Summer is certainly in full swing and we have experienced some wonderful hot sunny days with no wind; a flat, calm ocean and crystal clear water. We have however also had quite a bit of rain but this is always welcome when it is so hot.
Dive conditions have been excellent. Visibility has ranged from 15-20metres with a steady water temperature of 23°C for most of the month, rising to 25°C by the end of the month.
We have still had sightings of humpback whales this month with lots of them breaching and tail slapping and others just generally travelling along. These sightings should signal the end of their migration past us as they head back home to the Antarctic.
Turtle season is in full swing, with regular sightings of leatherback and loggerhead turtles nesting along the beach at night. Darryl spotted two loggerhead turtles out to sea, mating at the surface. All on board were spellbound as this is rarely seen. The male and female turtles mate out to sea and the female then stores the sperm until she decides that she is ready to fertilise a batch of eggs, she then prepares to come ashore at night to lay here eggs far up the beach, before returning back to the ocean. Guests who join turtle drives at night get the opportunity to watch these magnificent creatures as they struggle up the beach, dig a perfect hole in which to lay their eggs, carefully cover the hole up with sand again and then make the exhausting journey back to the sea, where they glide away effortlessly into the water – a truly memorable experience.
All dive sites have produced a wonderful array of marine life this month and it has been truly spectacular to descend into crystal clear water and be surrounded by such an abundance of life. A dive at Gogo’s produced just such conditions and with infinite visibility, I saw a large black shape far in the distance and watched out of curiosity as it approached. It swam with purpose and as it got closer, I saw that it was a leatherback turtle! This was the first leatherback turtle that I had personally seen on a dive and it was for all of the divers who were on that dive as well.
We had some other special sightings this month including a manta ray with a 5m wingspan and four separate whaleshark sightings, all in the region of 8-9metres in length. The best whaleshark sighting was during a dive at Regal Reef. Colin remembers it well, he had just entered the swim through, when I rattled to get everyone’s attention and signalled that there was a big shark. Colin did not know what to do..............big shark! How do I get out of this swim through quickly, so that I don’t miss the sighting?! We all had a big laugh discussing it on the boat later.
We also had awesome encounters with bottlenose dolphins throughout the month. Sightings of a humpback dolphin caused a lot of excitement as this species is not seen by many people as they are highly endangered.
On a personal note, it has been an immense privilege to stand in for Clive & Mich whilst they take a break prior to December and I have been diving, teaching and experiencing this magnificent place for over two weeks, with all it’s wonderful sea creatures and great visibility. It has been wonderful to see old faces again and it has been truly special to be back here over this time. To all of you, thanks for sharing such amazing times with me. You all know who you are. Thanks Darryl for excellent skippering and surface sightings, which has added to the amazing overall experience this month
Congratulations to the following divers:
Nicholas Dellaportas, Tim Nel & Victoria Tucker
for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving course
for completing her PADI Advanced Course
Yours in diving
Darryl, Clive, Michelle & Debbie
The Rocktail Dive Team