One of the earliest observations that we made during our dive at the old Rapid Bay jetty on 9th December 2022 was that the Scaly Fins were guarding the egg nests.
They became quite aggressive when we approached anywhere near to their nests.
They would swim straight at our face masks before veering away at the last second. I happily ignored their attacks because I was accustomed to this behaviour and didn’t anticipate any problems.
My views changed slightly when one of the Scaly Fins attacked my left gloved hand from behind. There was, however, no obvious damage or injury, so I pressed on.
I always enjoy watching different wrasse species seemingly rubbing their bodies on the sandy bed. It seems to happen throughout the year.
I was amazed when a large Blue Devil pretty well swam straight towards me before stopping right in front of me and displaying itself ready for a photo.
I didn’t find out until later in the weekend that David & Wayne had witnessed a pair of Blue Devils interacting together. David posted a group of his photos of the interaction on iNaturalist at https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations/144064846#activity_comment_18b186dc-a3c0-40aa-acbe-ca0ccb018cf6 .
Those photos came with the following comments by David: –
“Southern Blue Devil (Paraplesiops meleagris) …… These 2 quite large adults were either courting or being territorially feisty at the ‘T-junction’.”
The next few abbreviated comments could easily be misunderstood, so I will add my own interpretation. “Repeatedly (seen by) me and my buddy, kissing head to head as part of this display. (They) Took turns chasing each other, but also spent time facing forward side by side…..”
At least a couple of us saw a Black-banded sea perch. My sighting of one was one that swam upwards within the crevice of a jetty pile.
We often see Magpie Perch resting on cup sponges in this manner: –
Take a close look at this crowded photo of David’s. Just what is the subject matter in it? There are four different species in the frame. There is a sea cucumber, two sea stars (brittlestar & eleven-arm sea star) and a fish.
That fish amongst the echinoderms is a Spotted Anglerfish.
David also photographed this ashes urn that he discovered in the seagrass at the end of the new jetty: –
We are surprised to find that someone had thrown the whole urn into the sea, rather than just the ashes.
Belinda Battersby was diving at the same time as we were. She later reported having seen two to three Weedy Seadragons and one Leafy Seadragon during her dive.
Now for a little photo competition between David & I.
Her’s a clue, I had left my camera close-up lens back at home.
David later reported that after his dive, “a fisher hooked a big Southern Fiddler Ray which was probably very close to the exit point when we were ascending but we didn’t see it. Happily the young man who caught it coaxed it to the surface and while it was on the platform he carefully removed the hook while holding it by the base of its tail and immediately released it (without any prompting by us or other people watching). It swam off the platform and headed down to the bottom and should be not much worse for the experience.”
David during the dive
(Taken by Wayne Leifert)
My thanks go to David Muirhead for his photos and assistance with the above details.