TOUR OF THE WEEK
Would have to be the Glass bottom boat this week, on Saturday there was 2 hours of full on action. Never have you seen so much amazing wildlife in such a short period of time. From the moment that the boat left the shore wildlife was serving it up. Three green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) glided past the boat before we had even reached the reef. They were all relaxing on the surface taking a few deep gulps of air, it allowed all the guests to obtain some amazing photos of these creatures close up without even having to get in the water. That was only the beginning of what was to come.
The entire western side of the island was littered with manta rays (Manta alfredi) feeding on the surface stretching from the lighthouse bommies all the way down past second reef. The visibility was roughly 25m and there was no wind to speak of, an incredible opportunity to interact with the wildlife in ideal conditions. As soon as everyone entered the water there were thousands of schooling blue green chromis (Chromis viridis) and fusiliers (Caesio caerulaurea). From there the action really started to heat up, a giant moray eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) was set upon by a variety of fish, spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus), coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) malabar groupers (Epinephelus malabaricus) and a red bass (Lutjanus bohar). The poor eel was minding its own business before they all ganged up and proceeded to harass it. Whilst all this is truly spectacular, a white-tip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) and manta ray (Manta alfredi) soon followed passing along side the drop off at second reef. Once everyone got back onto the boat two humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were tail slapping only hundreds of metres off the boat, they continued to come towards us and allowed some of the guests to get some breath taking footage and photos of these majestic giants. You couldn’t have planned a better day if you tried……….truly memories for life.
DIVE OF THE WEEK
The diving this week was absolutely fantastic with many keen divers on the island; Saturdays dives however we nothing short of amazing with so many different marine creatures spotted. The divers were already aware they we in for a good day as the awakened to find no wind & the sun shining, this was for sure going to mean pristine diving conditions. The dive sites visited included Lighthouse Bommies and Second Reef in the morning with manta rays (Manta alfredi) spotted courting as they maneuvered themselves over the top of the coral outcrops; green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were also sighted frequenting the bommies as they hovered over the top of the coral whilst having their shells cleaned by the fish- this is an activity frequently observed by all snorkelers and divers as the turtles will often visit this site and be cleaned in what is known as a ‘natural cleaning station’ where fish will gather and remove parasites, algae & any other marine growths from one another and larger creatures. The cleaning stations are found all throughout the reef and are a great education tool for all who see, by observing one of these cleaning sessions it becomes evident just how many different relationships there are out on the reef and how so many creatures are reliant on one another in order to survive.
The afternoon dive saw guests heading out to the Eastern side of the island to a site known as The Blowhole where a wide diversity of marine life was spotted swimming on by along with whale song for some easy listening; the first exciting creature to be sighted was a silvertip reef shark which was spotted off in the distance heading for deeper waters, this was soon followed by a 1.5metre grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) cruising on by past all the divers and a bull ray (Taeniuropus meyeni) following closely behind. As divers descended down further into the Blowhole a queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) greeted all who passed by as a common lionfish (Pterois volitans) tried its best to blend in with the surrounding coral; this was a fantastic day for diver with all divers reporting the same story….. ‘Fun, amazing & indescribable’.
BEN SOUTHALL (BEST JOB IN THE WORLD WINNER) CAME BACK TO RELIVE HIS GREAT MEMEORIES OF LADY ELLIOT ISLAND
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK:
WHALES TAIL SLAPPING NEAR THE BOAT!!!!