One of the creatures I always dreamed of seeing while diving is the manta ray. I often thought about traveling to Yap where the island is “well known” for manta encounters. I was therefore, very pleased when one of the dives during our trip to Komodo was at a site known as “Manta Point” or “Torolengkoy” While our dive guide would not guarantee manta sightings, he was pretty confident that we would get to see some of these majestic animals. These dives would make up for the very sparse Komodo Dragon encounters that we had on the island of Komodo…
Here are some of my manta photographs
We had a rather incredible honeymoon, spent in large part, under the waters in and around Komodo. This is by no means a full trip report, but for anybody interested, we stayed aboard the Archipelago’s Adventurer II, which had spacious cabins, incredibly friendly helpful crew, and delicious meals. If you are a diver, and are looking for a luxury liveaboard, I highly recommend this operation.
This was my first time in the waters of Indonesia, and it was really great. While I personally cannot say that the diving was so great that I’ll never dive the Caribbean again, I am thankful for this perspective, as Indonesia is a very long way from home!
There is a lot of life in the Indonesian waters. In fact, in the following picture, the black and green nudibranch (Nembrotha Cristata) was not even seen by me when I was taking the picture! That says something about the abundance of life in the waters, my abilities to spot critters and my abilities as a photographer (i.e., there is a lot of luck involved in getting a nice picture).
Here we see a Caribbean Reef shark, eying my camera. Or perhaps, eying me. The focus is all wrong because the eye is blurry. However, I thought it was an interesting shot nonetheless.
The “typical” way to shoot a starfish is to focus right down on top of it, so you can see all five arms.
Instead of shooting an ordinary shot, I decided it would be nice to get a picture with the background of “eel grass.” In this way, it appears as though my starfish is sitting on the lawn. Enjoy.
I was doing a shallow dive, and noticed this Parrot Fish going after something. I am pretty sure its an urchin. There were no other players on the field, so I guess the spines were somewhat protective….
The urchin is in the lower left.
Fish, recognizing the photographer, smiles.
Here are a few more shots of the sharks we saw in the Bahamas. The photos of me were taken by Colleen and are the first pictures she has taken underwater with the dSLR camera. So far, both of us are shooting as if we had a large point and shoot digicam, but we’re taking fun pictures nonetheless!
The above photo is among my favorites. I just like the way that both pectoral fins are showing as well as the eye.
Well, I’ve written about going to the Bahamas to dive with the sharks, and I’ve posted a few photos, but I thought more pictures of the animals would be appreciated. People have been asking, “Are those great white sharks?” And the answer is, no. They are carribbean reef sharks. MAYBE they are grey reef sharks, but I don’t know if that is the case.
Other people ask, “Are those man eating sharks?” and the answer is, No. They are reef sharks. There really are no “man eating sharks” if by “man eating” one means a species that regularly makes man part of its diet. Sharks don’t eat people, though on occasion they do take an exploratory bite, and the bigger the shark the bigger the bite. Unlike other animals (certain tigers, mosquitoes), sharks rarely attack people. It happens, of course, but rarely. Dogs attack people too. Hippopotami attack people. People attack people. There is nothing especially dangerous about sharks. People fear them because of media hype. People fear them because when people swim in the ocean, they are no longer the top of the food chain. People fear them because they are hard to see when one is swimming in the water. And, then, there is Jaws, which ruined the ocean for at least two generations of people!
In any event, the shark is a beautiful animal that has been around for hundreds of millions of years. As the apex predator, it helps keep our oceans healthy. Sharks are being destroyed, and the harm to the ecosystem cannot be readily predicted, but can easily be imagined. Entire food chains are collapsing. For want of sharks, the ray populations explode. Too many rays, and the population of scallops is destroyed. If you make yoru living selling scallops, and there are none to be found, you can thank the overfishing of sharks. Of course, you are then probably killing rays and cutting them up into discs and calling them Scallops (yes folks, this does happen), but the point is, messing with an ecosystem is never a good thing.
Enough preaching, and here are some pictures!
These creatures are quite odd looking. A remora typically attaches itself to a larger fish, shark, ray or turtle. Perhaps they eat the bits of food that their traveling companions drop. Typically they do not harm the host, but occasionally, they may congregate around the gills and cause a problem. So if you ever stumble upon a sluggish manta or whale shark with a bunch of these suckers on their gills, give a hand and remove them by grabbing the head and pushing back toward the tail. 🙂
And here it is in profile form. You can see the “sucker” on top of its head. And yes, that is the top of its head even though it looks like it is swimming upsidedown.
And, finally here is the Remora with his “sneaker tread” fully exposed. This is the part that sucks onto its ride.
These pictures were taken with a 60mm macro lens. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them!