Conditions were stable right through the month with flat seas, endless visibility and the water warm at 27° C.Gogo’s Reef produced quite a few different shark sightings this month. One dive had everyone talking – first we watched as a grey reef shark circled in the distance; as we got slightly closer we watched the shark hover for a while with its mouth open, allowing the cleaner wrasse to clean its teeth. Then as we moved further down the reef we saw a Zambezi (bull) shark just ahead of us; a few minutes later a big tiger shark cruised past. Adrian Williams was busy completing his PADI Advanced Course and was thrilled as he got the best view of the Zambezi, which swam slowly right in front of him before circling and swimming off into the distance.
One of the most beautiful sharks, the leopard shark, was sighted at Yellowfin Reef. It was resting on the sand at the edge of the reef and wasn’t bothered by the divers in the slightest; those with cameras had wonderful photo opportunities. Later, during the dive a white-tip reef shark was seen swimming along the edge of the reef.
Ray sightings have been just as impressive; honeycomb stingrays, sharpnose stingrays, big black round ribbontail rays, electric rays and blue spotted rays all seen during various dives. One dive at Pineapple Reef saw a total of four different species on one dive including a massive dragon stingray which was sitting on the sand and had three big cobia swimming around it. As we were driving off the beach one day we saw two big spotted eagle rays in the waves.
One of the most wonderful dives of the month was at Pineapple Reef, just Andre and Nicola Taute were diving with Sam, as they were about halfway down the reef they looked up and saw a manta ray swim right past them! It was followed by another manta ray, then a devil ray! Shortly after, another manta ray swam past, an experience none of the divers will forget in a hurry.
Those of you who have been following our newsletters might remember the sighting of a juvenile pink frogfish that Fiona and Stef Kriel found at Aerial back in December last year. For those of you reading our newsletters for the first time, we nicknamed the frogfish “Fiona.” She hung around in the same general area for a few months and then one day we searched all the usual spots and could not find her. Fiona and Stef were back this month for some more diving. Off we went to Aerial and low and behold there was Fiona the frogfish! She had grown a bit in the couple of months but was happily posing on top of a piece of pink soft coral, showing off for her “parents.” By the end of the month she was still there, clearly happy in her new home.
Other great little sightings this month included some garden eels at Pineapple Reef – quite exciting as we do not see them that often on our reefs; a tiny juvenile clown triggerfish about 4 cm in length; a bright green whip coral shrimp; two red whip coral shrimp; a baby geometric eel about the thickness of your pinkie finger.
Everyone loves dolphins and seeing them during a dive is special. The last dive of the month was at Pineapple Reef and a couple of divers were low on air before the end of dive time, so they began their ascent. As they were following the buoy line up they looked down and saw a big pod of bottlenose dolphins swimming along the bottom next to the other divers. Luckily for them, the dolphins decided to swim up to have a better look at them. A baby was so inquisitive that it swam close to the divers before the bigger dolphins called it away and they all swam off as quickly as they had arrived.
Another memorable dolphin encounter was when we saw just three bottlenose dolphins as we were travelling back to the beach after a dive. We stopped to watch the dolphins and noted that there were two adults and one baby and that they appeared to be hunting. Sure enough, they were and we got to see their catch! One of the adult dolphins caught a blue spotted kingfish and swam right up to the boat with the fish in its mouth as if it was showing us what it had caught. That was a sighting we will never forget!
Congratulations go to:
For completing her PADI Discover Scuba diving introduction in the swimming pool
For completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience
Nico Van Staden
For completing their PADI Open Water Course
For completing his PADI Advanced Open Water Course
Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Samantha, Mandla and Sipho
The Rocktail Dive Team