New Camera, First Two Dives
I was finally back in the water, replacement camera in hand.
Flooding a camera is a terrible experience. I had avoided that feeling for over a decade, but when you dive with a camera in a plastic box under pressure, it is only a matter of time until the inevitable happens. Only a few drops of seawater into all those electronics and everything is fried: camera, lens and battery. Aaaargh!! I didn't even know how it happened, exactly, beyond the obvious salt water vs electronics thing.But you pick yourself up after grieving for a suitable period, take a deep breath, spend all those hard-earned dollars it takes to get back on that merry-go-round, get replacement gear (in my case, an Olympus E-PL7 and the 12-50 zoom macro lens), and rejoin the mass obsession / madness known as underwater photography.
I had missed great sightings; hearing of all these cool critter encounters day after day makes you happy for the guests, but I was missing some really special opportunities for great pictures. Once I was sorted and had tested my housing in the pool as well as on the House Reef, I was good to go. I dragged Jek & Bobby along to Pantai Parigi, where they were seeing a pair of mototi octos along with a bluering. I also wanted to hunt for a larger mototi as well as another bluering at Air Prang. Octopus don't stay in the same area for long, so I decided to concentrate on them over searches for known harlequin shrimp, frogfish, and other personal favorites in play at that time.
So we swam straight to the proper area and within a minute Bobby found the bluering. The very first shot I took with my new set-up is at the top of the page. Then within another minute or so, Jek spotted a small mototi only a meter or so away. I took some pictures as they both moved around. They even came within reach of each other at one point, but studiously ignored each other. Neither found any suitable prey, but I could not complain as it was a great start.
Next we popped over to Air Prang. I found some C. tenue nudis, Bobby spotted a brown painted frogfish, and there wasn't much else. The site was already going "cold". No mototi or bluering that were seen only days earlier. But while circling a bit deeper (10 m.), Jek beckoned me to come check something he found. He had found a pair of small spotfin frogfish and while he watched, one turned and inhaled the other! He immediately swam off to find me, but on returning we were presented with an odd sight: the butt-end of a rather round post-feeding frogfish sticking out of the sand, thrashing wildly.We surmised that a snake ell (a wee snake eel) had grabbed it and was dragging it under the sand. Jek gently used his stick to lever it free (we favor frogfish unashamedly). It sat there on the sand and as I took some pictures I noticed something sticking out of its lower jaw. Because of the small size, I wasn't sure what is was, but on seeing my pictures later it was obvious what had happened.
The frogfish had a spearing appendage ("arm") from a mantis shrimp stuck into it. A real pain-in-the-neck. Jek had somehow levered the arm off the mantis. The mantis undoubtedly noticed that he had a 2-for-1 opportunity above him and speared the sated frogfish ambitiously. Then we came along and ruined his dinner plans. We hope the crustacean survives. Just as we hope that the small froggie survives. Nature in action.