Monday, 23 January 2012

Rock Flathead

This shot was taken locally in some deeper water near Three Mile Reef off Hillarys Marina in Perth. The Flathead often lies like this, camouflages in the sand awaiting its prey. The dorsal spines on this fish are poisonous, but they are an excellent table fish.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Western Wobbegong Shark

This shot shows the more dangerous end of a Western Wobbegong Shark while it is sitting, nicely hidden under an overhanging reef. The growths around the mouth are used to entice fish to come close enough to be taken for food. The Wobbegong can be dangerous if molested, their teeth being needle shaped and they tend to hang on when they bite. They are also very supple and can bite a hand which is holding their tail - although I don't know why you would try!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bluespot Butterflyfish

This shot was taken on a dive at the Abrolhos Islands which are 400Km North of Perth and 60Km West. These Butterflyfish are common throughout northern Australia and southeast Asia.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Port Jackson Shark

This is another shot from Three Mile Reef off the coast of Perth. The Port Jackson Shark is very common here and is fairly harmless - it has some spines which are said to be venomous. They are usually found, like this one, quietly sitting on the bottom and they grow to around 4 -5 feet in length.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Western Rock Lobster - Crayfish

One of the 'bonuses' of diving on the reefs off the coast of Perth is that we are able to catch Crayfish for the table. Fishing while diving is only permitted during daylight hours and there is a limit of six Crayfish per diver or 12 per boat. The method for catching them is to use a spring loaded wire loop which is manoevered behind the Crayfish and closed on the tail. It's quite tricky and we rarely catch more than a couple - mostly none! The season runs from mid November to the end of June and there is a minimum size limit for catches. It is also illegal to take females in breeding condition or with eggs, thus protecting the local stock. The Crays normally hide under ledges or in caves during the day making it even harder to find and catch them. They come out at night to feed and during night dives they can be seen boldly roaming the reefs. In the dark they would be too easy to catch!!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Cave on Three Mile Reef

This shot was take at Three Mile Reef just off the coast at Hillarys Marina in Perth. The reef is limestone and there are lots of caves to explore - some quite small and a bit of a squeeze and others like this one are quite large. The fish in the middle with the black bar through its eye is a juvenile West Australian Jewfish. The black bar disappears as the fish matures. The Jewfish or Dhufish is a prized table fish in WA but numbers have declined over years of over fishing.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Abrolhos Islands - Soft Coral - Feather Stars

This shot was captured at the Abrolhos Islands, which are situated 400KM north of Perth and 60KM out to sea. The islands are a restricted area devoted to mainly professional Cray Fishing, but open for scuba diving and sustainable recreational fishing. This dive was around 25 metres deep and the shot is of some soft corals with two feather stars on board.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Grey Nurse Shark - Key Biscayne Wreck

This video was shot at a depth of 42 metres on the wreck of the Key Biscayne, a 'jack up' oil drilling platform which sank in a storm in 1983 while under tow from Darwin to Fremantle for repair. I was swimming along one of the legs of the rig, trying to find a big enough gap to get through. The shark was 3-4 metres long, but they are relatively harmless and sometimes known as the labrador of the sea! It was difficult to keep up with the shark and when it decided to turn and swim away, I had no chance to keep pace. A lucky shot!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Black-Headed Puller

This shot was taken at a depth of 30 metres on a reef which is around 8 kilometres NW of Hillarys Marina in Perth. The Black-headed Puller is only found in Western Australia and it is quite abundant on the deeper reefs. It is a small fish and is sometimes found in shoals in mid-water too.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tomato Rockcod - Brown Variety

The Tomato Rockcod varies in colour from red through to almost black. These shots were from Sipadan Island off the NE coast of Sabah. They are common on offshore reefs and can grow to a large size.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Clown Triggerfish

Another attractive fish from my trip to Sipadan. The Clown Triggerfish is also common to NW Australia, the Great Barrier Reef and on up into SE Asia. This shot was taken, looking back up the reef to the shallower water.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Western Clown Anemonefish

These cute little fish are common throughout Northern Australia and SE Asia. They are quite territorial and will attempt to chase you away by darting at you then retreating to hide in the Anemone. I could watch them for hours!!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Nudibranchs at Sipadan

Nudibranchs, sometimes known as Sea Slugs, are shell-less sea snails and are found all over the world. There are over 3,000 known varieties and they are generally very colourful. They have external gills and are carnivorous, eating all sorts of marine life. The largest one above was approximately six inches in length, but the usual size is one to two inches.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Spotted Sweetlips

The Spotted Sweetlips is very common throughout NW Australia and Asia and this shot was taken at Sipadan Island off NE Sabah. These fish hang around in the darker parts of the reefs in this area and are quite timid.