November has produced a wonderful mixture of big and small creatures. The humpback whale sightings were fewer as the season drew to a close but they were by no means less spectacular. At the beginning of the month a group of American students from "The Travelling School" were enjoying a couple of days catching up with their parents. These students spend one school semester travelling in a different country, with their teachers, where they adapt their curriculum to learn about various subjects in other countries. All the girls together with their parents and teachers had a wonderful Ocean Experience where they got the chance to watch a group of eight humpback whales travelling along. There were adult whales and some babies and a couple of the adults performed wonderful breaches, jumping clear out of the water!
The last whale sighting of the month was on the 17th November. We were driving along the beach at the end of the day when we saw a mother and calf breaching. We stopped and watched them breach a few times before we continued to drive off the beach back to the dive centre, it almost felt as if they were waving goodbye.
Another very exciting big fish moment happened during a dive at Gogo's. Willis was about to ascend when I saw a big loggerhead turtle swim across the top of the reef, I signalled to him to have a quick look and as I turned back to catch Volker's attention to show him the turtle, a big blue marlin swam right past the three of us! Volker was also spoilt on the following dive when he saw a guitar fish, an eagle ray and a milk shark!
Vanesha and Prejlin had a magical dive at Aerial, just the two of them and Ondyne and lots of spectacular fish. On this one dive they saw a manta ray swim right past them, a big honeycomb ray lying on the sand, a huge black ribbontail ray sleeping in a hole in the reef, a sharpnose ray, a guitar fish, a swimming honeycomb moray eel and two tiny pineapple fish!
My most memorable dive of the month was at Pineapple Reef, with just Arne and Edwin. We were busy looking at a mantis shrimp which was quite shy and was just sticking its head out of its hole for a peek at us before disappearing back inside. I swam up over the ledge to move away so that Arne and Edwin could have a look and I saw two huge fish swimming towards us. It was as if things were happening in slow motion, my brain was trying to register which potato bass these were, none of them looked like Boris and they were brindle bass! - My brain screamed and I frantically reached down to get the other divers attention as these huge fish swam past us. We all hung there, watching these fish swim out across the sand before they disappeared into the milky water. These brindle bass were about five to six times the size of Boris! That's not all, as we continued down the reef a big manta ray swam past us as well, what a wonderful dive.
Pineapple Reef has also produced some wonderful little critters this month including a pair of whip-coral shrimp, porcelain crabs and partner (clown) shrimps in anemone's, a pair of orangutan crabs and a group of five-scribbled pipefish.
Aerial produced the most exciting critter sighting this month - a tiny harlequin shrimp! Morne and Elaine came down from Johannesburg with a group of ten divers for a fun weekend of diving. They were very excited to see the harlequin shrimp and were also very lucky to see the first female ragged tooth shark of the season! Hopefully we see some more of these sharks next month.
Congratulations to the following Divers:
Mattiu Lecarme, John and Francesca Ciacchella, Bruce, Jennifer and Jake Wilson for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course.
Katherine Hepburn for completing her PADI Discover Scuba in the pool.
Fynn and Tyga Pollock for completing their PADI Bubblemaker Course in the pool.
Rina Jude for completing her PADI Open Water Course.
Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Ondyne, Mandla and Sipho.
The Rocktail Dive Team