Monday, August 25, 2008

Coral Bay experience (8) - Red firefish (Pterois volitans)


My encounter with such a beautiful red firefish (Pterois volitans) was probably a compensation for my slightly frustating Manta tour in the morning. This fish usually hides itself in caves or under ledges during the day, with its head pointing downwards just like in this photo. So, I must be really lucky to spot it in a 1 meter deep water and just 10 m or so from the shore. And what's even better was that it just won't bother to run away and I managed to make a short clip of it and took a few photos too. Unfortunately, it was late in the evening and the light condition was poor and the water was not calm enough. And I tried not to get too near so that I would not frighten it away or get stung! Well, I found the quality of the images really poor when I returned to Perth. Only the photo shown above is still reasonably presentable. What a shame!



Well, about the frustrating Manta tour and the rest of the day:

On my Day 4 in Coral Bay, I went on a Manta tour, which took me and nine others to Bateman Bay, situated in the north of Coral Bay. To make a long story short, a manta ray was spotted and everyone jumped in and went after the animal. Unfortunately, it just won't slow down. And I gave up after I caught a glimpse of it - from a distance in the rather turbid water. What an expensive glimpse! And to make it worse, I started to feel seasick while sitting on the boat waiting for others to return. For the second part of the tour, we were taken to the outer reef to snorkel. And I was told that I was a lousy snorkeler - my kicks being entirely wrong and noisy etc. Not that I ever pretend I am good anyway.

And when I returned from the tour I decided that I would just stick to the shore. So in the afternoon, I took a 60 minutes' walk from the backpackers to the Five Fingers Reef, which is right next to the southern boundary of the Maud Sanctuary Zone. (FYI, Coral Bay is within the zone.)

Joining a tour to snorkeling sites was not as flexible as going on my own. So I walked. I could have hired a quad trek I guess, but I have no Aussie driving license. Walking was painful or mostly so during my stay in Coral Bay. I hurt my left foot the week before I went to Coral Bay. So, I could only walked at half my normal pace most of the time. And the way I walked was really awkward; I almost looked like I was limping along. Sometimes, I had to stop and just stand still for a minute or two when it got really painful. Anyway, when I snorkeled the pain seemed to have disappeared. I suppose when you snorkel, you don't stress your sole that much; and the cold water might be helpful, I guess.

Anyway, after 60 minutes' walk, I found that I didn't want to snorkel at the Five Fingers Reef. The water just didn't seem nice - my gut feelings. And well, also because I had a fall when I tried to take a closer look at the small barnacles on the slippery rock. Nothing major except I somehow jammed my little finger really hard into the rock and it turned almost blue and my finger nail felt like it would fall off anytime. And my underwater camera hit the rock when I fell!


The Five Fingers Reef beach - the rocks on the right extend to the sea and form one of the fingers I think.


One of the finger reefs - the spot where I slipped and fell.

So, I left the Five Fingers Reef and snorkelled northward from the southern end of the Maud Sanctuary Zone instead. Within 5 - 10 minutes after I hit the water, I bumped into the red firefish!

That evening, after I saw the red firefish, I thought Well, never mind the lousy day, I saw a beautiful fish. But I didn't know then that most of my photos of the fish would be poor as well.

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