What is that all about? The world is full of beautiful, exciting, warm places with a lot of stuff I haven´t seen. It seems quite overkill to return to Lembeh again and again, and even again.
The first reason is that I find coral dives beautiful, but quite unexciting. It is nice every now and then to do “landscape” dives, seeing the views of the underwater world, the beautiful colors and the schools of fish, and even the magnificent visibility on some of the coral reef spots around the world. After some days, however, I find that kind of dives a little repetitive. The excitement of searching through a rubble patch and suddenly seeing an eye or a small movement, and finding out what it is, is much more exciting and probably even to some extent addictive.
The second reason is that I really like some of the common animals here. Emperor shrimp, coconut octopus, long-armed octopus, flamboyant, pygmy seahorses, thorny seahorses, carrier crabs, Cymothoa parasites, Coleman shrimp, zebra crabs and so many different species that otherwise are quite uncommon can more or less be expected to be seen on your next dive if you ask your guide to show you one. On top of my favorite “common”list, are a couple of things that you do not even need a guide for. First of all, the strait is littered with flasher scorpion fish of different colours. Their clumsy walk over the sea bed is always a joy to watch.
Second, who does not like frogfish? On this trip we have seen five to ten frogfish every day. That is really hard to beat. Furthermore, the frogfish have been really active; walking, yawning and feeding, giving us ample opportunity to get pictures a little bit out of the ordinary.
Third, coming in as number one on the “common”list is the devilfish! They are all over the place, hiding in sea weeds, burying in the sand or just lying around looking like anything but a fish. Getting closer, it is hard to imagine anything more ugly, mean looking and plain weird than those fish.
The third reason I like to come is that there are quite a number of things here that are rare here and very rare everywhere else. This time hairy octopus was a first for me, and I also saw a crab buried in a Litophyton soft coral that I never have seen before, not even on pictures.
Also, Ambon scorpion fish are not to common around other places I dive, Here, however, there are common enough that I actually find them myself now and then.
And then there are the xeno crabs. Coolest among crabs, those denizens of wire corals rule!
Finally, I like to come here because there are so many different subjects to shoot that there is always something new to try. I will end this blog series with a picture quite rare for me, a wide angle horrid stonefish on Aer Bajo.
It has really been fun to be here this time. This blog series has benefitted from divebuddying, pointing out stuff and comments from Greg Bang, John Davies, Steven Parkinson, Kristin Anderson, and, most of all, Belinda Parkinson. First and foremost, the excellent dive guides Paulus and Joni are responsible for finding a lot of cool critters just waiting to be photographed. And, of course, all the people at NAD has as always been very helpful, kind and nice that I am looking very much forward to my next visit.