Red Ghost

Siladen Island, Bunaken National Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

A red ghost pipefish
Red Ghost

We were on the wall at the Siladen Timur dive site, on the reef that surrounds the resort island of Siladen (site of the Siladen Resort and Spa). As we drifted with the gentle current, my guide pointed into a small concavity in the reef wall, completely ringed by hydroids. Peering into the depression I saw a red robust ghost pipefish, maneuvering to hide along the reef wall behind the hydroids.

As I watched, the small ghost pipefish moved over a hydroid branch, moving in to the side of the small depression where he was hiding. Soon, he would be back against the reef wall and effectively out of my camera’s angle of view in the small gap. He seemed to speed up as I pushed my camera forward through the hydroids and snapped the shot. (The object in this frame that looks like a tan fern is actually a stinging animal, related to jellyfish.) I collected several hydroid stings to my hands and wrists … but I got the shot.

(Red Ghost: Canon G11 in Ikelite underwater housing with two Ikelite DS-125 strobes wired for TTL control; integrated lens at 8.9mm, ISO 80, f/6.3 at 1/60 sec.)