Relax in a lake full of jellyfish

Roger Munns Blog

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As part of the Earth’s Tropical Islands series the BBC has produced some short online videos on the theme of ‘Island escapes’. I filmed one of theses in the jellyfish lake at Kakaban, Indonesian Borneo. The full video is embedded above and I highly recommend putting it on a big screen and putting your feet up with a cup of tea to enjoy it at its best! Kakaban lake is one of my favourite places on the planet. It may not quite have the numbers of jellies that the more famous lake in Palau has but the way that the shafts of morning light fall through the mangroves, and the soft green carpet of grass, gives it an almost Victorian faerie feel. I have filmed there previously on various projects, including One Strange Rock , but this shoot was the first time the outer edges of the lake have been shown onscreen rather than the central area where the jellies are at their densest.

There are four species of jellyfish in the lake; moon jellies (saucer-like & transparent), bell jellies (most common), upside-down jellies and small box jellies (very uncommon). It’s believed that they were trapped in the lake several thousand years ago when the sea level changed. With a lack of prey in the lake they evolved to be stingless and to harness the sun’s energy for food. It’s truly a magical place and I highly recommend visiting the area to not only snorkel the lake but dive the surrounding islands of Sangalaki, Derawan and Kakaban.

The footage was shot on my Red DSMC2 Helium 8K camera in a Gates housing. I used a variety of lenses including the Tokina 11-20mm f2.8 and the micro Nikkor 70-180mm. Thanks as ever for equipment support from Backscatter Photo and Video, 22 degrees (their waterproof neoprene jacket was super useful to hide from the regular downpours!), Finisterre and Fourth Element Dive.


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