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Wakatobi Marine Life News

Wakatobi Trip Reports - September 2007 to July 2008

Keep the Wakatobi experience alive after you return home or build excitement for your upcoming adventure. Visit this page for regular reports from Wakatobi dive staff on recent marine life sightings.

Weekly News Trip 23 by Ruth (July 2008)
Lights,Camera, Action!!! Wakatobi turned into a mini film set this trip while guests and dive guides became the stars of the show.Professional photography and videography team, Stuart and Susannne Cummings and Shawn Levin shot footage of both the resort and reefs to be used for future promotional material. They aim to have the final cut ready for release later this year.

We are also joined this trip by Marine Biologist and photographer Richard Smith. Richard is a pygmy seahorse expert who chose to return to Wakatobi to study these minute creatures as in his own words, "Wakatobi is unique for the diversity and abundance of pygmy seahorses". Richard plans to stay with us over the next few weeks, during which he will be providing guests with slide shows and informative talks about his research.

Some new pygmies were found by Claire whose keen eyes spotted a pair of Denise at Pinkis and also a Denise pygmy seahorse at Teluk Waitii. The giant blue Frogfish, initially found in Trip 21 was spotted again this trip, with a special thank you to guest Gillian Corrigan of 'Depth Unlimited' who has kindly contributed a fantastic photograph of the critter! Weekly News Trip 22 by Ruth (July 2008)
A huge thank you to all guests who joined us at Wakatobi this week, with a special thank you to Mike and the Scuba World Group; we had an awesome trip, filled with sunny skies and critters galore!

During the trip, guests and guides alike were thrilled to see three Giant Frogfish on dives at Pinkis Wall; each perched upon their individual color coordinated sponges.

The last morning of diving also proved to be a fruitful one; Robust Ghost Pipefish were spotted at Spiral Corner and Cornucopia and guests aboard Waka 3 were treated to a glimpse of a passing Black Tip Reef Shark and large Sting Ray as they cruised through the reef at Conchita.

Weekly News Trip 21 by Mike (July 2008)

Wakatobi's macro life briefly took a backseat to some larger pelagics this trip;on voyages to Blade, guests witnessed a huge pod of Pilot whales surfacing for air, and dolphins were spotted leaping out of the water from the jetty bar at sunset. Spotted eagle rays graced us with their presence while cruising the reefs for food.

Back on the reef itself, Mike discovered a beautiful new Giant Frogfish at Pinkis, perched atop a clump of blue tube sponge, with which he blended in perfectly and a large Solar Power Nudibranch (Cirrate phyllodesmium) reappeared at Roma, grazing on a mushroom leather coral.


Weekly News Trip 20 by Ruth (July 2008)

A wonderful sunny yet windy trip has come to an end and while the water temperature is slowly decreasing the visibility continues to be impressive! During a boat ride out to Blade, lucky guests aboard Wakatobi 5 watched in delight as a pod of dolphins cruised up alongside the boat.

Nudibranch numbers were on the rise this trip! We are seeing a wide variety of the colorful Chromodoris species and also some rarer nudibranchs,in particular a Notodoris gardineri seen at the House Reef and a Notodoris serenae at Kollo Soha.We are also excited to report the continued sighting of a beautiful pale blue giant Frogfish at Pastel, first spotted by Deni in trip 18.

Dive guides this trip conducted exploratory dives of a new site: Lebuhan Ketupat. The site holds promise for a new night dive location and boasts beautiful formations of hard corals.

Report from Coralie June 2008
On day 2 of Trip 18 , In between the surface interval between the two morning dives, the dive guides were squeezed by the boat radios to reconfirm what they had just heard. Yes a 3-4 meters Blue Marlin was spotted underwater on Roma and the lucky group was on dive boat Wakatobi V with Guya (diveguide) and Nicol (diveguide). They watched for about 2 minutes at 10 meters depth at the beginning of the dive. The marlin was chasing a needle fish who lucky for it managed to get away from its predator.

A huge Phylodesmium longicirrum , commonly named the "solar powered " nudibranch, has been seen on divesite Conchita by many groups this trip. On the picture of this amazing nudibranch, you can cleary see the golden zooxanthellae packets. They are ingested from the soft corals it feeds upon and passed live through the nudibranch's digestive system. The zooxanthellae then continues to photosynthesize, leaking nutrients which are used by the host nudibranch.

Report from Lauren May 2008
Trip 13 was a great trip. Among our guests were many talented spotters, photographers and knowledgeable divers.

Many thanks to Sven De Vos, a talented photographer with a passion for macro life. He took some incredible shots during his stay here of the luminous Risbecia tryoni nudibranch, the spectacularly colourful longnose filefish, and the bargibanti pygmy seahorse and was kind enough to allow us to use some of these photos in our slideshow.

Another guest, Niels Schrieken, was a marine biologist. After every mealtime he and his friends could be found lingering at the table with many marine identification books, discussing the difficulties of common vs latin names, exactly which phyllidia nudibranch they had seen on their last dive, and the secret life of the wentletrap snail. The wentletrap sports a lovely bright yellow shell, but don't be fooled by its good looks: it feeds on pink and orange cup corals and then mates on the remains of its prey and lays its eggs inside.

We are thrilled to report that 3 "pygmy pipehorse", Kyonemichthys Rumegani, have been seen at Teluk Maya, adding another attraction to one of our favourite divesites

Report from Iman March 2008
A wonderful trip with absolutely marveleous sunny and calm weather. A brown pygmy seahorse was found at Fan 38 along with a in the very same halimeda patch.white pygmy seahorse Dive site Liable continues to provide stunning wide angle and we have a midnight black frogfsh as a resident here. We have also found a small clown frogfish at Roma. The pygmy pipe dragon is still at Turkey Beach. Pilot whales were seen on the ride out to Blade. We had a few snorkellers on this trip as well who enjoyed going out on the housereef on "dawn patrol".

Report from Iman February 2008
Valentine's day has come to the resort for the first time. This is the first year that Wakatobi has been open during February. The weather has been generally calm providing the opportunity to make trips to the outer most dive sites of Blade, Lorenzo's and Pastel. The diving has been wonderful! We have been seeing leaf scorpion fish, robust ghost pipefish and of course, many pygmy seahorses. The pygmy pipehorse has been seen repeatedly at Turkey Beach, so for now, it looks like we have a resident.

Report from Wendy - November 2007
Sightings of Pilot whales and Spinner dolphins. Some new white pygmies were found on Pinkies.

Report from Wendy - September 2007
Very nice big Pleurobranchus on the house reef at night. Many guests reported seeing different species of nudibranchs and sear hare on the house reef during night dives. Richard Smith got some great photos of pygmy seahorses with full egg pouch. One guest got a distant photo of the new crocodile.

Pygmy Pipedragon Pygmy Pipedragon

Report from Iman February 2008
Visibility haw been around the 20m/60ft for most of this week. Some of the highlights of the trip were the spotting of another Pygmy Pipehorse at Turkey Beach. We have received news from our pygmy seahorse guru Richard Smith that this species has been recently described from a single specimen from Lembeh and photographs and has been give the handy mouthful of a name Kyonemichthys Rumegani.

Other highlights included a pair of free swimming spanish dancers on the house reef spotted from the jetty by guest Matthew Schippani and causing a brief flurry as everyone grabbed thier masks and snorkels and swam with these magnificent creatures.

Another critter not often seen here the juvenile cockatoo wasp fish was seen this trip as well at Teluk Maya. Also kudos to guest Andrew Chylista who we believe to be be the first guest to see the white pygmy seahorse on snorkel. We have just recieved news that this seahorse is a different species from the Hippocampus Colemani which is found only in Australia and only officially known from Lord Howe Island. It is currently being described and we will keep you updated as we hear more abou this woderful critter. In addition we have found a new juvenile clown frogfish at The Zoo which continues to live up to it's name.


Report from Wendy - November 2007
All three species of pygmy, Denise, Bargibanti and Colemani. A host of ghost pipefish!, Robust, Fragile and Halimeda.

Whales spotted swimming past the resort


Report from Wendy - October 2007
Wow and wow again, we found again the small little pygmy pipe dragon that Anton first spotted two months ago. This guy seems to be the very same that was first discovered in Lembeh and was written about in Asian Diver Magazine in Feb. We have Richard with us now (Richard Smith, ex Waki Guest and now doing his PHD on Pygmies in Australia) who is as well an extraordinary photographer so have some amazing shots. This little new critter was found on the house reef first and now at Teluk Maya. Very exciting indeed with many discussions following the viewing. Richard has also done three talks on the marine world so guests can enjoy and learn more and really feel part of the whole experience.

Pygmy Pipedragon Pygmy Pipedragon

Some new white pygmies were spotted on Pockets and Rene's. Quite a few Robust Ghost pipefish, some great schools of fish at Table Coral City.


Report from Wendy - October 2007
Fabulous weather and another great week with many great critters. A new pair of Ornate Ghost pipefish on Kollo Soha, which is also becoming a hot site! Two more Ornates on Conchita and Dunia Baru. Quite a few robust ghost pipefish found in the second gully, the zoo, spiral corner and pockets. All sorts of great shrimp in Teluk Maya. Some great Whale sightings again from the shore and the boats, they seem to be swimming past in the early morning quite near the resort.

There was another little critter that was reported to have been seen, 10 days ago the local crew told us that apparently a crocodile was seen in Osuku! The last night of the trip a security guard said he saw something on the beach which then swam away. When we went to investigate we saw a foot print and a tail track right on the waters edge but no sign of the croc. So we have no idea if this was indeed a croc or maybe a monitor which was swimming. The mystery continues!


Report from Wendy - October 2007
Frogfish Some very nice finds again this week. A large whale was seen but it could not be identified. Mobula's were seen both jumping out of the water and also on dives. Teluk Maya continues to be the hot site this year with frogfish, Pegasus sea months, Robust Ghost Pipe fish, Solar powered Nudi, Cuttlefish, and so on! We also have seen another Ornate Ghost pipefish at Dunia Baru. Plus some very nice Halimdea ghost pipefish on Pastels. We had a Spanish Dancer on a night dive at the Zoo.

We did some more collecting of Crown of Thorns this trip concentrating on the Zoo. Some new moorings have now been put in place at Lorenzo's and Pastels. Perhaps though the most exciting find was a pair of brown pygmies on Pockets, finally! Deni found them at 13 metres.


Report from Sam on Pelagian - September 2007
Today we dived PNdaa for the first dive and then moved on to Karang Koromaha for the second and third dives. Strong currents and lots of life out to play. We are staying in Karang Koromaha tonight and will move on to Karang Koka in the early hours. The day after we will dive Binonko and the channel for the third dive
Report from Sam on Pelagian - Septembe 2007
Ornate & Ghost pipe fish galore, mobula, eagle rays, schooling feather tail sting rays, white tips, black tips and grey reefs. Cheeky beach was great - spotfin frog fish, black frog fish, veined octopus with eggs, and an octopus mototi (2 distinct blue rings).

The other dives in Pasar Wajio also turned up a short pouch pygmy pipe horse, an ambon scorpion fish and lots of other intresting critters. We are now making our way down towards hoga where we shall sleep tonight. Tommorrow we shall head for PNdaa.

Today we dived at NW wall Kapetan, good dive and a healthy ammount of fish life. The second dive was the south point of Kampenaune. This was a very nice dive, great vis and healthy coral.


Report from Sam on Pelagian - September 2007
Good dives in Wangi Wangi. Great dives again in Button - Frog fish, sea horses, Ghost pipe fish and more. Today we dived Gone with the wind at Batu turo. Great dives eagle ray's, schooling bump head parrot fish, white tips and a hammerhead.
Second day in Wangi Wangi we dived Blue Mosque and Alice in Wonderland. There were many large fish traps on the reef, this became the hot topic of discussion of the day. We are now in Buton. Today was a fantastic day of diving. Ornate ghost pipe fish, blue ringed octopus, common sea horse's and much much more. Guests requested a second day here!

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