Anemones are wicked photogenic

The home of yet another cheeky little clownfish

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Beautiful but excruciating

A prowling Common Lionfish

The visibility was lacking, but I caught this lionfish out stalking. They are solitary, predatory fish that aren’t common but usually can be spotted resting on or against the reef once or twice on a dive.

The fish has a wide of array of spined fins which deliver a powerful and horribly painful toxin, like all members of their family, Scorpaenidae. It’s not deadly but the pain can last for hours, according to divers who have been unfortunate enough to brush up against a lionfish.

During the day, they often park themselves motionless. When swimming in the open, they usually move slowly and deliberately, sometimes hovering (as above) in odd positions.

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Cheeky little clownfish

North Indian anemonefish

Many people assume all clownfish are created equal. But not everyone looks like Nemo.

They’re all part of the subfamily of anemonefish with a generally shared common characteristic: aggressive defense of whatever sea anemone they live around. This one was photographed at Havelock’s Anemone Reef.

Most divers love to play a bit with the clownfish which, if antagonized, will bite a finger or “attack” a dive mask. Note: I have not angered one enough to be bitten. I play nice with others.

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Underwater ninja loses his throwing (sea) star

They move... very, very, very slowly.

Colors underwater fade quickly. Red is the first to go and the deeper a diver goes, the more muted and filtered the light spectrum becomes.

Which makes the vivid, giant Blue Sea Star all the more spectacular because it stands out so much.

(Forgive the weird headline. I’m experimenting in what gets the most attention on Facebook.)

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Batfish! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, batfish!

Hello, Andaman batfish.

These often can be found prowling alongside divers at sites throughout the Havelock area. This one was spotted at at Aquarium, a popular beginner site.

Most fish are generally indifferent or even scared of scuba divers; we’re big, noisy, bubble-making monsters. But batfish generally seem more intrigued and will follow divers for spells at a time.

On this particular day, I had accompanied dive instructor Elin Lindqvist, as she taught a group of students in their PADI Open Water course. The fish came along, too.

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Those are actually pretty worms…

Christmas Tree worms living in stony coral

Christmas Tree worms living in stony coral

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Year of the clownfish

My favorite underwater subject

My favorite underwater subject

I’m going to be out of range of the Internet for a few days. As such, this week will be dedicated to photos from a story on India’s nascent dive industry. Above, is a standard, Western Clown anemonefish.

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I could do with a peach

I miss...

I miss...

It was a very spring-like day in Delhi. Makes me want to sit out on the back porch and cut up a fresh peach.

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Lingering devastation of the tsunami

Dead, bleached trees are the most visible legacy of the tsunami

Dead, bleached trees are the most visible legacy of the tsunami

Hut Bay, Little Andaman, which was struck by a 30-meter wall of water five years ago, still carries a few scars: now-empty beaches where homes once stood. But photographing that dramatically is a bit akin to taking pictures of something that isn’t there.

The most stark reminder: sun-bleached trees along the forest line (above) that were stripped of their leaves by the force of nature.

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Small victories against the sarkarji

I see you lawyer, stamping that paper...

I see you lawyer, using your stamp...

My most recent victory against the Indian bureaucracy involved procuring an affidavit (being prepared above) attested by an SDM, or sub-divisional magistrate.

It was a long, drawn-out process that involved several hours of sitting in a cold office foyer until a sour Indian civil servant decided he was done eating lunch. Mr. Kumar, the SDM I needed to sign my paperwork, reminded me of a bitter, dour-looking Indian version of Rod Blagojevich (weasely with floppy hair and a sly grin) without any charm or ambition (if that’s possible).

I must point out that, though I was ecstatic to get the affidavit signed, it’s as if I was overjoyed that a deputy city clerk did his/her job. Basically, my victory involved the system working as it rarely does and always should.

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