Magical May! May is the most wonderful time of the year with warm sunny days and excellent weather. Most days we experience only light wind if at all and this in turn allows for flat, calm sea conditions. Water temperatures are still warm at 25 degrees Celcius and visibility averages around 18-25 metres but we are spoilt with lots of crystal clear days, where the visibility is 30 metres plus.
The first day of the month was Anne and David's last day of their stay. During a dive at Coachman's Ledge, Anne noticed a school of blue banded snapper acting strangely and on closer inspection she saw a frog fish swimming in the middle of them! What an exciting find to start the month off.
The same day a group of guests headed out for an Ocean Experience and watched a manta ray from the boat and later snorkeled with a big pod of bottlenose dolphins.
The following day guests were spoilt again when they snorkeled with another manta and the same group of bottlenose dolphins!
We were spoilt with manta ray sightings throughout the month, with a total of ten different manta rays. One of the most memorable sightings was during a dive at Solitude. The sea was flat and the water was like gin. We were swimming across the sand towards the main rock when we saw a huge manta ray gliding alongside us all. It was time for us to ascend and we did so slowly watching the manta ray circling the reef. Then a second one arrived and they both continued to circle us for about ten minutes. We were all mesmirised and did not want to leave the water!
Recent research, most of it conducted in Tofo, Mozambique, reveals that there are in fact two different species of manta rays, not just one as was previously believed! To read more about this discovery search the internet for "African Diver issue 11". Next time you see a manta ray have a close look to see whihc type it actually is!
Dolphin encounters were also magical this month, it was as if the dolphins were also enjoying the warm, clear, calm waters and having fun playing with us. One encounter was so special as they circled and swam with us for ages, so special that Steve said he had been waiting his whole diving career to experience something like that and he's been diving for fourty years!
There were lots of shark and ray sightings including grey reef sharks, white tip sharks, a leaopard shark and a guitar fish, hooneycomb rays and a round ribbontail ray.
Those are just the big boys, we saw so many special little fish as well. Purple paperfish, octopus, porcelain crabs and partner shrimps (perclimenes magnificus & perclimenes ornatus) in anemone's, lots of nudibranches and flatworms, long nose hawkfish, mantis shrimps, a few oscillated snake eels, an orang-utan crab, squat shrimps (thor amboinensis) and some marbled shrimps (saron marmoratus).
The funniest sighting this month was of a male ember parrotfish that had a remora stuck to its side. Remora are sucker fish that stick onto bigger fish to catch a ride. They are normally seen on big rays and sharks so it was strange to see one on a parrotfish. We saw him at Pineapple Reef and for most of the month there he was with his remora, sometimes he was swimming around, happy with his mate and other times he was frantically rubbing himself against the reef or sand in a vain attempt to rid himself of his passenger. It seems that he giot it right though, because towards the end of the month we saw him swimming aloing happily wihtout his free riding companion!
Congratulations to the following divers:
Claire & Jonathan Sydow - for completing their PADI Advanced Course
Antoine & Beatrice Thomas, Saskia Beinaerts, Ray & Carmen Lindsay, Fabrizio Ruffo, Dwayne Marx and Christian Spies - for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course
Laure Campoy, Kathy Wagner and Carmen Lindsay - for completing their confined water dive of the PADI Discover Scuba Course
Esteban Campoy - for completing his PADI Bubblemaker Course
Till next month,
Yours in diving
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Ondyne, Mandla, Sipho
The Rocktail Dive Team