So I’ll give a little story with today’s subject…
Iluh had mentioned a couple sites where she had seen frogfish before but for whatever reason we never managed to see then the first time I went diving there. So it was one of the things we were trying to find the second time I went up to Amed for some more diving.
We decided to go back to Melasti – a definite muck dive site, which means there is no coral, very few fish, very little anything to be honest… it is mainly just the black volcanic sand bottom and you spend your time slowing “crawling” along the bottom looking for weird little critters in the “muck”. It was a dive site we chose because Iluh knows I like the weird little macro stuff.
Well, we also had two veteran divers from Hawaii with us (John and Marta) and I couldn’t get a vibe whether they were really interested in the muck dive idea. On the drive there, John asked if I thought I could make our dive a bit longer (the previous day I think I ran through my air in about 57 minutes), so I said, “Sure – if we stay a bit shallower, I can stay longer. And to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever done a 90 minute dive, so let’s shoot for that!”
Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes into the dive, we really hadn’t found anything, and I was really starting to worry that John and Marta were going to be really frustrated and not want to stay for 90 minutes anyway.
Then Iluh found a cool lionfish and pointed it out to John and he started to take photos of it. As I approached and was waiting my turn to take some photos, I looked down and John’s fin was right above this tiny little guy…
I quickly got John’s attention and pointed out the real treasure of this dive. In that instant, the dive went from being uneventful and fairly boring to being a really fun dive. We started spotting more things, and when we got out of the water, it was high-fives all around for spotting something so uncommon and cool as a frogfish.
Frogfish are ambush predators and they have modified pectoral fins that act like feet which they walk on (and is where they get their name from). They also have a lure on the top of their heads that they use to attached unwitting prey – you can see the lure in the photo below.
I apologize for the less than perfect exposures on these – the white fish against a black sand background was difficult to photograph and was confusing the camera and flash system on my camera, and it is difficult to see whether the results are good or bad while in the water.
After the dive, Iluh admitted that the frogfish was the main thing she was hunting for on this dive, but that she didn’t tell us ahead of time for fear of jinxing herself into not seeing it.
But this was one of those times where I got to take the credit for spotting the really cool critter on the dive, and everyone’s excitement after the dive was a sweet reward!