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Tag / underwater photos

This is the follow up to the previous post on the first set of underwater photos taken at Anilao. I also talked a little bit on the accommodation and food while we were there.

Here are another set of 10 underwater photos taken during the trip that I thought worthy of sharing.  Your comments and critics are very much welcomed. 🙂

a pair of Coleman Shrimps
a pair of Coleman Shrimps, Mato Point

We saw this pair of Coleman shrimps resting in the middle of a fire urchin. These creatures are pretty difficult to spot since they camouflage so well with the surrounding. The bigger shrimp is female, and from what I heard they might provide manicure service if you place your finger closer to them. We did not try that.

yellow frogfish, Basura
yellow frogfish, Basura

This was the first frogfish we saw at the dive site Basura, the little bugger is about 3-4 inches in length. The yellow submarine did not like to move much, and when it does it was a very awkward walk. Very fascinating.

a very tiny clown frogfish
a very tiny clown frogfish, Basura

Not far from the spot where we found the yellow frogfish sits this really tiny clown frogfish, a juvenile that was no bigger than 2 centimeters. If this thing isn’t the definition of cute I don’t know what is.

leaf scorpionfish, Mato Point
leaf scorpionfish, Mato Point

The leaf scorpionfish is another master of disguise. They don’t move much and blends very well with the surrounding and apparently can eat preys as big as half its body length.

porcelain crabs on coral, Basura
porcelain crabs on coral, Basura

A pair of porcelain crabs making an anemone as their home. They are not actually “true crab” but shares the same body plan as squat lobster. True crabs have 4 pairs of legs, these tiny crustaceans have only 3. They were about 2-3 cm in length and rather active.

red lionfish, Dead Palm
red lionfish, Dead Palm

Lionfish are found all on pretty much every dive site we went to in Anilao. While its venomous spines can be pretty intimidating, lionfish are usually quite shy and will try to swim away if you go close.

red lionfish, Arthur's Reef
red lionfish, Arthur’s Reef

Another closer look at the red lionfish.

pufferfish, Basura
pufferfish, Basura

Pufferfish is another family of fishes that’s widely found here. This one was trying to hide itself by ruffling up some sand, camera shy I guess?

pygmy seahorse, Dead Palm
pygmy seahorse, Dead Palm

This little bugger is one of the hardest creatures to find and photographed. They’re only about 1 cm in length and looked almost exactly like the coral in which they hide. To make things even more interesting, they are usually found pretty deep, this one at 28-29 meter.

purple tip tube anemone, Arthur's Reef
purple tip tube anemone, Arthur’s Reef

A common species of anemone found at most sites at Anilao, staring at one top down and close up gives me a pretty surreal feeling. (reminds me of the plastic bag scene in American Beauty)

Till another dive trip! Hope you enjoy these photos.

The biggest appeal of diving to me is the calmness I get when underwater, listening to nothing but the breath that I take and the bubbles flowing out from the regulator, the sense of weightlessness and the ability to move about without restriction in 3 dimension. It is a form of freedom you never get on land.

The magnificent seascape and underwater creatures, well, they are just a huge bonus. While no picture can convey that sense of liberty, here are some underwater pictures I took from various dive sites at Similan Islands.

My gears were Olympus E-PL3 with the underwater housing coupled, Inon UWL 100 & Dome port, and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 external flash.

swim through, Deep Six
swim through, Deep Six

I logged 14 dives over 4 days of diving living aboard M/V Vilai Samut operated by Liquid Adventure. (previous year experience here). The boat departs from Khao Lak at night, so night one started before day one. The sites we went to were:

Day 1:

  • Stone Henge
  • Deep Six
  • West of Eden
  • West of Eden (night)
Day 2:
  • Elephant Rock
  • Koh Bon
  • Koh Bon
  • Ko Tachai (night)
Day 3:
  • Richelieu Rock
  • Richelieu Rock
  • Ko Tachai
  • Koh Bon (night)
Day 4:
  • Koh Bon Pinnacle
  • Bon Soon Wreck

tiny black reef fish atop table coral
tiny black reef fish atop table coral at West of Eden

We were lucky to have excellent visibility of at least 30-40 meters in more than 70% of the dives, and had at least 20 meters in the rest of the dives too. Comparing with Pulau Sembilan/Lumut’s 5-10 m visibility…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics, and say no to shark’s fins!

giant spiny lobster, night dive at West of Eden
giant spiny lobster, night dive at West of Eden

sea snake, Koh Bon
sea snake, Koh Bon

the reef at Koh Bon
the reef at Koh Bon

clown fish in anemone, night dive at Elephant Rock
clown fish in anemone, night dive at Elephant Rock

an unmoving cuttle fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
an unnerving cuttle fish, night dive at Elephant Rock

lion fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
lion fish, night dive at Elephant Rock

Dave convincing a lion fish to pose for him, Richelieu Rock
Dave convincing a lion fish to pose, Richelieu Rock

cleaner shrimps, Richelieu Rock
cleaner shrimps, Richelieu Rock

chevron barracudas, Richelieu Rock
chevron barracudas, Richelieu Rock

star fish on coral, night dive at Koh Bon
star fish on coral, night dive at Koh Bon

boxer shrimp, night dive at Koh Bon
boxer shrimp, night dive at Koh Bon

porcupine fish, Bon Soon wreck
porcupine fish, Bon Soon wreck

Bon Soon wreck
Bon Soon wreck

ghost pipe fish, Bon Soon wreck
ghost pipe fish, Bon Soon wreck

Olympus E-PL3

Pulau Lang Tengah is an island sandwiched between the more popular Redang and Perhentian islands, approximately 20+ km from Merang Jetty, which itself is roughly half an hour’s drive from Kuala Terengganu.

Our trip was organized and led by DM/Instructor/UW Photographer extraordinaire Edvin Eng, who was also the first DM Terence and I dived with back in 2004, a whopping 7 years ago.

Lang Tengah with a bunch of jokers
and Derek is now a certified diver, by Edvin the man

Edvin is always one of my favorite dive leaders, the dude  is a joker on ground, but serious and attentive underwater. He also has an eye in spotting weird and wonderful creatures underwater, which is good. However, the very same guy also always poison us in underwater photography equipments, which might or might not be a good thing.

the resort at Lang Tengah
the resort at Lang Tengah, with Derek and Terence camwhoring

The main purpose of the trip was actually to get Derek certified as a PADI Open Water diver, for those of you who are interested to get into this hobby, Edvin is as good as any instructor you can get, you can find him at oceanxplorer.com.my

disco colored anemone
disco colored anemone, true story

We left at around 1 am from KL on Thursday night and arrived at Kuala Terengganu in the morning just in time for a breakfast of roast duck noodle before hopping on the transfer boat at Merang jetty.

We did a shore dive right after lunch, at the same time Derek was getting his exams. The shore dive at Lang Tengah wasn’t anything to shout about, visibility was close to 10 meter, there were corals, giant clams, and the various fishes, including clown fish, of course.

anemone at lang tengah
some sort of anemone?

giant clam
giant clam, good for 100 plates of char kueh teow

We went on a boat dive after tea time, and there were much more to see here. Plenty of coral banded shrimps, red shrimps, moray eel, scorpion fish, and more.

banded coral shrimp
banded coral shrimp

red shrimp among the corals
red shrimp among the corals

moray eel
a pretty small and shy moral eel hiding in its hole

scorpion fish at lang tengah
can you spot the fish?

We were dead tired from previous night’s driving and the 2 dives, and everyone headed to bed and pretty much passed out before 10 pm.

For the last three dives on second day, I had the luxury of using the combination of INON UWL 100 and the DOME unit with my S90 (in Ikelite housing and lit by Sea & Sea YS-01).

Since there are already quite a few photos in this post, I’ll delay the second batch on the next post. By the way, Selamat Hari Raya to all my Muslim friends, and to everyone else, Happy Merdeka!