TOUR OF THE WEEK
There has been mixed weather out on Lady Elliot Island during the week, we received some much needed rain across Tuesday and Wednesday. Within in a few days Lady Elliot Island will transform into a magnificent green all across the island. Although it did rain for a few days that didnít hinder the water activities that took place, in fact it made the water just that little bit warmer. The visibility was still around 20m which made underwater viewing amazing. Those couple of days of rain were just a blemish on what was about to happen. Every so often you get days that we call perfect days. Now most of the year round the weather is great but on those special occasions nature turns the dial to 11.
For the last half of the week we have had variable winds of 5/10 knots just a light sea breeze, just enough to cool you down. The water was as still as a well sheltered lake. If a tiny fish came to the surface and made a few bubbles 30m away you would notice it. This makes spotting wildlife easier than counting 1,2,3. Manta Rays (Manta alfredi), Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), and Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were around and the viewing was exceptional. One particular boat was very fortunate to witness 5 Manta Rays circling and doing 5 passes underneath the boat, it was as if they were showing off to the guests and these were all quite sizable at least 3m for all of them. Large numbers of schooling fish seem to be covering second reef of late. It is like having your own personal aquarium, days like these are definitely cherished by all involved.
DIVE OF THE WEEK
It was one of those days that you feel like flying in the sky. The visibility at the Lighthouse bommies was over 30m, the water was this amazing blue, it was so clear. The mission objective for this particular dive was to show the guests Manta Rays (Manta alfredi) being cleaned by the wrasses. When they are in their cleaning mode they appear to be in a trance like state where they are not fazed by the divers which in turn means that you can have some really close encounters with these amazing fish. At 45 degree bommie just south of the Lighthouse bommies we saw two Mantas just about to be cleaned, but alas this time no luck, they proceeded to make two passes around the bommie before gliding off into the distance. Moving along a little disappointed back to the Lighthouse a beautiful Whitespotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari) swam across the divers. This particular ray are quite shy most of the time not allowing you usually to get close to them. Yet this was one of those special occasions where the Eagle Ray was in a cleaning mode where she hovered above a tiny patch of plate coral where she then moved softly onto the sand where dozens of wrasses migrated to her to clean. It was almost as if she was being massaged by the fish, she was that relaxed we were able to get within a metre of her. This was an extremely rare thing to see of this species. Itís all about right place right time. After that incredible encounter a Giant Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus), Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus undulates) and Cowtail Ray all appeared . Just another amazing dive at LEI.
Emily Shaw continues her research on Ocean Acidification
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Whales Cruising along the eastern side all week!!