It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dumaguete: Day 3

Flamboyant cuttlefish
Today we finally did a day that was pretty much all muck diving, which I was happy about, since that's what I really wanted to do on this trip.  We managed to start finding some of the more interesting/weird/tiny nudibranchs (actually that started on the previous night's night dive).  We saw so many different nudibranchs today.  It was also the first day that I started to completely lose track of which dive site we went to when.  On the first day, I was writing down dive site names in my wetnotes throughout the day.  Then I remembered that when we went to Atlantis Puerta Galera, on the last day, they gave us a printout of all of the dives we had done during the trip (date, time, dive site name, who our dive guide was).  So I was assuming that would happen again, and stopped writing down the names.  Turns out, we never got such a list of dives at the end of this trip.  Boohoo.
So you will have to live without knowing exactly which critter was spotted at which dive site.  The reality is, that aside from a few specific features (like "this site has tires" or "this site is kind of deep"), I think most of the muck sites are pretty similar.  And since I don't really know which site was which, I'll stick mostly to what we saw in this post.

Unknown nudibranch
The morning dives were all about the slugs.  Anyhoo, we saw several of the Phyllodesmium magnum slithering over the sand, which seemed fairly common and not that hard to see, but we also saw one of the better hidden (at least the one we saw) Phyllodesmium colemani, which looks like a very scrawny version of its sand-slithering cousin.  I was also excited to see Jorunna funebris, because there was a picture of it on one of the posters at the dive shop, and I had pointed it out to Rob and said it looked like the Philippine version of the San Diego dorid.  We also saw a cool looking (non-nudibranch) slug, which was all black, with a "horn" sticking up out of the middle of its back, slithering over the sand.  We haven't figured out what it was (we really need to get a nudibranch ID book for the Philippines).

Thorny seahorses
In the afternoon, we had a bunch of good non-slug finds, including two (not just one, two!) flamboyant cuttlefish that were hunting.  Rob even managed to get a picture of one of them sticking its "tongue" out.  One the fourth dive of the day, we went to this sloping sandy site that had a TON of seahorses.  There were multiple different kinds and colors of sea horses, including a couple of thorny seahorses and the more common common seahorses.  They seem to come in all shades of neutral, from yellow to white to light brown.  There may have been other kinds of seahorses, but since I'm not really a seahorse expert, I don't know.  I spent quite a bit of time on this dive trying to video the sea horses as they "swam" across the sand, or even just bobbed around with their tails wrapped around something.  I don't think they make for the most interesting video, but I find them insanely entertaining to watch.  Such dignified creatures.

Unknown sea hare
One other notable (to me) find on this dive was this really pretty sea hare.  It was tiny, slithering along a piece of sea grass, lime green with turquoise speckles.  So pretty, it looked like a piece of jewelry!

Lobiger viridis (?), the giraffe nudibranch
The night dive was awesome, one of my favorite dives, mostly because of one super cool find.  But before I get to that, we saw two more flamboyant cuttlefish this dive.  Those guys are starting to seem like they are a dime a dozen.  We also saw two other (non-flamboyant) kinds of cuttlefish.  One of them was unlike any cuttlefish I've seen before, and while I wouldn't call it pretty, it was kind of neat looking; it looked like something from outer space.  I realize there are a lot of things in the ocean that people might say that about, but if I think that, it must truly be weird-looking :)  But the awesome find of the night was... the giraffe nudibranch.  Okay, there's no such thing as a giraffe nudibranch; it was a Lobiger viridis, I think not even a nudibranch (just a slug), but it looks like an upside-down giraffe.  Actually it doesn't, but that was what I first thought of when I saw it, because of its long "legs", the processed coming out of its back.  After having studied it more, I now postulate that if you flipped it upside-down, it would look like a dinosaur.  Whatever it looks like, it is one weird-looking critter.  Even our DM was excited by this find; I guess it's not too common.

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