Blog Log 17 November 2010: Cold and stormy monsoon dive!

Date November 15, 2010

reliable chromodoris fidelis

Lots of critters in Hantu despite heavy rains throughout the week and while we were out at sea today! Never a dull day at Hantu! (Above: Reliable chromodoris – we saw a few of these little slugs)

Blue Dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina)

I was well and truly bummed for messing up some preparations with my camera. I put the right camera into the wrong housing. It didn’t fit perfectly (like it’s supposed to) but I didn’t bother with it and took the camera down for a dive anyway. When it failed to switch on while I was on the dive, I was perplexed. When I surfaced, I looked and the housing and slapped myself on the forehead. I was lucky the camera didn’t flood. The pictures in this blog show you some of the critters we saw out of the reef today. (Above: Blue Dragon nudibranch)

Swimmer crab

There were plenty of swimmer crabs up and about. They were very skittish through and made a quick dash into a any crevice nearby when divers tried to approach them for a photograph.

Icon seastar

The intriguing and very unique Icon Seastar made quite a few appearances on the reef today. We even found one with a Blue dragon nudibranch on top of it! I really regretted not having packed my camera right when we had that encounter.

Razor fish

Though razorfish are common in the region, they are still a delight for divers in local reefs! One of the divers with me today commented that it was such a thrill to see these fishes right here in Singapore, in home ground (or in home waters, rather!) I thought: What’s cooler than seeing a cool critter? Seeing a cool critter in your own backyard of course! It’s amazing how these simple fishes can bring so much pleasure and pride to divers.

Honeyhead damsel juv.

Some of these young Honeyhead Damsels were out and about on the reef. They are very conspicuous and sky. Unfortunately, they lose the “shy” trait when they get older. Adult Honeyhead damsels can be a real terror on the reef. Extremely territorial, they will not hesitate to nip divers in the ankles or heads even, if divers stray too close to their “algae gardens”.

Ocellate pipefish
We spotted one tiny little Ocellate pipefish just before we surfaced from our first dive.
2 Phyllidia sea slugs
Small Phyllidia sea slugs look like encrusting coral or even sponges or ascidians! But they can get really huge if they manage to survive the trials of the reef!
Chromodoris lineolata
I didn’t manage to get a photo of these critters today, thank goodness WildSingapore has some pictures I can borrow and share! We saw three of these fantastic sea slugs on the reef today. Just look at those intricate gills on their backs! Like little blossoms!

Although the weather wasn’t great, it was very satisfying to have gone out on the boat with 2 cynical divers, 2 enthusiastic explorers, and 2 experienced guides, and to have returned with 6 very elated and excited divers who couldn’t stop talking about the stuff they saw today, and how they never expected it. I’m stoked. Looking forward to next Sunday for yet another dive right here in Singapore. Who’d have thought a country with the world’s busiest port could also have such amazing reef and marine life. Believe it.

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