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First Raja Ampat dive at Saonek Monde, Indonesia

Thornback cowfish; this uncommon fish is a species of poisonous boxfish which has hexagonal, plate-like scales which are fused together to form a solid, box-like carapace, from which the eyes, mouth, fins and tail protrude

Thornback cowfish; this uncommon fish is a species of poisonous boxfish which has hexagonal, plate-like scales which are fused together to form a solid, box-like carapace, from which the eyes, mouth, fins and tail protrude

Spotfin lionfish; this species lives in lagoons and on reefs, where it hides during the day and hunts shrimp and crab at night; the spiny dorsal fins are venomous (like other lionfish)

Spotfin lionfish; this species lives in lagoons and on reefs, where it hides during the day and hunts shrimp and crab at night; the spiny dorsal fins are venomous (like other lionfish)

Tasselled wobbegong; reaching 6 ft in length, this species of carpet shark has a broad and flattened body and head; its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin

Tasselled wobbegong; reaching 6 ft in length, this species of carpet shark has a broad and flattened body and head; its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin

Helmet gurnard; often confused with flying fish, this species walks along sandy sea floors while looking for crustaceans, other small invertebrates and small fish by using their pelvic fins

Helmet gurnard; often confused with flying fish, this species walks along sandy sea floors while looking for crustaceans, other small invertebrates and small fish by using their pelvic fins

Thecacera pacifica; this species of sea slug is sometimes also nicknamed Pikachu nudibranch due to its resemblance to the Pokémon character Pikachu

Thecacera pacifica; this species of sea slug is sometimes also nicknamed Pikachu nudibranch due to its resemblance to the Pokémon character Pikachu

Bristle-tail filefish; this species has the ability to rapidly change color and skin texture and patterns to avoid detection and consequently predation

Bristle-tail filefish; this species has the ability to rapidly change color and skin texture and patterns to avoid detection and consequently predation

Ornate ghost pipefish; this species lives among the branches of gorgonians, in floating weeds, or on crinoids where they feed on mysids and small benthic shrimp

Ornate ghost pipefish; this species lives among the branches of gorgonians, in floating weeds, or on crinoids where they feed on mysids and small benthic shrimp

Halgerda batangas nudibranch; our divemaster always carried a flashlight so that we could better see small creatures like this that tended to live in crevices or otherwise hidden from predators

Halgerda batangas nudibranch; our divemaster always carried a flashlight so that we could better see small creatures like this that tended to live in crevices or otherwise hidden from predators

Christmas tree worms; my camera typically takes very poor photos of small creatures in the sea; this photo was an exception but there were so many cool, small creatures we saw (like pygmy seahorses) that didn't photograph clearly

Christmas tree worms; my camera typically takes very poor photos of small creatures in the sea; this photo was an exception but there were so many cool, small creatures we saw (like pygmy seahorses) that didn't photograph clearly

This ferry is approaching Waisai; for some reason the clouds were often very low throughout our trip; the clouds were appreciated though since the sun was extremely strong

This ferry is approaching Waisai; for some reason the clouds were often very low throughout our trip; the clouds were appreciated though since the sun was extremely strong

Plakobranchus ocellatus; searching for colorful sea slugs is quite popular with divers but while all nudibranchs are sea slugs, not all sea slugs are nudibranchs

Plakobranchus ocellatus; searching for colorful sea slugs is quite popular with divers but while all nudibranchs are sea slugs, not all sea slugs are nudibranchs

Filefish; this species is often camouflaged to match its environment; interestingly, the slender spine crowning  the head is retractable

Filefish; this species is often camouflaged to match its environment; interestingly, the slender spine crowning the head is retractable

Longspine lionfish; this is a large lionfish, up to 40 cm,  and has much taller dorsal spines than common lionfish; we tended to see a couple of lionfish on each of our dives in Raja Ampat

Longspine lionfish; this is a large lionfish, up to 40 cm, and has much taller dorsal spines than common lionfish; we tended to see a couple of lionfish on each of our dives in Raja Ampat

Posted by VagabondCowboy 05:47

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