Meridian Adventure Dive bring you the monthly Raja Ampat Creature Feature series: Garden Eels
While diving in Raja Ampat, you will often encounter strips of sand between the rich coral reef and underwater rock formations. While most will swim past these areas towards the next reef area, they are missing out on observing one of the newest discovered species in the area. The Papuan Garden Eel.
Upon observing the sand patches, you will often notice shapes resembling seagrass gently swaying with the ocean movement. However, when investigating closer, you might find that the seagrass has mysteriously vanished, leaving a small tell-tale hole in the ocean bed. Few realise that they have been observing the small Papuan Garden Eel.
Unlike their more prominent, easier to spot, and better-known family members such as the Moray Eel, these eels only grow to about 60cm. The eels are identified by their spotted bodies and comically large yellow eyes. The Garden eel stays in a small burrow and, when threatened, will retreat into its depths. When they re-emerge, they resemble a field of fast-growing grass.
While it can be challenging to spot these critters and even more challenging to get close enough to see them, it is possible truly. These eels are alerted to movement by vibration in the sand, which means even the slightest movement or kick by a diver can alert the entire colony to your presence. Then, with patience, you will see them stick their heads out again and gently sway in the so-called breeze, feeding on the plankton that comes with the currents.
Although they are found on most dive sites with a sandy bottom at a depth of about 10-20m, we strongly advise you to dive Neu-Reef with an experienced dive guide as they are found in abundance in this area. As a bonus, the reef itself is one of the least dived and most stunning in the Waisai area.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba Divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.