Ocean Art 2022 - 2nd Place Mobile Phone

2nd Place Mobile Phone

 Chris Gug

"Coral Spawn"


Chris Gug won a Freeway Longhaul 75 Carryall Duffel Bag!



The Story: The dive manager/naturalist Sabine at Misool gave me an insider's tip the night before this photo was taken.  While it's not well-documented or studied, she had witnessed a coral spawn event on this moon cycle in past years, and believed there was a chance that corals might spawn within the next day or three.  So my wife & I sat out on the dock all night, skipping dinner, a presentation, and some sleep.  But finally, a very fishy stanky smell filled the calm air.  Looking down into the water below with the phone flashlight showed egg packets beginning to pop up to the surface.  I slipped off the dock to document the event, but not knowing if we would have seconds, minutes, or hours, the phone that was already in my hand was the best camera for the job, which I feared might be over before I could even get in.  But it did go on for quite a while - more than 30 minutes on two consecutive nights.  The gametes formed a slick on the calm surface, and the smell was like opening unrefrigerated week-old fishy cheese, which seemed to cling to my body (and my wife's long, curly hair) for the next day. But what an incredible experience it was, watching the coral do it's thing, and the bounty that it provided the rest of the reef's inhabitants on that night from crabs filtering as much of a meal as possible, up to the black-tip sharks rapidly cruising through trying to take advantage of a smaller fish busy gorging themselves - I'll gladly get covered in that coral stank any time!

Location: Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

Equipment Used: iPhone 13 ProMax, AquaTech AxisGo Housing, BigBlue VTL8000P Light

Camera Settings: ISO 250, F1.8, 1/50 sec


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