Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
I am not done with Raja Ampat! Let me introduce you to a strange monster, very common in these waters: the bearded carpet shark or "wobbegong".
Wow... another monster!
There are really funny things underwater... Nature seems to be able to invent infinite life forms, especially under the sea. The more I dive, the more it amazes me.
My collection of underwater monsters - remember the abominable little creatures of Lembeh - is getting richer. Here is the bearded carpet shark, Eucrossorhinus dasypogon of its scientific name, which anglophones call wobbegong.
It is a rather rare animal. I had never encountered it while diving before this stay of March 2012 in Raja Ampat, in Indonesian Papua.
The wobbegong, almost invisible on the background
It's a shark, then. You can't necessarily see it at first glance. First of all, because most of the time, you don't even notice it. Its mottled brown-gray coat is a great camouflage outfit against the background.
Then because it remains wallowed in the debris of coral, huddled on the sand, or hidden in the shade, without moving too much, like a carpet ... (Hence the name!)
Don't be fooled by the two white spots on her head, it's a special camouflage illusion: they are not her eyes! Her real eyes are smaller, more in front of her head, of the same color as her dress, almost invisible...
To learn more about wobbegong, I refer you to the page of the Encyclopedia of Nature of Monaco.
Moreover, this shark has a beard. Finally, some kind of growths around the mouth, a bit like scorpion-fish. Their shape reminds of coral tips. He thus finishes blending into his environment.
Each time we met one, during these dives in Raja Ampat, I had not seen anything. Without the trained eye of my underwater guides, I would have missed it.
It seems that it has teeth
This is the kind of shark that you can easily approach while diving. It does not move. Or very little. You can come very close, with the dome of the camera in front of its snout, it does not flinch.
Here is a short video of one minute where we can see some of the wobbegongs I met in Raja Ampat.
Be careful not to get too close. He may play the carpets, with his rounded mouth that seems harmless, but he has small teeth, this shark, and does not let go easily. It is better to avoid frightening or disturbing it.
➜ To see all the articles about my dives at Raja Ampat : one click here !