Exploring The Shallows of Ark Dive at Night

James and I have continued our tradition of diving at night at least once a week.  This dive we decided to take our time and explore the shallows of Ark Dive.  We encountered a super friendly white spotted pufferfish and were able to photograph some great micro organisms too!

 

Wanting to take advantage of the fairly good sea conditions, James and I made our way out to Ark Dive.  Our dive objective?  Explore the shallows (30ft or less) to see what kind of micro organisms lived in the immediate vicinity near the entrance.  We had previously dived down to 50-60 feet and it had been fun, but we noticed there was some pretty cool stuff even in the shallows…so we thought we’d better go check it out!

 

White Spotted Pufferfish – So Ugly They’re Cute

 

After only being underwater for about 3 minutes, we found a very friendly white spotted pufferfish.  I think he was resting when we initially came upon him because he didn’t even try to swim away.  It was during this time that I managed to get some good photos.    After about 2 minutes of me shining my dive light in his face (wow…can’t believe he lasted that long!  Talk about patience!) he decided he had had enough and he swam away to deeper water.

 

 Christmas Tree Worm

 

James and I continued along our dive and I came across some pretty large Christmas Tree Worms.  Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of surge so I wasn’t able to get a very good picture of it.  Soon after turning away and continuing the dive, we came across the same white spotted pufferfish we had seen before.  He was much less tolerant of us this time and he kept turning his backside to me.  I tried to get some good photos but it just wasn’t happening.

 

White Spotted Pufferfish

 

Nudibranchs are always a great joy to find when diving.  They tend to be only a few inches long (maximum) so it’s pretty cool to spot them.  I’ve noticed that my sight is more focused during nights dives, primarily because I only look at what my dive light is pointed at.  Because of this, I’ve been able to spot more nudibranchs than usual.  During this dive I noticed a Phyllidiella pustulosa nudibranch.  This types of nudibranch is actually one of the most common in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region so I wasn’t totally amazed.  Sometimes the purple bumps on its back can also appear white, blue, or green.  After doing a little research online, I just learned that this color change is thought to be the result of time elapsed since feeding and diet.

 

Phyllidiella Pustulosa Nudibranch

 

 Heteractis Magnifica – Magnificent Sea Anemone

 

As we swam across the area of Ark Dive covered in broken coral, we saw a small hermit crab resting on a rock and I snapped some photos but the creature soon recoiled into his shell.

 

 Hermit Crab

 

While we were conducting our safety stop, I noticed some hinge-beak shrimp looking out at us from the coral.  I slowly approached and then  snapped some pictures.  Most of the time, it’s tough to get the shrimp to “stick around” but for some reason the one I was photographing seemed to like it.  In fact, the shrimp actually walked towards my lens a few times.

 

Hinge-Break Shrimp

 

Night diving continues to be a thrill and I’m learning a lot about new plants and animals I’ve never seen before.  Next time James and I make a dive we plan to head out to deeper water and do another thorough search to see what other new and interesting wildlife we’ll come across.