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Folks, as you know, Silke and I dipped our toes into the ocean once or twice this Sabbatical. But Lembeh deserves an own chapter. It's called the Muck Diving world capital. It has less nudis but so many cephalopods, frogfish and all kinds ot pipefish.
How diving changed for us
After so many hours underwater, we started to optimize our diving:
Nitrox for the win
For example, here, diving with Nitrox is important to squeze out that extra 10min on 25m depth to spot critters, avoiding getting into DECO.
Diving Group Considerations
Also diving group size matters. Two spotters plus one shooter are ideal to have the photographer (in our case Silke) busy at all times.
Of course we have an unwritten no-need-to-show-me list that includes common nudibranchs, turtles, shrimps, etc. We might actually sometimes "distract" other diver photographers by showing them other animals so they don't lenghtily block us from shooting our favourites.
I know, this might sound snobby but at the rate we're diving, one gets desensitized. Common sealife is still nice to look at but we have 60-75min per dive and we want to get the most out of it.
Also crucial are masks - that ideally aren't eaten by mice overnight... but at least, the dive center gifted us one night dive as courtesy. You want as clear a mask as possible. We use baby shampoo, rub it in and only in the water rinse it once and try to clear the mask underwater as rarely as possible.
Remember your ear
Another important thing are ears. We get infections, a lot. Currently Silke is at 3 and I'm at 5... So we suggest using Ehmsh drops as prevention and non-ototoxic Panotile Cipro 1mg (Ciprofloxacin) as remedy. And after each dive, wash our the ears with fresh water.
Remember your gear
Also you might know the diving gear mnemonic aids like
"Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy" or "Bruce Willis Rules All Films"...
Since we also bring Computers, Cameras, Torches, Pointers, even Clam shells (to play with coconut octopus), we might require an extended mnemonic aid. If you have an idea, let us know in the comments!
For us, spotting animals isn't like going through a checklist. We're deeply immersed. Even an otherwise boring looking animal can be doing beautiful morning gymnastics or finding that one curious octopus that likes to play with shells, grab your finger or pointer. After all this time, diving feels more like coming home than going away.
A word about Octopus
So if you're like me, you love them. And Lembeh is an octopus heaven, so you must visit.
Blue ringed, Mototi, Coconut, Algae, Long Armed, Starry Night, Mimic, Wonderpus, Hairy. They are all here (though the last one didn't want to show himself to us, yet).
If you're even more like me, you study how to spot them before even your guide does. So here is my take after a quite good track record:
With a clear mask, look about 4-5m out. Usually, you can see their head shape above the sand or rubble. E.g. Blue ringed octos stretch out like a vertical pill. But when approaching too quickly, they disappear into the sand. So just memorize and look for the shape and approach slowly.
Mimic/Wonderpus are harder. either find their hole (it's usually perfectly drilled) and wait for them to come up. Or they're out and you recognize the shape of their stretched out arms, even though perfectly camouflaged. Sometimes, their eyes are flashing but i have not spotted one by using this trait, yet.
Ok, so here are some photos from Lembeh. We'll definitely come back to this amazing place. See you next time!
The cutest two Pygmy Cuttlefish
Hottehüüs! 06.10.2022, 18:16:01