Thursday, 27 March 2008

Power packed Easter at Hantu Blog anniversary!

4 days after the anniversary, am still elated and energized from the series of dives we did on that day. Debby has already put up both a video log and photo blog entry of that day, and so has my bionic eyed buddy, CH. Now's my turn for my take of the day! *(^-^)*

The day started off seemingly like a regular day, with some of the guys reading the newspaper on our way to Hantu. Except that 7 guys and 5 girls were celebrating their Easter Sunday by going for a series of Hantu Blog anniversary dives!
IMG_3965 the start of the morning
Debby's blog entry shows photos of just how clear the water was on Sunday. That really was a HUGE and pleasant surprise for the 12 of us, with the storm the previous day and the overcast skies...

In we went, and how apt it was that the first critter sighting was this little Tambja sp.
IMG_3967 Tambja amakusana
The one we saw on Sunday

And guess what? I first saw this species during last year's Hantu anniversary dive!!! And with the same dive buddy too~~ Cool, eh?
Tambja tentaculata juv (jeff kwik ID)
Last year's one

Both CH and Debby have covered most of the things that we came across over the 4 dives done (plus this year was my turn to have my camera run outta juice), shan't talk too much about the stuff seen. Will just highlight what IXUS managed to capture before it died-ed....

First 2 dives yielded many many nudibranchs since our buddy pair plus guide made up the sexy seaslug seekers! Shall leave it to you to decide if the slugs or the trio of humans are the sexy ones ^^ Here's some of the other adorable sluggies we saw:
IMG_3978 Chromodoris sinensis perhaps IMG_3991 tiny nudi_Chromodoris sp. IMG_4005 prob Hypselodoris infucata IMG_4014 juv  Pteraeolidia ianthina IMG_4145 Phyllidia sp. IMG_4021 tiny Dorid nudi IMG_4100 Pteraeolidia ianthina IMG_4106 faded Phyllidia sp. IMG_4068 Hypselodoris bullockii
One of the more unusual was this small Janolus sp. that was really very well camouflaged in with the sand, as you can tell from these 2 shots. Debby managed to snap a shot of it on a barrel sponge here, and you can see the features more clearly.
IMG_4048 probably Janolus sp.
Facing the camera
IMG_4042 prob Janolus sp.
And now fleeing from the onslaught of cameras

Other interesting nudibranch happenings included this Gymnodoris rubropapulosa being caught in the act of laying down its precious little ribbon of orange eggs.
IMG_4060 Gymnodoris rubropapulosa laying eggs
and another individual of the same species making a meal of a Chromodoris lineolata...
IMG_4063 Gymnodoris rubropapulosa feeding on Chromodoris lineolata
The blue dragons (Pteraeolidia ianthina) were out in force as usual and this one was caught having a little "breeze" on a hydroid.
IMG_4109 Pteraeolidia ianthina on hydroid
Despite seeing a number of Hypselodoris emmas, this particular one really showed its mantle to us gigantic divers by giving me a quizzical look!
IMG_4105 Hypselodoris emma

Testimony to the brilliant visibility (even at 14m!!) were these shots of gobies.
IMG_3985 yellow goby IMG_3969 goby
Those of you who have encountered these bottom-dwelling fish would know how skittery they can get towards movement. But with the good visibility, I could stay a comfortable (for them) distance away yet manage to snap a few shots.

But the real star of the dives was this frogfish. First ever frogfish I've ever seen in fish-ness person, and it's while diving in our very own waters! No need for exotic overseas places! *w00t* Poor bloke was probably a tad bit traumatised byt all the excited divers taking turns to peer and oogle it~~ Do hope it continues to stay around!
IMG_4082 frogfish

We stopped on Hantu for a longer surface interval for lunch while Debby and a couple of strong men went back to get tanks for the 2 dives. This meant a much needed snooze time for a couple of tired young men while the rest of us went wild set out to do a mid/high tide intertidal walk.
IMG_4122 intertidal wading IMG_4123 intertidal wading
No, no suicidal thoughts were entertained during this time. We're just divers who just can't get enough of marine life or the sea!

Here's also when Mr Sun started to peek out of the clouds. IXUS died-ed like 15 minutes into the 3rd dive, so I'll just end here with a shot of the gorgeous sunset we saw before doing the night dive. What a way to spend Easter Sunday!
(Photo by JeeMee Goh)

Wanna see what I missed snapping? Here are the photos taken by:
(1) Hantu Blogger
(2) JeeMee (above water shots)
(3) CH

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