Friday, July 26, 2019

Christmas Tree Worm

I like snorkeling, freediving and even scuba diving. It is a very good water sport that I like to do when going to the beach. There is a nice beach in southern region of Waigeo island of Raja Ampat which has become my frequent snorkeling spot. Its name is Warduwer. Swimming at this beach, I could see very nice coral reef with a lot of marine life.
There are parrotfish, sweetlips, moorish idol, butterflyfish, and anemonefish. There are other marine creatures as well, such as blue sea star, sea cucumber, burrowing clam, and Christmas Tree Worm.
Blue Spirobranchus giganteus sea worm
Blue Christmas Tree Worm
Christmas Tree Worm is a kind of small mollusc sea animals that lives on the surface of big rocks especially in the shallow water area of coral reef. The most popular species is called Spirobranchus giganteus. There are several colors of them including the yellow, brown, red, blue and green worms. They use their feathery tentacles to catch nutrients (food) in sea water.
Feathery sea worm in Warduwer beach
Sabellastarte sea worm

When I go swimming and snorkeling at Warduwer beach, I bring waterproof camera such as Nikon AW 130 or Fujifilm XQ2 that has been put inside its waterproof case. To take pictures of the Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus), I have to freedive, and approach the worms very slowly. I must avoid making violent movements in the water that will cause the worms to pull themselves back into their holes. To stabilize my body, I usually grab a hard coral and pull my body deeper into the water so that I could be closer to the beautiful sea creatures.
Spirobranchus giganteus sea worm in Raja Ampat
Orange Christmas Tree Worm
With my left hand holding a hard coral and my right hand holding the camera, I will shoot the Christmas Tree Worms several times. Before shooting, I have to make sure that my camera is in macro mode. This will enable me to position my camera very close to the animal. Most often I reposition my hand on different shooting angles to get better photographs. After taking pictures of the worm, I can move on to shoot other subjects. The average time that I need to descend, position my camera, and shoot the worms is between 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds. Because the depths where I freedive is only around 1.5 to 5 meters, I don't wear dive watch.
Coral reef in Raja Ampat
Coral Reef in Raja Ampat
The coral reef of Raja Ampat is a very nice environment for tourists who want to spend their vacation by swimming and snorkeling. I highly recommend it to all marine lovers. - written by Charles Roring

Also read:
Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
A Visit to Waigeo Island

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