We don’t normally snorkel on dive trips, mainly because we’re too tired from the diving and packing up the gear at the end of a trip that it’s not always worth our while. Unsurprisingly, Wakatobi was different. The house reef is really quite something, especially when just standing at the jetty you can see plenty of life. We saw crabs and even an octopus one day. Too bad we couldn’t get to the camera in time. This peppered moray eel, on the other hand, came out often enough for us to get a good shot! Imagine what the snorkelling is like if it’s like this just from the jetty!
Snorkelling was much less cumbersome than diving. We simply walked into the water from the beach in our booties, with mask, snorkel and fins in hand. When it got deep enough, we slipped on the fins and mask then kicked off. The house reef was full of coral just a few metres away from the sandy beach area. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t much different-looking in landscape than when diving. It was wonderful to see the deep blue of the water even so close to shore.
What was more astounding was the sighting of a banded sea snake so close to shore. I always thought they were too shy to go close to shore. Maybe it was desperate for air because it shot straight up to the surface. Luckily I managed to take a quick snap before it disappeared.
It is much harder to take photos while snorkelling. Even though we weren’t in our wetsuits, it was tough to stay down. Some people snorkel with weights, even. Photos have to be taken quickly and accurately, like how DC got this shot of a honeycomb grouper.
Either that or you’ll end up with strange compositions, like this with the same group partially hidden in the coral rubble.
I was also surprised to see species that I’d not seen while diving, like this slender green fish with yellow stripes. If anyone can identify it, please let me know. It could be a juvenile, considering that it’s hanging out in the seagrass. Seagrass areas are well-known to be fish nurseries.
I was very pleased that DC managed to capture a picture of this freckled hawkfish. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that hawkfish are one of my favourites. Sadly enough, I didn’t get any good shots of hawkfish while diving and was very pleased to add this to my collection of hawkfish shots.
There were plenty of other types of fish, but what we got were generally pictures of fish trying to get away from the sudden movements of a snorkeler, like this Picasso triggerfish…
… or this palette surgeonfish.
We didn’t do so well either with this spotted boxfish, but at least we can show that there really was a lot of life near the shore.
Closer to the seagrass were plenty of fish, like this school of parrotfish…
… and a titan triggerfish that we were glad to see swim away.
Right by the jetty were plenty of network pipefish that were again a pain to photograph, especially with the surge as the waves hit the jetty. DC was very patient and took enough photos so we got this shot.
On the jetty itself, we found our good friend the peppered moray. It was lovely to end our two-hour snorkel in the small area by reciprocating a visit!