Where’s your itsy bitsy teenie weenie RED polka dot bikini?
At various times since September 2014, when I last filmed The Cave, I have bubbled by to check it out. No action to report until last week when all the glass fish, shrimps, coral trout and the Ornate Ghost Pipefish were there in all their glory (4 of them). It seems that they come with the cold water and they hang out at the same places each year, but where they go after is a mystery.
In my experience there is only one more exotic than these elegant creatures, that being the leafy sea dragon.
Happy bubbling, Jill, Grant, Jase, Katie and Corey plus Team Uepi
The NEPHTHEIDAE family of soft corals have bloomed in the past 18 months at Uepi. So there are lots of chances to find the soft coral crab (Hoplophrys oatesi) and observe these tiny critters close up and personal. No wonder they look like the coral they live in - the decorator comes out as it cuts a bit of coral, appears to chew or put some glue on the end and then plants it on its back. See what you think - fascinating huh??
Kellys and Uepi Crew
When the tide comes in with a rush it's time to watch out for everything. Chances are good for rays and sharks as well as a ton of fish. It is a challenge holding position with the water raging around, but well worth the effort just to catch a glimpse of the rarer and more elusive animals.
Stay with the rush!
Kellys Inc and Team Uepi
Our daily adventures underwater always include a lot of fish. Sometimes it's just a flash as they dash out of sight, however on occasions they want to be the star of the show.
Jill, Grant and Team Uepi
This action is not something I see often. The sharks are always wary of sharing their moment, however its always a treat to see them sitting up on their tails with tiny cleaner fish darting in and out of the teeth and the gills. Stay scrubbed!
Kelly's Inc and Team Uepi
The movement of fish is not random but choreographed by the supreme authority Mother Nature. The saying "the world is my stage” is for once a truth. Within that epic global production the various Company Members display the full gamut of ballet’s nature, both individually and together. Perfectly rehearsed over millions of years they do not miss a beat, a cue or a performance. Perhaps the only recognition that fish receive from the Human Ballet Company is “Poisson (French pronunciation: [pwasɔ̃]; literally 'fish.') A body position in which the back is arched and legs are crossed in fifth position or the working leg is held retiré. This position may be assumed while jumping or in partnering lifts, as in a fish dive.” Perhaps they deserve better. Judge for yourself, relax in your front row seat at the Fish Ballet.
With the coral centres in some parts of the world in real crisis, I thought it best reassure evriwan, that all is good at Uepi. (I am touching LOTS of wood as I say this)
I did a quick shoot at Landoro Gardens to illustrate this, but Uepi Point and other dive sites are also looking good. The HOWEVER of it all, is that marine environments around the world are being changed by many threats, coral bleaching due to increased water temperature being only one. Crown of Thorns starfish, water acidification, pollutants from various sources, over exposure to fishing, land degradation, direct human impact are a few more and of course the enigma of EL Nino with its wilful ways, hovers around us every few years.
A healthy coral reef anywhere is a dynamic environment with all species reproducing, juveniles growing (and some dying) adults maturing and moving on to reproduce, (some dying) old age setting in and eventually all the species die, some even die of old age. Therefore even a healthy flourishing coral reef will have some dead species obvious – its just part of the life cycle. This of course can be directly compared to human environment where exactly the same process is taking place.
None of us have much control over the real threats to our precious corals. At Uepi we are constantly on the watch to do the small things we can, to minimise the impacts of the threats. But until genuine and radical global action is taken to severely restrict/change the human impacts that are causing the accelerated rate of threats, we are at the whim of chance – the luck of the draw – bad luck can hit anywhere, anytime. I could hide under the umbrella of denial, tucking volcanic action, historical events, China and others into my bulging brief of excuses to do nothing, but ACTUALLY that is not going to help he situation, it would just allow me to reassure myself that is all going to be OK. After all someone WILL invent something soon - to fix and stop this madness!! (really??)
Conversation is free and now easily dispensed. Happy conversing!
Plus Team Uepi
This year we have had many hammer sightings, some fleeting, some just the tails, but Jase managed to capture a good close up. Yesterday we had a very distant glance of a big (3 metre) Great Hammerhead at Uepi Point. It’s the biggest one I have ever seen, unfortunately it was down where we had been 20 minutes before and travelling very fast.
The incoming tides have been difficult to judge at times and the viz not at its best, but the animal life has made up for all that. The sharks are getting ready for the courting season and all the pelagics coming in with the cooler water.
Water temperature here is still 30 degrees, cooler at depth.
Jill, Grant, Kate and Jase, with Team Uepi