Posted 20 October 2016
TULAMBEN HAT-TRICK
Like a knight of yore on a sacred quest, NIGEL WADE finally faces the prospect of bringing an epic journey to a stirring conclusion – at a Balinese location he has already visited four times before! Can his quarry live up to the weight of expectation?
Posted 20 October 2016
Like a knight of yore on a sacred quest, NIGEL WADE finally faces the prospect of bringing an epic journey to a stirring conclusion – at a Balinese location he has already visited four times before! Can his quarry live up to the weight of expectation?
TULAMBEN HAT-TRICK

I’VE BEEN WAITING my whole diving life to catch a glimpse of just one of these enigmatic and rare creatures, clocking up well over 100,000 miles travelling to the places where they live in the vain hope of an encounter with this superstar of the underwater photographer’s world.

In the past I’ve mostly been greeted with: “You should have been here last month” or, worse still, “No, we haven’t seen one of those in years”.

So you can imagine my surprise when dive-guide Nina casually dropped “and we’ve been seeing a few Rhinopias here too” into the sentence as she delivered the afternoon dive-briefing.

The hairs on my arms stood up, and a shiver ran the length of my spine as the excitement levels instantly went off the scale. This was followed a few seconds later with a feeling of dread when I remembered all the times I’d heard the same words, only to find this elusive animal conspicuous by its absence.

After 20 minutes of fruitless searching, my pulse quickened at the sight of dive-guide and spotter Norris hovering over the dirty black-sand seabed.

He was punching the water with one hand and pointing at what looked to be a bit of discarded rubbish with the other.

I finned closer. The anticipation was electric, but quickly evaporated at the sight of a beautiful, striped wonderpus, its eight appendages snaking in different directions as its oblong eyes set on stalks checked out the commotion.

I shouldn’t have been crestfallen but I was – it was impossible to hide my disappointment. My shoulders slumped, and I simply went through the motions of taking a few snaps.

Norris could see that my heart wasn’t in it and grabbed me by the arm. With a confused look he pointed again, this time a few feet past the small octopus.

I followed his direction to see the ugliest of mugs staring back at me, a creature with facial features only its mother could love. It had huge white umbrella-like eyebrows and an upturned snout sporting what resembled a Victorian moustache. This particular species is commonly known as a paddleflap – wait for it – Rhinopias!

It was a beautiful moment, and the frustration and unproductive searches of yesteryear melted away as my heart raced in my chest.

This little aquatic icon lay motionless on the algae and black sand, propped up on its pectoral fins and posing like a professional model as I frugally recorded its likeness with my camera.

I was lost in the moment, enjoying every second of this long-awaited meeting while trying to ignore the frantic tank-banging coming from a few metres away.

My wildly gesticulating guides were relentless and determined to get my attention, so I reluctantly left the pink paddle-flap, wondering what all the fuss was about. Then I froze, slack-jawed, as I gazed at, not one, but two more Rhinopias lying a few feet apart.

Both were deep crimson in colour but very different in appearance – one was another smooth-skinned paddle-flap, while the other had lacy appendages all over its spotty red body.

This species, the frondosa, is possibly the most amazing critter I’ve had the privilege to see under water.

The Rhinopias is a creature that’s haunted my dreams, inspiring me to travel to the far-flung corners of Asia and beyond – and here I was, face to face with three of them. I felt as if I’d scored the ultimate hat-trick. 



To Read the full article, Login here or Register for a free account

For more great articles like this get the OCTOBER 2016 issue of DIVER below or subscribe and save.

DIVER

5 Stars
(1  Customer Reviews)
12 Issues per year
DIVER is Britain's best-selling scuba diving magazine – regularly out-performing all its competitors combined on the open market.

Select your version


Digital Edition
SAVE 44%
Single Issue
OCTOBER 2018
$2.99
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $1.67 per issue
SAVE 44%
$19.99
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $2.00 per issue
SAVE 33%
$11.99
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $1.99 per issue
SAVE 33%
$1.99
Payment Options

Reviews


Best diving mag
This is by far the best diving mag. Great features and amazing photos
5 Stars   
Reviewed 25 November 2012

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this get the OCTOBER 2016 issue of DIVER below.

OCTOBER 2016 | Buy for $2.99

Comments

There are currently no comments for this post
Be the first to leave your feedback

More Articles


A SALUTE TO HMS OTRANTO
More than two million US service personnel were successfully transported across the Atlantic to England and France during World War One, and for the USA the sinking of HMS Otranto was the worst troop-transport disaster of that conflict. PETER KENDRICK reports on the recent Otranto 100 expedition to the wreck, which lies off Scotland near Islay More...
SURPRISE MAINLAND PACKAGE
You don’t have to stay on a Greek island to enjoy Greek diving with all the trimmings, and ‘best-kept secret’ Epidavros offers its own argument for a mainland base. STEVE WEINMAN reports More...
DIVING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
A manta ray called Mathilde was just one big reason why SIMON MORLEY will never forget his recent trip to Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida – the main Revillagigedo islands More...
THE U-BOAT COAST
The WW1 U-boats at Pendennis have been dived for many years, by many people. The site is probably the second most popular shore-dive in Cornwall. Thousands of trainees did their first open-water dives there, most seeing the remains of one or two of the U-boats. Not sure what to write into their log-books, other than 'Silver Steps’ or ‘Pendennis’, what were these subs? MARK MILBURN investigates, and believes he can now paint a clearer picture of what lies where and why More...
ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER
When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
IMAGINE MESSI TEACHING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL
Not all ‘pro’ photo workshops are the same – on some you just pay and hope. But what’s it like learning to get the best from your camera under water from a recognised master? HENLEY SPIERS studies at the school of Mustard More...
WHERE THE HELL DID OUR BOAT GO?
In February IAN PEACH and his buddies went through a nightmarish boat-separation experience off Mozambique. In a DIVER exclusive he explains what happened – and how to avoid it happening to you. More...
Nautilus Lifeline Marine Rescue GPS
You don’t think you need a PLB – until you do. If there have always been reasons not to invest in one, a new product looks set to sweep them away. NIGEL WADE tests it. More...
TULAMBEN HAT-TRICK
Like a knight of yore on a sacred quest, NIGEL WADE finally faces the prospect of bringing an epic journey to a stirring conclusion – at a Balinese location he has already visited four times before! Can his quarry live up to the weight of expectation? More...
GOLDENEYE
It’s a diver’s dream, and Vince Thurkettle is the underwater prospector who came across the biggest gold nugget ever found in British waters. He talks to STEVE WEINMAN More...
Powered by
Powered by Pocketmags
Diver is owned and operated by:
Eaton Publications, Suite B, 74 Oldfield Road, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 2HR
© Copyright 2015 | MagazineCloner.com