Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Diving, Squid Off of Gili Banta, Thursday, 07 July 2011 9:25pm

Great day of diving. Saw more and bigger fish than I've ever seen before outside of aquariums. On one of our dives, the schools of fish were so dense that they cast a shadow over me as they swam overhead and around me. I saw a huge Napoleon Wrasse with beautiful blue and green patterning. There were Titan Triggerfish tearing up the seafloor to make their nests. I was told afterwards that nesting females are territorial enough to attack divers, which is a pretty serious threat from a fish I'd just seen biting through big chunks of rock-hard coral. There were some Jacks, Great Barracuda, and what I think were Bonito Tuna. On another dive we saw a large cuttlefish that seemed unbothered by our gawking. It just sat there looking back at us for quite a while. There were also plenty of smaller fish. Ali found us a couple of Pygmy Sea Horses on a Sea Fan. I'm astounded that he was able to find them, since I could only distinguish them from the coral when I was less than a foot away.

After three day dives, we did a fun night dive. Saw a number of creatures that hide in the sand: a Stargazer, a Bobtail Squid, and a Flounder. Each had its own way of covering itself. The Stargazer swam backwards into the sand. The squid dug in with its tentacles. The Flounder lay on the sand and shook itself from side to side. We also saw Lionfish hunting with the aid of our dive lights. Fish caught in the beam were liable to be dinner as the Lionfish surged forwards. The highlight of the dive was a color-changing reef squid. It would shift from tan to black with iridescent spots. It got fed up with us and our lights and shot ink at us and jetted very quickly at one of us. When that didn't get rid of us, it took up a threatening posture: vertical in the water with its tentacles splayed around its head.