Cryptic! A Nudiphile Episode


The craziest things in the ocean turn out to be nudibranchs!  Some of these nudis are so cryptic that they have only recently been discovered.  Weirder still, some of these nudibranchs are solar-powered.  They store algae in their outer tissues and live off of the sugar produced by the algae’s photosynthesis.  These nudis are from the Phylodesmium family.

20150125-_DSC5673-Edit-2

In the images above and below, you can see the digestive glands (the brown clusters) through the translucent white body of these solar-powered nudibranchs.

20150118-_DSC3705

20150115-_DSC2805-Edit

This nudibranch hides in the soft corals that it resembles.  Well, more than resembles.  It looks exactly like a soft coral.  You have to look closely to see it’s head and rhinophores.

20150118-_DSC3722-Edit

And perhaps the most cryptic of all, Allen’s Ceratosoma, or the Alleni.  This nudibranch is difficult to find and to some is known as the holy grail of nudibranchs. This particular specimen was about the size of my hand, but I have also seen them as small as my thumb.

20150123-_DSC5253

As a photographer, these are the finds that I hope for and the reason I love diving in the Philippines.  The nudibranchs are plentiful and lovely.

 

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Shipwrecked!


One of the great things about diving in Puerto Galera is the variety of wrecks to explore.  There are several sunken ships just in the harbor that are full of amazing sea life and have great structure.  Two of these are the St. Christopher, also known as Anton’s wreck, and the Alma Jane, a Chinese MV cargo ship which was sunk purposely in 2003.

20150125-_DSC5549-Edit

A small boat can be found in 70fsw at Monkey Beach, and several other large wrecks dot the coast.

20150126-_DSC5695-Edit

Above, a diver explores the hull of a cargo ship.  Below, a diver hovers above the wreck.

20150126-_DSC5700-Edit

There is plenty of structure for batfish to hide around.

20150119-_DSC3831-Edit-Edit

20150126-_DSC5690-Edit

There is a deep wreck called “Dry Dock” that was interesting because of it’s structure and because of the large sweetlips that made it home.  These sweetlips are in a cleaning station where they are being cleaned by cleaner wrasse.

20150126-_DSC5745-Edit

Sometime in the 1620’s, a spanish galleon known as Nuestro Cenora De La Vida, sank on the shores of Verde Island.  The wreck has long since washed away, but the evidence of it’s demise can be found all along the shore of the island in the form of broken pieces of chinese pottery.  The dishes from the ship are still being washed ashore, and tourists can find pieces on their own, or purchase larger pieces from the local residents.  It is interesting to note that no one perished in the sinking of this ship, but the captain was hanged for his responsibility.

 

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

New Galleries!


I have added two new galleries to my webpage at waterdogphotography.com  from my recent trip to the Philippines.  Stop by and have a look!

Wonderpus

Wonderpus

Anilao Philippines 2015 Gallery

Diver over a bed of Chocolate Chip Stars
Diver over a bed of Chocolate Chip Stars

Puerto Galera Philippines Gallery

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

Mushroom Coral Pipefish


“Mushroom.”  “Coral.”  “Pipefish.”  It sounds like three random words thrown out there in a Pictionary game.  As unprofessional as it sounds, it took me several days of repeating the name to remember what these unusual, snakelike, wormy thingies were called.  They are so named because they belong to the pipefish family and live in mushroom coral.  They are very small, but move very fast.  In fact, the following images are three of only a few I was able to salvage out of 126 images taken of the little beasts.  The second they come into focus, they are gone again from the frame.

20150120-_DSC4242

When I first saw these guys, they were happily swimming around their little mushroom coral home, dodging in and out of the tentacles, hoping to get a meal.  I spent about fifteen minutes photographing them, but it was toward the end of my dive, and I didn’t have enough air to stay longer.

20150120-_DSC4279-Edit

A few days later I returned to the same dive site and asked the guide to find that mushroom coral for me so I could spend my dive photographing the pipefish.  I spent another forty five minutes snapping away and leaving the scene hoping I got at least a few shots in focus.

 20150120-_DSC4326

After spending so much time with one subject (well, two in this case,) I fell in love as I usually do.  They are so cute with their mad little old man frowns.  I hope to cross paths with them again someday.

 All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

The Wee Beasties of Anilao


Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,

O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi’ bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,

Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

20150119-_DSC3994-Edit

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!
Hairy Frogfish, yawning
Hairy Frogfish, yawning
I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!
Blue Ribbon Eel

Blue Ribbon Eel

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
Pygmy Seahorse

Pygmy Seahorse

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell –
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.
Ambon Scorpion fish

Ambon Scorpion fish

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!
Candy Crab  (Soft Coral Crab)

Candy Crab (Soft Coral Crab)

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Hairy Squat Lobster

Hairy Squat Lobster

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
–Robert Burns  (To a Mouse)

40 hours of Friday


For some, traveling long distances can be very uncomfortable.  For me, traveling long distances is an adventure.  On Friday morning, I awoke in Puerta Galera, Philippines.  It was a beautiful sunny morning.  I ate a leisurely breakfast, strolled around the El Galleon Dive Resort and packed my bags for the trip back to the United States.

20140515-_DSC7713

At noon, I ate a delicious three course meal and then boarded a banca for an hour-and-a-half ferry ride to Batangas City.

20150128-_DSC6368

The ocean was smooth and the islands we passed were saturated with green coconut trees.  There were big white puffy clouds in the sky.

20140515-_DSC7720

Once in Batangas, I got in a van and rode three hours in to Manila. It is quite an experience to drive through the Philippines if you have never done it before.  Jeepneys and sidecars abound on the roads and it seems like the painted lines that separate the lanes are merely a suggestion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 20140515-_DSC7743

Once at the airport, I waited another five hours for the flight to leave at 9:00 PM.  Then a twelve hour flight back to Los Angeles completed the day.  And yet, upon arrival it was only 5:00 PM on Friday afternoon!  In fact, I arrived in Los Angeles before I left Manila.  I had already had thirty-three hours of Friday, and there were still seven hours left in the day.  It kind of brings a whole new meaning to TGIF.  I would do it again.  It was a lovely Friday and seemed to extend my trip just a little longer.

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.