Taken: Sept 14, 2015
Where: Apo Island
I know that clownfish are oh-so-overly photographed but I just cannot help stopping at almost every one I see. The fact that they all start out male and the largest / most dominant becomes female until she dies. Then, another male takes her place - laying eggs, etc. And, there's the fact that they live in [inhospitable] anemones and coat themselves with toxins so that they appear the same to the anemone and don't get stung. Then, they way they fearlessly come at me (with my giant camera) and try to fight me off (at thousands of times their size). They have so much attitude and energy... and they're just gorgeous! The color differences can be spectacular. Despite the orange and green being one of my favorites - absolutely NOTHING has ever been so mesmerizing underwater as this tomato clown in a long tentacle anemone. I've never seen such vibrant colors as these two together.
This trip was a two-part trip where we spent our first 10 days at the land-based resort Atlantis (in Dumaguete). The diving from the resort was phenomenal. On our first dive, we found 19 seahorses. On our second dive, we saw multiple frogfish (with one dive allowing us 11 frogfish encounters - a record for all of us!). I can't recommend the resort enough. I'm not (generally) a resort person... too much gear, too much schlepping of gear, too much time lost in boat trips, etc. And, while I definitely enjoy liveaboard diving more (always), I don't have a lot to complain about at Atlantis. The boat rides were (generally) short. And, the diving, almost always SPECTACULAR. We WILL go back here again. The second part of our trip was a 10-day trip circumnavigating the island of Cebu. The diversity of critters and the sheer number of critters make the Philippines a MUST DIVE for anyone that's seriously into the small stuff (plus thresher sharks).
We went on this trip with a group we travel with often for diving. Our fearless leader is Dr. Richard Smith - a Marine Biologist who earned his PhD studying Pygmy seahorses at Wakatobi. His partner in crime - Wendy Brown - lives in Indonesia (speaks Bahasa Indonesian) and has been diving the area for years. Their primary dive boat in the region is our absolute favorite liveaboard - the Dewi Nusantara. Together, Wendy and Richard, created "Our Beloved Seas" a travel company focused on getting "off the beaten path" and to more remote / pristine locations. They're absolutely fantastic at creating wonderful adventures with all sorts of unique critters - with evening lectures about the animals we spend the day finding and photographing. I can't recommend them highly enough!
For more information: Apo Island
, Atlantis Dive Resort [Dumaguete]
, Dewi Nusantara
, Ocean Realm Images / Our Beloved Seas