Scuba diving in Manado – uncovering harlequin shrimp and orang utan crabs

Diving in Manado is great for anyone who loves underwater photography – check out my dive logs in Bunaken as well as Lembeh Straits for more pix from the first 4 days. In this dive log, we are back in Manado and Bunaken again where we found the pretty harlequin crab, some strange octopi among other creatures.

Bunaken – Mandolin

This is a shallow reef which drops off into a steep wall dive. Lots of nudibranches here, though the highlight of this dive would be the turtle and large school of jacks that we saw here.

Manado Diving Turtle Swimby
Up close with the passing turtles
Manado Diving Hairy Squat Lobster
How cute is this tiny purple hairy thing – it’s called a Hairy Squat Lobster!
Manado Diving Moray Eel Yellow Mouth
This spotted face moray eel definitely didn’t want us getting closer. They can chomp your fingers off so I kept my distance
Manado Diving Nudibranch Light Blue Gills
I like this nudi shot because of the prominent butt flower (the external gills, but doesn’t butt flower just sound so much more evocative?)
Manado Diving Crab Yellow Orange Sponge
Look at this teeny yellow crab on an orange sponge
Manado Diving Mandolin Shallow Reef
I just loved the reflection and the colours happening in this shot – it’s a shallow part of the reef so we got more sunlight but bringing those colours out in the editing really made my day
Manado Tua Volcano P
Manado Tua in the distance. We had really good weather that day.

Manado – Garden Point

This was a similar type of dive to the first site where a shallow reef dropped into a steep wall. There were mild currents so we could drift right along.

Manado Diving Randalls Shrimp Goby
This Randall’s Shrimp Goby is very skittish – it was under an overhang so I had to really lighten up the photo and use my full zoom so it wouldn’t disappear
Manado Diving Bubble Coral Shrimp
It’s so weird how the bubble coral shrimp is practically transparent. Those pink things that look like guts are eggs!
Manado Diving Spider Crab
The spider crab looks like it’s more spider than crab
Manado Diving Nudibranch Blue Orange 2
I got to practice taking shots of many nudis around here, but this is probably one of my favourites for the unusual colouring of the nudis and that they look like train carriages lined up in a depot
Manado Diving Orangutan Crab Patchy
This hairy orang utan crab is looking kinda patchy. We saw a hairier one later on in the dive as well.
Manado Diving Cuttlefish Broadclub
The lone Broadclub cuttlefish we came across. It let me get really close from behind when it swam away!
Manado Diving Nudibranch Black-Green
This nudi I like for the unusual colouring and shape

Manado – Open Sea Point

This is a sandy sloping reef, a spot in the open water away from the land. Not too many interesting creatures except for the harlequin shrimp and me getting stung by fire coral where the shrimp like to hide.

Manado Diving Nudibranch Black-Purple and White-Orange
There might be some inter-species mixing of  nudis happening here…
Manado Diving Hermit Crab
Look at its beady eyes
Manado Diving Harlequin Shrimp
The elusive harlequin shrimp! Love its distinctive colouring. There was a smaller mate about half its size that hid too well, this was the bigger one which is female.
Manado Tua Sunset
Ending the day with a lovely sunset and Manado Tua in the distance

Manado – Aba Point

Last day of diving! Sadness. We would only do 2 dives, stopping around lunch time so we had enough rest time before our flight the next day. Aba Point is a shallow reef with a sandy bottom and a short wall area. I managed to catch 3 eagle rays in the distance, but they were too far for me to get a picture, and I was pretty out of breath by the time I swam over and saw them! Other than that, more macro for practice… I managed decent pygmy seahorse pictures this time around on my own!

Manado Diving Pygmy Seahorse Front
Yay pygmy seahorse! Still the size of half your thumb
Manado Diving Pygmy Seahorse Side
This one is apparently pregnant so it’s a tad bigger/rounder than most others
Manado Diving Snake Eel
I love how goofy this snake eel looks hiding in the sand, mostly because of its weird ass ‘teeth’

Manado – Posi Posi 1

We did our night dive here previously, sandy bottom with dead coral but we weren’t looking for mandarin fish this time around. Some creatures here, and apparently a mimic octopus that refused to resurface sadly, which would have been a really great way to cap off the dive. Despite no mimics, we did run into 3-4 other octopi and little cuttlefish so that was fun.

Manado Diving Nudibranch Tron
I call this the Tron nudi
Manado Diving Snake Eel Napolean
The Napolean Snake Eel has such pretty skin
Manado Diving Orangutan Crab Hairy
This is a properly hairy orang utan crab
Manado Diving Cuttlefish Mini Yellow
This cuttlefish was about palm sized and was black when calm. It started turning yellow when it felt a bit threatened by us
Manado Diving Cuttlefish-Octopus
It turned white almost instantly when it came across an octopus emerging from the sand! See the octopus on the left side?

Want to see more weird animals from Manado? Check out all my Manado posts – I have dive logs from Lembeh and my first 2 days at Bunaken and Manado as well.

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