The weather in Indonesia was beautiful every day, but this day was near-perfect. White, puffy clouds in the distance and smooth, glass-like water as far as the eye could see. This was a day made for polarized lenses.
We had a packed dive schedule and – because of the number of live-aboards in the area – we had to dive 30 minutes earlier to make our dive sites before dozens of live-aboarders crashed down on our heads. (This is a funny comment, since often it’s the people in this group who are the live-aboarders. But for some reason we feel superior and obligated to our local dive sites.)
Dive #1: Boo Window
Boo was amazing. The current was light, but enough that fish were absolutely everywhere. We went down to 60’ to see some grey reef sharks swimming in the blue, then we gently paddled our way around the rest of the site. I gave up on macro in favor of hovering mid-water simply to look at the hundreds of fish around. I snapped a few pictures but my camera doesn’t do justice to the image of being surrounded by gorgeous, colorful schools of fish.
Fish and fish and fish and fish
Boo Window Bommie
Snails beneath our bungalow
Dive #2: Magic Mountain
There was a manta just beneath us when we arrived at Magic Mountain, so we dove in and slowly approached while it got cleaned. After it left we continued down to the deep pinnacle to find two other beautiful, big mantas coasting around. Again we kept our distance but eventually got nearer and nearer for some photos and videos – that’s when my memory card filled. There’s nothing quite like being at 60 feet, mantas swimming overhead, and frantically fiddling with the camera to delete images – ANY images – so there’s room to capture the mantas. Of course once I made space the mantas swam away.
We spent the last 30 minutes at 20-30 feet, just enjoying the hundreds of fish swimming about and looking under coral for black tip sharks and – as Evvy discovered – spotted rays.
Shark tails under a coral
Our boat from under water
Photography Equipment on Crack
Dive gear drying
Dive #3: Potato Point
I realized early on that – what we thought was Evelyn’s slight tank leak was actually MY tank leak. So my dive was accompanied by the steady thrum of bubbled exiting my primary stage.
A side photography note: my camera battery dies much faster if I have it in “display” mode so I turn the LCD off. As a result, most of the photos I’ve been taking have been somewhat blind because I simply stick the camera in whatever hole/crevasse/fan I’m photoing and hope for the best. But on this dive I kept the LCD display on and I have to say my photos are much better. Of course this makes perfect sense, but I didn’t realize that it was making THAT big of a difference.
Pink soft coral crab in the bottom left. He’s pink, so difficult to see but you can see his two little eyes.
Pygmy Sea horse
Snorkel around the House Reef
After the dive I did a quick snorkel around the house reef to get some pictures and to see what I could see.
Beneath the dive jetty – loads of fish
Baby fish of some sort
Blue spotted lagoon ray
After our third dive Eric and Don took their cameras and a bag of tuna fish from the kitchen into the lagoon to feed the baby blacktip shark . Evvy and I snorkeled in to watch, and counted five baby sharks who swam in for dinner. The “feeding frenzy” (more like lunchtime in the cafeteria) was interrupted briefly when Alexis brought in his video camera and proceeded to engage Don in some hilarious antics of setting it up underwater. Finally, it was feeding time again and the baby sharks came snack-hunting until the bag of tuna ran out. Don promised to try again tomorrow.
Evvy, Don, and Eric – feeding shark
The skyline in this part of the world is so clear and far, that every night we could see beautiful lightning storms in the distance. It made for some gorgeous pictures, especially for those photographers (not me) who had time-lapse photography options on their cameras. Here are Eric’s photos from his bungalow, facing east.
Thunderstorms in the distance