Beangabang, Take 2

Beangabang, Take 2, originally uploaded by echeng.

November 1, 2011: For critter diversity, there is a certain magic to the combination of a dark sand bottom and a fresh water outlet (in this case, a hot spring). I dove Beangabang for the first time in April of 2009, and after 2.5 years of planning, we're back, diving its mucky waters again. The water is much colder this time around, and the village here looks completely different. Last time, the entire island was green; this time, the shore is devoid of green (we're here exactly 6 months off from when we originally visited).

The night dive this evening was incredible. There were octopi *everywhere*. Each diver probably found a dozen octopi on their own; most were of the long-arm variety, but there were quite a few coconut octopi (Amphioctopus marginatus) and poison ocellate octopi (Amphioctopus siamensis) as well. Two coconut octopi were mating (shown in this post).

The octopi were the main subjects for the dive, but the sandy bottom was literally crawling with life. At all times, thousands of crustacean eyes reflected the light from our dive lights—a thousand pinpoints of light blanketing the dark slope. In addition to the sea of crustaceans blanketing the sand, tiny little dragonets and scorpionfish flitted about. The entire substrate was in motion!
Sent from mobile. Apologies for brevity/typos.