Underwater Komodo

The snorkeling and diving around the Komodo islands was breathtaking, so I thought it deserved its own post/ photo exposition. Zev is far and away the superior underwater photographer, so most of these photos can be credited to his amazing breath-holding and underwater photography abilities.

After snorkeling a few sites on our trip with Mackenzie, we knew we couldn’t leave without doing at least some scuba diving. Unfortunately the budget was tight, so we settled for a day trip, three dives total. Given all of the hype surrounding diving in the Komodos, we were a little nervous to put all our eggs in one basket. What if one of us had to scratch a dive? What if we didn’t see what we hoped for? In the end, we agreed to relax and just go with the flow. We opted not to go looking for Mantas (we had come up ‘kosong‘ or empty on Manta dives many times before, and while it’s always thrilling to see the giant rays, the dive sites where they hang out can be deadly boring if they don’t make an appearance).

We were not disappointed by our one day of diving. The sites were challenging and incredibly rich with sea life. Some of the sites we visited are known for strong and variable currents, but we were surprised to find that our experience diving with currents off of Nusa Penida in Bali had adequately prepared us and we both felt fairly comfortable in the fast waters. During our dives we saw white and black tip sharks circling bright healthy reefs teeming with large schools of fish. The snorkeling alone made the Komodo islands one of our highlights of SE Asia, and the diving was really the icing on the cake.

Clown fish at Semaya Island. Snorkeling.

Clown fish family at Semaya Island, snorkeling.

Tiny nudibranch off Semaya Island. Snorkeling.

Tiny tiny nudibranch at Semaya Island, snorkeling. (Photo credit to EQ, finally a decent snorkeling shot!)

A giant pufferfish, snorkeling at Semaya Island.

A giant pufferfish, snorkeling at Semaya Island.

Can you spot the devil scorpion fish? Snorkeling, Angel Beach.

Can you spot the devil scorpion fish? Snorkeling, Angel Beach.

Crystal blue waters. At Cauldron, Komodo.

Crystal blue waters. A site called Cauldron/Shotgun, Komodo.

Giant trevally in the background. Snorkeling at Batubolong.

Giant trevally in the background. Snorkeling at Batubolong.

 

Cool looking box fish at Batubolong.

Cool looking box fish at Batubolong.

Snorkeling cousins, Zev and Mackenzie! At Batubolong.

Snorkeling cousins, Zev and Mackenzie! At Batubolong.

 

Mackenzie and her fellow researchers.

Mackenzie and her fellow researchers. Batubolong.

Snorkeling at Pink Sand Beach.

Snorkeling at Pink Sand Beach.

Blue spotted stingray, Pink Sand Beach.

Blue spotted stingray, Pink Sand Beach.

Diving Castle Rock.

Diving Castle Rock.

 

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A very pregnant shark at Castle rock.

A very pregnant shark at Castle rock.

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More sharks at Castle Rock!

More sharks at Castle Rock!

Schooling fish at Castle Rock, one of the most famous dive sites.

Schooling fish at Castle Rock, one of the most famous dive sites.

Sea turtle, diving at Tatawa Kecil.

Sea turtle, diving at Tatawa Kecil.

 

Another stunning sunset after a full day of diving.

Another stunning sunset off Flores.

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Celebrating Galungan in Bali, Snorkeling in Padang Bai

Last week was Galungan, an important holiday in Bali celebrating the victory of good (dharma) over evil (adharma). We went to a friend’s family home for the celebration. His family played dress-up with us to excellent effect.

Apparently my hair needed some intervention.

Apparently my hair needed some intervention.

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We tried durian for the first time. It was, um, interesting.

We tried durian for the first time. It was, um, interesting.

After making offerings.

After making offerings.

 

After making the rounds to the village temples and making offerings of incense and flowers, we headed to White Sand Beach for a swim and a long nap. 😀

A surreal full moon rising over White Sand Beach, Candidasa.

A surreal full moon rising over White Sand Beach, Candidasa.

A few days later, we headed to Blue Lagoon at Padang Bai, one of our favorite snorkeling spots. We found the same group of gregarious clownfish from our previous snorkeling trip. This time I had my new underwater camera, a wonderful birthday gift from Zev. Admittedly, my photos are not great, but trying to photograph a flitting fish while holding your breath 4 meters beneath the surface and swimming against the current is challenging to say the least.

This is the second time I've found this adorable family of clown fish.

This is the second time I’ve found this adorable family of clown fish.

Zev got the best photograph of the day, the family of clown fish was practically mugging for the camera. His ability to dangle upside down over the reef while photographing the creatures left me green with envy.

 

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Another family of clown fish, these guys were in such a beautiful purple anemone.

Another family of clown fish, these guys were in such a beautiful purple anemone.

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Happy Galungan, Easter, Passover!