Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last of '08

Diane treated us to some great finds at Tasi Tolu today. Although the visability was terrible, she found two seahorses, including a species we hadn't seen before. And it was in only 6 meters of water!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stonefish Poisoning

A few days ago I was lying on the sand at Tasi Tolu, mesmerized while photographing a lacy scorpionfish. I generally anchor myself in the sand with a steel pointer and stay a few inches off the bottom. And it's a good thing. I felt something moving under me and raised off the bottom to discover a small stonefish (about 20cm). This brush with danger made me consider what I would have done had I been 'stung' by the dorsal spines of the stonefish...especially given the lack of medical services here in Timor.

So here's a bit of advice from the Wildness Medical Society in Australia.

Proper management of stonefish poisoning involves immediate evaluation and stabilization of the patient. The wounds should be explored and copiously irrigated using sterile techniques. This cleanses the wound area and may remove venom as well as components of the spine, slime, and sand. Any foreign material left in the wound is likely to delay or arrest the healing process. Stonefish venom is heat labile; therefore, hot soaks (115°F/45°C) should be performed for 30 to 90 minutes or until the pain is relieved and does not recur. The wound may be infiltrated with local anesthetic without epinephrine if pain relief is required. Systemic analgesics or narcotics are rarely needed. General wound care should be administered, including antibiotics if indicated. The affected area should be elevated. Antivenom administration should be considered in cases of severe stonefish poisoning. This should be given as soon as possible after the initial sting, preferably within 48 hours.

Let's hope we never have to apply this knowledge, but there's more info if you follow the link to WMS.

Note: Lidocaine, xylocaine, prilocaine and mepivicaine (Isocaine) are common local anesthetics that are available without epinephrine.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Harlequin Shrimp

Diane found this tiny (~1cm) Harlequin Shrimp this afternoon at Tasi Tolu. Our last sighting of a Harlequin was February 2007!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Back to Macro - Back to Sandy Bottom

Diane, Liz, Marianne, Alan (an honest to goodness tourist!), and I dived Dan's Sandy Bottom this morning and found some terrific macro subjects. Among other creatures, we found this pipehorse and Doto with eggs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Squids Galore

David Dyer and I spent two and a half hours watching at least 100 squids at Bob's Rock on Sunday. It was all a bit overwhelming, so I tried to isolate a pair to observe. The larger male was intent on keeping his smaller female all to himself, oftentimes slipping between her and any potential mate that came close. The final photo below shows the two checking on a clutch of eggs laid inside the staghorn coral. This was definitely a day to remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not the Pier

We tried to dive the Pier on Wednesday morning, but just was we arrived, so arrived the Pertamina fuel ship. And it's no fun being under the droning engine for the entire dive. We ventured down to Tasi Tolu instead and had a terrific dive.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


K41 was bustling today with divers, snorklers, and beach-combers. And we were all treated to calm, crystal-clear water.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pertamina Pier

It was a quiet morning at the pier, but at least the security guards didn't throw us out. The pier seems to best just before dawn. I suspect we were a bit late in the day to catch the cool critters still out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Here's another shot of the mimic octupus we saw last Thursday. You may have to enlarge the photo to see it clearly, but I'm curious if this is a common mimic of a common undersea animal. Any guesses?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Holiday at K41

Thanks to Ron Sargent and All Saints Day for a great holiday at K41. Conditions were absolutely perfect! Below are a few highlights.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lacy Scorpionfish in full color

The lacy scorpionfish was a bit cleaner today, revealing the full color of its body. I must have kept my focus on it for 10 minutes today, waiting for a good yawn. No luck.

Crusty Pipehorse

Where else? Tasi Tolu. We spotted this crusty Pipehorse, virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding branches, swaying in the current, scanning the bottom for tiny prey.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lacy Scorpionfish

Diane and I spotted this lacy scorpionfish on Thursday night, but due to technical difficulties couldn't take a photograph. We went back to Tasi Tolu this morning and found it sitting near the fallen sponge coral. Under our flashlights and strobes, this individual appears to have a lavender tint, but underwater looks exactly like the green algae that makes Tasi Tolu such a great hiding place.

I did a quick search of UWET for other scorpionfish and was surprised to find that it's been over a year since our last spotting of a lacy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Octopus at Tasi Tolu

It was creature feature last night at Tasi Tolu. Diane and I spotted this octopus (possibly mimic?) at 10 meters. Just as we put our light on the octopus, a flounder came out of the darkness, grabbed the octopus in its mouth, and then spit it out. The octopus was a bit shaken up, but seemed to be OK.

Doto Cubed with Eggs

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Winged Pipefishes

Thanks to Marianne Woodward from DTL who found these two Winged Pipefishes this morning at Dili Rock (6m).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saw Blade Shrimp

Diane has done it again. This morning she found another Saw Blade Shrimp at K41 West. Great conditions today!

Squid and Crab

Sunday, October 19, 2008