Deep Blue Sea

20 Jan

I’m up before everyone else on the boat – such a deep sleep, and yet..the excitement is just too much. Sunrise is gorgeous, of course….

Sunrise on the Reef (10)

Sunrise on the Reef (6)

The sea is calm and we’re ready for another dive. In the early morning, the big boys are still about, and the little guys have woken up and are looking for breakfast. It’s rush hour on the reef.

Anthias

The trevally and Wallyare still around.. There are shoals of painted sweetlips, (the Mick Jagger of the fish world). And throughout the day I see more and more – and can only remember a handful. They’ve got fish identification books on the boat, and I have my handy identification charts so I can tell the difference between a rabbitfish (big eyes, venomous spines, and they breed like, well, rabbits) and surgeonfish (Dory is a surgeonfish – check the spine just in front of her tail), angelfish and butterflyfish (only the butterflyfish has a stripe across the eye)… and then a million variations of each one.

image

And to add to the confusion, the youngsters often look nothing like their parents (the batfish does look like a bat sign when it’s little, and like an angelfish on steroids when it’s bigger) , and some species (the anemonefish for one) can change from male to female and in doing so change colour too. It’s all far too much, and although I do try and take some notes, I am too busy enjoying the experience.

SweetlipsBlack Backed Butterflyfish

Batfish adult & juvenile – see what I mean?!

Batfishimage

Out today are a different type of stingray, pink anemonefish and different parrotfish too.

Blue Spotted Lagoon Ray 2Bi-Color Parrot Fish

Meanwhile the other divers and I are reciting huge extracts from ‘Finding Nemo’…and then they decide I look like the bald cigar chewing commander (aka ‘Stinger’, which seems kind of appropriate) from Top Gun. Personally, I can’t see it, but the movie quotes turn to Top Gun instead..(‘Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash’)

image

And perhaps we should have a word about the triggerfish. Some of these are pretty small, but the Titan Triggerfish is around half a meter long and looks even more threatening. It’s nesting, right now, and the mom is firecly protective of the eggs in the sand below. That’s all the background to the plot you’re going to need . .

Thierry has decided to take a camera out again. He’s so absorbed in photographing Nemo, that he completely fails to spot the triggerfish, which, having failed to attract his attention, decides to bite his fin. Thierry continues to click away, oblivious to half a metre of irate fish hanging off his fin. I can’t decide whether to laugh or worry – banging my tank to attract Thierry’s attention fails miserably, and the whole incident ends only when he swims off in search of another photographic subject. Only when we get to the surface does he find out about how close he came to having a bit nibbled out of him.

Titan Triggerfish

A grey reef shark sails past overhead, framed in the sun glinting through the water, while a whitetipped reefie sits off in the distance. A green sea turtle soars past, looking cool and effortless.

Whitetip Reef Shark (2)green turtle99

Of course, I am not immune to disaster. I badly judged step on the way back from rinsing my dinner plate causes me to lurch forward, stepping onto the wet floor.. neatly propelling my feet forward, and the rest of me backwards, and sending the plate into a graceful arc onto the diving deck. Apart from one or two cuts and bruises, the only thing hurt is my pride – even the plate survived intact. Although getting my BCD on gets a bit trickier until I discover the catches that no-one ever uses that make it a bit easier.

Another night dive – and this time, a lot of the entertainment is to be had by watching the newly qualified divers float past like a fairground ride, torches flailing while we hold ours close to our chests to enjoy the spectacle. Another shark sits just out of range, watching the evening’s entertainment impassively. It’s a bit quiet on the reef tonight, and it’s the dark, spooky water that really thrills as our torches illuminate just a few metres before fading out.. leaving us unsure what lies beyond those feeble beams… A tiny jellyfish floats past, pulsating in my torch light. I’m not going to check if this is the poisonous kind.. look where that got Dory (and I am not wearing this stinger suit just to poke my finger at the first jellyfish I see).

The next morning we’re up even earlier – and there’s even more frenzied activity. Another turtle floats past, moving as if he has all the time on the world – although I get the most curious feeling he stopped to say hello. There are huge shoals of parrotfish moving across the reef like herds of cattle.

Coral SceneTurtle 4

And I’ve got an opportunity that I can’t pass up. ScubaPro 2, the sister ship to ScubaPro 1, is right behind us and sailing light. Would anyone like to transfer for $150 for 5 more dives? Everything goes into plastic sacks, and I’m into the ships tender and on to another boat for another day of diving.

(I should point out again that these photos aren’t mine… but they were taking on the same dives i was on)

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2 Responses to “Deep Blue Sea”

  1. Erika Marzinotto February 2, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    Haha… I got chased by the same type of triggerfish, also due to photo-inspired ignorant bliss!

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  1. Deep Blue Sea « Explore The Adventure – one man's journey | Bat Fin - January 20, 2011

    […] to bite his fin. Thierry continues to click away, oblivious to half a metre of irate fish … bat fin – Google Blog Search Share and […]

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