Thursday, July 30, 2009

Diving at Lembeh Straits Part 1

Here's the highly delayed post of my diving adventures during end June at Lembeh Straits, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Lembeh is know for being the top muck-diving site in the world. And though the visibility is not so clear and the substrate looks plain and boring there's lots of life!

On a red synaptic sea cucumber is a red commensal shrimp that is well camouflaged.

And among fierce-looking sea urchins is this lionfish.

There are many weird-looking critters like tthis pair of fishes that has pointed heads.

I'm quite lazy to check for this fish's id as well but it does look cute! This was found at the housereef of our NAD resort that we stayed at.

Another find from the housereef dive will be this yellow fish hiding among bamboo poles.

And this anemone shrimp was found on a pretty anemone with purplish tentacles.

July and I did a wreck dive for our Advanced course and there are many lionfishes hiding among the sponges that grow on the wreck.

There are many other coral associates growing profusely on the wreck like sea anemones with anemonefishes and sponges. There are also lots of sea fans.

During our safety stop before ascent into the surface, we have to cling onto a rope with strong currents pushing us away. Can't imagine what will happen if we lose our grip. At this moment, July ran out of air! He didn't monitor his air consumption so he was shocked when he couldnt get any air from his tank. Thankfully, this is a safety stop that is near the surface and he just ascented immediately.

On another dive, we did more muck diving and I was totally blown away by this mimic octopus!

I was later shown this really huge stonefish! There are many stonefishes, scorpionfishes and stargazers at Lembeh, so we need to be extra careful when we land on the substrate.

This is probably a well camouflaged scorpionfish.

And on this same dive, we saw another special find... a flamboyant cuttlefish!

On another dive site, I saw this interesting sight of fishes among sea urchins. I wonder what are they doing.

Of course, there are sea anemones with nemos. On the right are Banggai cardinalfishes that are very common in Lembeh but rare elsewhere.

This pink-yellowish scorpionfish is quite pretty!

There were also plenty of the Flying gurnards that look very stunning and impressive.

The ladies saw lots of cute frogfishes of all sorts of colour. They even felt overdosed. As for me, I only took photo of this orange one.

The mantis shrimps there are just so colourful and adorable!

Of course there are nudis! It's my first time seeing this species.

Sea cucumbers are also found during dives and I especially like this Eyed sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus).

One of the best sea star find will be this cushion star (Culcita schmideliana) that is blue in colour!

And its underside is so different from the usual cushions we see. It is so super pretty!!!

Linkia sea stars are very common at Lembeh and it is not surprising to also find shrimp living among them.

All sorts of fishes live among the anemones.

And it's nice to see that the Haddon's carpet anemones of Lembeh are inhabited by other species of anemonefishes that we do not find in Singapore.

Last but not least, pufferfishes are yet another frequently sighted creature during diving.

That's all for part 1 of 2 of the Lembeh diving series. Watch out for part 2 that will be upcoming.

Lots of thanks and gratitude to Ron for trusting and lending me his underwater casing and camera. Without which, there will be no photos to share! :-)

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