The Komodo Chronicles – Part 6 – The Muck, And Nothing But The Muck

When I last made an entry, we were muck diving in Bima Harbour, on the island of Sumbawa. The morning had a shaky start, what with the fish bombing that rocked our world, at least for several minutes.

As I wrote before, fortunately the detonations eventually ceased, and the rest of our dive day was much more peaceful.

Rather than describing the next two dives with words, I thought I would instead share a sampling of some of the really crazy stuff that lives in the muck of Indonesia, and I’ll add some expanded descriptions to give a sense of the size of these critters.

I shot all of the following images during two daytime dives, with a 105mm macro lens, in manual focus, with dual DS 125 strobes.  I am going to share the images in the order that I shot them – hopefully this will give you an idea of what a good muck dive can cough up…

Awooosh.com Images:  Upside Down Jellyfish - Cassiopea sp.

Upside Down Jellyfish – Cassiopea sp.
This thing was about 3 inches across and, mantle side down, just lay on the bottom pulsing. I am used to seeing jellyfish motating through the water column, so at first thought this one might be giving up the ghost…

A pair of Spiny Tiger Shrimp - Phyllognathia ceratophthalmus.Very small - about 3/4 of an inch long.

A pair of Spiny Tiger Shrimp – Phyllognathia ceratophthalmus.
Very small – about 3/4 of an inch long. I had seen (and photographed) one Tiger Shrimp previously, in Lembeh. They are not a common subject and we were all pretty excited to have a chance to photograph this pair.

Spotfin Frogfish - Antennarius nummifer

Spotfin Frogfish – Antennarius nummifer
Let the Frogfish Parade Begin. I have never seen so many frogfish on one dive. Crazy…
This froggie was about 3 inches long.

Painted Frogfish - Antennarius pictus

Painted Frogfish – Antennarius pictus

Eyed Sea Hare - Aplysia oculifera

Eyed Sea Hare – Aplysia oculifera
I’ve only seen sea hares in one other location – off the coast of Southern California. Those sea hares were quite a bit larger than this little one, which was about 3 inches long.

Flatworm Discodoris - Discodoris boholiensis

Flatworm Discodoris – Discodoris boholiensis
About 2.5 inches long

Mimic Octopus - Thaumoctopuys mimicus

Mimic Octopus – Thaumoctopuys mimicus
I don’t know if this was the same octopus that I photographed at the end of the first, kaboom dive. These octopuses are often very well camouflaged hunkered down in the muck, with just the top of their heads pointing up. It was awesome to see another one out on the reef. Mimics are about 12 inches across, arm tip to arm tip.

Warty Frogfish - Antennarius maculatus - Juvenile

Warty Frogfish – Antennarius maculatus – Juvenile

Thorny Seahorse - Hippocampus hystrix

Thorny Seahorse – Hippocampus hystrix
I am going to confess that I feel pretty guilty about photographing seahorses. They seem to really want to avoid the strong light from the strobes. My rule for myself is take not more than 3 pics, and then move on.

 Holthuis' Anemone Shrimp - Ancylomenes holthuisi

Holthuis’ Anemone Shrimp – Ancylomenes holthuisi
Less than an inch long. It looks to me like this shrimp has an egg mass in its abdomen.

Emma's Hypselodoris Nudibranch - Hypselodoris Emma

Emma’s Hypselodoris Nudibranch – Hypselodoris Emma
About an inch and a half long

Spiny Tiger Shrimp - Phyllognathia ceratophthalmus

Spiny Tiger Shrimp – Phyllognathia ceratophthalmus
At the beginning of this dive, I had the urge to go back and find the Tiger Shrimps again – such an unusual subject, and I wasn’t confident that my first shot(s) were all that great. When they were found again (a feat in low viz muck), they were no longer nicely teamed up together, so instead I decided to just go for a close up on a single.

Painted Frogfish - Antennarius pictus

Painted Frogfish – Antennarius pictus
What an amazing diversity of colours with this variety.

Chromodoris Kunei Nudibranch

Chromodoris Kunei Nudibranch
This is one of the more common Indo-Pacific nudibranchs – I’ve seen them several times on my travels in Asia. There are also one of the prettiest (at least to me). About an inch and a half long.

Crinoid Cuttlefish - Sepia sp 2

Crinoid Cuttlefish – Sepia sp 2
I am crazy about cuttlefish – love them all. These little Crinoid Cuttlefish are usually found hovering over crinoids (hence the name), or in this case, over a fire urchin. These are quite small, about two inches long.

Painted Frogfish - Antennarius pictus

Painted Frogfish – Antennarius pictus
Again with the frogfish. So many in Bima Habour…

Coleman Shrimp - Perclimenes colemani - 3/4 inch

Coleman Shrimp – Perclimenes colemani – 3/4 inch
These shrimps are usually found in pairs – the female is the larger of the two. They clear cut a swath on fire urchins, and make their home there. I must have looked at a hundred urchins before Michael called me over to see this couple that he found.

Urchin Shrimp

Urchin Shrimp
So, while I was checking out innumerable fire urchins, I found this little shrimp. It resembles the Brooks Urchin Shrimp that are coming up shortly, but the coloration is quite different, and I couldn’t find it in my ID reference book.

Bullock's Hypselodoris Nudibranch - Hypselodoris bullocki

Bullock’s Hypselodoris Nudibranch – Hypselodoris bullocki 
This was quite a large nudibranch (the first of this variety that I’ve seen) – about 2 inches long.

Brook's Urchin Shrimp - Allopontonia brooki

Pair of Brook’s Urchin Shrimp – Allopontonia brooki

Leopard Chromodoris Nudibranchs - Chromodoris leopardus

Leopard Chromodoris Nudibranchs – Chromodoris leopardus

Next up: A night dive in Bima Harbour, and then back to some gorgeous big blue diving…

 Chapters of the Komodo Chronicles:

Chapter 1 – Here We Be
Chapter 2 – Time to Rock and Roll
Chapter 3 – Champagne Diving and Nudibranch Dreams
Chapter 4 – Things That Go Bump in the Night
Chapter 5 – Getting Bombed in Bima
Chapter 6 – The Muck, And Nothing But The Muck
Chapter 7 – Rinse & Repeat
Chapter 8 – Back In The Blue

About Judy G Diver

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, I have always felt a strong connection to the sea. But for many years, I stayed on the surface, afraid of what lurked down deep. When I was in my early 30's, with three young children (aka the P's), my husband (aka Mr G) signed us up for a SCUBA certification course, as a surprise. Although I had my fears, my stubbornness prevailed, and somehow I made it through four murky, frigid, cold water dives in Vancouver to successfully pass the course. Soon after we went diving off the west coast of Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez, where my eyes were opened to the beauty and other-worldliness of the life down under. And the rest, as they say, is history. I currently have well over 2000 dives under the belt, and I have been fortunate to travel extensively in Asia, Australia, Fiji, Galapagos, Costa Rica, California, the Caribbean, Mexico and here in British Columbia. After shooting hefty DSLRs for many years, I just switched over to a groovy Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, in a Nauticam housing, with dual Sea & Sea strobes and a bag full of lenses. In addition to this blog and my personal website (Awoosh.com/Directory), which is linked at the top of the blog, my stuff has been widely published in a variety of magazines and websites, including an ongoing regular monthly feature on Scubadiving.com. All links to this work can be found in this blog.
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