Mandarin Fish Mating
Blink and you’ll miss them! The elusive mandarin fish mating ritual is a highlight of the evening dive in the harbour of Gili Air. These brilliantly colourful dragonets are very small and shy, spending most of their time hiding deep in the coral. While mandarin fish are popular for aquariums due to their striking beauty, they do not survive well in unnatural conditions and we like to see them in the ocean where they belong. Spotting them is on the bucket list of many divers and I even had a student overcome her greatest fear (the ocean) to complete her scuba diver course specifically so that she could see mandarin fish mating in the wild. The best time for spotting the mandarin fish is around dusk, as this is when “the magic happens” – it is mating time.
Mandarin fish have a very unique and special mating routine: the male will seek out a female partner, flirting a bit with his prospects among the coral, then, once he has a willing participant, they cozy up to each other and slowly swim upward out of the coral to release a tiny cloud of eggs and sperm before quickly darting back into the coral. This mating ritual lasts only a few seconds, and any bright light will startle the fish back into the coral before they finish the deed, so to speak. Photographing them is extremely challenging even for experienced photographers, but if you are lucky with your timing, lights and settings all at the same time, you may be able to create an image like the one above!
We welcomed some new faces this week, with Dony arriving from Jakarta for a few days of fun diving with guide Jen and Christian joining us from Spain for his first scuba diving experience with PADI Instructor Komang! He loved his PADI Discover Scuba Dives and we hope he will get certified when he is back in Spain!
Patric and Marcus continued their divemaster training this week, completing some classroom, pool and ocean training. They sailed through their rescue assessments and impressed instructors Jenny and Komang with their underwater equipment exchange and other waterskills exercises. They also got some practice with guiding dives around some of the many dive sites around the Gili islands!
Later in the week, we welcomed back PADI Divemaster Trainee Mel! Mel was first with us here at Two Fish Gili Air in October 2019 for the first couple of weeks of her divemaster training. She went home to the UK for a bit and did some traveling around Australia, but we are thrilled to have her back on Gili Air now for the remainder of her divemaster training! It’s always a good laugh when Mel is around!
We also continued with the small improvements we’ve been making around the dive centre. Our boat captain, Ijang, constructed a beautiful new fin storage unit as well as holders for the masks and snorkels to keep everything organized. It’s great when our team works together to come up with creative solutions for improving the dive centre!
Would you like to join us in Gili Air for learning to dive, advancing your skills, becoming a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor… or, just to hang out, make awesome dives, soak up the sun and spot the mandarin fish mating in the harbour? There’s always something happening at Two Fish Gili Air Resort!!!
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