the virtual MantaFest 2020 has opened

https://www.facebook.com/groups/309083026824883/

Various events were canceled this year due to the influence of COVID-19. Manta Festa, held annually by Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers, a diving resort in Yap, Micronesia, is no exception.

Manta fest is a diving photo contest held in a very homely atmosphere. Many enthusiastic fans are all over the world, and they fell lonley that the event was canceled. One of those fans, Judy Bennett, has started the virtual MantaFest 2020 on Facebook.

<<Yap family. So, the annual migration to Yap for Manta Fest 2020 should be starting. Instead Covid 19 has thrown a gigantic monkey wrench into everyone’s plans for life this year. Since it had to be cancelled, maybe we can make Manta Fest 2020 a virtual one. Let’s share images and videos from all our other years there together. The people, the places, aquatic life big and small, and of course, don’t forget the beer. Just a few a day, we have 2 weeks worth to share>>…… from group page announcemen

The groupe page aimed to invite people who participated in the Manta fest, to post photos and warm up old relations online.
There are many pictures of a fun atmosphere such as, beautiful underwater scape and participants enjoyed diving, chatting, drinking….

The fun moments come back.
I’m hoping we could get rid of COVID-19 as soon as possible and move freely around the world.

The concrete block is an anti symbol of nature?

Tree soft coral (Dendronephthya sp.)

I like Soft coral against the backdrop of sunshine.
It’s the one of symbolic scenery of the undersea in Owase.
It’s beautiful, elegant, mysterious.
It’s beauty in nature.
However, this soft coral is standing on the artificial fish reef.
It is made of a lot of concrete blocks.


The concrete block is an anti symbol of nature.
It was installed on the sandy seabed about 50years ago.
The time makes it keeps changing from an artificial thing to the natural rock reef.
We can enjoy the colorful soft coral and many kinds of sea creatures here, thanks to the artificial fish reef.

Tsumaguro-hatanpo (Pempheris japonica Döderlein, 1883)

Tsumaguro-hatanpo (Pempheris japonica Döderlein, 1883) swims between colorful soft corals. Owase, Mie, Japan.

Tsumaguro means a black chip in Japanese. There are black spots at tips of the dorsal fin and the anal fin. The English common name isn’t in Fish Base ( https://www.fishbase.se/summary/13021).

I took this photo at shallow water at HitotsuIshi Point. This point is one of the popular diving points at the inner bay. It is the point enjoy from the shallow like under few feet to the deep like over 100feet.
This point is a reef made from the big rock standing up from the sandy seabed about -60ft. Colorful soft corals cover those walls.
The sandy seabed is continuing gentle slope down to 100ft.
We can see the fantastic Gorgonian wrapper and Ring anemone on the way of that slope also.

Periclimenes Kobayashi

Cleaner shrimp

Periclimenes Kobayashi (Okuno & Nomura, 2002)
This commensal shrimp finds easy on the tentacle of Dofleinia armata Wassilieff, 1908 which is a venomous sea anemone. Transparent with red spots and a white band. Eyes are impressive. The eyeball is in a transparent sphere and chasing my moving.
at Oobana point (-18m), Owase, Mie, Japan

whip coral garden

in the dim sea bed

Whip coral garden at Nagase point, Owase, Mie, Japan.
This is an inner bay point, but the tide is often fast. So, we can enjoy many kinds of soft coral. I like the whip coral garden. Whip coral is an invertebrate with long, whip-like branches covered in tiny polyps. are living on a big rock. The scenery a lot of the whip coral standing in the dim sea bed is very mysterious. Owase, Mie, Japan March 21 2020 -18m

Camouflage in Purple

Hamodactylus noumeae

“Isobana-Kakure-Ebi” in Japanese.

When a diver illuminates up a gorgonian which looks like a large fan by his underwater flashlight, often, he may find out something reflecting in the light. Looking closely, he will see a very small shrimp staying on the branch. This is Hamodactylus noumeae( Commensal Shrimp). “Isobana-Kakure-Ebi” in Japanese.
They are very tiny shrimps, around 0.5cm. The purple body seen through a transparent exoskeleton is beautiful.
Body-color is depending on a host gorgonian color.
Moreover, most of the body is transparent, so it is hard to find.
They are also masters of camouflage and Ninja under the sea.

Hippocampus japapigu Short, Smith, Motomura, Harasti & Hamilton, 2018

Japapigu at Kushimto Wakayama Japan

This pic is not brand new. But my favorite.
This guy is very tiny. Under 5mm long. Always behind seaweed or rock for hiding. And moving quickly. So it is so hard finding it out.
Fortunately, the guide I was diving with was excellent. He has good eyes. And has the knowledge for this guy. Its favorite place or appearance time and so on.
This seahorse had not had the scientific name longtime from it was discovered. Japanese divers have been calling it Japapigu longtime. Japapigu is the shortens the name from Japanse pygmy seahorse. This name is spreading to the world through the internet, the scientific name is named after this colloquial Japanese name.

Colorful Nudibranch

Ceratosoma trilobatum (J. E. Gray, 1827) Nishiki Umiushi

Ceratosoma trilobatum (J. E. Gray, 1827)

This is a very common Nudibranch, but one of my favorite. This guy was hanging on an isolated small rock on the mud bottom. -18m. 26℃.
At Owase, Mie, Japan. The water is hotter comper with the ordinary year. Set, 26, 2019
This nudibranch is called Nisiki Umiushi as the common name in Japan.
Nishiki is a generic term for silk fabrics woven using various colored yarns. So, Nishiki often is used term to refer to vivid and beautiful things.

Manta ray silouette tank top

Manta ray silhouette tank top
Manta ray silhouette tank top
The front is a small manta silhouette and the diving flag, and the diver’s password “No Dive, No life”. The back is covered by a big manta silhouette.

Manta ray silhouette tank top
by LittleDinosaur

Close-up: My photo carrying on Outdoor Japan Traveler as the front cover.

from 16p, The article about Diving spot in Japan is starting.

Thanks Tim! for carrying my photo on Outdoor Japan Traveler as the front cover. This photo from The 50 Best Dives in Japan: The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Sites, by Tim Rock and Noriyuki Otani
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PRJT8PG