MUCKALICIOUS: 25 OF THE BEST MUCK DIVES IN ASIA

Asian Diver (English) - - Contents - By var­i­ous con­trib­u­tors

By var­i­ous con­trib­u­tors

Wacky, freaky, spooky, ugly, hairy, scary, crazy, comic, cryp­tic, mystic, weird, won­der­ful, and wild: Muck div­ing wins the prize for the best way to meet some of the strangest crit­ters on the planet. Here’s where you need to go to get your strange on

Creepy, crazy crit­ters in­habit the most un­likely of worlds below the waves. Get your strange on by get­ting down with the muck

Muck. Div­ing. Two words that most peo­ple in the world would never put to­gether. I re­mem­ber the first time I heard the term “muck div­ing” I was stand­ing on the stern of a live­aboard in the mid­dle of In­done­sian speak­ing with our ex­pertly-skilled dive guide Gusti. We were very new to In­done­sia div­ing and so far what we had seen had blown minds in terms of colours and sheer di­ver­sity of fish life. Hav­ing re­cently ar­rived from the Caribbean will do that to you.

So when Gusti asked if I had ever been “muck div­ing” be­fore, I naively replied, “Yes…,” while flash­ing back to the icky, muddy, de­bris-filled bot­tom of the Puget Sound where I got cer­ti­fied, be­fore ask­ing him to clar­ify what he meant. I’m sure you can imag­ine my sur­prise the first time Gusti took us muck div­ing and it was ab­so­lutely noth­ing like I had imag­ined. We were im­me­di­ately hooked. So much so, that a cou­ple of years later we started www.GotMuck.com, ded­i­cated to this wa­tery world of the super strange.

Muck div­ing cov­ers div­ing in places that peo­ple do not nor­mally as­so­ciate with colour­ful, di­verse fish life: Ar­eas of mud and silt, co­ral rub­ble, sea­grass beds and man­groves can all make for some ex­cel­lent muck dives, pro­vided they are in­hab­ited by crit­ters. For the crit­ters that seek out th­ese seem­ingly bar­ren, dingy (and mucky!) places are some of the weird­est around.

SO WHERE DID THE TERM “MUCK DIV­ING” AC­TU­ALLY COME FROM?

It is widely ac­knowl­edged that in­dus­try pi­o­neer Bob Hal­stead was the orig­i­na­tor of the term, us­ing it decades ago to de­scribe the black sand sites he be­gan div­ing with his wife Di­nah from their boat MV Telita in Milne Bay, Pa­pua New Guinea. But there is another, less well known, hero of the muck phe­nom­e­non...

THE LEG­END OF MUCK

Back in Fe­bru­ary 1995, Burt Jones and Mau­rine Shim­lock were on board the Ce­hili with their close friend Larry Smith. They were al­ready well on their way out into the Banda Sea when Larry be­gan a story about do­ing a hull in­spec­tion in Am­bon Har­bour, near a dive site now re­ferred to as Laha. He de­scribed spot­ting a fish that looked like some­thing a cat had coughed up. As his de­scrip­tion con­tin­ued, they brought out a fish ID book and re­alised that what Larry was de­scrib­ing was oth­er­wise known as a rhinopias! “Turn the boat around”, they yelled, and, even­tu­ally, they did.

Nine dives a day over the next few days (this was back when peo­ple were div­ing with film, re­mem­ber) and Burt, Mau­rine, Larry, and the oth­ers had found and iden­ti­fied nu­mer­ous strange crit­ters in the sandy slope of Laha.

In the years im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the Am­bon ex­pe­ri­ence, Larry would spend the ma­jor­ity of his time in Lem­beh Strait not only find­ing and de­scrib­ing dive sites and fab­u­lous crit­ters, but also train­ing and de­vel­op­ing a num­ber of dive guides, many of whom still work in In­done­sia to­day, and have trained the next gen­er­a­tion of ea­gle-eyed guides.

Larry was best known for his ex­cite­ment un­der­wa­ter, often “whoohoo­ing” to get divers’ at­ten­tion when he found a cool crit­ter. Larry passed away in 2007 and is still dearly missed by all his friends, col­leagues, and those of us who never got the plea­sure of div­ing with him.

We ded­i­cate this lit­tle fea­ture to Larry Smith – a man who was in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing the muck div­ing phe­nom­e­non.

LAHA 1

(OR LAHA 1 & 2)

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2–3

WHERE:

Am­bon, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A slope made up of reef, sand and rub­ble, un­der the moor­ings of var­i­ous fish­ing boats

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nu­mer­ous species of nudi­branch, frog­fish, rhinopias, cephalopods like com­mon cut­tle­fish, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, won­der­pus, mo­toti, and blue-ringed oc­to­pus. The fa­mous “Am­bon frog­fish” has been seen here, and other sites around Am­bon. Can find rib­bon eels in all three phases, as well as li­on­fish, scor­pi­onfish, and oc­ca­sional stone­fish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Oc­to­ber to May

IN­SIDER INFO:

Dif­fi­culty is de­ter­mined by cur­rent. Dive with lo­cal op­er­a­tors as strong fall­ing or ris­ing tides can be tricky. The dive ranges be­tween three and 40 me­tres, so be cau­tious of bot­tom time. Spend a long safety up in the shal­lows for frog­fish and sea­horses

CITY EX­TRA

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Manado main­land, North Su­lawesi, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand slope with co­ral rub­ble

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs, jaw­fish, sea­horse, frog­fish, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, mimic oc­to­pus, hairy shrimps, ghost pipefish, maybe even dugong

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Cur­rents are usu­ally neg­li­gi­ble Psy­che­delic frog­fish, Am­bon, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com

SERAYA SE­CRETS

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1–2

WHERE:

Amed - Tu­lam­ben, Bali, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand and peb­ble slope, cov­ered in hy­droids and black co­ral

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs, har­lequin shrimp, tiger shrimp, frog­fish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

April to De­cem­ber

IN­SIDER INFO:

It’s a shore en­try, and some­times waves can make nav­i­gat­ing the big­ger rocks and peb­bles a bit tricky. Take your time!

TK

(1,2,3)

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Lem­beh Strait, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand slope

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Hairy frog­fish, mimic oc­to­pus, wun­der­pus, Am­bon scor­pi­onfish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

No cur­rent, usu­ally dived by boat, a fan­tas­tic day dive, but also great at night!

CITY EX­TRA

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Manado main­land, North Su­lawesi, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A slop­ing sandy bot­tom of black sand and co­ral rub­ble

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branch, jaw­fish, sea­horse, frog­fish, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, mimic oc­to­pus, hairy shrimps, ghost pipefish, maybe even dugong

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Cur­rents are usu­ally of min­i­mal con­cern Lem­beh sead­ragon, Lem­beh Strait, In­done­sia © Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Hairy frog­fish, Lem­beh Strait, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com

Bas­ket star shrimp, Ko­modo, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Blue-ringed oc­to­pus, Ko­modo Na­tional Park, In­done­sia © Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Won­der­pus pho­to­geni­cus, Lem­beh Strait, In­done­sia © Kerri Bing­ham and Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Jorunna rubescens nudi­branchs, Lem­beh Strait, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham and Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com

WAENILU

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Ko­modo, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Co­ral rub­ble and soft co­ral slope

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Man­dar­in­fish, pic­turesque drag­onets, Phyl­lodesmium nudi­branchs (mim­ick­ing soft corals), hairy frog­fish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

A great dusk to night dive

NUDI FALLS

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2–3

WHERE:

Lem­beh Is­land, North Su­lawesi, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Half the site is a sandy slope to 20 me­tres with a soft co­ral gar­den be­yond. The other half is a wall cov­ered in corals, tu­ni­cates. Depth ranges from 3 to 25 me­tres

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Ex­cel­lent for nudi­branchs, es­pe­cially along the wall. In the sand, blueringed oc­to­pus, hairy shrimp, man­tis shrimps, oc­ca­sional won­der­pus, ro­bust ghost pipefish, sea­horses, pe­ga­sus seamoths, and more nudi­branchs. Along the wall some of the guides know where to spot the Lem­beh sead­ragon

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Be sure to dive with a lo­cal op­er­a­tor, prefer­ably one lo­cated within Lem­beh Strait. Best to spend some time in the sand be­fore mov­ing over to the wall, fin­ish­ing up in the shal­lows where there’s a bit of reef

BUB­BLE REEF

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Sangeang, north Sum­bawa, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Sand slope and patch reef with vol­canic vents

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Tozuma shrimps, pygmy sea­horses, ghost pipefish, frog­fish, lots of whip corals with symbiotic crus­taceans

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

June to Novem­ber

IN­SIDER INFO:

Only reach­able by live­aboard, en­try is al­ways from a boat, po­ten­tially some cur­rent

TOR­PEDO AL­LEY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Rinca Is­land, Ko­modo Na­tional Park, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Slop­ing sandy bot­tom with small blocks of rub­ble. Shal­low area varies from sand to soft and hard co­ral gar­dens. This is the go-to night dive for Horse­shoe Bay and is often over­looked as a day dive, but it hap­pens to be one of the best black sand muck dives in Ko­modo Na­tional Park

SPECIES TO SPOT:

At night divers can spot the elu­sive tor­pedo ray in the shal­lows (but be sure not to touch it with your muck stick!) along with bob­tail and bot­tle­tail squids, co­conut oc­to­pus, or­nate ghost pipefish, and crus­taceans cov­er­ing the sandy bot­tom. Dur­ing the day divers can also spot var­i­ous cephalopods such as the won­der­pus oc­to­pus, mimic oc­to­pus, reef squid and broad club cut­tle­fish, in ad­di­tion to ghost pipefish, frog­fish, and dozens of species of nudi­branchs

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round, al­though most live­aboards don’t op­er­ate here from De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary

IN­SIDER INFO:

Must be dived by live­aboard. Most guides jump to the left of the riverbed, but there is also a small buoy marker which small ten­der boats can tie up to. Take the reef on your left or right de­pend­ing on the cur­rent

SIDEM

WHERE:

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, Manado, In­done­sia © Jonathan Lin

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1–2

Tu­lam­ben, Bali, In­done­sia

Sandy rub­ble slope from 3 to 25 me­tres, with some hard and soft co­ral blocks. In 10 to 15 me­tres it’s cov­ered in frag­ile hard corals and al­gae

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Great spot for find­ing rhinopias, frog­fish (es­pe­cially at night!), nudi­branchs, sea­horses, and at night, boxer crabs and sea hares

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Best dived by boat. Great day muck dive and ex­cel­lent night dive. There are two moor­ings within the bay. Be­gin at ei­ther one and head to­wards the other, zig-zag­ging along the slope. Dif­fi­culty de­pends on cur­rent

CRIT­TERS CIR­CUS 1, 2, 3

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Manado main­land, North Su­lawesi, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Slope of black sand with patches of co­ral rub­ble and sea­grass in the shal­lows

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs, jaw­fish, man­tis shrimps, cut­tle­fish, oc­to­pus, boxer crabs, pipefish, dugong if you’re lucky

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Th­ese three sites run into one another, so there are al­ways new ways to dive them!

BMJ

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Manado main­land, North Su­lawesi, In­done­sia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand slope, scat­tered co­ral rub­ble

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branch, jaw­fish, man­tis shrimps, cut­tle­fish, oc­to­pus, boxer crabs

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Cur­rents are usu­ally min­i­mal

PADANG BAI JETTY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1–3

WHERE:

Padang Bai, Bali

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Jetty struts on a sandy slope with some patchy corals in the deeper part

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Stone­fish, frog­fish, candy crabs, co­conut oc­to­pus, mimic oc­to­pus, oc­ca­sion­ally rhinopias

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Avoid rainy sea­son from De­cem­ber to March

IN­SIDER INFO:

Oc­ca­sion­ally big swells make for a lot of surge. Cur­rents can also be strong and ther­mo­clines can drop the tem­per­a­ture down to just 18 de­grees in places. Watch out for fish hooks – a lot of peo­ple fish off the jetty above

SEA VEN­TURES

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A rocky reef with sand and rub­ble patches be­tween 13 and 18 me­tres un­der­neath an old oil rig. Many ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures and large pieces of metal trash have been placed on the seabed un­der­neath the rig

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Gi­ant frog­fish, gi­ant mo­ray eels, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, nudi­branchs, scor­pi­onfish, wasp­fish, pygmy sea­horses, ghost pipefish, gi­ant grouper

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Div­ing is all year round, but the best vis­i­bil­ity is March to Oc­to­ber

IN­SIDER INFO:

Dive this site in the morn­ing when there is lit­tle/no cur­rent Sea spi­der, Mabul, Malaysia

Im­age by Chris­tian Loader/Scubazoo Croc­o­dile flat­heads, Si­padan, Malaysia © Chris­tian Loader/Scubazoo

MATAKING HOUSE REEF

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Mataking Is­land, Sabah, Malaysia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A slop­ing house reef from 3 to 20 me­tres with a white sand seabed – one of the best co­ral house reefs in Malaysia

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Gi­ant bar­racuda, big­eye trevally, pygmy sea­horse, shrimps, crabs, frog­fish, leaf scor­pi­onfish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round, but the best vis­i­bil­ity is March to Oc­to­ber

IN­SIDER INFO:

Best con­di­tions are in the morn­ing. En­try and exit from the beach is very easy

PAR­ADISE

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Flat, white sandy seabed from 3 me­tres off two re­sort jet­ties to 20plus me­tres. A num­ber of ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures and sunken dive boats in the shal­lows (7 to 15 me­tres), with sea­grass beds at the eastern edge of the site

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Huge green tur­tles, ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures are cov­ered in sponges and feather stars are home to or­nate ghost pipefish, var­i­ous species of frog­fish, small reef fish, shrimps, crabs, nudi­branchs, frog­fish, sea­horses, oc­to­pus, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, pipefish, seamoths, stargaz­ers, spiny dev­il­fish, and many shrimps

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round, but the best vis­i­bil­ity is March to Oc­to­ber

IN­SIDER INFO:

Dive this site in the morn­ing when there is lit­tle or no cur­rent

CAR WRECKS (ALSO KNOWN AS CERES OR HAROLD’S)

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Dauin, Du­maguete, Philip­pines

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand slope

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Six dif­fer­ent species of frogfsh plus ju­ve­niles, sea­horses, flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, ghost pipefish, mimic oc­to­pus

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

March to June

IN­SIDER INFO:

Nicest to dive late af­ter­noon or early morn­ing, most ac­tion

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 3

WHERE:

Du­magette, Ne­gros, Philip­pines

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Sandy slope with car wrecks at the bot­tom, scat­tered with bro­ken co­ral heads and a lot of al­gae cover

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Ghost pipefish, Am­bon scor­pi­onfish, oc­to­pus, nudi­branchs

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Oc­to­ber to June

IN­SIDER INFO:

Can be done as a shore dive, but from a boat is best. Try to hit it in the morn­ing or late af­ter­noon, and watch out for cur­rent Car­di­nal­fish with eggs, Du­magette, Philip­pines © Mike Bartick

AN­CHOR BAY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 3

WHERE:

Romblon, Philip­pines

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A shelved drop-off com­posed of rock and soft co­ral, plen­ti­ful scrubby al­gae

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Pon­tohi/Sev­erensi pygmy sea­horse, rare nudi­branchs

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Oc­to­ber to June

IN­SIDER INFO:

CARS

The site is best dived in the morn­ing or at night to avoid surge

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 3

WHERE:

Ani­lao, Lu­zon, Philip­pines

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Sandy slope chan­nel with rub­ble and or small co­ral heads/sponge and light rub­bish

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs ga­lore!

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Oc­to­ber to June

IN­SIDER INFO:

Cur­rent per­mit­ting, it’s a good on any dive at any time of the day, but an ab­so­lute killer dive at night! Cy­erce cristal­lina nuibranch, Romblon, Philip­pines © Mike Bartick

BETH­LE­HEM

Pink eared man­tis shrimp, Dauin, Philip­pines

© Mike Bartick

AT­MOS­PHERE HOUSE REEF

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Dauin, Du­maguete, Philip­pines

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Sea­grass and black sand slope with patch co­ral reefs

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Frog­fish, har­lequin shrimp, hairy shrimp, pygmy pipehorse, leaf scor­pi­onfish

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

March to June

IN­SIDER INFO:

Can be dived by boat or from shore, de­pend­ing where you're stay­ing

SEA­WAY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 3

WHERE:

Gold Coast, Aus­tralia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A long break wall ex­tend­ing into the Gold Coast es­tu­ary. Sandy seafloor with oc­ca­sional ar­eas of ex­posed cof­fee rock. The rock­wall and pipes on the bot­tom are ar­eas to search for crit­ters. The best div­ing is along the wall in the shal­lower sec­tions

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs, spiny dev­il­fish, ju­ve­nile trop­i­cal fishes, tur­tles

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

De­cem­ber to April

IN­SIDER INFO:

Site needs to be dived on the in­com­ing high tide as this in­creases vis­i­bil­ity and the cur­rent flow is re­duced. De­pend­ing on which part of the south­ern wall you’re go­ing for, en­try and ex­its points will vary, but they are pro­tected and con­sid­ered easy Py­jama squid, New South Wales, Aus­tralia © Dave Harasti

EDITHBURGH JETTY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Edithburgh, South Aus­tralia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A shal­low dive site, with a max­i­mum depth of 10 me­tres. Div­ing is un­der the 170-me­tre-long jetty, with the py­lons cov­ered in a huge di­ver­sity of sponges, bry­ozoans and as­cid­i­ans. The seafloor un­der the jetty is rub­ble cov­ered and in­hab­ited by rare, sought-af­ter species

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Leafy sead­rag­ons, sea­horses, blue-ringed oc­to­pus, an­gler­fish, stargaz­ers

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Jan­uary to May

IN­SIDER INFO:

En­try and exit is rel­a­tively straight­for­ward as the jetty has good stair ac­cess for divers. Night dives are well worth do­ing here Leafy sead­rag­ons, South Aus­tralia © Dave Harasti

PIPE­LINE

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 2

WHERE:

Nel­son Bay, New South Wales, Aus­tralia

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A slope from 3 to 10 me­tres. Small sponge out­crops from 5 to 8 me­tres, and at around 10 me­tres there are patches of rare cau­li­flower soft corals full of un­usual species. The dis­used pipe­line ex­tends 18 me­tres to the north. The best div­ing is to the east of the pipe in 7 to 10 me­tres to­wards the ma­rina break­wall

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Sea­horses, blue-ringed oc­to­pus, striped py­jama squid, hairy an­gler­fish, cowries, nudi­branchs

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

De­cem­ber to April

IN­SIDER INFO:

This site can only be dived on the slack high tide as at other times the cur­rent is too strong. A fan­tas­tic night dive for lots of rarely seen species. Take great care on en­try and exit in north­east­erly or west­erly winds

Hal­imeda ghost pipefish, Milne Bay, Pa­pua New Guinea © Brandi Mueller Or­ange man­tis shrimp, Pa­pua New Guinea © Brandi Mueller

DON'T GET MUCKY WITH­OUT:

• Hav­ing your buoy­ancy in check!

Muck sites can be silty and stir­ring up the sub­strate is a sure way to wreck the dive. Watch your fins and flip to page 88 for more of the “Dos & Don’ts” of div­ing in muck!

Your muck stick

This metal pointer will help keep you off the bot­tom and min­imise dam­age when you want to get in close to check out those crazy crit­ters.

A macro setup on your cam­era

Th­ese are not the places to be shoot­ing megafauna or seascapes. Th­ese lit­tle won­ders are small and strangely, mind-blow­ingly beau­ti­ful.

DI­NAH’S BEACH

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Milne Bay, Pa­pua New Guinea

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

A shal­low black sand slope, with most of the crit­ters hang­ing out in 10 me­tres of wa­ter or less

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Frog­fish, man­tis shrimp, leaff­ish, em­peror shrimp, Cole­man’s shrimp, nudi­branchs, eels, orang­utan crabs, har­lequin shrimp

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

Year round

IN­SIDER INFO:

Ac­cord­ing to muck mythol­ogy, this is where it all be­gan. This is the seem­ingly unas­sum­ing site where Bob Hal­stead took a party of divers led by a dive in­dus­try heavy­weight, and had to per­suade them that he was not just at­tempt­ing to save fuel. Af­ter one dive they did in­deed all jump in for a sec­ond, only sur­fac­ing for more air and more film. The site is named af­ter Bob’s wife

WIRE BAY

DIF­FI­CULTY LEVEL: 1

WHERE:

Kimbe Bay, New Bri­tain, PNG

TO­POG­RA­PHY:

Black sand bor­dered by sea­grass in a horse­shoe bay, the re­mains of a vol­canic caldera

SPECIES TO SPOT:

Nudi­branchs, false clown­fish, pink anemone­fish, pygmy sea­horses, stargaz­ers, man­tis shrimp, pipefish, ghost pipefish, shrimp and crus­taceans

BEST TIME TO DIVE:

April to July

IN­SIDER INFO:

Wire Bay has amaz­ing crit­ter sight­ings dur­ing the day, but it’s even more im­pres­sive at night when noc­tur­nal macro sub­jects come to life

Frog­fish, Am­bon, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Muck afi­cionado Kerri Bing­ham of www.GotMuck.com lays it out for us: What is this muck div­ing of which we hear so much? And why should we all be get­ting in on the ac­tion?

Rhinopias, Am­bon, In­done­sia

© Kerri Bing­ham & Her­gen Spalink/GotMuck.com Leaf sheep/Shaun the Sheep nudi­branch © Jonathan Lin

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