Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Enjoyable Sabah Society presentation

I hope the attendees enjoyed last night's slide show at the Sabah Society on the delights of TARP's underwater environs as much as I did presenting it. The picture above seemed to catch the imagination of a number of people there: initally set up as a 'boring' shot of the overlapping edges of disc anemonies (family DISCOSOMATIDAE) it transpired later that the flash had reflected back off an apparently drab yet deeply orange (depth tends to reduce red tones to grey) sponge beneath them giving the sense of a lava back light. It was taken on 27th October 2007 on the southeast slope of Gaya island.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Easy PC Coral Guide

Today I stumbled upon an excellent little (20Mb) free downloadable guide to corals; what's more it is formatted for use with iPods, smart phones, and PDAs (and of course PCs). Created by Coralidea, it has over 600 illustrations of creatures such as the one here (family EUPHYLLIDAE) which I took at Plate Coral Reef off Sapi Island on 19th March 2007: can you believe it is a Hard Coral?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Red Tides & Feather Worms

I was the teensiest bit concerned yesterday to discover that I'd missed the Fisheries Department notification of a Red Tide off Kota Kinabalu on 19th March 2008; perhaps it was the disorientation of having just arrived from Papua New Guinea? I wonder how many others heard it when it was announced. Some of you will remember the Red Tide off Sabah in early 2004; links to information about this and an ongoing problem in the Philippines can be found here. Perhaps like the Fisheries Department of Brunei, prayers are needed... Either way, Marufish produces regular satellite imagery for north Borneo including chlorophyll levels and sea water temperature: fascinating stuff!

Anyway, here's a creature you're unlikely to try to eat: a feather-duster worm from the family SABELLIDAE taken on 19th May 2007 on the Pyramid off Mamutik Island.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TARP's rich cousins

Sabah's Chief Minister pointed out today that 25,000 foreign divers had visited Sabah in 2007. Of course, he mentioned Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Lankayan and Layang-Layang. Having visited most of these, I certainly agree that TARP is their poor cousin. The news item didn't say if he also mentioned TARP. Hopefully he did. If he didn't, I hope it does not mean that TARP is officially ignored. TARP really needs to be nurtured. Carefully. It is not in fantastic condition. But it has many gorgeous features (like this Camel shrimp - Rhynchocinetes durbanensis from the family RHYNCHOCINETIDAE - taken on 19th March 2007 off Sapi Island), although sadly one needs to take a lot of time and effort to see some of these.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

300 fish species in TARP

Whilst I've been travelling over the last week, I've been updating my draft fish species checklist for TARP and as of today, it stands at 300 species. The details can be found in my other blog. None-the-less, life other than fish exists in TARP: taken on 27th October 2007 on the southeast slope of Gaya Island, the picture here is of a hard coral in the family EUPHYLLIDAE (species Euphyllia ancora if I'm not mistaken). This type of hard coral is only hard in its base: the fleshy polyps stay constantly exposed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Night-creeping Octopus

I'm just sorting out my photos from my night dive back on 22nd April 2008 on the muck near Sapi Island's jetty. Here's a view of the Octopus I mentioned (family OCTOPODIDAE); gorgeous huh?! Its arms were probably about 40cm long.