Leper Island Curiosities

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The diving has been sporadic over the holidays. People were off cavorting elsewhere and I was hiding out. Now things will hopefully be returning to something resembling normality, me being one of those things. I’ve picked out some of the more interesting images from our last dive at Leper Island  to display here this evening. Fish seem to be more and more difficult to chase. I don’t think the fish have changed. It’s me. Though it seems impossible, I am becoming even more lazy. Let the fish come to me.

Corals don’t move around much, in fact, not at all. They provide easy fodder for my hungry lens. I’m particularly on the lookout for colourful specimens. Part of my laziness is demonstrated by my lack of attention to species names. I’ve decided that they are not so important after all. All that they do for me is provide lots of Google hits. Let the colours speak for themselves and we’ll stick with generic names such as “coral” and “sponge” and so on. This coral is strutting its stuff in a most flamboyant manner:

One might suspect that I’ve fiddled with the colours in this shot. While that’s true, it was minor fiddling, mere accentuation. I might be forgiven for that.

This coral is altogether different from the previous one. While the former was flashy, this specimen is so subtle that one might not appreciate it at a distance:

Ah, but up close it is a different story:

The violet colour sprinkled with great care across the tops of the colonies is exquisite. I don’t know what it is and I have not seen it before. I’m happy for it to remain a mystery. We need our mysteries, eh?

Well, I’m tired of coral all ready. Restless, that’s what I am. How about a sponge? This one is outrageous:

Yes it really is that bright. I often wonder if these colours have any purpose. But, then again, I often wonder about a lot of things.

Now here is something which one doesn’t see every day. Dive buddy Rich Jones spotted these two nudibranchs presumably doing what comes naturally:

It’s worth a click on the image to see the clarity that is possible from a cheap underwater outfit such as my Canon G11. Passable stuff for an amateur on a budget. I could never get images such as this when I was shooting on film.

I cropped the shot down and used a Photoshop trick of repeatedly enlarging the image by 110% until it is about four or five times as large. It can then be sharpened to make it appear as if the shot were taken at an impossibly close distance. It’s now possible to see what they are doing. Well, not exactly. It’s just a jumble of miscellaneous spindly bits:

Never mind. It’s a private party, anyway.

Tomorrow marks four months since Eunie departed from Brisbane to claim her reward. Kindly people ask me almost daily, “How are you doing.” That’s a good question. I wish I had an answer. All in all, I suppose that I’m doing, as they say, better than expected. In fact, I am doing considerably better than I expected and I don’t fully understand why. For a while there I wasn’t sure if I’d be around to welcome 2011. I’m sure that I am being cared for by my creator. If I didn’t believe that, I simply wouldn’t bother. Wasting away seems to be a popular alternative. However, over and above the care from above, I’ve also gotten huge attention and love from my friends. Moreover, giving credit where it’s due, I’m coming to realise that my survival is largely due to whatever minuscule amounts of common sense and wisdom which I absorbed from my dear wife over the course of nearly a half century. That’s a lot of training. Even for someone as slow as I it was bound to be helpful when things got rough. Thanks again, babe.

I must end my hermit episode. People will give up on me if I don’t make an effort. Tonight they are having some kind of quiz thing at the Madang Country Club. Though I’m not a member, Rich will sign me in as a guest. I think I’ll venture out. I wonder if anything has changed?

Anything could happen.

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18 Responses to “Leper Island Curiosities”

  1. Pania Says:

    Venture out, dare to see what amusement the night may briing :)

  2. kristy Says:

    Hopefully your evening out will provide times of enjoyment!
    As always, love the pictures. I went to my first meeting of the TriCities Digital Photography Club last night. I think that I need some sort of photoshop! iPhoto does some stuff…just not that much!

    Did you crop the white coral? or move closer and take a closer shot?
    Besides what they are doing, do you see those types of Nudibranchs on a regular basis? I seem to recall them popping up in your pics before!

  3. MadDog Says:

    Pania, it was a pleasant evening. I’m glad I stuck my head out the door. I’m just now getting ready to go for a dive. The hermit emerges!

  4. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, I had a good time.

    You might want to check out Photoshop Elements. It’s cheaper. Look for a features comparison chart. The full Photoshop gives the most flexibility, but realistically, I only regularly about twenty features.

    The second shot of the coral was up close. Yes, that is a fairly common nudibranch. I’ve had in on the site before. I was too lazy to look up the name.

  5. Lorraine Collins Says:

    Great close up of the Flabalina type nudi. Wish you were here to give me a Photoshop lesson! You say you enlarge your image, THEN use the sharpen tool. Is that tool in the list of icons on the LHS of Photoshop, or is it in a drop down menu?
    How did the quiz night go? Did you guys win?

  6. David Lile Says:

    Jan…Your images were just beautiful! Quite dramatic.
    Your thoughts about your loss and your dealing with it, through living, were not missed either. You are still in my thoughts and prayers, for comfort, peace, and dealing with your loss.
    You STILL too, have an open invite to Ohio, when you’re back in the states. It would be a privilege to meet you.

  7. Fortescue Bullrout Says:

    The first coral photo is outstanding- it looks like it is floating off the sea floor. And the nudibranchs look like nothing but spikes. Good stuff.

  8. kristy Says:

    Do you have Crown of Thorns seastars there? I was just reading about them and perhaps the two corals are the same, the white one might have been a snack for a star and is trying to recover?

  9. MadDog Says:

    Yes, Kristy, we do have the Crown of Thorns here, but it is rare to see them. I know that it damages the corals, but I can’t say that I know what the damage looks like. You might be right.

  10. MadDog Says:

    Fortescue, I hadn’t noticed that floating effect. You are right.

    All of the Falbalina nudies are spiky like that. There are quite a few species. I’ll have some more soon.

  11. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, David. I’d also like to meet you. It looks as if sometime in May is when I’ll be in mid-America. We can meet up then. I’d like to do some shooting with you.

  12. MadDog Says:

    Lorraine, what you need to do is to Google for instructions about how to create a Photoshop “Action”. Then you make up an action by repeating a 110% enlargement ten or fifteen times. This will give you a greatly enlarged image. You can then try sharpening it with the Filters | Sharpen | Smart Sharpen item from the menu. You might then have to reduce the image to make it the right size.

    Our table came in second on Quiz Night, which surprised us.

  13. kristy Says:

    I started looking this up yesterday as I was reading something about the numbers of Crown of Thorns are an indication of reef health. I had seen some of these in Hawaii, fortunately never touched one! I was tempted though!
    Apparently they eat the coral polyps, leaving behind a bleached section of coral. Steve, a dive master in Kailua-Kona Hawaii, had this as one of his posts sometime back. ( I have been following his blog since I dove with his outfit in Sept, this post is from before then, came up on my google search!)
    http://kona-scuba-diving.blogspot.com/2008/05/crown-of-thorns-starfish.html

  14. MadDog Says:

    It’s not advisable to touch the Crown of Thorns. I tried it once and it did not feel nice. They can be very destructive, leaving only the skeleton of the colony behind. That blog has a very nice shot of one.

  15. kristy Says:

    I am glad I know about it now!! I looked this up because I was looking at dives in Fiji and it came up as a reef health issue in places. The blog pic shows a bit of coral in the background that has just been eaten. I am thinking that the touched with purple coral is trying to recover from a crown of thorns?!

  16. MadDog Says:

    I’d say your theory is a possibility, Kristy. There are so many things going on down there that it would be a full time job just to keep up with the changes. I think with some of these the only way you could tell without taking a sample would be to look at them at night, when most corals fully extend the polyps. Then you could tell what is healthy and what is not.

  17. Ahna Says:

    Im such a poo. I love the pictures of the coral and fish. I will agree Kristi I like the flash. It shows the colors so well.

  18. MadDog Says:

    Well, Ahna, flash is gaudy. There’s no doubt about that. I’m just a fan of the natural colours.