Thursday, 29 September 2011

Royal Angelfish

This shot was taken on the reef surrounding Kapalai Island off the coast of Sabah near Sipadan Island. The reef and fish life are so rich and colourful, it make you want to stay underwater for ever! The Royal Angelfish is one of the smaller angelfishes but it is very common throughout the tropical areas.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Red-Lipped Morwong

This shot was taken at Rottnest Island, which is about 20km off the coast at Perth. The island is a popular holiday spot with lots of safe and sheltered areas to snorkel and dive. The Red-Lipped Morwong is seen regularly around Perth and is quite solitary seeming to prefer to lie imobile on the bottom or in this case just under a ledge. This guy seemd to think he was invisible to me as I was able to get very close without disturburbing him. They are about 40cm in length and would weigh around 1.5 kilos.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Blackfin Squirrelfish

This shot was taken in Sipadan off the north east coast of Borneo - now Sabah.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Western Buffalo Bream

Buffalo Bream, also know as the Silver Drummer, are very common in WA waters and are often seen in large shoals like this one. This shot was taken at around 20 metres depth after coming out of a large cave and tunnel system that went through the reef from one side to the other. They often mill around us and approach very closely, almost bumping in to us.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Samson Fish

These Samson Fish were circling the wreck of the Key Biscayne oil rig near Lancelin, 100km north of Perth. This shot was taken at the end of the second dive and we were on top of the up-turned hull of the rig at 26 metres deep and looking down towards the bottom. The bottom is at 42 metres and is littered with wreckage and the 100 metre long legs of the rig. "Sambo's" are quite a large and powerful fish, around a metre long, and are fun to catch but are poor eating.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Shaw's Cowfish

The Shaw's Cowfish is not often seen, at least by me!, around the Perth area. This dive was relatively shallow, around 12 metres, which may explain why I don't see them. This one is a male as the stripes are brighter and blue where the females tend to be less colourful greens and browns.

Angry Western Blue Devil!

I don't know why this guy should look so annoyed - but I suppose if you are happily snoozing under a reef and someone sticks a bright torch under there, then squeezes a camera and flash in too, and it's only 7.30am, you could get a little testy!! Blue devils are seen on almost every dive on Three Mile Reef and they are almost always just sitting quietly.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Australian Bull Ray

This shot was taken on Three Mile Reef off the northern suburbs coast of Perth and it shows a sting ray which is almost three metres across! These fish swim around us regularly and and are very impressive - like swimming beside a king size bed!! Although they have a dangerous, poisonous barb in the top of their tail, they harmless and are comfortable with us being in their territory. They sometimes go directly over the top of you while they search for crustaceans on the bottom. They love Crayfish and can sometimes be seen under the dive boat when undersize crays are dropped back in.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cave on Three Mile Reef

Three Mile reef off Perth is a limestone reef and is full of caves, tunnels and arches. This shot is of the exit of a 30-40 metre tunnel which twisted and turned before we saw the light!  Some of the caves, like this one are fairly long and narrow and are excellent places to explore for experienced divers, but a couple of torches are a necessity. You never know what you are going to find!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Seven Mile Reef - 35 Metres

We call this dive site 'The 35 metre Ledge' and it's a great spot for catching Western Rock Lobsters during the fishing season. The 'reef' is only one to two metres high but the soft corals on it can be spectacular. Without torchlight or flash photography the reef looks brown and grey as the low light levels at this depth drain the colour. Flash photography brings it to life!!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Western King Wrasse

I captured this shot on my first dive some years ago, on the wreck of the Key Biscayne, a floating oil rig which sank in a storm in 1983 off the coast of WA near Lancelin. The Western King Wrasse is often seen off the coast along the west of Western Australia and is not found anywhere else, although there are closely related species in New South Wales. This specimen was around 30 centimetres in length.

Friday, 16 September 2011

A Pair of Old Wives!

This shot was taken during a 15 metre dive on Three Mile Reef off Perth. It shows a pair of Old Wives, which are common on most of the in-shore reefs in this area. They grow to around 25 centimetres in length. An attractive fish - but it's dorsal fins are venomous and can inflict a painful wound!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Footballer Sweep

These little guys are extremely common on the outer reefs and this one started following me on the bottom at around 25 metres. It tagged along for over twenty minutes and came up to the surface with me at the end of the dive. I felt really guilty when I got back on the boat and he was left alone, well out of his environment. Hopefully he made it back to the bottom safely!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

What Happens to Old Wetsuits!!

Only loosely dive related - but fun!! My dive buddy, Carol, had a bonfire at her property in the hills overlooking Perth and used an old wetsuit as a 'guy' on top of the fire. Perth has a very dry climate and fires are banned for most of the year. At the end of the wet season, many rural block owners take the opportunity to burn off unwanted brushwood etc that may be fuel for fires in the summer bushfire season. We had quite a party around the fire until the early hours!!

White Barred Boxfish

This shot was taken during a 20 metre dive at the south end of Three Mile Reef just off City Beach in Perth. The Boxfish can grow quite large and range in colour from a fairly bright red through to brown.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Hairy Crab

We don't often see crabs while diving, so it was a surprise to spot this little guy as he is so well camouflaged. This dive was fairly shallow, around 15 metres, at the Abrolhos Islands. I suppose crabs are more creatures of the shoreline!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Baldchin Groper

The Baldchin Groper is a highly prized table fish amongst local fishermen and they grow to a considerable size. Normally quite timid under water, this one seemed happy to sit still for the camera. 'Baldies' are a variety of tuskfish, as can be seen from the front teeth in the first photo. They eat shellfish and use their stout front teeth to dig in the sand and turn rocks over.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Common Octopus In Open

This is another Octopus which initially was in a hole, but then slowly came out while I watched. All the time it was moving, it was changing colour to match the background and eventually it sat in the open looking like a piece of the reef!

Damselfish - Reticulated Dascyllus

This little fish was darting around in some Staghorn Coral at the Abrolhos Islands. It was near some clown  fish and and seemed relaxed in their company as each time it was 'spooked' by my presence it dashed back to them for security.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Common Octopus

Hidden in plain sight, the octopus is plentiful, but rarely seen while diving around Perth. They are able to change colour very quickly to blend in to the background and squeeze in to tiny spaces to hide from predators or to wait for a meal to pass. It was pure chance that let me spot this one, sitting quietly and letting the world pass by!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Black-Banded Seaperch

This Seaperch is sometimes seen on the reefs around Perth. Its colour varies according to the depth it lives at, from red in deeper water to greenish brown in shallower water.

Small-Scale Bullseye

Bullseyes are very common on the reefs around Perth and they congregate in large shoals. When approached by divers they part like curtains and close up again when you have passed. They tend to form groups in the five metres directly above the reefs and they measure 15 - 20 centimetres in length.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Western Rock Lobster or Crayfish

The Western Rock Lobster or Crayfish as it's known locally is seen on almost every dive on the reefs around Perth and is highly prized by some for the table. We are allowed to catch them while diving but are very restricted in the numbers taken. The season for their capture runs from November through to June but there is a maximum limit of 12 per recreational boat or 6 per person per day. It was delicious!!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Painted Angel Fish

This Painted Angel Fish is sitting just in front of a Regal Angel Fish and were captured off the Island of Sipadan north east of Borneo.

Fire Dartfish

This shot was taken at Sipadan, Borneo and shows a Fire Dartfish which is only 6-7 centimetres in length. I was lucky to see it as it is very timid and they live very close to the bottom, making them difficult to spot.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Whale Shark at Coral Bay Western Australia

This shot was taken at Coral Bay, which is around 1000Km north of Perth in Western Australia. The Whale Sharks migrate up the coast from April to June each year and this one was a juvenile at around 7 - 8 metres in length. We went out on a boat for the day and a spotter plane radioed the location of the Whale Shark when one was found. We spent about an hour swimming with it and there are strict rules about staying behind and to the side and not approaching too closely. A truly humbling experience to spend time with this majestic creature. Coral Bay is a remote location but a great holiday spot as the fish and coral are prolific and safely accessible directly from the beach!!

Bluetail Surgeonfish

This Bluetail Surgeonfish was at a cleaning station - the little Cleaner Wrasse is carefully searching for parasites and dead skin fragments. Iterestingly, the fern like coral in the lower left looks very harmless but it stings like mad if you brush against it. I kept forgetting and ending up getting stung regularly. It's called Stinging Hydroids or sometime Fire Coral!!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Turtle - Close Up

The turtles at Sipadan are so trusting and used to divers - it's great to get this close.

Australian Sea-lion

These shots were taken at Three Mile Reef just off the coast near Hillarys Boat Harbour, Perth. There are quite a few seals around this area but we rarely encounter them under water. This one suddenly appeared and behaved a bit like a puppy!! It swam around us showing great curiosity and no fear, before going to the surface for a breath and rejoining us on the bottom. It disappeared just as quickly and left us wanting more contact.