Author: Linda Ianniello

Country: USA, Florida

Personal Details

Experience: Macro Photography Expert

Favorite Dive: Blackwater

Camera: Nikon D500

Website: www.lindaiphotography.com

Romblon Island, Philippines, is well known for the ability to consistently see a couple of “rare” sea slugs. These include the Melibe colemani, which looks like a ball of string, and Cyrce nigra, which is a distinctive black and gold “stack of triangles.” The Cyrce is used in the logo for The Three P Resort located in Romblon. But there is more to Romblon than the awesome macro photo subjects.

Romblon Pass, between the islands of Romblon and Tablas, is also an excellent location for black water dives. Black water diving involves night drift dives over a deep bottom to see the unusual creatures that come up to the shallows every night to feed. This includes a wide variety of larval fish, crustaceans, and mollusks that are not seen on day dives.

I dove there in 2019, staying at The Three P Resort. I was thrilled to learn that Peter, one of the “three Ps”, also loves black water dives and was happy to go out every night. Conditions were great for easy drift dives in the dark in the pass…. And the dive crew was excellent at providing a safe dive environment. The guides were also excellent at finding subjects.

I was very happy to see and photograph some of the “standard” subjects seen on these dives, but also some new and interesting creatures. Here are my favorites from just five dives, so you can see they were very productive. I highly recommend the black water dives in Romblon with The Three P Resort!

Diamond Squid - Thysanoteuthis rhombus

A stunning, colorful juvenile diamond squid, Thysanoteuthis rhombus, one of the “bucket list” subjects of black water dives.

Female Paper Nautilus - Argonautidae Argonauta

Another favorite subject, a female paper nautilus, argonaut, riding on a Pelagia noctiluca jellyfish.

Anglerfish Larva in a Bubble - Lophiiformes

One of the rarer subjects I was thrilled to photograph, an anglerfish larva in a bubble, order Lophiiformes.

Tube Anemon Larva

A very rare subject that I have never seen elsewhere; a delicate and colorful sea slug larva. You can make out the rhinophores on the lower right. It is the larva of a Pleurobranchaea species.

Sea Star Larva - Probably Bipinnaria of Luidia sarsii

Another of the rarer subjects, a sea star larva which looks nothing like the adult, probably a Luidia sarsii.

Pelagic Larval Stage of a Tube Anemone - Arachnactidae

Tube Anemon Larva

Above are two images of colorful tube anemone larvae. The upper one is fairly “standard,” seen world-wide. But the lower one is very unique, and I have only seen it diving in Romblon.

Tiny Octopus Larva

A very small, brightly-colored octopus larva.

Mantis Shrimp Larva

Finally, a mantis shrimp larva, more colorful than the ones usually seen!

You can see the full galleries from this trip on my web site at https://lindaiphotography.com/.  Also check out our book BLACKWATER Creatures at https://blackwatercreatures.com/. It features the subjects found in southeast Florida, but many are very similar to those found in the Pacific.