Underwater Photography

Silence on the Reefs

Published March 5, 2014

“Overall, it would be hard to imagine a more perfect environment. You don’t have to dive a rebreather to experience all the wonderful attractions of Wakatobi, but having these systems can add yet another layer to your enjoyment of this magnificent ecosystem.” Craig Willemsen, owner, Silent Word Diving Rebreather diving at Wakatobi dive resort Wakatobi’s house reef is ideal for rebreather diving. Divers have the option to enjoy extended CCR dives mere steps away from the beach fronting the resort’s villas and bungalows. photo by Walt Stearns When rebreather divers cite the many benefits their equipment provides, ease of travel […]

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Horses of a different color

Published January 28, 2014

Though you might not guess it based on name or appearance, seahorses are actually fish, and pygmy seahorses are some of the smallest fishes in the sea—the largest specimens would barely stretch across a silver dollar coin.   Their tiny size and near-perfect camouflage kept pygmies hidden from humans until very recently. Now, however, they have become superstars of Indian Ocean reefs, and the favorite subject of a growing number of photographers who devote many hours to the search for these tiny, elusive creatures. Dr. Richard Smith made pygmy seahorses the subject of his doctoral dissertation, and has shared some […]

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Kings of Camouflage

Published January 12, 2014

It could be lurking close by, blending in perfectly with the coral reef or a sea grass bed. But unless it chooses to reveal itself, you could swim right by this alien-like creature without even knowing it was there. Sometimes referred to as “the chameleon of the sea,” cuttlefish have a remarkable ability to rapidly alter their skin color and patterning at will—sometimes seeming to disappear among their surroundings, then suddenly exploding in a pulsating display of moving light that can hypnotize prey or signal to others of their kind. With eight arms growing out of their heads, and three […]

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Sunrise to Sunset

Published December 10, 2013

Wakatobi guests Allan Saben and Erik Schlögl share a sample of their images taken one day – from sunrise to sunset, during a visit to Wakatobi. Enjoy this photo essay and learn about some of Wakatobi’s interesting marine life subjects.   It’s a new day on the coral reef and the first dive on the house reef begins as the sun rises slowly overhead. It’s a peaceful moment, as the creatures of the night find their niche to sleep off their nocturnal activities, while the creatures of the day slowly wake up and rise. As the sun comes up, Erik […]

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Vicariously Yours

Published October 26, 2013

“Wakatobi is the perfect backdrop of casual elegance and refined service. It is an idyllic place where creatures great and small co-mingle in harmony.”  Adrienne DeAngelis, Dec 2013 No description or photo can fully capture the adventure and magic that is Wakatobi. But you can enjoy a tantalizing taste of what awaits by being our guest for a “virtual slice of life” at the resort. So relax, follow along and let your mind wander while you visualize one perfect day at Wakatobi. A restful night’s sleep finds you eager to rise and greet the day. It’s just a few barefoot […]

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発光する不思議なサンゴ

Published October 10, 2013

いくつかのサンゴと魚は、この秘密の能力を日の下では明らかにしていませんが、暗闇で青色を発する特殊なライトを当てると、発光する姿を見る事ができるのです!この現象はコミュニケーションの一種だと考えられていますが、実は研究を続ける海洋学者たちもなぜ発光するのか結論を出せずにいるのです。 このビデオクリップには、同じ種類のサンゴが隣り合って並んでいるのに、完全に異なる発色をしている姿を捉えています。専用の水中ライトを使うと、1つは明るい緑色の蛍光色を発しているのに対し、もう1つは明るいピンクや黄色、または全く発光していないものもいます!! いくつかのサンゴは、日照時間帯にはこの秘密の能力は明らかにしていませんが、暗闇で深い青色を発する特殊なライトを当てると、サンゴが発光する姿を見る事ができます。この現象は、コミュニケーションの一種だと考えられており、海洋学者たちはどうして海洋生物が発光するのか研究を続けていますが、まだたくさんの疑問が残ったままです。最近の研究で明らかになった最も興味深い発見の一つは、発光の強弱でサンゴの健康状態が分かるということです。カルフォルニア大学にあるスクリップス海洋研究所が実施した調査では、白化の原因となる海水温の上昇などサンゴがストレスにさらされた時、インド太平洋に生息するサンゴ礁の多数から発光能力の著しい低下が示されていたそうです。ワカトビを訪れたたくさんのお客様からのコメントからも分かるように、ワカトビのサンゴ礁が活発な発光をしていることからも、このエリアに生息するサンゴ礁は良好な健康状態にある事が分かります。   まだ完全には解明されていませんが、この発光するという行動は生体内の変化を研究する生物医学の研究のための重要なツールとなっています。数年前には、ハナギンチャクの一種が、特定の波長にのみ発光するというとても興味深い事実も判明されたそうです。このイソギンチャクはタンパク質を分離することにより発光し、研究者たちは生物の細胞内部の仕組みの研究を重ね、発光をオンとオフに切り替えられる能力をイソギンチャクが持っている事を願っているようです。 リキッドモーションフィルムが制作した、発光する海洋生物についてまとめた“Water Colours”というショートビデオは、ナショナルジオグラフィックTVにも取り上げられ、今まで知られていなかった水中現象がとても話題になりました。そしてこのリキッドモーションの2人は、ワカトビダイブリゾートを訪れるお客様にもこの現象を自分の目で見ていただけるよう、FLUOダイビングとFLUOスノーケリングという体験ダイビングをスタートさせたのです。このユニークなダイビングは夜間行われ、専用の水中ライトとマスク用フィルターを装着し、夜の海に隠された秘密を探りに行くのです! FLUOダイビングとFLUOスノーケリングを体験し、このユニークな現象についてもっと知りたいと思うようになってくれましたか?ワカトビダイブリゾートを訪れるお客様は、現地のスタッフまたは事前に予約する事ができます。この体験ダイビングは、プライベートガイドと1:1または1:2でご案内しています。 詳しくは、http://japan.wakatobi.com/home_jp.php または、japan@wakatobi.com までお問い合わせください。

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Beyond the Bathtub

Published October 9, 2013

Sponges are much more than cleaning accessories, they are the ocean’s original reef builders.   Did you know that sponges (Phylum Porifera) are one of the oldest simple multicellular organisms in the animal kingdom? In other words, they’ve been around a long, long time, first appearing in the ocean more than half a billion years ago. Wakatobi boasts one of the highest diversities in sponge species worldwide, much to the pleasure of wide-angle photographers. Differences in species can be attributed to available habitats, and the greater the diversity of habitat, the greater the number of species. Sponges are animals that […]

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Look Back!

Published June 17, 2013

With all there is to explore and find, it’s smart to keep one eye on the reef and the other eye out in the open. And yes, do look back! When diving or snorkeling Wakatobi’s reefs, teeming with wondrous and colorful marine life, finding the tiniest, most bizarre critters can quickly turn into a highly addictive passion. While our heads are often firmly engrossed in life among the coral jungle, you can’t help but wonder what sometimes goes on behind your back…. or just who might be having a look at you.   Sometimes it pays to maintain a good […]

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Fish Tails vs Fish Tales

Published June 4, 2013

The goal of every photographer is to bring back memorable images from those great moments spent beneath the waves. Some of the most challenging images to capture are those close ups with the fish looking back at you with curiosity, rather than running off in the opposite direction or taking refuge in the reef. So how do you get them?   You jump in with camera in hand, yet when you approach a likely subject, the star of the photo appears to flee in terror, and you say to yourself “why would it do that? I mean it no harm; […]

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An Underwater Photographer’s Guide to Wakatobi

Published June 4, 2013

Photos and text by Dr. Richard Smith Wakatobi is ideally placed in the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle,’ a region that encompasses the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Island. For underwater photographers seeking a diversity of marine life subjects, this is the place to be, because the waters of the triangle support the highest biodiversity of marine organisms in the world. But while the Coral Triangle is indeed home to a diverse and rich collection of species, it also has some of the greatest man-made stresses, with reefs subject to the pressures of destructive fishing practices […]

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