Thursday, 24 March 2016

ON THE ROAD SURPRISES - Part 5 - The Maldives

I knew that my recent trip to the Maldives would offer a wealth of fabulous diving – and it didn’t disappoint. I haven’t sorted out the underwater photos yet, so here are a few above water surprises.

We were treated to sightings of pods of spinner dolphins on several occasions.

This 'vessel', complete with house plants intrigued me greatly.

Finally, is this the smallest island in the Maldives??


P.S. I'm now gearing up to do the April A-Z blogging challenge. My theme is Wild Animals that I have specifically seen in the wild (no zoos or animal parks!!) Can you guess which animal will be my first featured under 'A'?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

ON THE ROAD SURPRISES - Part 4 - Going Underwater

Scuba diving is unpredictable and always full of surprises which is what keeps me going back for more. I’m off to the Maldives next week for a diving trip, so I’m going to leave you with some underwater surprises and I’ll see you when I return at the end of March.

The first time I bumped into a Decorator crab I didn't realise what I was looking at. We were diving the Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi and I saw a sea urchin moving impossibly quickly on the sand. It was only when I swam closer that I realised the urchin was perched on a crab. 

These crabs have spikes on their eco-skeletons which enable them to attach sponges, seaweeds, algae - and in the case of the crabs I saw in Lembeh - sea urchins, onto their backs as a form of disguise. I've even seen a decorator crab with an unwieldy mess of dead coral on its back, but alas I haven't been able to unearth that particular photo from my files.

I think there's
 something rather endearing about these little critters and I'm looking forward to a wealth of diving surprises in the Maldives next week.

As a result of a question put to me (see the comments) I did further research and discovered that my 'decorator crabs' are in fact 'urchin crabs' which resemble decorator crabs. The big difference being: urchin crabs carry sea urchins and decorator crabs carry sponges, hydroids, bits of algae and other inert objects on their shells. 

This is a classic case of believing what a dive leader told me without thoroughly checking the facts - so slapped wrist to me - and big thanks to AW for asking the questions that prompted my research.

In answer to AW's question about the advantages: the sea urchins benefit from being carted around by the crabs because they are transported to new feeding grounds.