Sunday, 2 August 2015

Blue Ringed Octopus, Wonderpus and Hammerheads!

We are now well into our High Season and the atmosphere at the Mabul Beach Resort has been amazing! As you may have seen on our Facebook page we had a hugely successful Pub Quiz this week. We raised an impressive 370RM for an organisation called Green Semporna. The bar was abuzz with energy, enthusiasm and a healthy level of competition! We have also had some incredible sightings of the rare and wonderful; such as the Blue Ringed Octopus, the Wonderpus as well as Hammerheads and Black Tip Reef Sharks at Pulau Sipadan!

Cephalopods are the dream sighting of many divers. The diversity of the species that we see around Pulau Mabul, Kapalai and Pulau Siamil is just incredible. From the more commonly sighted Broadclub Cuttlefish, that reaches sizes of 50cm, schools of Big Fin Reef Squid, to the rare and beautiful Flamboyant Cuttle fish - just 8cm long - we can see it all! 

Broadclub cuttlefish frequent most dive sites in this area and can be seen displaying an impressive array of colours and textures. We have even been lucky enough to witness these stunning creatures mating. A school of Big Fin Reef Squid can be seen on Froggies, a dive site located just off of our jetty. 

But the most impressive sightings we have had over the past few weeks have undoubtedly been a blue ringed octopus and a wonderpus. Both were witnessed whilst diving out on the Sipadan Barrier Reef. These stunning octopus both sport beautiful and distinctive patterns. 

Blue Ringed Octopus 

Sadly not a photo from here, but gives you an idea of it's beauty! 
The blue ringed octopus is a tiny cephalopod that, as the name suggested, can be seen showing beautiful blue rings all over its body. It's arm span reaches only 15cm, but don't be deceived by it's size. The blue ringed octopus is one of the deadliest things in the ocean. It's venom is 1000 times more powerful than cyanide. Generally found amongst sand and rubble, our lucky divers got to watch this stunning octopus displaying iridescent blue rings for nearly 15mins!

The Wonderpus

Photo taken at Awas
The aptly named wonderpus is another octopus found on many divers bucket list. The red / brown and white markings of this cephalopod make it extremely distinct.  However, it is often confused with the mimic but there are ways to tell the difference. Mainly, the mimic has a white band that frames its tentacles, whilst the wonderpus does not. Sadly, the one that was spotted by our customers only had 3 arms. The other 5 could have been lost in many ways - most likely being attacked by a natural predator. When an octopus is under threat they can sever their own limb to distract the attacker; the severed limb will continue to wiggle! Even more amazingly they can then grow this limb back!! And we didn't think they could get any cooler. 

Of course, we are all abut diversity here at Scuba Junkie. Not only do we see amazing macro, but we see endangered pelagics. Our divers were lucky enough to see a scalloped hammerhead earlier this week at Sipadan!! We also had an even rarer encounter for this area - black tip reef sharks! Although these may be common elsewhere, it is not often that we spot them here. 

It's been another great month of diving and we can't wait to see what the next few months will bring! With Shark Week coming up at the end of this month, we will undoubtedly be kept busy. 

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