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Maluku Mumblings

Jayne’s Freckled FrogFish

If you are infected with Frogfish fever, as many divers are, you would be glad to know that there are frogfishes aplenty in Ambon Bay. There are giant frogfishes (antennarius commersonii), warty frogfishes, painted frogfishes (antennarius maculates), and of course, the latest species that has been found only in Ambon, the Maluku Frogfish (histiophryne psychedelica). In November 2010, during one of the dives made during the Wetpixel Night Safari arranged by Tony Wu and Eric Cheng, four hairy frogfishes (antennarius striatus) made their appearance on the shores of Laha.

It was at this very dive site, also known as The Twilight Zone, that Jayne Bruner (again, one of Maluku Divers’ repeat, repeat, repeat guests) shot this image of a cryptic frogfish (antennarius coccineus) during one of her night dives this week. This colourful Freckled Frogfish was well-camouflaged in the algae-encrusted ropes and an old tyre where it made it’s home, only coming out at night, but our keen-eyed dive guides blew his cover, of course.

For those of you who have not met or heard about Bob and Jayne Bruner —and you probably would have if you are a regular visitor to Indonesia— this lovely couple have been diving Indonesian waters since the 1990’s. They first dove Ambon with late, great, Larry Smith the King of Muck Diving,  Burt Jones and  Maurine Shimlock in 1993.  It is not so well known that that Ambon was actually the birthplace of Indonesian muck diving. In fact it was not until after Larry’s exploratory dives at Ambon bay where he encountered critters he had never seen before, that he went on to pioneer the muck diving in Lembeh.

While Lembeh nowadays is a busy region with a concentration of many resorts all brimming with divers, Ambon Bay is home to only one dive operation, Maluku Divers, which is the only internationally managed resort of the two that operate on the island. So, it really is “Critters without Crowds” at The Maluku Divers Resort. We hope this is only part of the reason Bob and Jayne keep returning to dive with us!