The Elusive Octopus of Lady Elliot Island's Lagoon
How many times whilst having lunch in front of the lagoon at Lady Elliot Island, have I heard guests talking about snorkelling on the Western side of the island or the deeper side and when I asked them if they had been on the shallow side they all say there is nothing in there. HA!!!!
Today as I took my guest out across the flat and out to the buoy of channel 1 we were in amongst 3 very streamlined Black Tip Reef Sharks coming sraight towards us but veering off at the last minute to reveal one Hawksbill and one Green Turtle in front of thousands of convict surgeons. This is as we were swimming over countless giant clams of all different colours with a myriad of fish types all around us. This is all in water that is 80 cms deep. Then he appeared. The Elusive Octopus!!! Common Reef Octopus (octopus cyanea).
Camoflaged so well to look like a piece of coral but then he went to move away slightly and I got my arm between him and his retreat, then off we both went for about 200 metres. He went from his coral shape and colour to a bright green in a flash and much to my surprise swam with his little propulsion valve underneath his head going like a bat of hell rather than swimming with his legs as I thought they did. After some time I could see he was totally exhausted and started flondering a bit, so he dropped in to a coral sand hole and changed completely white in an instant, then bright red when I went to touch him.
So next time you are near the lagoon and you hear someone say there is nothing to see, judge for yourself and be amazed by how much life there is and remember to look for the very cute but elusive Octopus, because he is definately there.