Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bora Bora IV: Macro

Herps on Bora Bora were few and far between. There were geckos on most of the buildings at night, of which I tried to ignore. One day we came in the room to find this bear eating gecko.

Other than these, I quickly noticed small skinks around the beach and on the palm trees. I believe these are Snake-Eyed Skinks Cryptoblepharus poecilopleurus. I photographed a bunch of them and didn't notice any other different appearing animals.

I asked about sea turtles but mostly was told we would be very lucky to see any. I guess the polynesians find green sea turtle meat to be very delicious. Despite it being illegal, they are still commonly eaten when found. There is a small turtle rehab and head starting facility on the island, but they are a relatively young facility and I didn't visit, so I don't know how well it is doing. I was told I might have a chance to see a hawksbill, but my divemaster had only seen three or four in the last three months.

I only shot with my macro setup on two occasions sadly. When you have chances at manta, it can be hard to convince yourself to put the macro lens on your rig. I snorkeled around the coral gardens by the resort briefly with my macro lens on one of the first few days.

Textile Cone Snail Conus textile
Neon Damsel Pomacentrus coelestis
Black-axil Chromis Chromis atripectoralis

There were a few lionfish that were hiding in the structure and coral during the day. One night I saw a few of them swimming around after dark, but I never had a chance to photograph them when they were not hiding.

Clearfin Lionfish Pterois radiata
This crab was hanging out on one of the wooden supports holding up the walkway to the bungalows.

Near the end of the trip, we booked one of the afternoon "fun dives", which are basically for beginners or people getting certified. I knew we would dive the site with the eagle rays and sand flats, but figured with the group of beginners I could split off and stay beneath the boat and explore the reef. As it turns out, my buddy Rob and I were the only people on the books to dive. We ended up with a private dive as we explored the reef for macro life. It turned out to be one of my favorite dives of the trip!

I finally took the opportunity to photograph some of the christmas tree worms I had been seeing all trip.

I also enjoyed focusing on the clownfish that were swimming in and out of the anemones.

Other fish in the anemones included these Three-spot Dascyllus Dascyllus trimaculatus.

This Peacock Razorfish Iniistius pavo was able to react to my strobes and was often photographed in a blur of movement or in a different orientation. Only once or twice did it stay still.

Julian, our divemaster, turned up a couple small crustaceans to pose for the camera.

Snubnose Grouper Epinephelus macrospilos were commonly perched along the reef.

Humbug Dascyllus Dascyllus aruanus

We finished our macro dive after 70 minutes of bottom time with a few nice finds. This enormous moray eel was out of his hole and enjoying being cleaned by a Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse Labroides dimidiatus.

We had seen one of these small pipefish earlier in the trip, but I was unable to do them justice with the wide-angle lens. We found three of these on a small grouping of coral.

Corythoichthys conspicillatus

Finally, right under our boat in about 15 feet of water, Julian turned up this small stonefish. It was the only one we saw on the trip and I was ecstatic to be able to see it.

Reef Stonefish Synanceia verrucosa

All in all we had a wonderful time diving and enjoying what Bora Bora had to offer. There was one other memorable encounter on our second to last day that I have to finish with. Just after a manta decided to drift by us, I looked ahead along the coral and saw this cruising along top the reef.

Hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata

I didn't quite get the shots I wanted, my strobes were positioned very far out for large mantas, but I really enjoyed swimming along this turtle.

Happy Herping ;)


If you want to read the rest: Part IPart IIPart III and Part IV.


  1. Great pictures! Also enjoyed the narrative. Everyone looked so comfortable in the water, and sounds like Molly has many more dives ahead of her! Claudia

  2. As always, your picture is awesome, I really enjoy it.. Those fish are amazing...