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Cuttlefish In The Dark In Okinawa, Japan

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Okinawa, Japan



Canon camera with dual inon strobes



8 meters (24 feet at depth) during a dusk dive



I would sometimes dive right outside my house when I lived in Okinawa, Japan.  The entire area was completely untouched and there were spots where no diver had ever been.  I found a huge piece of coral that was a breeding ground for broadclub cuttlefish.  They would mate and place their eggs into the coral not that far from the shoreline.  Instinct drove them every year at the same time to lay their eggs.  The females would be guarded very heavily by the males as they placed the eggs into the coral.


It was getting dark and at the time I didn’t have much experience doing night dives, so I was a little nervous.  I noticed a little female coming near the coral.  Once she sized me up and realized I wasn’t a threat, she would come near me.   I was close enough to get this shot as the sun was setting.  I was below the cuttlefish and the only thing that was around us was water. The light from the strobes was bouncing off the water and this gave the black background effect you see in the image.


You could tell the cuttlefish was very hesitant to get near me but she needed to lay her eggs in the coral.  I was in a stand-off for about 35 minutes before she felt comfortable with me to get about 5 inches from my camera.  I have found keeping eye contact with them and approaching them very slowly is the only way, you will get a good photo.  You have to build trust and that can take 30-45 minutes.  I was running low on air when I took the shot and was thankful for what I had seen, waved goodbye, and drifted into shore.


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