Komodo National Park

Mike is off to Komodo tomorrow for 10 days of what should be incredible diving and topside adventure!  Mike hasn’t been there for a while and it’s always exciting to head back to one of Indonesia’s most incredible locations.  Can’t wait to climb a few hills and jump into some incredible coral reefs and action packed dives!

Komodo Lookout

Looking down at a Phinisi style liveaboard boat at anchor in Matu Monco Bay in NW Komodo Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean

Photo of the Day – Batfish in Menjangan

Menjangan Island is an often overlooked destination in Bali as many folks love heading out to the famous Liberty Wreck or looking for mantas and molas in Nusa Penida.  However, the Menjangan area is one of our favourite destinations in Bali due to the beautiful coral gardens and plentiful schooling fish.

Here is a shot of 3 batfish cruising the coral garden of Menjangan.

Three spadefish in formation on coral reef, Platax orbicularis, Acropora sp., Menjangan Island National Park, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean

Three spadefish in formation on coral reef, Platax orbicularis, Acropora sp., Menjangan Island National Park, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean

Photo of the Day – Jellyfish and Mangroves

Everyone seems to know about the Jellyfish Lake (actually lakes as there are quite a few) in the Republic of Palau, however, Indonesia is also home to numerous jellyfish lakes from Borneo to Papua and several places in between.  I have been lucky to have had the chance to visit several of them over the years and one that is very accessible as well as productive is the jellyfish lake in Kakaban island off the east coast of Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo.  Physically this lake is much larger than the other lakes I have visited including Misool and Palau but the jellyfish “mass” is not as thick as in Palau.  However, the variety of life in the Kakaban lake seems greater and the photo opportunities are endless, I would go back in a heartbeat!  Here is a shot near the edge of the lake with a fallen tree in the foreground and the mangroves in the background

Jellyfish at Kakaban Island

Photo of the Day – Schooling Barracuda

Schooling Barracuda

Indonesia suffers from a bit of a reputation of not having many large schools of fish.  However, that’s simply not true.  There are many different massive schools of barracuda throughout the country, from Kalimantan to Papua!  This photo is from one of several big schools that I know of in the Halmahera region, an area that is not visited by many diver and is highly under rated.

Shot with a Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, 10-17mm lens, f8, 1/60, Sea and Sea Strobes

Story Behind the Shot – Grey Reef Shark and Diver

Grey Reef

Meet Seb, he is the French diveguide that I used to work with back in French Polynesia 10 years ago or so.  Seb lived on the island of Rangiroa and joined the Tahiti Aggressor when I worked on that boat from 2002 to 2004.  Seb was a special kind of person, he loved sharks and loved feeding them even more!  No mesh glove, no special equipment, no fear!  It was always a great adventure diving with Seb as you could always find a stray tuna head in his BCD, the photo opportunities for shark shots was always incredible.   On this particular dive Seb was feeding sharks at the bottom and I positioned myself right beside him in order to get some great photos.  This particular grey reef shark came in for a quick pass to see what was in store and I was able to take the shot as it shot between Seb and I.

Grey Reef Shark, Tuamotu Island Group, French Polynesia, Settings unrecorded, Nikonos V and Provia 100 film, 15mm lens, Sea and Sea YS 120 Strobes

Mike Veitch

Volcanic Bubbles in the Komodo area

I am heading out to the Komodo region soon, I must admit it has been quite some time since I have been there, in fact, I haven’t been since before the major Sangeang Volcano eruption last year!  Looking forward to diving the area to see what has changed since my last trip!  Here is a photo of one of the coolest features of diving in Sangeang looks like: volcanic bubbles always permeating through the sand at the dive site “Bubble Reef” aka “Hot Rocks”.

 

Bubble Reef

Frogfish Portrait – Photo of the Day

This photo is a from a great site that I haven’t visited for a while, Secret Bay in the far north west of Bali in the town of Gilimanuk.  Secret Bay is a great muck diving location with lots of critter action including many resident frogfish such as this bright orange clown frogfish, Antennarius pictus, which was sitting perfectly in a sponge.  Photo taken with a Nikon D7000 in an Aquatica Housing with Sea and Sea strobes, f36, 1/250 and 60mm lens.

Frogfish Portrait

Story Behind the Shot – Conger and Sponge

Conger Eel

One of the cool things about spending a lot of time photographing in a place like Lembeh Strait is the fact you can bump into just about anything at any time. One of the stranger creatures I ran into happened to be when I was actually shooting wide angle and it was the perfect lens for the situation. When I first looked at the animal I thought it was a snake eel (it actually could be!) but after much looking around in fish books I actually think it’s a bigeye conger eel (Ariosoma anagoides) However, it’s not the eel itself that is of interest in this photo but rather the environment that the eel has chosen to live in. As is obvious, the eel is surrounded by dozens of tubular sponges in an otherwise rather barren stretch of sand and it blends in almost perfectly! I was very happy at this point in time to have brought my wide angle lens as only a wide angle photography could truly show the environment that the eel was living in. Now the question that immediately came to my mind when I saw the situation was: “Did the eel know that the sponges were similar in shape to it? Or was it just a fluke of positioning?” And that is the question that I ask the readers of this blog, what do you think? Was it a case of perfect planning by a cunning and intelligent animal or purely coincidence?  Let us know in the comments

Aquatica D90, Sea and Sea Strobes, 10.5mm lens with 2xTC, f13, 1/13

Photo of the Day – Andiamo Reef

As we have recently returned from Raja Ampat on a thoroughly enjoyable liveaboard trip (Trip Report is here) with great friends and superb diving, we are slowly processing our photos and presenting them on our social media channels.  One of the highlights of our Raja trip was the dive site “Andiamo”, in the Daram island group in the SE Misool area, which is absolutely chock a block with bright and beautiful soft corals as well as plenty of fish life.  Andiamo is one of my favourite sites in all of Raja Ampat due to the variety of terrain it offers – a blue water pinnacle, a sandy flat, steep coral covered walls, a current swept ridge, and an amazing “channel” that splits the two islets of the dive site.  I could dive this site (and the neighbouring sites in the Daram group) all day every day and not get bored of the myriad photo opportunities.  One of the biggest challenges I always encounter (anywhere in Raja really) is capturing a decent shot of the brilliant red coral trouts that are common to the area, on this shot I think I actually captured one with a compelling foreground and background subject.  Stay tuned for more Raja, Ambon, and Banda Sea images from our epic series of Underwater Tribe trips over the past 4 weeks in eastern Indonesia.

 

Soft Corals and Grouper Andiamo