Reef Diving in Wakatobi

January 7, 2018

During the arctic freeze here in the Midwest over the holidays, I spent a fair amount of time reviewing most of the 1900+ videos I shot in Wakatobi.  Reviewing takes a while as I run through each clip a few times.  First, I try to identify the obvious things…fish.  It is educational and I can certainly use the practice, but it can take quite a bit of time as I get lost, sometimes, reading fun facts on Wikipedia, Fish Base and similar sites.  Perhaps (hopefully?) in a parallel universe, I might be a marine biologist.

Next I take a look for behaviors.  Is there something interesting that I intended or (more often the case) inadvertently caught on video?  Sure there are a lot of parrotfish eating coral and algea, but that isn’t the only thing they do.  They poop too!  (You know that’s how sand is made, right?).

Walking is another behavior I tag, but that isn’t reserved for lobsters.  Octopus can walk on their tentacles and frog fish use the pectoral fins to walk as well.  Feather stars can free swim to relocate.  Fish fights, hunting, sleeping and mating are some of the other behaviors I have been lucky enough to capture.  Oh, and cleaning stations…from small damselfish to big manta rays.  It seems humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy a spa day.

The video below captures some of the more interesting things I saw in Wakatobi.

  • Egg Ribbon – There was a small family of nudibranchs called Funeral Jorunna that look like the business end of  a giant cotton swab with a few black polka dots thrown on.  We saw one that was in the process of laying a beautiful white ribbon of eggs.
  • Pygmy Seahorse – These little guys are only a few centimeters tall and are extremely well camouflaged.  Luckily Ketut, our guide, had a sharp eye.
  • Sea Cucumber – You might think of a sea cucumber as, well, cucumber shaped, but some can grow three feet or longer and have bristly tentacles to scour the surface of coral and sponges.  (They kind of look a bit creepy.)

This was my first trip shooting with the new equipment.  I upgraded significantly over the last year, picking up a Canon 1DX Mark II, a 100mm macro lens and a 16-35mm for wide angle.  All of that presented a huge learning curve as my previous cameras have been traditional video cameras.  Now I have to learn more about the craft:  aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.  Still, even as a relative newbie, I was able to get some decent shots.  I do need a good mid-range lens, though.  Perhaps for Bonaire…which is only 115 days way.




I have been diving since 2002. While my technical and editing skills have not risen as fast as my passion for shooting video, I am enjoying the opportunities I get to learn and grow. Many thanks to Leslie for her love, partnership, suggestions, wit and equally compulsive technology interest.     Must...get...more diving in...

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