Wakatobi, South Sulawesi, Indonesia  November 2003

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Indonesia was new territory. We hadn't been to a new destination since the first trip to PNG in 2001. A trip to the Philippines was planned for the spring, and Indonesia for the fall. There was alot of turmoil in the world this year. Terrorism, war, SARS... and paranoia seemed to abound. SARS managed to mess up the Philippines trip, but by the time fall arrived, the world was a bit more calm and I was very ready to get back to the Indo-Pacific.

This trip wasn't without its troubles. I had several photographic setbacks and managed to contract a cold. But I discovered that Wakatobi is an amazingly productive place for photography. In spite of E-6 problems, battery, focus mode troubles, and strobe sync problems, all of which contributed to eliminating about half my potential photos, I still came home with many with which I'm fairly happy. I hope to get more photos up from the problem E-6 rolls as I get time to work on them; they'll likely be in black and white if I can't recover sufficient color.

Notable marine life on the trip included mandarinfish, oscellated lionfish, clown frogfish, soft coral crabs, halimeda, robust and harlequin ghost pipefish. There were sea kraits and pygmy seahorses on nearly every dive. Wonderful dragonets and triplefins. A crazy little bobtail squid. Lots of different kinds of beautiful shrimp and nudibranchs. Cuttlefish, pleurobranchs, mantis shrimp, ringed and reef pipefish, blue ribbon eels. Many juveniles and other treasures living in the sea grass on the house reef. I was unsuccessfully attacked by a nesting peach faced trigger. The walls are gorgeous, the muck diving utterly cool, and currents ranged from none to wild. Every dive was great.

Since I didn't get photos of all the wonderful critters we saw, the best thing to do is to plan a return trip. And that's not such a bad idea!

Enjoy the gallery!



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