Of all the things I have seen this was a spooky scene. I have seen sea cucumbers in the daytime. They are nondescript and uninteresting. My camera points away from the dull uninteresting color. Anywhere else but there is preferable. But Farid turned this one over and it was like a monster zombie flick. Tentacles! They wove and waved in a surreal pattern as though vomiting from a hole on the underside of the cucumber. We were fascinated. I don’t know what it was that caused Farid to turn it over. I had given him a dive stick after my kids left in January. He has made it a well used gift in what we have discovered.
Our night dive was going slowly. Then Farid stopped and pointed at a common urchin on the seabed. But his pointer led me to two boxer shrimp lying in the shadow of the urchin. I guess they use the urchin as sort of a symbiotic protector.
Having been stung by an urchin I am most certainly careful not to ever go near an urchin. Not one but two shrimp were there! And they were lazy. I swam in close and used my flash and they hardly budged. The antennae stick out a long way. The bodies are small and hardly make a bite. I was just so happy to catch them in the open.After so many dives you live for these rare special moments. They don’t come often.
This was found on a night dive. It is translucent and slimy. As we grabbed for it I thought it would pull apart and so we stopped. I’d have liked to seen all of it. For a brief moment we saw the other end, the head. But there was no way to see it all at once. The book says fire worm. It doesn’t look fiery but that matches the picture in my book. Fire coral burns when you touch it with your skin. It’s yellow colored. Maybe this fire worm is the same. Did I say we touched it? Yes, but with gloves and the dive stick. Remember, do not touch anything! It will cause some adverse reaction that you will likely regret. Nothing! Nada!
This was a big one in relative size about two inches in length. It was still hard to see. But the horns are a part of the picture. You try but don’t always catch them. And, no, this time I did not play with the wildlife to get the shot. Finding nudibranch is like the game we played in school where you had to spy objects in the classroom. Once I show you where to look and my enlarged image, hey, it’s easy. No, every time down does not result in a sighting.
Nemo! I haven’t posted one in a while. The anemone has a mouth of sorts. It is well covered by the tentacles. Usually I can get a shot of the mouth but usually there is no clownfish on guard. I happened to get one today.
In all the night dives over the past three seasons, I had yet to encounter a Spanish dancer. It is a mollusk. I have seen a picture on a poster at the dive center. But it was a goal of mine to finally see and photograph one myself. So on this night which started so slowly, Farid suddenly began swinging his light wildly to make me stop and join him. I have to admit he finds some of the best wildlife.
I had to check my book later. But, yes, it’s a Spanish dancer! And yes we played with it. Lifting it above the sea floor it flapped and wiggled down to the sand again. I guess that’s why they call it a dancer. Or otherwise it is the skirtlike edge which reminds you of a Spanish dancer’s skirt. Either way this was pretty thrilling.
What I learned is that you never give up on a dive. Something turns up to make it special. And with all my familiarity with the reef, there is always something I haven’t seen.
The octopus tried camouflage, then it ran, and finally a squirt of ink. I had been surprised by ink before so I was prepared to keep an eye on the octopus’s movement. No we weren’t there to eat it. So after I got my shots we retreated and the octopus swam away free of our encounter.It’s hard to ever see an octopus in the open. I have seen just parts of their bodies. Then, recently, I had the luck to see them frequently and even during a night dive. There are enough in the ocean to fill seafood stores and restaurant menus. I still find an octopus encounter a rare event when diving. And now I am getting some shots with tentacles. Great!
I’ve been down about 150 times now since starting a database and keeping track. I have seen what there is except that always there is a twist or variation. The photo expert I dove with told me he doesn’t like eels. Well I do like them enough to take advantage of an opportunity. I was over the reef and in a crevice there was a moray stretched out. What was unusual was that he was not inside a hole in the coral but fully exposed. He was quite large. I got my shots and even had a chance to get a nice movie. Every time down you see a variation on what you might have seen before and each time it’s a chance to do it different. So I try.
This one is fairly common on the reef. It is not easy to see but you do run across them. The key again is to try to see the horns. If you don’t play with the wildlife then the scene and the background are determined by your subject.