11-29: Misool

Dive #1: Magic Mountain
When we arrived at the deeper pinnacle there were two mantas swimming through the cleaning station, but they both swam off when we got closer and never returned. So we spent much of our dive at 70’, puttering around and waiting for the mantas to show up again. They never did, but our safety stop was lovely. The light was gorgeous and the current perfect enough to have fish all over the place.

Life at seventy feet


Coral and fish at twenty feet

Between Dive-Nursery School
Julie Edwards is amazing at spotting small fish at the base of her bungalow. First was yesterday’s pipe horse, and today it was juvenile frogfish in a sargassum. Then they found another frogfish. Then a shrimp. Then another frogfish. Then a pipefish. Soon the entire resort was in the water, searching through leaves for tiny little fish and catching little swimmers in their cupped hands to return them to the leaves.

Searching through sargassum

Sangut and Evvy

Eric and Alex, taking pictures of juvenile wrasse

One of the frogfish got away so I scooted it back with my hands, which was a pretty incredible experience. I kept thinking, “I have a FROGFISH in my hands!”

It’s amazing, the number of things that were living in this small collection of branches and leaves. It makes you realize how many little lives are wasted when someone throws the leaves out of the water and into the bushes.

They collected a small sampling of marine life in a bucket/Tupperware container to show Sasha and Lauren, the resorts’ most passionate dive masters. Even as they collected them, the group was very concerned that (a) they wouldn’t be in the container for long, and (b) that they be returned to the sargassum rather than released in the water. We are an extremely considerate and conversationalist group.

Collecting little guys

Sargassum Nursery

There’s a teeny orange frogfish right in the middle of this shot. Isn’t he cute?

In Our Juvenile Nursery:
Flying fish
Trumpet fish
Bubble shells (per Eric: “shitloads of sea slugs”)
Sargassum frogfish
Normal frogfish (lost to the ocean)

Dive #2: Yilliet
We started in the strong current but then re-routed to a few bommies that were current free. I entertained myself finding nudibranches on the bommies and also watching two big lionfish swim around.


Big nudi

Lion fish

Forty minutes in Evvy tugged on my sleeve – she wanted me to swim with her IMMEDIATELY. I knew this wasn’t for a nudibranch, so as soon as she took off I quickly followed behind. Even better than nudi or a lionfish, Evvy had found a nice sized octopus swimming around the reef. We sat and watched it for a good thirty minutes as it emerged from its hole, got cleaned, and took off touring the rock and the reef. On its trip in and around the reef, the octopus changed colors and textures about fifty different times; and that’s being conservative.

I had just enough battery to get one video – but this was before it started swimming around the reef. Here’s a photo of the video and where the octopus is in the shot. Obviously, he’s in the red square.

Now watch the video and see how he changes colors (around :26 and :45)

Resort Pics
Just some shots I took around the resort:

One of our juvenile black tip shark in the shallows

Shells on the dock

Pretty Shells

The dive shop, and Andy’s boat – Andy lived on another nearby island so this is how he commuted every day

Dive #3: Tank
When we arrived at Tank the water was rippling around it like a raging river: serious current. So we dropped in on the north side and stayed on the protected side of the rock. There were loads of fish and we’ve decided it’s called “Tank” not because the rock looks like a tank, but because diving there is like swimming in a fish tank. Beautiful!

Sangut found another example of his blenny (from 11.26) and came to find me so I could take a picture of it. Unfortunately the little guy wasn’t coming out of his hole for any reason, so all I got was his head.

Sangut’s blenny is hard to see, but it’s on the very bottom, right of center. With a little green on its head.

Sangut’s finger, pointing out a soft coral crab

The body of an eel. Its head was deep in some coral. Never could find it.

Post-dive Chilling
Evvy and I spent some time on our deck, as we do every evening, and then I followed Don and Eric down to the restaurant area so they could set up their time-lapse sequences of the stars. I told Eric – because I was thinking of it earlier – that I don’t know how we became such good friends after the Sardine Run, but I’m so glad we did. He’s had a huge, wonderful impact on my life and has opened my eyes to new trips, places, and people. Whatever friendship gods were shining on me that day – they were certainly in a good mood.

Anyway, I was showing Nana my video of the manta rays and the next thing I knew we were surrounded by photographers who wanted to see this video… and that video… and this photo… and that photo… They oohed and aaahed over some of my topside photos which made me feel so good becuase these people are so talented with their cameras. My photos must seem like snapshots but they were sweet to even be interested.

Misool Eco-Resort at night