Photographing Pygmys in Raja Ampat

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Photographing Pygmys in Raja Ampat

Snapper--ScottUnderwater Photography Guide trip led by Scott Gietler, got underway in Sorong as we welcomed our 14 Americans, 1 Australian and 1 English guest. The first day was all about setting up dive equipment and of course most importantly, the cameras! Checking of lenses, strobes, charging batteries and all the other fiddling us photographers like to do was all managed as we started our journey to Misool area aboard the award winning Indo Siren!

Reef-Scene--ScottThe first day started very promising with sightings of wobbegong shark, banded sea snake, schooling batfish, 3 mobula rays cruising in formation at Baby Rock, bargibanti seahorses, barramundi, moray eels and so much more. To finish of the day diving Michael found a beautiful blue ringed octopus on the sunset dive at Yillit Kecil. Boo never disappoints with its resident bumphead parrot fish, schooling yellowtail and chevron barracudas, hunting trevalies, white tip reef shark, a hawksbill and a green turtle and oceanic triggerfish. Together with the Boo Windows this day was all a wide angle photographer would wish for. But even for the macro lover there was plenty to find including flatworms, nudis and even the pigmy squid! But who is Ben and where is Ross?

 

Batfish-ScottNudi Rock, our photographers had two things on their mind, pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipe fish. Macro, macro, macro! Not the easiest things to find, but our all-girl dive team stood up to the challenge. The bargibanti was the easiest to find and many pictures were taken. But in this area we really just want to see the very special Misool pygmy seahorse. We pulled out our secret weapon, eagle eyes Dince. The job is done. Our photographers collected pictures of 3 out of 4 much desired families of pygmy seahorses. Some were even lucky enough to have seen the very rare yellow bargibanti. Did I mention the batfish? Before leaving the Misool area we had to make a stop at Anti Chovy , this undersea mount is covered in a blanket of anchovies hunted by predators such as big eye jacks, giant trevallies, Spanish mackerel, snappers and tuna. No wonder it was chosen number 2 favorite dive site of the trip!

mantaReturning north to the Mansuar region, Arborek Jetty was not only voted best night dive site but also came number 3 on best day dives! A manta ray, crocodile fish, ornate ghost pipefish, schools of anchovies, epaulette shark, giant clams, glass fish and uncountable nudi’s; an awesome spot and very atmospheric too.
Manta Sandy was out next hot spot and we were treated to at least 8 mantas waiting in line for their turn at the cleaning station…. And if you couldn’t get enough of the mantas, you just jump in for some more manta feeding action. The new moon brought us some fast currents, but currents feed the fish and Kri was fishy fishy fishy, subsequently voted best dive of the trip! At Mioskon we completed our quartet of pygmy seahorses with the Pontohoi…. A real wish –list find!

wobbegong-sharkOn the last night everyone had the opportunity to show off their best pictures and what a stunning pictures they were. If we have to pick our most special one, it would probably be Eduardo’s yawning wobbegong shark. So all in all the weather was gorgeous, the diving spectacular and the guests most precious. Sampai jumpa lagi!
Nicole & the crew of the Indio Siren

 

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