11-24: Misool

Julian Cohen took pity on my little, flashless point-and-click and gave me a detached strobe (aka external flash) to take on my dives. “You have two weeks to improve your pictures.” Yay! A project!

Camera and Julian’s strobe
Dive #1: Nudi Rock
Thus named because it looks like a nudibranch from above the water
Strong current, which was fine since there was plenty to see around 25-40 feet.
Gorgeous pink anemones with anemone fish
Sea horses
Frog fish
Intriguing little sea slug that posed nicely for some photos

Dive briefing

See that yellow blobby thing on the left of center? That’s a frogfish

Pretty coral and fish

Anemone Fish

Brown-banded pipefish


Pretty nudi

Dive Interlude
When we returned to the resort the tide was out so far that the reef in our little bay was exposed above water. This made for a fun little trip into the bay for photos.


Raja Ampat sky

Misool Eco Resort


Dive #2: House Reef
Dove right off the jetty of the resort. Immediately below the dock was teeming with life. I spent the time fiddling with Julian’s strobe since – as he suggested – “Best to try it on something that doesn’t move while you get the hang of it.” So a helpless little sea star was subjected to an inordinate amount of flashy light. Interestingly enough, the first picture was the best.

At one point I turned around to look for Evvy and realized she’d given up on me and left with Sangut. With one turn of camera equipment I’d turned into an Underwater Photographer – aka “the worst type of dive buddy”- and completely lost track of my buddy. But she showed up later, safe and sound.

Dive briefing

Pretty coral

Pretty coral

Anemone Fish

Dive #3: Diving in Bungalow #5
I opted out of the third dive, choosing instead to sit on the porch of our bungalow and nap. The last few days of travel and racing and diving had been a bit hectic. I craved quiet time with my book, so I told Sangut I would sit out the last dive. “So you’re diving from your room?” He joked. Yes – diving from my room! I read. I sat in the sun for 20 minutes, and the rest of the time in the shade, napping and reading intermittently.

Dive jetty

Dive boats

Path to our the bungalows

Pretty flowers

Dusk Dive on the House Reef
I dove with Don – who reminds me of my brother Pat in terms of size, wit, and facial expressions – along the house reef. Nothing dramatic to report, though I did do more playing with Julian’s strobe. There’s a lot of work required, because it has to be positioned at the correct angle and the correct distance, and then I have to hold the camera steady with my other hand. And then try to do all of this with a subject that moves. And try not to wipe out the entire reef while I do it. Oh – and I’m in the dark. Not so easy but I’m pleased with what I have.


Flat fish

Healthiest Reefs in the World
Indonesia has what’s considered the “healthiest reefs in the world”. I’m sure there are a number of scientific reasons for this claim to fame, but I tend to think it’s because Indonesia is so difficult for Westerners to get to that it hasn’t had the opportunity to be over-dived. Over-fished, yes, and Misool Eco-Resort is doing everything they can to protect the area. But it’s not full of dozens of dive boats the way the Red Sea or Australia is. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of liveaboards and some days we’d wake up to see 3-4 in our skyline. But still. These reefs aren’t trashed by divers on them every single day. The benefit of this is an abundance of stunning dive sites, fish populations, and all within close proximity to each other. None of my pictures will do these reefs justice, so instead I’m pilfering one of Eric’s to demonstrate:

Stunning, isn’t it?