The underwater world

On the island of Pulau Weh off the northern tip of Sumatra there is what many consider some of the best diving in southeast Asia.  Here there are strong currents that bring nutrients up from the cooler ocean depths and along with it some larger predatory animals.  There are many reefs full of tropical fish as well as seawalls that drop off into the ocean, some very deep shipwrecks and calmer bays.  The diving here is more difficult than the diving in peninsular Malaysia and so Nat and I decided to take our advanced diving course here to be able to visit some of these beautiful sites.  Also, back in Kuala Lumpur, Nat purchased an underwater case for his camera and we have been experimenting with some simple photography in the calmer reefs.  We’re excited to share the rich colours and unusual shapes with everyone, especially those who have never been diving.

This is a juvenile yellow boxfish floating in front of a black sea urchin.  This family of fish gets its name from their unusual box-like shape and are quite interesting to look at.  This particular fish was quite small, about the size of a strawberry.

This poisonous fish has beautiful feather-like fins extending from its back and sides to warn off predators.  Lionfish are usually vibrant and striped.  They tend to sleep during the day and actively hunt by night.

The large fish in this picture are Oriental sweetlips, so named for their prominent lips.  These fish were about the size of a large loaf of bread but they can grow to be much bigger.  The smaller fish circling their mouths are called cleaner fish for the service they provide to all other fish of cleaning the bacteria and parasites from their bodies.

We’ve been diving with Roy who we met in Malacca.  His setup is much more complexe than ours, complete with strobe lights on extendable arms, red lights to bring back colours and a variety of filters.