There are those of us who love macro diving, also known as muck diving. It can be all consuming on a dive, scanning and scouring the rocks and reefs hunting for those tiny critters. But why macro diving and what is it exactly? It is focusing your scuba dive on the smaller creatures. Those interested in macro diving aren’t out looking for sharks and rays, they are seeking out nudibranchs and frogfish, seas horses and shrimp. All of the tiny things that you may have zoomed over when finning past a coral head. You would think that focusing on small critters would mean we would name it micro diving, but it is called macro diving due to the fact you would use a larger, macro type lens when photographing these little gems.
Costa Rica is a great place to see some fantastic macro life and here are a list of 5 reasons we love it!
– These colorful little group of soft-bodied, marine gastropod molluscs are known for being some of the most amazingly beautiful and strikingly coloured critters on the reef. Even if you are diving in low visibility you can find these guys everywhere. Two of the most common found here in Costa Rica are the White and red “Sedna” and the black and green doris. When looking for these guys you want to make sure you are practicing good buoyancy control, as with their size and location, it could be easy to damage the reef when checking them out.
– There is something so strangely fascinating about seahorses it is an absolute thrill to see them. Along with their equine features, these little guys are monogamous and mate for life which only adds to the amazingness. They can be very well camouflaged, hanging out around soft corals and sponges on the reef which gives you an enormous diving high when you discover one for your self. Top it off with the opportunity to over enthusiastically demonstrate the underwater sign for one and that is definitely a dive to remember!
– These guys are amazing creatures. They can sit well camouflaged and without moving on sponges, waiting in front of holes on the reef or hiding between corals, quietly waiting for their prey to innocently swim by. Its dorsal spine is a lure with a bait attached that looks just like a small fish or worm, tempting any potential prey in. Frogfish are found all around Costa Rica and vary in size from the small dwarf frogfish up to its bigger relatives. To find one amongest the soft corals and sponges is an achievement and quite hard to get exploring!
Soft Coral Heaven
– There are basically two types of corals on a reef. Soft corals and hard
corals. Hard corals, like the boulder corals and the plate corals love light and not so many nutrients. Soft corals love nutrient rich water and here in Costa Rica we have plenty of that. Around the Manuel Antonio area, we have some of the most amazing soft coral structures and walls I have seen anywhere in Costa Rica and they provide an amazing habitat for all of the macro life hiding inside. Hawk fish, shrimp, arrow crabs all hanging out in their soft coral jungle waiting to be found.
– Still good macro diving! Due to our changing seasons here in Costa Rica it can sometimes make visibility a bit of a challenge. No worries! With macro diving, you can dive what ever the weather as everything you are looking for is small and in front of you. You have to move slowly no matter what, make sure you have good buoyancy and carrying a flashlight can help. Seek out those amazing creatures and feel a real sense of achievement when you have spotted something small.
So, given you something to think about? Come join us on our fun macro dives here in Costa Rica!
Photos in this article are courtesy and copyrighted by Gina Lusardi, awesome underwater photographer and scuba instructor at large