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Expedition Five: Indonesia
Production Journal : October 3, 2008. If someone had told me there was a place where Garden Eels rise more than six feet above the sand I would have thought the claim a gross exaggeration. But as I stood behind the IMAX 3D camera today, waiting hour after hour for the eels in front of the lens to come out, I could see eels in the hazy distance that were taller than me, by at least a foot! This enormous field of eels surrounded us as far as we could see in any direction.

The last leg of their journey took the crew northward to the waters around Indonesia in the Coral Triangle and "some of the most isolated reefs in the world,” says Howard. "Our primary goal was to capture the breathtaking colors of the reefs in the Coral Triangle.” Additionally, they investigated the roots of the coastal Mangrove forests where they extend into the shallow water and provide shelter and feeding grounds for numerous small fish.

That accomplished, they turned their attention to the eel population, getting what the director estimates as "the most intimate look at Garden Eels every captured on film.” Contrary to their name, these were hardly garden- variety eels; they were giants. Initially shy about the lights, they retreated into their burrows as soon as they were approached, requiring the dive team to bide their time for hours until they re-emerged. But getting footage of so many enormous eels swaying gracefully in the current was worth the wait. Wrapping up their exploration, the team continued to log one fascinating image after another: a rarely photographed honeycomb Moray Eel with black spots, schools of Striped Catfish, yellow and black Ribbon Sweetlips, Skunk Anemonefish and even some oceanic slapstick of a small Carrier Crab hoisting a complacent Cassiopeia Jellyfish onto its back and ambling away.

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