Having been working in the diving community for more than 10 years, the renowned Lembeh Straits had always been on my wishlist. Thus a few months back when Kaj and Barb are leaving and the owner needs someone to take over, i jumped at the opportunity in a heartbeat.
The critter and muck diving here is nothing short of amazing. After 10,000 dives or so, i used to think nothing much can surprise me. How naive I was. Lembeh Strait’s diving changed all that. There are so many weird creatures we can find in a dive that it put all other macro destinations to shame. Besides strange creatures that i’ve never seen before in my life, i get to witness first-hand some natural behaviors and activities rare in occurrance anywhere else. In my first month here at KBR, i’ve witnessed flamboyant cuttlefish babies hatched from eggs, tozeuma shrimp with eggs and hatchlings, longarm octopus mating, banggai cardinalfish incubating eggs and juveniles in the mouth…etc
I used to played with a Nikon D70 setup ten years back. Though it proved under-utilised as i was teaching scuba full-time. I ended up using Olympus C5050Z for quite awhile running liveaboards safari boats, but the camera’s limits were obvious. Given this opportunity now at KBR, the macro haven; its the perfect opportunity to indulge in what i truely love best when diving, underwater photography. I splurged on a new DSLR setup and in time, will accumulate the lenses, strobes and other dream toys. My hope is to hone my shooting skills some, and make some good, worthy pictures…
The time has come, and I can hardly believe it. Barb and I have been at KBR for the last three years and it has been an amazing experience. Enjoy Barb’s last week of photos…
First of all (to get the Hollywood acceptance speech out of the way) I would like to thank to owners, Mark and his mother Kathryn, for hiring us. KBR is a unique resort, the original resort in Lembeh, the pioneer in the Strait and it has been an honour to have been part of the team here.
Then there are other managers, Linda, Beary and Ais. They work tirelessly to ensure your rooms are beautiful, so food delicious and every aspect of your stay perfect. They have become great friends and have always gone out of their way to help us. Thank you..
And the wonderful restaurant and Front Desk girls (and Frtiz), who always have a genuine and beautiful smile of their faces, and how also join the guests on the local tours. They are quite rightly legendary…the KBR Girls are the best!
And then there are all the staff that you don’t see..the cooks, gardeners, maintenance, tailors, housekeeping, security and accounting..all of them keeping the resort running smoothly and efficiently. Resorts are big places and there is always a big team of people working 24 hours a day to hopefully make your trip a memorable one.
And finally, almost with tears in my eyes, the Dive Team. I have never met or worked with a more hardworking, dedicated, talented and friendly bunch of guys. Junior who keeps the equipment serviced and the tanks filled with his assistant Fian, who also drives the boats. Alfrets, Stenly, Nando, Irfin and Irwan, our boat captains who setup all your gear, drive the boats and carry your cameras. And the guides themselves, Liberty, Ade, Jeff, Jony, Risman, Rony, Ungke and Jenly. What can you say about these guys? They are an unbelievable team, they work together, find the most incredible critters, help you see them, take photos or video, look after you and they never complain, are always happy….without doubt the best Divemasters and Guides in the world. Thank you all!!! And we had a great night out in Bitung!
So, my most memorable dive? It’s impossible to say, there have been so many good ones. Seeing any underwater creature for the first time of always special, and I saw so many things for the first time in Lembeh. Things that really stick in my mind are the Transparent Larval Moray, the Pygmy Squid laying eggs, the Coconut Octopus giving birth, finally finding a Hairy Octopus, finding a Blue Ring by myself…the list goes on and on.
I’m often asked which is my favourite dive in Lembeh. Another very difficult question, but the honest answer is ‘the next one’. To still be able to see things for the first time, after three years and over 1000 dives here, is a testament to the incredible biodiversity that exists in Lembeh. OK, the vis is not great, but without the particles in the water, bringing in all the nutrition, most of the critters would not be here.
And it’s been a great last week’s diving. We’ve seen Mototi Octopus, huge Harlequin Shrimp, Lembeh Seadragons, Tiger Shrimp, the legendary purple Ambon Scorpionfish, Frogfish, Red-Headed Coral Gobies, Golden Wentletrap Snails and so much more had a two hour dive at Nudi Falls to say goodbye….it’s hard to leave.
And a final final thank you to all the amazing guests we’ve met over the the three years. Lembeh is remote and without all you guys making the effort to travel to see us, we wouldn’t exist. We feel very fortunate to have made so many good friends from around the globe. I know that many of you are coming back again and though Barb and I won’t be here, everyone one else will be and the Dive Team is go to be very ably managed by Stefan, the new manager. Stefan is a great guy, loves his diving and will continue to make KBR the best dive resort!
And thanks to all our guests in our last week here, from Canada (great to see you again M&M), the States, Australia, the UK, Switzerland and Germany.
Enjoy Barb’s final photos. To see them all, click on the photo strip at the top or bottom of this blog.
As the end gets closer, Lembeh is still astounding me. This week I did one of the most incredibly dives of my life.
The weather has been really calm so I thought it would be nice to go and do a dive at the far north end of Lembeh that I had only dome once before, along a wall called Jicoyance. While I was I discussing it with my guides, one of our new guides, Ungke, who worked at another resort previously, said why didn’t we go to a site called Dante’s Wall. It’s only a couple of minutes past Jicoyance, so that seem like a good idea, especially as none of my other guides had ever been there.
Then Ungke mentioned there was a cave there and then he said that it had ‘the fish that flashes’ inside. That got my attention! I asked him a little more about it as I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I knew vaguely about flashlight Fish but never suspected they existed in Lembeh. Wow, this was too good to be true.
So we went up to Dante’s Wall. The cave goes into the wall with the entrance around 10m (30ft) deep. It’s a really big cave, flat bottom and reaches about 20m (60ft) back. You can always see the entrance and we were, of course, equipped with torches.
So in we go. When the your lights are on there you cannot see the Flashlight Fish. We swam slowly to the back of the cave, settled down then turned our lights off. At first it is just pitch-black. All the flashlight Fish have been pushed right to the back of the cavern
After a few moments suddenly there starts one of the most beautiful and surreal shows I have every seen. Your eyes start to pick up little white lights in the distance, flashing on and off and swirling around as the fish move around in their school. Then they start to get closer and closer and you are surrounded my a natural light show as the large light organ under each eye can be turned on and off using a black membrane like an eyelid.
I was mesmerised and it was truly one of the most wonderful things I have seen anywhere.
I did manage to rouse myself and think about trying to take some video. I managed to capture some of the action, so please enjoy the clip. I turned my lights on right at the end, so you can get a glimpse of the fish.
Barb has taken some really incredible photos this week (when does she not). Macro lens is back on and the results are stunning.
It’s been a great week. We’ve seen Wonderpus, Mimics, Long Arm, Algae and Coconut Octopus. There have been Flamboyant (including eggs hatching), Broadclub, Pygmy, Crinoid and Reef Cuttlefish, as well as Reef Squid and Bobtail Squid on night dives. We have seen Ornate, Halimeda, Rough Snout and Robust Ghost Pipefish. There have been yellow and pink Bargabantis, Denise, Pontohi and Severn’s Pygmy Seahorses, as well as Common, Moluccas and Estuary Seahorse. We’ve also seen Pipehorses, Pipefish (some lovely Winged Pipefish) and Lembeh Pygmy Seadragons. Crustaceans have been fab, with Harlequin Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Urchin Bumblebee Shrimp, Little Green Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp, Boxing Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimp, Xenia Swimming Crabs, Zanzibar Shrimp, Crinoid Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Orang Utan Shrimp, Tozeuma Shrimp, Carry Crabs, Candy Crabs, Hairy Squat Lobster, Squat Shrimp, Elegant Squat Lobster, Skeleton Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Porcelain Crabs, Superb Coral Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Sea Spiders and many more. And we’ve seen Giant, Warty, Painted, and Occellated Frogfish. There have been Leaf Scorpionfish, Bubble Shells, Bobbit Worms, Pegasus Sea Moths, Spiny Devilfish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Solar Powered Nudis, Pickachi Nudis, Crocodile Snake Eels, Cockatoo Flounder, Flatworms, Electric Clams, Zebra Batfish and much much more.
Thanks to all our great guests from the States, Canada, the UK, Turkey, France, New Zealand and Switzerland. Another wonderful week.
To enjoy all of Barb’s photos from this week, click on the photo strip at the top or bottom of this blog.
As some of you know by now, Barb and I will sadly be leaving KBR at the end of this month. We have had an incredible time, met wonderful guests from all over the world, been privileged to work with the most lovely, friendly, skilful and hardworking crew and we have, of course, seen the most fantastic creatures underwater.
There are not many things I have left to see on my wish list…there are a few, I think it’s impossible to see everything Lembeh has to offer no matter how long you live or work here. One of the things that I had never seen and never thought I would be lucky enough to see, I finally saw this week!
I cannot, unfortunately, be on every boat on every dive, so inevitably there are going to be critters that the guests see that I do not. It’s why I dive so much here, as there is not a lot worse than being in the dive center when guests come back saying ‘oh wow, we saw a Wonderpus with eggs’, or ‘what a huge manta ray that was!’.
One of the things that I twice missed, twice had to hear ‘You can’t believe what we just saw….’ was a Coconut Octopus giving birth. This is something that I have really really really wanted to witness, but though I never would.
Well this week we went to a dive site I had never been to before, in the south of Lembeh, on the mainland. It was very mucky but, as seems to be the case when going somewhere for the first time, very productive. Two Mimics, Ghost Pipefish, Pipehorses and then Ade (my wonderful trusty Dive Supervisor) came over to me and started making the sign for an octopus and then the ‘pregnant/eggs’ sign. ‘OK’, I thought, ‘I’ve seen octopus eggs before’ so I slowly made my way over.
I did not expect to see tiny little octopus squirting out from beneath the Coconut Octopus arms!! Wow!!! I couldn’t believe it and silently offered my thanks to the Lembeh Diving God…
It was an amazing sight to watch. Tiny little babies were rising up in little swarms at times, escaping through her arms and she also was firing them out of her funnel (the tube that octopus can jet themselves through the water with, or squirt their ink). The eggs ribbons seem to contain eggs at different stages of development, from not really ready to ‘here I come!’. She also would check the eggs with the suckers on her arms, individually, as if looking for the ones that were ready to hatch.
It was another bit of behaviour that I felt privileged to watch, another amazing moment from Lembeh, and another dive I will never forget.
Barb is still shooting with her wide angle lens, and still getting some wonderful shots…
And we’ve seen Wonderpus, Mimics, Long Arm, Algae and Coconut Octopus. There have been Flamboyant, Broadclub, Pygmy, Crinoid and Reef Cuttlefish, as well as Reef Squid and Bobtail Squid on night dives. We have seen Ornate, Rough Snout and Robust Ghost Pipefish. There have been yellow and pink Bargabantis, Denise, Pontohi and Severn’s Pygmy Seahorses, as well as Common, Moluccas and Estuary Seahorse. We’ve also seen Pipehorses, Pipefish (some lovely Winged Pipefish) and Lembeh Pygmy Seadragons. Crustaceans have been fab, with Harlequin Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Urchin Bumblebee Shrimp, Little Green Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp, Boxing Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimp, Xenia Swimming Crabs, Zanzibar Shrimp, Crinoid Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Orang Utan Shrimp, Tozeuma Shrimp, Carry Crabs, Candy Crabs, Hairy Squat Lobster, Squat Shrimp, Elegant Squat Lobster, Skeleton Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Porcelain Crabs, Superb Coral Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Sea Spiders and many more. And we’ve seen Giant, Warty, Painted, and Occellated Frogfish. There have been Leaf Scorpionfish, Bubble Shells, Bobbit Worms, Pegasus Sea Moths, Spiny Devilfish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Solar Powered Nudis, Pickachi Nudis, Crocodile Snake Eels, Cockatoo Flounder, Flatworms, Electric Clams, Zebra Batfish and much much more.
Thanks to all our great guests, from South Africa, Japan, the UK, Turkey, the States and Hong Kong. It’s been wonderful.
To see all of Barb’s photos, just click on the photo strip at the top or bottom of this blog.
I’ve seen many strange things, weird behaviour and odd critters while in Lembeh, but this is one of the most bizarre sights I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing…
Now I’ve seen Carry Crabs carrying Urchins, Jellyfish, banana skins, pieces of cardboard and crinoids….I’ve seen shrimp and even fish on nudibranchs…but what I had never seen and, to be honest, never expected to see, was a nudibranch on a crab!
What started out as ‘hey, look, there’s a big nudi on the sand…it’s not moving much…’ turned into ‘Holy Cow!!! That Carry Crab got hold of a Nudi!!!’
Carry Crabs usually hold on to a Urchin (if they are an Urchin Carry Crab) or an Upside-down Jellyfish (if they are a Jelly Carry Crab). They have an adapted back pair of legs that can hold onto their ‘hat’ which stops the urchin or jelly from moving away. The crab can then bury itself in the sand, leaving the unappetising urchin/jelly on the surface and thereby protecting itself.
I had never heard of a crab grabbing a nudi and wouldn’t have believed it unless I had seen it for myself..so enjoy this very rare sight…and a big thank you to Con, who originally found this critter combo…you always seem to have a very lucky dive when Con is with you…
So as you can see Barb and I are back again..we had a lovely few weeks off, visiting Australia for a wedding and to see family. We are looking forward to April.
This week has been great. The vis hasn’t been wonderful (does it really matter in Lembeh?) but the diving has. Barb has a foggy glass port on her macro setup and so has been forced to shoot wide angle…here are few few of her efforts, proving that it is possible to shoot wide in Lembeh, but you really have to shoot close focus wide angle.
And we’ve seen ore Blue Rings..though they really are getting hard to find right now. And we’ve seen Wonderpus, Mimics, Long Arm and Coconut Octopus. There have been Broadclub, Pygmy, Crinoid and Reef Cuttlefish, as well as Reef Squid and Bobtail Squid on night dives. We have seen Ornate, Rough Snout and Robust Ghost Pipefish. There have been yellow and pink Bargabantis, Pontohi and Severn’s Pygmy Seahorses, as well as Common, Moluccas and Estuary Seahorse. We’ve also seen Pipehorses, Pipefish (some lovely Winged Pipefish) and Lembeh Pygmy Seadragons. Crustaceans have been fab, with Harlequin Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Little Green Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp, Boxing Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimp, Xenia Swimming Crabs, Zanzibar Shrimp, Crinoid Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Orang Utan Shrimp, Tozeuma Shrimp, Carry Crabs, Candy Crabs, Hairy Squat Lobster, Squat Shrimp, Elegant Squat Lobster, Skeleton Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Porcelain Crabs, Superb Coral Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Sea Spiders and many more. And we’ve seen Giant, Warty, Painted, and Occellated Frogfish. There have been Leaf Scorpionfish, Bubble Shells, Bobbit Worms, Pegasus Sea Moths, Spiny Devilfish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Solar Powered Nudis, Pickachi Nudis, Crocodile Snake Eels, Cockatoo Flounder, Flatworms, Electric Clams, Zebra Batfish and much much more.
Thanks to all our great guests from South Africa, the States, Norway, Canada, the UK, Spain, Japan, Germany and Singapore…it’s been lovely diving with you.
To enjoy all of Barb’s photos, just click on the top or bottom photo strip.
Constantinos Petrinos has been staying at KBR for the last 5 weeks. It has been a great pleasure to have him here, for all us of, guests and staff alike.
Con has a deep love for KBR and Lembeh and it’s been fascinating to hear him talk on all the times he has spent here. This is his last blog (until he returns…)
“Dear friends and fellow divers,
Time to go! The highlight of this week was a lizard fish that grabbed a seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) right in front of my eyes and spit it almost immediately! Who knows what made the seahorse unpalatable for the lizardfish. Due to a problem with my sync cords, I did one of my last dives without a camera. What a blessing! “Wish I could stay here forever”. With this thought in my head I was enjoying KBR’s fabulous house reef that has not been fished for the last 20 years or so. My dive guide kept finding one thing after another. We were both having fun. He was now preoccupied with some minute crustacean. I looked up to say goodbye to the Indonesian sun as it penetrates the Lembeh waters. An eagle ray swam past. WOW! What a sight. My dive guide kept looking at his crustacean oblivious to what was flying above… Makes sense, the ray was too big for his sharp eyes that are trained to distinguish the smallest critters possible.
Those last 40 days have been amazing. There is so much more that the guides are finding now compared to ten years ago. Next time I must definitely come with a second housing. Having only one housing was a big nuisance. In Greece, I intend to practice more extreme macro shots. For 2014, we are trying to set up a group with Steve Warren from www.oceanoptics.co.uk If you are interested to learn more about this 10 day trip to KBR please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to go! I will miss you all lovely people. Thank you Mr. Mark and Mrs. Kathryn for the continuing support and generosity over the years. Thank you Ms. Linda, Mr. Beary and Mrs. Ais for taking care of our precious KBR and its people. Kaj and Barb for the great diving and company. The KBR Dream Team for the most amazing guiding, Stenly for his awesome snakes, the restaurant staff for the delicious food and the polite and attentive service. Everybody tries so hard to get the job done and with a smile. Also all those support staff – construction, housekeeping – that we seldom see but are crucial to making our stay memorable. Thank you all so much. I will miss you. In front of my room, 1B, I planted a coconut tree that was washed ashore. Its name is "Leon’s tree" and it is my hope for the future. I shall return. CON.”
Date Posted: March 11, 2013 @ 6:41 pm Comments Off
(This week’s blog is again written by Constantinos Petrinos, the author of Realm of the Pygmy Seahorse)
Many divers and old buddies ask what I think about my critter encounters compared to my last visit 10 years ago. All those new species that have been discovered here in Lembeh this past decade were also present when I was here in 2002. But we could not see them. To make the long story short I see more critters than I used to see back then. And what is surprising is that the dive guides find those rare ones, such as the mimic, the wonderpus and the blue ringed octopus, with astonishing ease. I believe that the training and experience of the guides is responsible for the abundance of critters that we see now and that we could not see before, although they were in front of our eyes. Back then I had spent 5 months in Lembeh without managing to see a mimic octopus. Two days ago I was photographing the banggai cardinafish around a sea urchin. I was having fun. Suddenly Liberty appeared asking me to follow him for a mimic octopus. Believe it or not, I chose to stay with the banggai! Such ludicrous behavior would have been unthinkable ten years ago. But, today, I am certain that any of the KBR dive guides can spot me another mimic, so I chose to continue my banggai photography. Ten yeas ago I would not even imagine that it would have been possible to see on a single dive a wonderpus, a mimic and three hairy frogfish. You can go bananas trying to decide what to shoot. And the ease with which KBR dive guides spot the tiny blue ringed octopus, one of my favorite animals, is phenomenal. I see several a day.
My top encounter this week has been the following: I was photographing a mimic octopus when it suddenly disappeared in front of my viewfinder. What had happened? A flounder had grabbed it with unbelievable stealth and speed and was swimming away with the octopus trailing on the flounder’s body. The flounder had two of the mimic’s legs in the mouth. I swam after the flounder when another one showed up to fight for the prized prey. The mimic autotomized its two legs and fled! WOW. I have nothing on camera because it all went so fast. But I am so happy I was there!
As far as KBR is concerned, the main difference is the big clean pool and the luxury spa. It is really worth trying the hot stone massage. Don’t wait until your last non diving day to discover it! There is also a dramatic improvement in food selection, daily specials and restaurant service. The days when you would wait for hours for your meal to come are a thing of the distant past. Every day I promise myself to have a light dinner and every day I yield to the chef’s special, sometimes going for a double portion. It’s OK, I can still fit in my wetsuit and will go on diet back home.
Some friends have written about the garbage situation in the strait. Yes, I see more plastic bags and plastic garbage than ten years ago. Not all of that comes from the growing local communities. The majority is brought by the ocean currents from the Philippines and Thailand. It is a GLOBAL problem. We can all do something about it.
Finally, there is for the first time a national underwater photography competition in Indonesia. It covers DSLR as well as compact cameras. Divers can participate if their photos were taken in Indonesian waters in 2013 and while staying at a Participating Dive Operator (PDO) such as KBR. The website is www.indonesiaunderwatercontest.com and the cash prizes exceed $200,000.
Final word from me (Kaj). As always, thank you Con for your words. It is also March, so it’s time for the February Critter list..
It’s been another great month for Blue Rings. Mimics were a little quiet at the beginning, but are starting to be seen again. We saw another transparent larval Moray Eel, which was very exciting. Another fabulous month.
The highlight of this week has been the two big catfish fighting to death.
I spotted the two fish as they started to fight at the beginning of the dive. I immediately pressed my underwater buzzer to call the other guests, a highly unusual photographer behavior. I made a note to see my shrink about that when I get back home. I had my 105 and could not take both fish but luckily a KBR guest, Gert, had a video camera and got some unique footage.
Action scenes underwater usually last little, sometimes a split second, but in this case the fight went on an on giving all 7 KBR guests the opportunity to take photos again and again. It was as if the catfish were saying “hey buddy, did you get your settings right? Oh, no? OK, we will replay it for you. Try again.”
When a once in a lifetime behavior scene takes place, you need some very convincing arguments to remove me from the scene. So I stayed and fired 387 shots. Isn’t digital wonderful! Well, I did not stay long myself, just 73 minutes. And when I left, the fight still went on but the smaller of the two catfish was being hammered.
The KBRDDT (KBR Dive Dream Team) has been spotting daily the rare and elusive blue ringed octopus. And it has become my obsession. Yesterday I watched a female blue ringed octopus hunt, display and look for a mate (I know I will be there when she mates) for the whole dive with Mark, a guest and dear friend from Australia. Rather than take video of the fabulous octopus, Mark chose to videotape me. That is rather strange, don’t you think. Please visit your shrink Mark asap, no offence, just a friendly advice. Well, may be he chose to bring the beluga whale wide angle on a typical muck site. The shrink will sort it out.
It is not by accident that I have earned the title CON (Creature of the Night). I am a night dive addict. So this time, the dive guides say with bewilderment “No, night dive Mr. CON?” Well, have you tried the hot stone massage at the spa? I have…
I attach some photos as well as a photo from my wants list on the KBR board. Better give something harder for the Dream Team to find for me. I will try whale shark for a change, although I think they will find that too – they saw several of them last year! (Edit: The Mimic now has a ‘x’ next to it, as we saw one today, and three more ‘x’ against Straited Frogfish, also seen today)
Date Posted: February 25, 2013 @ 6:32 pm Comments Off
This is CON (Constantinos Petrinos) reporting from fascinating Lembeh. Just came back from the 2:45 pm dive extravaganza. Used my Nikon D800 and the 105 with a 5T filter.
The dive was easy going at first. Saw a nudibranch laying eggs on a coconut and several other gorgeous nudis. Started shooting those when the guide summoned me shallower. A red frogfish walking around, hunting with its lure and posing. The dive guide comes yelling underwater. Shows his arm and makes the sign of rings on the black wetsuit. Another blue ringed octopus. Wow!! We have been seeing this extremely rare animal regularly but I can never say no for a few more shots. So I rush for the blue ringed octopus. The other guests are taking turns. No hurry, it is not going anywhere and I am getting ready to blast it with my Ikelite strobes (this is not an Ikelite advertisement).
It is walking around, hunting, flashing. I get into position and the guide pulls me from the fin before I even get the chance to press the shutter release. His eyes are wide open and he is pointing in another direction. I have to abandon the blue ring. The guide takes me to a wonderpus. WOW! How am I going to shoot this with the 105 and a close up filter. This is driving me nuts. The octopus is changing colours and moves about hunting. The guide leaves.
Finally, alone. I try to concentrate. I take a shot. Seconds later, the guide pulls me by the arm in a state of hysteria. What can it be now? I am starting to dream, mating blue ringed octopus or may be a blue ringed octopus with eggs – the top of my shooting list. Whatever it is, it better be good. About twenty metres away, nine mating small cuttlefish. They are sitting in groups of 4, 3 and 2.. Now, nobody is stopping me from that. This is bloody exciting. This is pure thrilling Lembeh. My Ikelites are shooting non stop, recycling like crazy. Can I get all four cuttlefish in focus with the 105? We switch with another photographer and I go for the three together, then for the couple. Shoot, shoot, shoot. WOW. And all this action in a radius of 50 metres or so. After the dive, rushed to the room to check the 589 frames that I shot in 3 dives today.
Divers are asking me if I see any difference in Lembeh since my last visit 10 years ago. Just this one dive gives the answer. This was one of my top 5 Lembeh dives. What else can I say? Lembeh was and is my favorite place to dive. I love it!! Get your stuff and come dive together. This is no ordinary place on earth, this is heaven!!
Congratulations KBR Dream Team
Last night it rained cats and dogs. We woke up with a nice mist over Lembeh strait, rain and waves. As soon as we left for the first dive, the divemaster spotted a capsized fishing boat and ordered the captain of KBR III to change course. Eight fishermen were in the water, two of them hanging for their lives from the boat’s side floater as they did not know how to swim. The KBR boatman threw them a lifeline, however the fishing boat was too big for us to tow in shallow waters. Plus there were 6 guests on board. The divemaster took back the lifeline. You could see the confusion in the fishermen’s eyes. “Do not worry”, he told them. “We are not abandoning you. KBR Dua (II) is coming”. Literally within minutes KBR II showed up. Such a fast response to an emergency can only take place from a crew that has been trained to handle such situations.
We let KBR II tow the capsized boat in shallow waters and went for our dive. Congratulations to all the KBR Dream Team for having a practiced emergency plan, for acting in a calm reassuring way and for quick decision making. If I ever was in distress I would feel confident to rely on these guys for my rescue. Note: The big fishing boat had capsized because the captain dropped an anchor in the middle of the strait and as a result the boat was overturned by a wave.
Kaj: thanks for the blog Con. I look forward to next week’s
Date Posted: February 18, 2013 @ 10:16 pm Comments Off
Another week and another Lembeh surprise. I found a White Spearing Mantis!
We get quite a lot of mantis shrimp in Lembeh, both the smashing mantis and the spearing mantis. Smashing Mantis have round eyes and (as the name suggests) smash their prey. Spearing Mantis have oval jellybean-like eyes and they spear their prey.
The most common mantis we get are the Peacock Mantis, the Tiger Mantis and the Golden Mantis. There are also many other types.
What I didn’t know is that we also get a White Mantis. This is an un-described mantis that is only known from Indonesia and was completely unknown to me until I found this one!
It was rather conspicuous, in it’s borrow, bright white in a sea of black sand. And it wasn’t a small mantis, probably about 15cm (6”) long. It seemed fairly unconcerned by me and allow me to get some nice close-ups of a very unusual critter. I particularly like the close-ups of it’s eye, where you can actually see the multiple lenses that cover the eye.
As I mentioned last week, we have Constantinos Petrinos, the renowned photographer and author of the most famous book on Lembeh, Realm of the Pygmy Seahorse, staying with us for February. He has been helping all our guests, giving lectures on Lembeh in the evenings and, of course, taking photographs. Below is a selection of his photos from this week.
As I am off to the Golden Dolphin Show in Moscow this week, Constantinos will be writing next week’s blog. I look forward to seeing what he has to say.
Barb will be at KBR while I’m away and she will still be taking photos too. Here is are a few of hers from this week.
And it’s been a great week. More Blue Rings..we’ve seen several this week again, on several different dive sites. And we’ve seen Wonderpus, Long Arm, Coconut and Algae Octopus. There have been Broadclub, Pygmy, Crinoid and Reef Cuttlefish, as well as Reef Squid and Bobtail Squid on night dives. We have seen Ornate and Robust Ghost Pipefish. There have been yellow and pink Bargabantis, Pontohi and Severn’s Pygmy Seahorses, as well as Common, Moluccas and Estuary Seahorse. We’ve also seen Pipehorses, Pipefish (some lovely Winged Pipefish) and Lembeh Pygmy Seadragons. Crustaceans have been fab, with Harlequin Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Little Green Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp, Boxing Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimp, Xenia Swimming Crabs, Zanzibar Shrimp, Crinoid Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Orang Utan Shrimp, Tozeuma Shrimp, Carry Crabs, Candy Crabs, Hairy Squat Lobster, Squat Shrimp, Elegant Squat Lobster, Skeleton Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Porcelain Crabs, Superb Coral Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Sea Spiders and many more. And we’ve seen Giant, Warty, Painted, Hairy and Occellated Frogfish. There have been Leaf Scorpionfish, Bubble Shells, Bobbit Worms, Pegasus Sea Moths, Spiny Devilfish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Solar Powered Nudis, Pickachi Nudis, Crocodile Snake Eels, Cockatoo Flounder, Flatworms, Electric Clams, Zebra Batfish and much much more.
Thanks to all our great guests from the UK, Singapore, Spain, Japan, Switzerland, Greece, Finland and Russia. it’s been fab.
If you are reading this and live in Moscow, please come and visit me next week for the Golden Dolphin Show.
To enjoy all of Barb’s photos this week, just click on the photo strip at the top or bottom of this blog.