Saturday, March 8, 2008

South Cottesloe Reef on a choppy morning

This morning I spent an hour exploring the South Cottesloe Reef again with a friend, John. And it looks like we are very likely to turn into regular snorkeling buddies.

The water was choppy this morning and the skies were cloudy. Experience taught me this: Cloudy skies plus choppy waters means lousy snorkels. I was a bit disappointed actually, until I went in.

The underwater visibility was reasonably good considering the presence of so much waves. Again, today's underwater experience just confirms what I always believe, that every snorkel is a unique experience. Almost every time you go in, the underwater landscape looks different.

On the South Cottesloe Reef, for example, you will sometimes see a huge area covered in seagrasses and seaweeds. But sometimes, it is just patches of them here and there and you will see some exposed reef surfaces and sandy floor. Sometimes you will see holes and gullies in the reef but they 'vanish' and you only see sand the next time you go in.

Today's snorkel was pretty enjoyable although the South Cottesloe Reef was not at its best. I didn't see any fishes that I haven't before. But I did see a Southern eagle ray. It looked just like the one I saw in Bickley Bay, Rottnest Island, although smaller. This one must be about 1 meter or less across. It just appeared from behind and overtook me. So I just followed it for a few minutes keeping a distance of less than two meters I think, until it vanished into deeper waters. I remember the Steve Irwin story, so I know very well to be careful.

This is the second time I saw a ray on the South Cottesloe Reef. I really like watching them swim. They just look like a spaceship as they cruise along almost silently in the underwater world, moving their fins like they are flying.

It is pretty cool that you don't really have to go far or really deep to see these wonderful animals. Where I saw the ray this morning, the water must be 1 meter or so in depth.

I think I am pretty lucky to live near Cottesloe - just half an hour or so from where I live. I have seen rays twice on the South Cottesloe Reef and a stingaree once on the North Cottesloe Reef.

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