Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life on the Reef

Today we're at Banta Island, not technically part of Komodo National Park, but just outside. The water is warmer again, and the dive site we're currently visiting, called K2, is quite spectacular. The late morning dive was particularly good, with lots of light, warm water, and just about the whole range of reef life on display. As we swam along, we could feel different currents blending, which is usually a signal that much will be happening. The different currents bring in nutrients, and that was certainly in evidence.

Many corals that are usually only open at night were fully out and feeding. Schools of reef fish that are normally lurking in or near their coral homes were out in the open, gorging themselves on yummy planktonic lunches. From the perspective of our photographer friends, the visibility isn't all they'd like, but the amount of life on display more than makes up for it.

At one point I spotted a couple of groupers, so I watched, thinking I might get a repeat or a variation on yesterday's courtship dance. Instead, one took off almost immediately, headed down the reef. As I pointed out the remaining one to my buddy, he spooked a little, and moved away. Almost instantly, the “rock” above him moved, revealing itself to be a fairly good sized, very well camouflaged, octopus!

I tried to get the octopus to play, but it only wanted me to go away. Doug came and got a few pictures, but by the time Andrew and his video camera got there, the octopus wanted nothing more than to hide. He found a rather deep hole in the reef, where I could barely see a tentacle and an eye, so I figured we were done.

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