Nights at The Zoo

0

Wakatobi Dive Resort

It isn’t hard to understand how the dive site known as The Zoo got it’s name. Located just minutes from the dock at Wakatobi Resort, this sloping reef following a stair-stepped profile is home to a prolific and varied collection of marine life, all concentrated in a relatively small area. This is one of the region’s best macro dives, with residents that include frogfish, ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp, leaf fish, funky hairy squat lobster, different species of pygmy seahorses and more.

Zoo, perfect name for dive site Photo By Walt Stearn
Zoo, perfect name for dive site Photo By Walt Stearn

And the same picturesque underwater landscape that make for good hunting during the day also provides habitat to a wide range of creatures that remain hidden while the sun is up. As a result, The Zoo is also a favorite night dive.

Hairy Squat Lobster, this tiny pink creature lives between the cracks of the Giant Barrel Sponge and it’s a common sight in Wakatobi. Because it rests in the deeper recess of these cracks, it’s hard to bring the strobes light to it. Positioning the strobes very close to the port and shooting in portrait orientation normally solves the issue.
Photo by Lauriea Siagiani
Hairy Squat Lobster, this tiny pink creature lives between the cracks of the Giant Barrel Sponge and it’s a common sight in Wakatobi. Because it rests in the deeper recess of these cracks, it’s hard to bring the strobes light to it. Positioning the strobes very close to the port and shooting in portrait orientation normally solves the issue. Photo by Lauriea Siagiani

At dusk, cardinalfish, bigeye and numerous invertebrates emerge from the staghorn corals. Under cover of full darkness, a nocturnal menagerie emerges. Several varieties of hunting cuttlefish, colorful flatworms and many species of lionfish scour the reef, including the elusive twin spot lionfish. Bobtail squid and octopus seem to be found in larger numbers here than other sites in the area. Torches work like spotlights to reveal a broad cast of characters–from brilliant flatworms and nudibranchs to alien-like mantis shrimp with their gleaming compound eyes. Thousands of glowing eyes of various shrimps and crabs peer at you from every crack and crevice, and out in the sand pockets, a diver might happen upon a flamboyant cuttlefish. For the keen-eyed diver, close inspections of the convoluted surfaces of Zoo’s large barrel sponges will produce finds such as the diminutive hairy squat lobster.

Cuttlefish courting photo by Rich Carey
Cuttlefish courting photo by Rich Carey
Cuttlefish mating photo by Rich Carey
Cuttlefish mating photo by Rich Carey
Squids at night dive Photo by Wayne MacWilliams
Squids at night dive Photo by Wayne MacWilliams

When roving packs of squids go on the hunt, the resulting light show is nothing short of psychedelic. The Zoo is also one of the prime locations of Wakatobi’s signature Fluo-Dives. Using UV dive lights that reveal certain corals and animals in glowing fluorescent tones, the experience is like the underwater equivalent of a black light poster. Divers, and especially photographers, love this dive as they capture rare creatures in a whole new light.

Orangutan crab on Fluo dive photo by Walt Stearns
Orangutan crab on Fluo dive photo by Walt Stearns
Shrimp on Fluo dive Photo by Nigel Wade
Shrimp on Fluo dive Photo by Nigel Wade

“Night is a particularly magical time, as many creatures that hide among the hard corals during daylight come out after dark. You could spend hours here and not run out of things to discover. When we added the Fluo-Diving program at Wakatobi, we knew Zoo would be the perfect place to showcase this phenomenon, because both the corals and many of the critters respond to fluorescence, creating quite a show for divers.”

– Lorenz Mäder, founder Wakatobi Resort

Skeleton shrimp fuorescing Photo by Imran Ahmad
Skeleton shrimp fuorescing Photo by Imran Ahmad
Squid at night dive  Photo by Wayne MacWilliams
Squid at night dive Photo by Wayne MacWilliams

There are more than 40 additional dive sites located within the private marine reserve that surrounds Wakatobi Resort. Profiles range from snorkel depths to technical diving depths, and host a roster of marine life that is among the most plentiful and diverse of any ocean. A unique combination of protection, diversity, and accessibility has made the Wakatobi region one of the planet’s most sought after diving destinations. And the icing on the cake is Wakatobi Resort itself, which offers five-star service, gourmet meals and casually elegant accommodations, all set in an idyllic ocean side location.

 

Learn more at www.wakatobi.com.

All content provided on this “Scuba Diving Resource” blogs or website is for informational purposes only. Any comments, opinions that may be found here at Scuba Diving Resource are the express opinions and or the property of their individual authors.
Scuba Diving Resource makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.  Please note that regulations and information can change at any time.

January 28, 2017 |

Leave a Reply

Powered By DesignThisWebsite.com
Skip to toolbar