Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wow..Muck Diver Course!

My ELF friend Megan and I have the distinguished honor of being the first two PADI certified Muck Divers in the world! We took this brand new course while staying with Two Fish Divers in Lembeh, Sulawesi - the "muck diving capital of the world".

Muck diving is diving in sandy, muddy or "mucky" water. The visibility might not be so good and there will probably be some tires and trash strewn about. But many people are drawn to this type of diving for chance to glimpse and photograph some truly bizarre looking creatures, or critters as they're called in the muck diving world. Lembeh is particularly famous for its black-sand muck diving.

Helen, one of the Two Fish instructors who designed the course, guided us through a series of peak performancy buoyancy drills underwater and told us about some of the crazy critters at Lembeh. As we we looked through a critter identification book before one of our dives, I mentioned to Helen that the thing I wanted to see most of all on this trip was a stargazer. I'd seen pictures of this creature before and it really freaked me out because it looks like a skeleton head buried in the sand. Helen said that the stargazers are seen more often on night dives but lucky for us, she managed to find one for us during our morning dive!

Stargazer - freaky or what?!

Some other special Lembeh critters I saw for the first time:

Giant Yellow Frogfish

Flamboyant Cuttlefish
The creatures in Lembeh were amazing. In addition to these, I saw snake eels, several strange crabs, spiny devil scorpionfish, coconut and reef octopuses, Ambon scorpionfish, Banggai cardinalfish, and many common seahorses. But this is still not enough - a return trip to Lembeh is a must in the future to check off a few other critters on my wish list including a hairy frogfish, a mimic octopus, a wonderpus, and a blue-ringed octopus!

Helen and I demonstrating the dive signal for 'ghost pipefish' - another great muck critter!

No comments:

Post a Comment