A Donald Duck shrimp?

Yes, there is such a creature and it appears to have a beak.  It is also known as the Plume Shrimp.  We were lucky enough to photograph one on our last dive trip in the Philippines.  Even after all these years of diving and taking photographs, we are frequently seeing new and wonderful things underwater.

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Donald Duck Shrimp, Cabilao Island, Philippines

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Don’t upset the Mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimps/prawns pack a lethal punch, especially if you’re a crab or a scallop.  They have even been recorded breaking aquarium glass.  So with these facts in mind, I usually take care not to upset them when taking photos. One punch and my camera lens could be cracked.  However, sometimes you don’t see them… but they see you.  This little guy gave me a good punch on the knuckles while I was photographing a sea-horse.

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Mantis prawn, a big punch for a little prawn.

I was so shocked, I nearly dropped my camera. At least it was good entertainment for Phil. I could hear him chuckling under their water.

 

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Crabs make you laugh

Muck diving in the Philippines provides loads of opportunity to photograph crabs. They are everywhere, some are very obvious and others extremely well hidden.  Here are our favourite crab photos from our trip.

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Angry crab. These crabs made me smile every time I took a photo. It’s as if they are posing for the camera.

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Smooth/Shameface box crab. You have to be quick to get a photo of these crabs, they quickly bury themselves in the sand as you approach.

 

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Hermit anemone crab (my favourite). Note the small anemones attached to the shell for added protection from predators.

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Crab and mango,  Most crabs scurry away when approached, but not this one.  It was too busy eating a mango.

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Flame box crab

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Yellow eyed puffer fish feasting on a crab. It’s no wonder the crabs keep scurrying away.

 

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Cabilao to Dauin via Balicasag Island Philippines

After spending a week diving Cabilao Island we headed off, by boat (banka), to our next dive destination, Dauin.  We had great weather and travelling by boat was the best way to go, especially when you get to do two dives at Balicasag Island along the way.  The dives at Balicasag Island were among my favourites dives on this holiday.  Shallow white sandy bottom ( 8-10 metres) with plenty of sea grass and spectacular walls that drop away into darkness.

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Travelling to Dauin on a Banka.

We see turtles (Green, Loggerhead and the odd Hawks bill) on almost every dive around home (Cook Island, NSW, Australia), but Balicasag Island’s Green turtles are some of the prettiest tutles we have photographed.  The clear water helped.

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Green turtle, Balicasag island, Philippines

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Green turtle, Balicasag island, Philippines

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Oriental Sweetlip, Balicasag Island

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Diving over the wall, Balicasag Island

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Relaxing after our dives and travelling on to Dauin.

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The non-venomous cephalopods

It would be unfair not to show you the non-venomous cephalopods, particularly seeing as they make such great photographs.

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Cuttlefish, Dauin, Philippines.  Look close, there are two cuttlefish in this photo.

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Squid, Dauin, Philippines.  Another great squid shot by Phil.

If you are patient and don’t move too quickly, the squid will come within a metre to look at you.

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Common octopus, Dauin, Philippines.

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Cuttlefish, Dauin, Philippines.  Not so easy to find.  These cuttlefish were very well camouflaged half buried in the sand.

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Cuttlefish, Dauin, Philippines.

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Venomous Cephalopods

We were lucky enough to see and photograph our first flamboyant cuttlefish on our recent Philippines holiday.  We knew these critters were small, but I still wasn’t prepared for how small, about 5-7 cm.  Also I didn’t know they are poisonous, like the striped pyjama squid and the blue ring octopus. The flamboyant cuttlefish is one of the few venomous cephalopods.

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Pfeffer’s flamboyant cuttlefish, Dauin, Philippines.

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Blue ring octopus, Dauin, Philippines. Another tiny but deadly creature.

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Blue Ring octopus, Dauin, Philippines. Believe it or not, this is the same octoups as the previous photo.

Nelson Bay, Australia is the only other place where we’ve come across other venomous cephalopods while scuba diving.

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Striped pyjama squid, Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia.

The pyjama squid (technically a cuttlefish) is about the same size as the flamboyant cuttlefish, but a lot harder to find.  They tend to bury themselves in the sand with just their eyes poking out.

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Blue ring octopus, Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia

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Spectacular wall dives – Philippines

I was particularly looking forward to the wall dives on our Philippines dive trip.  I’ve had a new wide angle lens for only a few months and hadn’t taken any decent photos with it yet. Unfortunately, I still haven’t taken any good photos with it and never will, because I dropped it in about 100 meters of water.

😪 Anyway, after a few quick tears I pulled myself together and took some photos.  Some of which happen to be my favourites from the trip. Which Photo is your favourite?

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Lito (our guide) posing for a photo, Cabilao, Phillipines

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Phil looking for small critters, Cabilao, Philippines

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Anthias/Basslets (purple are males), Balicasag Island, Philippines

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Anthias/Basslets (gold are females), Balicasag Island, Philippines

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Diver on wall, Cabilao, Philippines.  This is my favourite shot,

 

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Soft coral, Balicasag Island, Phillipines

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Sea whip, Cabilao, Philippines

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Anthias and fan coral, Balicasag Island, Philippines

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Feather star, Cabilao, Philippines

All is not lost, I have been able to replace my wide angle lens with a very good second hand one for less than half the price of a new lens. 😃

 

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