Have you noticed recently that whenever you see an Octopus there is often another Octopus close by and they are "holding hands"? That is what it looks like anyway. But in reality, the male is using his specialised arm (known as the hectocotylus) to pass packets of sperm to the female so that she can lay eggs. We have been seeing lots of this recently around Sydney which is great news and we hope that next season we are inundated with baby octopus everywhere! They are afterall some of the most entertaining sea creatures for snorkellers and divers.
This time of year is also when you may notice more giant cuttlefish hanging around, and it is for the same reason.
It is with this rise of cephalopod activity that makes Autumn diving in Sydney fantastic and a constant adventure.
The Eastern Blue Groper is the friendliest fish in Sydney and probably the most charismatic fish in the world. They always approach, lean in, and seek out your company. If you are taking photos they want to get in the way and make sure you photograph them instead! Today this particular individual (who is probably as old as we) wanted serious fun and attention which we were more than happy to provide. After hundreds of dives these guys still make me smile every time!
How wonderful is Sydney? A simple shallow shore dive in Sydney Harbour and we saw eight different individuals of Anglerfish. This is not to say that they are common in the slightest, but perhaps the perfect sea conditions and temperature increased their presence at this little spot on this day. At some sites it is normal to see one, maybe two, but eight?! Wow what a dive!
These alien-like fish are incredible and look more like something that should appear in a story book than in reality.
Let us hope we start to see these ambush predators across more sites in Sydney!
A cheeky dive at North Bondi to celebrate the new year of 2019 was fantastic as we came face to face with a Grey Nurse Shark. It has been a few months since they have been sighted, so it was good news. I just hope we didn't scare him off!
Dolphins were playing at the surface before and after the dive - I wonder if they encountered one another?!
This species of fish (Eastern Blue Groper) is known as being very friendly with divers and snorkellers, but today I found this guy to be more friendly than normal. He was trying to rub me on our dive at Bare Island. Then of course I noticed why. The poor guy was covered in sea lice - they were scurrying all around his face and there were a couple of marks that looked suspiciously like burrows. It must have been causing the fish some discomfort, if only itchiness which explains why he wanted to rub me.
Weedy Seadragons eat sea lice. In Bare Island there are a couple of weedy seadragons so I am hoping he soon makes friends with one of them so that the pipefish has a good meal and the groper is relieved of his discomfort.
A rare opportunity arose this week when the tide pulled in a large number of the Blue Dragon Glaucus Atlanticus nudibranch to shore. Following the Blue Bottle Jellyfish (its food) these gorgeous alien-like creatures washed up on beaches in Sydney. It was fantastic seeing the amount of interest they created and it was clear that all beach-goers were intrigued, impressed, and had formed a new love of what the ocean has to offer. This pelagic nudibranch eats the Blue Bottle jellyfish which give them their beautiful colour. It is a rare sight so I was pleased to see it not just once but twice this week at Bronte!
When photographing a nudibranch (a sea slug about as long as a thumb) I failed to notice I was also photographing a beautiful clingfish. It was only after the dive, once at home as I was editing the photo I saw the little fella, smiling from the edge of my photo. Clingfish are often hard to spot but the small fish are usually my favourites - especially when they surprise you by photobombing a nudibranch!