Saturday morning we made the arduous twenty minute journey out to Planet Rock in Astrolabe Bay. I shouldn’t moan about the travel time. Most of our dives are within ten minutes of my house.
On the Southwest corner at about 23 metres is a large Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). I say that with some confidence, but this one is highly unusual. Have a look: (the diver is Tracey)
I have only seen this bright red fluorescent pigmentation in a Bulb Anemone in one other location. That was out at Crown Island.
To say that it is spectacular would be a gross understatement. I’ve been watching this anemone for nearly fifteen years. It’s hard to believe that it has remained healthy for so long.
It’s also hard to believe that I have not fiddled with the colours in these shots. I always strive to reproduce colours that are as I saw them. I prefer the natural look as opposed to the garish oversaturated colours that are seen in many underwater shots. In this case, however, I actually had to tone down the red a bit, since it looked completely fake. Here’s another shot showing a couple of Spinecheek Anemonefish (Premnas biaculeatus):
There are many beautiful little reef scenes at Planet Rock.
Here’s a typical fish playground:
I botched the job of smoothing out all the little specks floating in the water. If you look carefully (click to enlarge), you will see a faint discolouration around the fish. I should do it over again, but it’s Sunday, and Tracey is leaving us, so I need to go up to Blueblood for the party. Speaking of Tracey, here she is playing with a little Porcelain Crab in an anemone:
This shot of a Papuan Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis papuensis)
is not very good. I bumped my camera housing into a piece of coral and got a few drops of water inside. This is the primary horror of underwater photographers. Fortunately, it was only a small amount and none got onto the camera. However, the little window on the front of the housing was fogging up, so the shot is not very clear. I include it only because this is the only shot that I have of a juvenile of this species. Technically it’s not a juvenile, but it is not full grown either. Its beard is only beginning to grow:
I’ve yakked enough now. I’ll show you some pretty skies that we saw on the way back:
We made a circle around the end of the island chain and came back from the North. This is looking East at the North end of Kranket Island.
You can see the Cumulonimbus clouds building up over the Finesterre Mountains
in the afternoon heat.
This shot is looking back towards Kar Kar Island:
Come to Madang someday. We’ll show you all of this.