When it’s nice it’s nice

This is our view from the diving center… not a bad ‘lil place at the end of the day.Image

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My lionfish is growing up

I feel like a father as I have been watching this lionfish as it has grown from a wee bairn and is now starting to take on the adult colourings. It used to be midnight black but is now starting to take on a lot more red- the sun coming through and some colour saturation tweaking helps as well 🙂 Image

As usual this photo was taken by a Canon S95 in Patima housing without artificial light or lenses. Shot in RAW and played with in Lightroom.

Something about eels

that really freaks people out. Is it their teeth, their dead-man’s stare, their snake-like appearance? I was once cleaning Rangali’s underwater restaurant when one (admittedly huuuuuge) giant moray literally chased one of the Maldivian staff out of the water- I blew 50bar laughing.

Morays in general have horrible vision- if     they wore glasses they’d need something like a minus 400 prescription. Instead they use their sense of smell to hunt small fishes at night. During the day they hang out in crevices or in caves. Because they are stationary for many hours they have developed ‘spiracles’ which are small openings in the side of the throat which allow oxygen to go straight to the brain. By opening and closing their mouths, morays can pull water across their gills. Stingrays and some sharks which can sit for hours also have spiracles and even insects have them.

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Morays are not to be feared but like all big animals with teeth, respect should be given. Morays react only when threatened (or fed). Otherwise they are completely chilled animals.

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We also saw the banded snake eel out and about which was very cool- they mimic poisonous sea-snakes but are in fact harmless. Apparently the only way to tell them apart is that the eels have a visible fin… and snakes need to come up for air.

Our humble home

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I realised we haven’t taken any photos from inside the DC. This is our main classroom area- a fairly relaxed setting for watching DVDs and doing some study.

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Next is the main SCUBA equipment. The BCD jacket from and regulator are both purchased new from Mares.

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Nothing really to do with diving but a nice cotton sarong-type thingy we found in Male

Another day another manta

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Well this was a nice surprise on the house reef yesterday afternoon. I was mucking about in the sand looking for critter when a juvenile manta came and buzzed me- I took a couple of snaps but as it was overhead… well not such a great result but a welcome event. 

I estimate it to be just over 1 meter across, which is pretty small for a manta. We had a bit of rain last week which should have meant an increase in plankton- hope it’s eating well and growing strong.

I reckon the scorpionfish was a better find though!

 

Even better than mantas!

Believe it or not, this is only the second time I’ve found a scorpionfish in Laamu Atoll- so reasons to celebrate. Image

 

In fact I’ve seen more mantas than scorpions which is a bit weird. By contrast, there is a lot of leaf-fish…. which you may have cottoned on to since I post so many photos of them. They belong to the same family of fishes and you can easily tell by their profiles.

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They fill the same roles on the tropical reef as ambush predators. They are extremely toxic animals and have venomous spines to ward off predators- including divers’ hands if we are clumsy. Stonefish are another species all together- the hunt continues for these beautifully ugly animals!

Kids and teenagers

I will have to try to get a good photo of the adult version of this bi-colour parrotfish as they look absolutely nothing alike. A bit like my cute baby photos and the beast I grew in to. Parrotfish are incredibly important for a healthy reef. They are constantly grazing on fast-growing algae which can smother healthy coral- in doing so, they remove a fine top layer of coral which is digested and pooed out as fine coral sand.

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This juvenile is about the size of your little finger and constantly moving about, sifting through morsels of sand and substrate. Later on it changes and grows the powerful beak allowing it to crop the algae, much like a horse crops grass close to the ground.

The Lion the witch and the wardrobe

It has been a while since our last post…all apologies. It has been an eventful month here in Laamu as Jude and I have physically moved in to the diving center, together with a lot of furniture for the classroom. The weather has been superb- another very dry ‘wet’ monsoon. Ramadan has come and gone with the head chef preparing some excellent food- funny how I managed to gain a few pounds!

I have been experimenting a bit with some photos- here a lionfish displays its warning colours.