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Kissing Frogfish

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frogfish

It was my last dive of the day. The last few minutes of the dive and the last dive of the trip. I felt distracted by the scale and scope of the coral on this dive (Chicken Reef) in Raja Ampat from looking for the small things. And maybe tired too after 10 days of liveaboard diving. My dive buddy and dive guide were ahead of me while I lagged behind having some nostalgic moments. A rush of thoughts were going through my head. What a beautiful day…what a reef…what incredible corals…will I get to come back? I was gliding up the slope, and a rubble patch, a break in the middle of the vast forest of hard and soft corals, appeared below me.

I was calm, meditative…and then a bright yellow spot in the middle of the coral rubble grayness caught my eye. But it was moving! And it was moving with those tentative robotic steps of a frogfish. I was not that close, but I was sure it was a frogfish. I “called out” to my dive buddies through my regulator, “Hey!”, forgetting I could have banged on my tank with my stick, but they did not hear me. I settled down close to the rubble at 10 meters and began to watch my friend. He was already moving so it was not me who had disturbed him. He was slowly tiptoeing through the rubble as if he were trying to be invisible. He should have been, he probably thought. “I am a sponge.”

There is something special about making such a find on your own. You look across the expansive reef on dives like it’s infinity, wondering if you are still on Earth or in a dream. And then unexpectedly your eye catches something that’s different from the rest. It moves and you discover it. Dive guides do this every dive – “by accident” they say. “I know where to look.” “It’s my job.”

frogfish

I did my best to photograph him, but he was moving. Even for a frogfish he was moving quickly. He was moving quickly yet deftly across the rocks like a climber looking for sure footing on a mountaintop. And he did not give me a big yawn. It’s a classic pose in frogfish photos, but a yawn is often a sign of stress.

My air was getting low, and the frogfish was disappearing into the rubble. It was time to leave. I threw him and the reef a kiss and started up the slope to do my safety stop with the others who had looked back occasionally to see if I was with them still. I had made them wait too many times before while I photographed crazy coral patterns or just another anemone.

I was going to wait until topside to show my guide Michael, but I could not contain my excitement. His eyes got big and there were a few frantic moments to go back, but it was too late…the frogfish was for my eyes only.

Tip: A dive is never over until it’s over.

Janice Nigro is an avid scuba diver with a PhD in biology.  She is a scientist who has studied the development of human cancer at universities in the USA and Norway, and has discovered the benefits of artistic expression through underwater photography and story writing of her travel adventures.

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Gear Review: SeaLife ReefMaster RM-4K Pro 2000 Set (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the SeaLife ReefMaster RM-4K Camera / Pro 2000 Set.

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Quick Scuba Tips #12: Pimp Your GoPro for Amazing Underwater Video Colors (Watch Video)

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We’re back with the quick tips series and my secret weapon for getting the best colort out of your GoPro underwater!

Introducing the Flip 8 from www.backscatter.com A color correction system that mounts straight onto the dive housing of your GoPro. Check them out below!

As always, thanks for watching!

D.S.D.O James


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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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