I put together a few photographs and video clips from my recent Night Safari trip at Kasawari Lembeh Resort:
Background music: Ocean by Zach Ashton
As you can tell from the video, it was a fantastic trip...great participants, the perfect venue, and lots of amazing marine life!
Diving through the night was an experiment of sorts...one that fortunately worked out really well. To cut to the chase, the night life in Lembeh was totally fascinating.
Some of the same animals we encountered in normal daylight hours were out and about at night as well, but for the most part, there were different critters and/ or activities.
Not a big surprise, but there were many more crustaceans and cephalopods around in the wee hours than in the day, and even critters we came across during normal hours seemed to be more active at night (like flounders, octopuses, frogfish, etc.)
We managed to see a bit of courtship and mating activity as well, though some of it (like the porcupine pufferfish mating I photographed) took place after everyone else left.
The biggest surprise for me was how easy and pleasant it was to dive on a night schedule.
I expected to be cold most of the time (I even brought along a wool cap, sweater and sweat pants which I never used), but actually, the water temperature and conditions were great through the night.
In addition, waking up mid- to late-morning and jumping into the water for a first dive at 17:30 or so proved to be a very civilised schedule. With much of the morning and afternoon free to chill out, sort through photos, charge batteries, check gear, etc., the night schedule was...well...easy.
Having so much time before the first dive also meant I never went in without charged batteries, lens cap still attached, CF card missing...or any of the other common flub-ups that happen when you're in a rush or don't have sufficient time to double-check gear before hitting the water.
I hesitate to speak for everyone on the trip, but I think we all felt this way, and several people asked to be kept informed if there's another night trip, because they liked this one so much!
I am, in fact, running another night trip later this year in Ambon together with Eric Cheng and Wetpixel.
It's basically the same idea...diving mostly at night...concentrating on the dive sites collectively referred to as the Twilight Zone. It's been difficult to dive these prolific sites at night for many years now, but with the new Maluku Divers resort situated close by, we'll have easy access to Ambon's critter central.
I have no doubt that it's going to be an awesome adventure. The underwater topography is similar to, but different from, that of Lembeh, and though there's certainly an overlap in the resident critter life, Ambon's marine community is unique...which means lots of new animals and behaviours to see and enjoy.
If you're interested in checking out Ambon's night life in November I set out additional details toward the bottom of this post. Otherwise, take a look at the trip description on Wetpixel. Click here for an online presentation about Ambon that I put together previously.
Finally...something of note... I did almost all the sorting, adjustments, editing and output for this video using Aperture 3.
I upgraded to Aperture 3 just before heading out to Lembeh (I've used Aperture since the first version), and one of my goals for the trip was to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of this latest update.
Through the process of cataloging thousands of image, video and audio files, and then editing them into the video clip above...I learned a lot(!) about Aperture 3...much of which I think will be useful to other photographers.
Give me a bit of time to recover, and over the next week or so, I'll jot down some thoughts about what's good and what's not with Aperture 3.
Note: Apparently, the little frogfish that gets run over by the urchin on a rampage is an as-yet unidentified species.<strong>Correction: Just received updated information that the unfortunate frogfish is a Histrio histrio, aka sargassum frogfish, which is unusual, since it's sitting on the bottom with no sargassum seaweed around. Apparently, there is an article being written now about this, based on observations from the Virgin Islands.