15 Feb 2010

Instructors notes

Wednesday 11th February

After a week down Mango Bay, all in the name of work, it is good to be back at Rydges Hideaway with Mere to keep me in line. Mango has some awesome dive sites (well the three I saw anyway!), but Stingray at Hideaway has quickly become one of my favourites as the life is so abundant and diverse. Lucky really, as I get to see a whole lot of it!

Mango Bay was a lot of fun, with Anthony completing his Scuba Diver course and, I suspect, beginning a serious addiction to bubbles, and John completing his Open Water course and off to meet the fishes in Hawaii – well done guys, you made my first dives at Mango! It was also great to find plenty of Europeans to chat to over a happy hour draught Fiji Bitter at Beachouse.

Back at Hideaway things are fairly quiet, with the boat going out most days, but not too full, less people to laugh at surprise entries. The lion fish at Stingray are still out hunting through the sea grass bed every day, and the white tips certainly know I am back, and can’t be found anywhere... The cleaner wrasse have decided that I am in good need of a clean, and can regularly be found chowing on my legs.

I had my first encounter with a seriously territorial titan triggerfish yesterday. I was showing Rachel the moray eels hanging out in the rocks, only to look up and see one pelting towards us with teeth bared. A quick swoosh with my fin just managed to deflect it, but not for long, and she was back for more. The titans have a conical shaped territory extending up from their egg sites, so you are never too sure when you are no longer trespassing. I am thinking of doing The Edge tomorrow with the DSDs, just in case... Far, far scarier than the sharks, and I understand why Alex calls them evil bastard fish!

Mere has promised to take me to Bordello soon, not a site I have done yet. She has promised me a huge and friendly Napoleon Wrasse, so I am really excited. These beautiful fish are under threat of extinction as a steak of their flesh fetches a high price in Chinese restaurants. They can live to be 100, and don’t start breeding until they are 20 years old, so it’s all about sensible fishing practices, as they are commonly caught using cyanide poisoning, fatal for all of the reef creatures within the vicinity. They live in groups, with one dominant male and a harem of females. If the male leaves the harem, and there are no other real men to take over, the top female changes sex and rules the pack – neat trick, but I think I’ll leave it to the fish!

So, fingers crossed for light rains and flat seas all in the name of good visibility! The Edge and Bordello, here we come...

2 Feb 2010

CORAL E-Current Photo Contest | Coral Reef Alliance

Enter your favorite coral reef photographs in the CORAL E-Current Photo Contest for a chance to win a copy of Reef—a gorgeous coffee table book featuring beautiful coral reef photographs contributed by Scubazoo photographers.

Each winning photograph will be featured in an edition of E-Current, CORAL's free electronic newsletter. The names of winning photographers will also be posted on the CORAL website with their photographs, which will be available for download as desktop wallpaper. All entrants will receive a subscription to E-Current.

All photos entered will be evaluated by CORAL staff members, who will choose the top three finalists. None of the CORAL staff members are professional photographers nor do they have special knowledge of artistic presentation or composition. Each staff member will select the photos that strike them most for whatever reason. The winning photograph will be chosen from the three finalists by professional underwater photographer and CORAL columnist, Jeff Yonover.

CORAL E-Current Photo Contest | Coral Reef Alliance