Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mantas--they're like pigeons around here

We are definitely getting spoiled by the diving in Raja Ampat. Matt has joked that we should just sell all our dive equipment when we leave here.

Conrad and his pet turtle. The little guy had no fear (I mean the turtle).
Besides the fact that there seem to be big mantas everywhere, the coral and fish life is hands down the most abundant we have ever seen. We have been enjoying diving paradise with our friends on Field Trip.

Sarah from Field Trip
We did have a hiccup of sorts at a dive site called 'Blue Magic,' known for manta rays. We dove the site with Field Trip (and their guest Kerry). There was a 3-knot current as we were entering the water (it was a lot of effort to hold on to the dinghy and I could barely pull myself towards the anchor line from the back of the dinghy). We had read in the dive guide we had that dive boats sometimes tie a marker to the site to allow divers to descend together, so we anchored our dinghy on some dead coral at the bottom and descended.

After we had been down for a few minutes, the dive master from one of the live aboard dive boats started signaling to Mark of Field Trip and Matt that he wasn't happy we anchored there. His gesticulations indicated he was concerned that manta rays would possibly swim into the anchor line. As Matt had his head turned away to signal to the dispersed divers to come back to the line so we could leave, the dive master took out his knife and sawed through the dinghy line. Matt turned back in time to see the line (and dinghy) floating away. Luckily Kerry was able to grab onto the line in time and prevent it from flying free. The dingy anchor was recovered and everyone surfaced. Matt and I didn't realize until later that Sarah had stayed in the dinghy but if we had not caught the dinghy, it could have drifted along quite awhile, leaving scattered divers in the water.

We were livid and let the captain of the boat know how irresponsible the behavior of their dive master was. They seemed not to care. We always try and respect the local practice when we're diving, so had we known about the concerns for mantas we wouldn't have anchored the dinghy.  But we're still amazed at the overreaction of the dive master. We are also much more aware of the lengths that some people will go to.

Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words.

A type of sea cucumber (Colochirus robustus)

These guys are rare around here.
Matt is becoming an expert at spotting these Wobbegong sharks.
Another a Wobbegong shark.

A shrimp busily cleaning out this hole for the resident Goby fish.

The orange ball on our tow line is yummy.

Nudibranch (Phyllidia varicose)

These guys are so darn photogenic.


Trio of lionfish

This heron decided to park on our boat for a bit.
Note the proximity to the grill--makes you wonder if
he tastes like chicken
Conrad got this shot of him doing a mating call.
A view of mini-Wayag


  1. No wonder you have been totally blown away with these dive sites.....the sea critters are absolutely gorgeous. Good picture Conrad.

  2. FANTASTIC PICTURES ! Love from the Amelie IV crew


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