutter speed of 1/6th of a second i achieved this green background – and i must say it fits really well with the red of the Frogfish and the yellow of the sponge. So even if visibility is not always supergood on your Lembeh trip – don’t worry, try to use the water colour for your UW Photography!
On todays second morning dive we went to Jahir Two – one of the popular black sand muck dive sites of Lembeh Strait. Since several weeks there are two Hairy Frogfish (Antennarius striatus) in the shallows of the dive site – a bigger yellow one and a smaller orange one (the smaller one is usually the male). Today it was a specially nice experience to see them, as they were sitting right next to each other, posing nicely for our divers until everyone had taken its pictures.
Hairy Frogfish are seen most frequently between August and Oktober, but – as this picture shows – they are also around during the rest of the year. Right now we are seeing a total of 4 individuals at three different dive sites.
Today Markus and Nicole from Germany left NAD Lembeh Resort after a 20 days stay with us. And during that stay we found out really quickly that they have a strong preference for black sand muck dives and that Markus is absolutely crazy about frogfish. And frogfishes he got. They saw minimum 25 different individual frogfishes while they were staying at NAD Lembeh Resort. Among these frogfishes of various sizes were Painted Frogfish, Hairy Frogfish, Shaggy Frogfish, Warty Frogfish, Giant Frogfish, Scarlet Frogfish and Sargassum Frogfish. They were really happy with Stenley as their Dive Guide and our Chief Dive Guide Paulus replacing him on his days off. This picture shows one of two Painted Frogfish we found at Pulau Abadi. See you next year Nicole and Markus!
Yesterday we went to Madidir 1 – a black sand muckdive at the southern end of the Lembeh Strait. It is a dive site we preferrably dive from february to april and this was our first visit for this year. Besides several seahorses, pipehorses, octopus, shaggy frogfish and a black hairy frogfish we also found this beautiful Geographic Seahare (Syphonota geographica). Our Guest Markus, that measures the quality of a dive exclusively on the amount of frogfishes seen is normally not interested in sea slugs at all – but this sea hare was his highlight of the day. Besides the attractive pattern it is also the size and the funny way of moving that makes these critters so cool. This was now the 4th species of seahare that i have seen this week – hope there are more to come.
The Yellow Pygmy Goby (Lubricogobius exiguus) can be found frequently in Lembeh Straits black sand muckdives: It’s poppy yellow colour makes it stand out and an attractive critter for Photographers, Videographers and normal divers alike. It usually lives in pairs and can be found on mucky sand substrates – living in holes, under pieces of plastic, in cans, toth paste tubes or bottles. It grows up around 3 cm in size and guards eggs that it sticks to the inside of its hiding place.
Best Places to find the Yellow Pygmy Goby in Lembeh: virtually all Muckdive Sites – for example TK 1-3, Aer Bajo, Jahir etc.
Photo Tipps: The Yellow Pygmy Goby’s eyes reflect strobe light in green colour – try to bring this reflection into your shots. A 100mm Macro is to be preferred over a 60mm as the working distance helps. Best photo subjects are the ones hiding in bottles … just wait in front of the bottle – cool effects like backlighting are possible here.
While looking for some Tiger Shrimp, we found this cool little Frogfish in between some sponges and ropes while diving in one of Lembeh’s shallow Back Sand Bays. Even though we see quite some Hairy Frogfish, Hispid Frogfish and other rather special Frogfish, we still fell in love with this one – just because his colour and pattern is so cool and cute. We will visit you again little friend!