13 May – 3 June 2010
S5 17.581 E150 06.236 – Restorf Island, Kimbe Bay
S4 41.825 E149 26.761 – Dickie’s Place, Witu Islands
The many shoals and sea mounts in Kimbe Bay are popular to many divers in the lookout for sharks, schooling fish in the blue and some tunas passing through. But one type of dive that’s not everyone’s cup of tea and is an acquired taste type of diving is muck diving. Mucking about in the sand , silt or rubble doesn’t sound very exciting but believe you me, it is my preferred dive. It’s like treasure hunting and the creatures you find in the most unlikely places is a reward beyond imagination once you see how beautiful and intricate a critter can be. Would you ignore a seaweed like this if you knew it is home to an unknown tiny Halameda pygmy seahorse? If yet truly unnamed, I hereby nominate this animal named after Digger, our eagle-eyed dive guide extraordinaire who found the critter – Hippocampus diggerensis!!
Many dive sites within Kimbe Bay and in Witu Island contain tiny or small animals (fish, snails, crustacean, etc) that shows why the Coral Triangle is the area with most number of marine species on the planet. There are so many critters that I had to have a separate blog entry to show what they are and how incredible they are to see, once you focus your eyes on these well camouflaged beauties. Here are the critters of Kimbe Bay. A small translucent snapping shrimp has a cauliflower looking soft coral for a home Very pretty tiger blenny (Ecsenius tigris) hopped from coral rubble to coral rubble. He never sat still for a moment A super interesting emerald green sea slug that has 4 arms that flares when disturbed living on a seaweed in the sand A golden damselfish takes care of her eggs. There were so many golden damsels with eggs everywhere we went but very seldom did we see one that constantly checked the health of each egg on the whip coral Two Gymnodoris nudibranchs on the black sands in Dickie’s Place in Witu Islands Looking like an arrow crab with a small blade of seagrass on his head A sea snail ovulid or allied cowry Calpurnus verrucosus living on the back of a leather coral A pompom crab is one of the quaintest crabs ever. It’s a tiny crab with even tinier anemones on both its pincers! His eyes look like he’s hungover
I’d also like to show common fish like fairy basslets which we sometimes take for granted, but they make up the character of the reefs for their abundant presence and color. A common sight in the reef but nonetheless stunning and flamboyant, this anthias or fairy basslets preens for Yogi We have not forgotten the family portrait. Not fish but of all of us this time – guests and the whole Febrina family with the Panda flag!
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