Big Stuff and Boonsung after the Tsunami (Similans Part 2)

Posted: January 5, 2010 in macro photography, underwater photography

Note on photo above and below:  The Leopard shark is the jackpot of all newbie divers coming to Similans and the secret heart's desire of every experienced diver who says that they've seen it all before.

Note on photo above: The leopard shark is one of the few sharks who do not need to be on the constant move in order to breathe.  It rests usually on sandy bottoms, breathing rhythmically as if in a deep and restful sleep.

Big Stuff

We had the great fortune of seeing a total of 3 leopard sharks during this trip.  These charismatic fish always get excited squeals (muffled behind bubbles and regulators) from divers who've never seen them before and rings of strobe flashes from photographers who suddenly behave like paparazzi around a Hollywood star.

They do not seem ruffled by any of these.  However, do not attempt to touch these creatures as they can still bite (a diver previously had a finger bitten off from attempting to pat their prettily-spotted heads).   

Note on photo above:  A photo from one of the divers who jumped in with her point and shoot.  I jumped in without my setup in my excitement.

Small Big Stuff

We had the even greater fortune of swimming with a very young 1+ m-wide young Manta ray during a surface interval.  Just about every diver on the boat got in the water, with or without fins, with or without clothes, in the middle of lunch without a second thought at the sight of the ray breaching the surface.

The ray didn't seem perturbed by our presence.  And instead hung around long enough swimming up and down slowly, gracefully, turning, swooping eluding the divers who were chasing it and turning up again only when everyone had gotten over their excitement and were now quietly floating in the water quietly and respectfully admiring its beautiful presence.    










Great Wreck of a Dive

I have to admit that Boonsung Wreck is one of my favourite wrecks aside from the Alma Jane Wreck in Puerto Galera (which is also astounding).










There's always something somewhere all around the wreck, including amazing schools of sometimes 13 lionfish all hanging around in a sandy corner of the wreck.

The wreck is literally teeming with bulleye fishes and bannerfishes.  Every limb seems to be inhabited by either Scorpionfish, stonefish, pufferfish, porcupinefish, threaded through with morays and spotted by blennies. 











Note on photo of clown trigger above:  The colourfully and cheekily spotted clown trigger emerged during my safety stop and I could only take a topside shot.

Note on photo above: Hordes of bulleye fishes hang around the wreck with clusters of bannerfish (this particular species being Heniochus diphreutes).

Note on photo above: Schools of brassy drummers swim past in shallow waters.

Note on photo above: A pair of bannerfishes taking shelter from the currents behind a sea fan.

Note on photo above: Holiday makers having fun on the first few days of the new year.

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  1. fatcat says:

    [this is fantastic!!] Egads Ellen, you should get your pictures published somehow, they are amazing! Love the leopard, and the dragonfish in the previous post, and all of them really-thanks for sharing!

  2. Waterbaby says:

    You know, this posting reminds me how I've always yearned so much to scuba-dive and it grieves me so that I may never have the opportunity (the means and resources). So thank you for taking us on the journey. It's not the same — my clothes are dry and I sit in front of a computer screen — but it is sooooo easy for me to imagine in the underwater world. I truly do hope that life lightens up on me to allow entrance into that most magical watery land. I just know I'd feel at home.

  3. Shutterbug says:

    It looks like you had a wonderful trip! Loving the pictures (as always). Great job! :o)

  4. Thanks! I'll do that when I have more experience with the strobes so that I can improve the flash coverage on the subjects… as well as get more opportunity to shoot them with better surroundings. 🙂

  5. I'm sure you'll love it! Every body that loves water loves diving! It's a whole different world with entirely different rules. 🙂 I hope you do get a chance to dive one day!

  6. Thanks Apolline 🙂 I'm glad you enjoy them!… Happy and prosperous new year for you and your family as well! 🙂

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