For the last part of my trip report I want to show you the photos from the northern area of the Dampier Strait. We dived many quite a few different sites here (including Arborek Jetty which I’ve already posted about).
Here we saw a host of amazing creatures, larger ones such as mantas & woebegones, and smaller critters such as pontohi pygmy seahorses, snake eels, robust ghost pipe fish and more. Without further ado here are some of the photos that I liked most from this area.
Two (mating?) woebegone sharks, I love how they just look like bits of old carpet!
Pontohi pygmy seahorse:
Many of these images were taken on the Olympus OMD EM1 camera which was lent to me for review so tomorrow I’ll post up a bit more about my experience with it and the pros & cons verses my own little EM5.
Instead of Pele which I posted about yesterday, we went to Aljui bay on the first trip and I was disappointed not to go back there on the second trip. Its quite a lot further north than most itineraries usually go though. I was kicking myself for not doing more wide angle dives there, they had some pearl frames dangling from the jetty which I didn’t photograph (because I had my macro lens on). Paul Rosenblum got a lovely shot of them here (go team Olympus)!
Here are some shots I did get from the area though…
For more images from this trip see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.
Following on from the previous post at Daram, We spent quite a bit of time diving around the Misool area so I might end up splitting this area into two posts. Its great for both Macro and wide angle so you couldn’t go in with the wrong lens.
We went to Yillet Kecil, Magic Mountain, Boo Windows, Boo East & West, Tank, Whale & Nudi Rock and lets not forget Wedding Cake.
Everyone loves to take photos of the famous Boo Windows but the macro there is amazing, I watch some squids laying eggs and found a couple of Misool Pygmy seahorses.
These little red & white pygmy seahorses are only found around the Misool area.
Nudi rock, so called because it looks like a Nudibranch:
for more images of the divesites at Misool see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.
I think the best way to show you the different beautiful areas of our Raja Ampat trip is to split it up somewhat based on my little route map, first stop Daram. Here we visited Andiamo and The Candy Store divesites. Please click on the images to see them larger on phase.
The image above shows the silversides racing back and forth just under the surface of the water (chased by the jacks pictured here).
We dropped down on our first dive (on the Candy Store) and I found this little chap sitting in a fan at about 18m. For those who don’t know, He’s a Bargibant pygmy seahorse (this one was about 2cm tall).
The image below is of a scorpion fish blending himself in with the reef.
This area has some of the biggest sea fans I’ve ever scene, much bigger than a person (and impossible for me to light), here are two biggish ones.. these are at the limit of the lighting I have with the tiny strobe arms on my camera.
for more images of the divesites at Daram see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.
Since the end of Jan we’ve been floating around the sea in an area called Raja Ampat. After last years trip, We did two Alex Mustard workshops back to back in this amazing area. See the route for trip 1 in red and trip 2 in green on this route map below:
I’ve put this as best I can into a google maps so you can click the points to see the list of divesites we visited:
As you can see from my photos from last year this area is very diverse for photography and I have lots of images to go through & post in the next couple of days (and I need to upgrade my LR catelog to work with the new Olympus OMD EM1 files – review to follow shortly too). We had a great time, met some nice new people, saw many critters, pygmy seahorses, toadfish, pipefish etc etc. We also celebrated Alex & Mikes birthdays, and crossed the equator underwater (not many people can claim that)! So stay tuned to the blog!
This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Scenic Wonder’
I feel blessed each time I drop beneath the waves, it seems like there is always a scenic wonder waiting for me so picking just the one for this theme would be pretty hard, so I didnt!
If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.
By the way, thank you for voting for me as noteworthy for photofriday: mobile phone photo. For those less familiar with the way photofriday works, each week you can vote for the previous weeks entries as noteworthy by the voting button at the top-middle of the photofriday page (I always put mine under the name scuba_suzy ;)). On the top-right of the page you can see the noteworthy results for the previous weeks voting and on the top-left you can enter your own links for this weeks photofriday theme. So go see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Scenic Wonder’ here.
PS: I’m currently still selling my 60mm/D300 underwater macro set-up. Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for supporting my work!
The last stop on our trip was Dampier Strait where a place called Blue Magic really lived up to its name.
You don’t often here complaints of too many fish on a diving trip but sometimes the little fish would obscure the action! There were thousands of them.
As I was starting to go up for my safety stop these two mantas were swimming around and around next to me at 7m. It was really magical.
I have some video, Mantas are much more impressive when you see them moving but I need to process it so stay tuned for more updates
Our next stop of our little tour of Raja Ampat was in the area of Yanggefo where there are mangroves. We dived a dive site called Citrus Ridge and snorkelled up to the mangroves. They weren’t as pretty as the blue water mangroves we saw last time but we didnt fancy getting eaten by the crocodiles!
Earlier in the trip some of the group had snorkelled out to take split shots and I didn’t go because I was told I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere with such a small dome (about 3.5″ mini dome). Since I’m someone who likes to try things for herself I swam off to try under-over (half in and half out of the water) shots with my tiny camera. I came up with the image above which everyone was really surprised by.
Citrus Ridge is a divesite full of cool critters. We found this jawfish with eggs sitting in his hole on the sea floor. And this woebegone shark hiding under a coral shelf, chockfull of colourful soft corals.
The mangroves are a nursery for all manor of juvenile fish. We even saw a couple of baby reef sharks cruising back and forth.
These little stripy fish are called Archer fish because they spit water up into the trees to knock down inspects into the water to eat.
Following the Algae Patch, the next place in Raja Ampat we visited was the area of Mansuar. Here we visited Aerborek Jetty. Under the jetty was a very cute little ball of fish which we had great fun photographing.
When we surfaced we saw a double rainbow! The ship pulling away here is a conservation boat which travels the area teaching the local children about conserving the area for the future.
At one point the sea above me suddenly went dark, looking up I saw the most amount of fish I’ve ever seen in one place!
On the jetty beams soft coral and fans have started to grow. Its a really beautiful area.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little slice of Raja Ampat. Please stay tuned, next up the Mangroves….
Following on from Thursday post about Misool, we continued our journey in Raja Ampat stopping off for a whole day on a muck dive site called the Algae patch. Here we saw many things hiding in the sand and algae. We even saw a baby woebegone shark.
We saw a different types of ghost pipefish – here is the ornate and the robust types. The robust have such great camouflage they look like strips of seaweed twisting in the current.
You’ll have to excuse this video. It’s an experiment with the video mode for the Olympus OMD EM5. I think I had it on all the wrong settings. The cyan colour cast was very horrible (so I desaturated it to black and white) and as you can see I had no stabilisation. However it is very short (only 40 seconds) and theres a surprise about 20 secs in.
feel free to watch the video on vimeo here.
Here are some of the stars of the show…
And last but not least a little crinoid crab clutching some eggs. We saw plenty of these in Bali a few months ago but none with Eggs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little recap of the Algae Patch. Stayed tuned for more from Raja Ampat coming up…