Negros Oriental in the Philippines is known as one of the ultimate muck-diving paradises, and diving guests at Salaya Beach Houses can discover a great variety of unusual and exotic marine creatures, including ghost pipefish.
Now Salaya Beach Houses is offering a Specialty course approved by both PADI and SSI dedicated to these fascinating creatures.
Shy, well camouflaged and thus hard to find, the ghost pipefish is usually at the top of many macro lover’s bucket list. A total of six species were classified by scientists so far – Armored Ghost Pipefish, Delicate Ghost Pipefish, Halimeda Ghost Pipefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Robust Halimedia Ghost Pipefish and Roughsnout Ghost Pipefish. They barely show any conspicuous movement, so that they are often mistaken for being a part of their surroundings, therefore often overlooked.
For macro fans and underwater photographers who want to find the master of disguise, the team of Salaya Beach Houses developed a distinctive Specialty course dedicated to these amazing creatures.
Course participants will learn where they live, what they use as camouflage and what they try to imitate, so that they are well equipped to find the various species. In addition, a broad background knowledge on ghost pipefish is delivered. Information on the different species, their life cycle and span, as well as on reproduction is given. Cameras are available for rent to be used during the dives.
The only pre-requisites for the two-day course is a (Junior) Open Water Diver certification and a minimum of ten years of age. The Ghost Pipefish Distinctive Specialty Course includes three open water dives, and for divers aged 12 and up these can include night dives, providing even more opportunities for bizarre once-in-a-lifetime encounters. During the dives, participants will search for ghost pipefish, observe their behaviour, look for parasites, identify their sex and – of course – film and photograph them.
The guest’s footage and pictures will be reviewed after the dives. Because there is not much known about the fascinating creatures, the team of Salaya Beach Houses is keeping a log of the sightings and is building a library to which participants can contribute their own pictures and video footage.
Image credit: Jody Elliott