A decorator crab, known as a candy crab due to its pink striping. Its coloration blends in perfectly with its pink soft coral home
I have never noticed how much pink there is underwater. The first color we think of when diving is blue, of course, and even while our high-powered lights and strobes are used to bring as much color back into our underwater photos as possible, I never really took notice of how often pink is there. That all changed three years ago while going through images to enter into the first year of the Think Pink Photo Competition, organized by Dive into the Pink and hosted by DPG. I remember distinctly thinking to myself, “I don’t have any pink photos!” But as I examined my Lightroom catalog, lo and behold, bits of pink started appearing in things like a balled-up anemone, a school of anthias, and in the pattern of a nudibranch.
While I was surprised to find pink in my images, it is not surprising that almost everyone has been impacted in some way by breast cancer, be it personal experiences, close friends or family, or the loss of life too early in our diver role models. For me, it was the shock of my best friend being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. I still vividly recall talking to her, through all her surgery and treatments, about when we could get her get back in the water diving again. We met working on a liveaboard together and many years in remission, she and I still dive together.
The walls of Bunaken National Park seem almost draped with pink corals
Obviously, there are plenty of reasons for me to love Allison Vitsky’s Dive into the Pink charity. Why shouldn’t we go diving and support a good cause? And it’s nice to support a cause and know where the money is actually going. With their full disclosures and social media updates, it’s exciting to see dollar amounts and updates on donations to the Young Survival Coalition and the Theresa Guise Laboratory at Indiana University. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to survivor support and research. With the Think Pink Photo Competition in the spring and an auction in the fall and other diving events, you can do what you love—diving and taking photos—while supporting a good cause.
In last year’s auction, I bid on a few things, without really considering the possibility of winning and at the end of the auction, I got a lovely email letting me know I’d soon be on my way to Siladen Resort & Spa to dive Bunaken National Park and North Sulawesi. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to fit that into my schedule…
A barrel sponge on the wall—pink again!
On a previous trip to Siladen, I fell in love with the resort and its relaxed luxury with meals on the beach with your toes in the sand, dinners held under a million stars with the sound of the waves washing up on shore and soft light hanging off the trees. Plus, the diving is fantastic. Close to the famed Lembeh Strait, the other side of North Sulawesi initially shocked me with its incredible diversity and healthy reefs. Not only are many of the muck diving critters found within a short boat ride from the resort, but the wall dives of Bunaken are coral covered and teaming with life—and turtles, so many turtles.
A resting turtle relaxes next to a few specks of pink sponge
Who wouldn’t want to live in a pink home?
On this trip, I made it my mission to keep an eye out for pink in Siladen, and honestly, it was everywhere! I found the walls draped in pink soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, and sponges. On the house reef right in front of the resort, we found two giant cuttlefish flashing colors to one another and their undersides went from white to a shade of pinkish-purple in unison.
While shooting macro, my dive guide pointed out a pink candy crab in pink soft coral. And the highlight find of the trip for me: several Coleman’s pygmy seahorses. Most were white and yellow with pink edges, but one had a darker colored body and tiny pink spots—I didn’t even notice the pink spots until I was editing later. Pink, pink, and more pink!
In between dodging turtles and seeing pink, I lounged in my garden villa and enjoyed far too much excellent food and drinks. And I also checked out the spa a few times just for good measure—highly recommended!
Giant pink gorgonian sea fans are common around Sialden Resort
A cuttlefish flashes some pink on its underside
A Coleman’s pygmy seahorse with tiny pink dots
So on your next dive trip, make a note of those images with touches of pink and enter them in next year’s photo contest. When you’re planning your next dive trip, check out the auction—maybe you’ll get lucky like me—and support the businesses, dive shops and resorts that are giving back to our diving community.
Who knew there was so much pink on the reef?
Thank you to Siladen Resort for your donations and for another great dive trip. You can check out Dive into the Pink for more information on events and keep an eye on DPG for updates on next year’s Think Pink Photo Competition and auction announcements.