Fun Fish Facts-Nemo Can Become Nancy

False clownfish, anemone, Dreamland, Menjangan, Indonesia

Maybe one of these false clownfish is the dominate female in this anemone

Did you know that many of the lovely fish we regularly see on the coral reef have the ability to change their sex? The biological term is ‘sequential hermaphroditism,’ and wrasses, moray eels, gobies and clownfish are known to do this.

According to Wikipedia

“A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place. In the wrasses (the family Labridae), sex change is from female to male, with the largest female of the harem changing into a male and taking over the harem upon the disappearance of the previous dominant male.”

Spanish hogfish, Bonaire

The Spanish hogfish is one of the larger Caribbean wrasses


Blue Ribbon Eel, Komodo, Indonesia

The blue-ribbon eel is one of the most beautiful


Fire goby, Komodo, Indonesia

The fire goby is one of my favorites

New Brethren Quintin & Marielle with the Pirates

Abdul, Ditta, Wayan, Sea Rovers, guests

Abdul, Marielle, Ditta, Wayan & Quintin are all smiles

Quintin and Marielle packed a lot of diving in a couple of days. They enjoyed the walls of Menjangan, the local reefs of Pemuteran and even fit in a night dive in Mucky Pirates Bay. Welcome to the Sea Rovers Brethren and hope to see you back here soon.

Nudis from the archives

The wench hasn’t been diving in a few days, so had to go to the archives to get some photos to share with the brethren. These nudibranchs were shot during my 2015 dive safari in Bali.

Flabellina nudibranch, Bali, Indonesia, Underwater photo

Living on the edge


Nudibranch, Bali, Indonesia

All the spiky bits–maybe it’s a punk nudi


Nudibranch, Bali, Indonesia

The orange rhinophores & gills don’t seem to match the yellow & blue polka dots

Sunscreen Chemicals Dangerous to Corals

Sunscreen, coral bleaching

On the left is normal coral; on the right is bleached coral after exposure to sunscreen


I see divers and snorkelers slathering on sunscreen every time I go out on the Sea Rovers’ boats. Since there are only a limited number of dive sites at Menjangan and here in Pemuteran, it really worries me about the impact these chemicals may be having on the reefs. Here are some excerpts from an article from National Geographic and PADI. Click on the links if you want to read them in full.

The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body—but a new study finds that the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.

Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species. Even low levels of sunscreen, at or below the typical amount used by swimmers, could activate the algae viruses and completely bleach coral in just four days, the results showed.

The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.

So what’s a diver (or snorkeler) to do?

When it comes to sunscreen, any natural product (organic, biodegradeable etc) is better for the environment then the conventional one. Look for a brand that uses physical sunblocks such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of chemical ones.

Read the label. A product advertising itself as “reef safe” doesn’t necessarily mean what it says. Always look at ingredient lists to make sure reef-damaging substances (such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidine camphor, all of which have been shown to cause coral bleaching even at low levels) aren’t included.

Apply sunscreen at least 10-15 minutes before going in the water so that the lotion absorbs into your skin.


Now that you’re ready to make the switch to coral reef safe sunscreen (and human-safe), consider the 10 options below, all of which have a “1” rating from the EWG, and positive reviews from online consumers. The products below are not officially endorsed by PADI or Project AWARE; however, if you are reading this article in the United States and make a purchase by clicking a link below, a portion of your purchase will go to Project AWARE via the Amazon Associates program.

  1. Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin/Children, SPF 30+
  2. Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
  3. UV Natural Sport Lip Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  4. Badger Broad Spectrum Sport Facestick, SPF 35
  5. ECO logical All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  6. Elemental Herbs Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  7. Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
  8. BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30
  9. Raw Elements USA Eco FormulaSPF 30
  10. All Terrain KidSport SPF30*

I wear a thin wetsuit or dive skin whenever I’m on the boat  (I do have a noticeable tan line that starts at my wrists; I could wear my gloves if it becomes too unsightly). I try to sit in the shade, and if I can’t, I use a towel over my head to shield my face from the sun. A broad-brimmed hat would also protect your face.

Some of the world’s problems seem so big that there’s nothing we can do; consider making this small change to do your bit to protect our precious coral reefs.




Some fish change dramatically as they mature from the juvenile to intermediate to adult stage. Let the expert pirates at Sea Rovers help you check them off your bucket list.

Batfish / Spadefish (Platax pinnatus)

Juvenile batfish/spadefish from Todd Aki

I don’t have a photo of a true juvenile, so this is from photographer Todd Aki’s Flickr page


Batfish/spadefish, Box Reef, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia, underewater photo

This is technically an intermediate phase since you can see stripes starting to form


Batfish/spadefish, Coral Bommie, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, underwater photo

Here’s the adult phase


Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Semicircular angelfish, Mucky Pirates Bay, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, underwater photo

Here is the stunning juvenile.


Semicircular angelfish, Wikipedia

I don’t yet have a photo of the adult, but here’s one thanks to Wikipedia


Everyone loves Nemo

Always a crowd-pleaser, everyone loves Nemo. Anemonefish is the more accurate name for these guys–although most folks just call them clownfish. There are more than 30 different species of anemonefish.

All of these photos were shot in Menjangan. Let the expert guides of Sea Rovers find some for you so you can delight your non-diving friends with your pics.

False clownfish, anemone, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, Underwater Photos

False clownfish


Pink anemonefish, anemone, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

A pair of pink anemone fish in their purple-tipped anemone


Orange anemonefish, Mangrove, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia, underwater photo

Orange anemonefish


False clownfish, Box Reef, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia, Underwater photo

False clownfish pair


Kat’s Ocean–the retired resident photo wench’s new website

In honor of World Oceans Day, I’d like to share my new website, Kat’s Ocean, with all of the Sea Rovers’ Brethren.

Kat's Ocean Logo

Thanks to my friend Lin Fronda back in the Cayman Islands who designed this logo 6 years ago–finally get to use it

The site is still a baby with lots of growing to do. I’ve never built a website before, so I’m still climbing a steep learning curve. You can learn more about me, my life in Bali and my diving adventures in the blog. I plan to expand the UW Photography Tips & Tricks section to perhaps offer courses and answer questions from registered users. There aren’t many pictures in the galleries yet; I have over 23,000 images going back to 2002 to sort through, so I hope you will keep coming back to check out what’s new (and what’s old).

Welcome Emma to the Brethren-Advanced Open Water Diver

Welcome to the Brethren Emma--a newly certified Advanced Open Water Diver

Cap’n Paul bestowing C-card to Emma

Emma, a nurse from London, came to Pemuteran only to dive Temple Garden; but she leaves as an Advanced Open Water diver. Here are some photos from her course and training.

Advanced Open Water course, Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia

Captain Paul is going through the deep dive skills with Emma at 33 metres at Temple Garden


Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, underwater statue

Emma ready to meditate or maybe she’s just narc’d next to a statue at Temple Garden


Underwater Cave, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia, Abdul

Emma likes the tiny critter that Abdul showed her


Underwater Cave, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

Emma expertly hovering next to a colorful orange sponge in Menjangan

A Glorious Day at Menjangan

Hawksbill turtle, Eel Garden, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

A Hawksbill turtle resting in the sand at Eel Garden

It was a glorious day at Menjangan for both snorkelers and divers. Emma from London, who was completing her Advanced Open Water course, said these were her best two dives ever.

While taking in the dramatic walls at Eel Garden and Underwater Cave, we saw both bigger critters (giant frogfish, eels and some even saw a shark), and Abdul was busy pointing out tiny creatures like orangutan crabs and pygmy seahorses.

An amazing day was had by all. Come to NW Bali and join the pirates at Sea Rovers for your own ocean adventure!

giant frogfish, Eel Garden, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

2 of the 3 frogfish that were sitting on a big sponge


Zebra eel, Underwater Cave, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

A shy zebra eel on the wall at Underwater Cave


Divers, Underwater Cave, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

Dive guide Abdul showing Emma a tiny orangutan crab


Snorkeler, Underwater Caves, Menjangan, Bali, Indonesia

One of our snorkeling guests enjoying the reef




Cap’n Paul & Emma–deep dive at Temple Garden

Captain Paul, Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, Advanced Open Water Certification, Deep Dive

Captain Paul is taking Emma through the skills of the deep dive portion of her Advanced certification


Emma from London came to Sea Rovers to dive Temple Garden, and decided to go ahead and get her Advanced Open Water certification. Today she worked with Captain Paul starting with the deep dive, and later was slated to do her Navigation and Night dives at Mucky Pirates Bay. Tomorrow she will finish up at Menjangan.

Captain Paul, Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, training dive, Advanced Open Water certification

Captain Paul and Emma are all OK at 33 meters


underwater statue, Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia

Emma in Lotus with Captain Paul in the background


Captain Paul, underwater statue, Temple Garden, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia

Captain Paul posing next to a Buddha statue

Sea Rovers Message in e-bottle The pirates who dive

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