Ray of Hope Expedition: Dive Adventure in Komodo

My latest dive adventure on the Arenui in Komodo, Indonesia was also a Ray of Hope Expedition. What is a ROHE, you ask? It is a trip where research and the sheer joy of diving conjoin. Dr Andrea Marshall, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, explains: “Explore new aggregation sites with us, encounter mantas in remote destinations, photo-document manta rays for upload to Manta Matcher, participate in research activities, investigate manta ray fisheries and receive lectures from world-class biologists as a part of your package. The goals of each of the expeditions are unique but every trip is tailored to engage participants while producing high quality science.” I have been on several of these expeditions, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. It is exciting and rewarding to be able to participate in the field with scientists who not only share, but live, your passion for the ocean and its inhabitants. No matter where I go, I take Manta ID or Whale Shark ID photos where so I can upload them to the Manta Matcher or the Wildbook of Whale Sharks database. You can do it too! Find out how by clicking on Ray of Hope Expeditons! Check out my other Citizen Science trips. Africa, Ecuador, Yucatan, St Lucia, Komodo (now publishing).

Our second day of diving in Indonesia’s islands on the Arenui Boutique Liveaboard was non-stop excitement. Our first reef was Bontoh where I saw my very first Ghost Pipefish! Each dive showed me more and more animals I had never seen before. To see these “exotic” creatures was intoxicating! The sand on these reefs is black, or at the least, very dark, and this is due to the volcanic activity the area has had. One had to be very careful, make one wrong move and sand flies up like a cloud!

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So many of the creatures are like flowers.

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I found this coral to be an incredible tapestry!

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Largest cuttlefish I have ever seen!

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Ghost Pipefish by Andrea Marshall.

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This beautiful “rose” is an egg case…made by a Spanish Dancer, which is a tiny nudibranch.

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So gorgeous! Sunflower of the sea!

Our next two dives were spent at Black Diamond Reef. Each reef seemed more fabulous than the one before!

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Bubble Coral!

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Love the fish families in the anemones.

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These are garden eels!

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A SIX legged star!

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This is a Leaf Fish! Related to the Scorpionfish, but it is small and difficult to find.

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A white Scorpionfish! I’d never seen anything like it!

 

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Adorable little nudi.

The night dive on Day 2 was at Bontoh. Diving at night is an ethereal experience with different animals entirely. Looking up, you could see the moon and the stars at the top of the water column. When looking around the reef, I found only miracles of nature.

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Check out the candy cane eye stalks on this Hermit Crab!

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This is a very tiny Coconut Octopus who was absurdly defiant. Pretty hilarious to see this little guy charging us!

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Unbelievable color on this urchin!

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THIS is a Demon Stinger. I think it might be the ugliest fish ever! It’s related to the scorpionfish.

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Napoleon Snake Eel

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An Ornate Ghost Pipefish in twilight!

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The Mimic Octopus can disguise itself as other animals. Photo by Andrea Marshall.

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A crab hiding on colorful soft coral. The shell is almost translucent.

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A White V Octopus at night.

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I love this, a Xenia.

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Check out this juvenile Frogfish! See the yellow lure over its mouth?

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HUGE nudibranch!

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Decorator Crabs are so cleverly disguised you can only detect one if they move. Lucky for me, I caught movement and was able to get a photo!

Our dive group consisted of Andrea Marshall, Queen of Mantas, myself, Alan, Tom, and our dive guide, Debbie! Each dive was better than the last!

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Having a little fun on the surface!

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Team Debbie!

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

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