June 2016

Two months have already passed and a lot happened in Komodo, Raja Ampat and Bali.. We welcomed numerous divers who enjoyed warm water, critters and pelagic. Bali is coming toward the end of the Manta mating season. I witnesses fantastic shows. Manta were definitely here and not just one! 
Dry season has started a month ago, the cooler water is now coming and the underwater beauties arrive with it. One of them is the art of camouflage and mimesis, topic of the Bio section.
Numerous subjects came to me for the Bali Life section, but one inspired me a lot. Stories of our family trip in Waerebo, village in Flores mountain.
Last but not least, let's go diving with the last places available in Komodo and Bali
I wish you to enjoy this LogBook...
"To be or not to be" famous Hamlett thought, what would be the underwater world thoughts? It would more than likely be: "To eat or to be eaten”. This two metaphysical thoughts are leading the underwater life to very ingenuity behaviours. Camouflage or mimesis?
Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see (crypsis) or by disguising them as something else (mimesis)
There are two types of camouflage, "To eat..." leads to the aggressive camouflage. The animal is hunting using his camouflage not to be seen by its prey and surprising them. We can mention for example the strange frog fish. This beautiful fish is really disappearing in the middle of the sponge or habitat is leaving in. So well hidden and difficult to spot... The frogfish is even using an additional artifice to attract his prey with delusion with a lure imitating a worm. Devil, isn't it?

"... or to be eaten" leads to the second type, the defensive camouflage. In that case, the animal is using camouflage not be seen by its predators. I would mention as a perfect defensive camouflage the Ghost Pipe fish hiding in the crinoid not to be seen by the stone fish, itself very well camouflaged to be able to prey. Here is a beautiful game of Hide and Seek!

Camouflage is rather passive while mimesis is more active. The strategy consists of imitating an active animal, keeping the same purpose "To eat or to be eaten"...

Batesian Mimesis has been named out of the naturalist Henry Walters Bates, who first mentioned it. Queen of trick, the species using Batesian mimesis will escape its predators by making them believe it is a toxic species. Have you ever seen the marvelous mimic octopus imitating the banded sea Krait, particularly venomous or the anemone, terribly urticant...

Mullein Mimesis, also named out of the scientist who made the discovery, Fritz Muller. In that case, toxic species are imitating each other. What’s the point? A predator who had a bad experience once with a toxic species will not try to approach the look like other species... more toxic species look like each other, higher the chance of being protected by the other one is. Let's mention the wide species of Phyllidya Nudibranch Coelestis, Schupporum, Marindica. Machiavellian, isn't it ?

Last but not least, the Peckhamien mimesis: "I am kind. Surprise, I am not!!!". This type is actually aggressive. The species will imitate a harmless species to approach the prey. This is the strategy of the false cleaner fish (Aspidontus taeniatus) taking advantage of its prey by imitating the cleaner fish. The confident prey will let itself being approached by the false cleaner fish, which as soon as it is close enough will bite its flesh and swim away...

The main purpose of this LogBook section is to share our living experience in Indonesia. We went on a family trip in Flores, to spend few days in the Manggarai Village of Waerebo. What an experience that Tom and Chloe enjoyed as much as we did...
The road, which leads us to Ditor was long and sinuous but the countryside landscape and the spider net rice field were breathtaking.
We finally riched Waerebo village after a few hours walk. The Flores Manggarai habitants are an ethnic group, which count around 500'000 people. We were very impatient to be welcomed by the villagers chief in his personal hut. Before leading us to the visitor hut, he proceeds to a ceremony introducing ourself to the ancestors.

Wearebo is located in the mountain at 1200m above sea level. It is built of 7 huts, 6 for the villagers and one for the visitors. They are made out of circle shape taking place in sea horse shoe shape, center being the place for all ceremonies. A community and patriarchal
system leads the village. The chief dispatches the work to family depending on their member's number

If now Manggarai villagers are Christian, the animism remains very present in their rites and ceremonies among which Penti Manggarrai is celebrated in Thanks Giving period. I will also mention Barong Look, invitation of the culture protective spirit.
Beside ecotourism, the village is living from their cultures of Coffee, Cassava, Manioc, Taro, Vanilla, cacao and vegetables, which we were lucky enough to eat.
Tom and Chloé played with the village kids, we discussed with the smoking Kretek man, weaving Ikat woman... We spent there 3 days of dreams and bonding with nature. Wearebo is a singular village where time stopped decades ago, which allowed them to win the UNESCO Heritage award...
The adventure is going on... What's up at Safari Bali

Fabien just came back from Trip in Bali. Manta are still around. 

Mathieu is now on route. Yesterday, several frogfish in Gilimanuk.

Bali, Romain and Mathieu dived with Whale Shark last month!
Only a few places left on KOMODO 9-21 October cruise.

SAFARI BALI, check on the program or ask us for tailored SAFARI.
2017 is already on. Please contact us for the January RAJA AMPAT cruise, KOMODO cruises and SAFARI BALI schedule.
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Anne-Sophie and Arnaud