It seems the birds know best! Following on from March's sighting of a juvenile gannet, this month we have seen many more as well as some shearwaters, skuas and an early sighting of an albatross - which usually means that winter has reached the Antarctic and is heading our way! The weather has been rather chilly at the moment - and jerseys and log pants have been dug out of the backs of cupboards to ward off the chill in the air. However the water temperature is still a lovely 24-25 degrees celcius, so we're enjoying the warm summer temperatures underwater while we can.
Diving has been stunning, as usual - and busy! Along with Easter and all the long weekends in April we've enjoyed an influx of divers, with lots of old friends coming to dive with us again as well as many new divers discovering all our reefs have to offer. The conditions both above and below have been wonderful and the reefs are teeming with so many juveniles at the moment, you can't help feel warm and fuzzy after seeing them!
The beginning of the month started out with a wonderful dive at Elusive where we saw four devil rays inside the donut and two more later on in the dive - as well as finding a false stonefish.
A less commonly seen eel, the oscillated snake eel has also been out on display several times this month. We saw one free swimming slowly around a rock at Yellowfin Drop and then two more sightings at Gogo's. Wonderful to see this unusual eel so close! Other uncommon sightings were of leopard sharks. The first one was spotted at Gogo's and then another leaopard shark, a couple of weeks later at Pineapple - it was very relaxed and not at all fazed by the divers who were able to get right up to it without it moving off.
The middle of the month saw some very exciting snorkelling trips - we found two whalesharks within days if each other. We had been having a bit of a dry spell with no whalesharks for two months, so we were thrilled to be able to snorkel with them again. The bottlenose dolphins have also been putting on quite a show and we have noticed one pod of dolphins that seem to be particularly battle scarred! Three of these dolphins we've been able to spot easily because of their uncommon features. One female has a big gash in her side; whilst a male has a floppy dorsal fin and another smaller male has a tiny stump of a pectoral fin left! We have had wonderful snorkeling experiences with this particular pod, which never seems in any hurry to move on and appears to enjoy their interaction with us as much as we enjoy it with them. This pod also has two baby dolphins in their midst and we've had some exhilirating close ups with them as their mums have brought them right up to us - proudly showing off their babies!
There have been many excited guests taking the plunge for the very first time - the Discover Scuba Diving course is the perfect way to be tantalised by the underwater world on our doorstep. Others have come back to do several dives after their first underwater experience! Jess & Georgina Edge had some amazing dives whilst doing their Discover Scuba Diving Course - they got to see a white tip reef shark, green and hawksbill turtles, have their fingers manicured by cleaner shrimp and even Boris the potato bass came over to say hello and have his chin tickled by the girls!
We have noticed a particularly large amount of honeycomb eels and geometric eels on the reefs this month - never a bad thing! During one of these dives at Gogo's, after pointing out yet another honeycomb eel, Ondyne noticed two lemon fish behaving strangely. She called the divers over and as they watched, the two lemon fish grabbed each other by their mouths and spiralled higher and higher until almost breaching the surface! They would then dart back down to the reef, only to resume their fight, over and over again. During this time a potato bass, which had also been eyeing the commotion suddenly swam up to the lemon fish, which parted hurriedly, before one of them became the potato bass's next meal!
Diving at Elusive is always memorable - so much to see and never enough bottom time! The next time you come diving with us and you head to Elusive be sure to take notice of the little blue spotted rays you see out on the sand. These rays are in fact called bluespotted stingrays (Dasyatis kuhlii). They differ from their cousins, called bluespotted ribbontail rays (Taeniura melanospilos) in that their tails have black and white bands behind the barb. The bluespotted stingray is most commonly found at Elusive and can be observed out in the open, sitting on the sand.
Photograph by Mike Judge
Thanks Mike for all the wonderful photographs!
Congratulations to the following divers:
Rory & Lauren Spangenberg; Kerryn Fischer; Jess & Georgina Edge; Mike, Tracey & James Levell; Lily Priest; Johan & Esme Lytle; Charles, James, Lisa & George Phillips; Sandy van der Wel and Sean, Luke & Ethan Chilvers
for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving course
Rebecca Brody and Daynia Phillips
for completing their confined water dive of their Discover Scuba Diving course
Edward, Anke, Karl Paul
for completing their PADI Advanced course
Annabella, William, Otilie, Alex, Oliver, Fyn, Edie and Miles
for completing their PADI Bubblemaker course
Yours in diving
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Ondyne