Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sydney snorkel/beachcombing - Delwood Beach

14 October 2009

As mentioned in my previous post, it began to rain not long after I started snorkeling off Fairlight Beach. So, I decided to move on to the next beach - Delwood Beach, which is just a few minutes' walk towards the Manly Wharf.

Blogger FAQs Logo
Delwood Beach looking towards the Manly Wharf (a ferry was approaching the wharf). My exploration of the shore of Delwood Beach was my first experience with Sydney rocky shores.

Blogger FAQs Logo
It looked like low tide when I arrived. The first thing that struck me was the abundant seashore creatures that make the place their home. There are animals and plants inhabiting the surfaces as well as cracks and underside of the rocks. Many parts of the rocky shores are covered in Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata).

Blogger FAQs Logo
Some rock surfaces are covered in "Sydney corals" - limy/calcareous tubes that house the galeolaria worms (Galeolaria caespitosa).

Blogger FAQs Logo
When I looked carefully, I saw many interesting creatures, even though I didn't and still don't know what they are. For example, these red ribbon-like creatures that live in a crack in the rocks. I suspect they could be a colony of bryozoans - maybe some Steginoporella species or related.

Blogger FAQs Logo
And I saw lots of waratah anemone (Actinia tenebrosa) which inhabit the cracks and holes in the rocks. I have seen many of them around Perth beaches too.

Blogger FAQs Logo
Possibly a sponge - I took a snap of them because they look quite pretty and cute.

Blogger FAQs LogoBlogger FAQs Logo
Neptune's necklace (Hormosira banksii) - An unusual brown algae that forms chains of yellowish/greenish beads. I found many of them inhabiting cracks and holes in the rocks. The dark beads (left) are the ones killed or damaged by prolonged exposure to heat/dessication. The small pores on the surface of each bead have reproductive cells within them.

This is the first time I saw Neptune's necklace. This brown algae is not found around Perth but only in the southern coast of Western Australia (Albany).

After checking out the shore for an hour or so, I found the skies brighten up and so I hit the water again! I didn't expect to see anything too different from those off Fairlight Beach considering the proximity of the two beaches. Still, I had some surprises!

Blogger FAQs Logo
An interesting creature that I saw for the first time in my career as a snorkeler/beachcomber - a swimming anemone (Phlyctenactis tuberculosa). The anemone attaches itself to kelps during the day and looks like a bag of baked beans. Come nightfall, the animal becomes agile and extends its tentacles to catch food particles that drift by. The animal can move around by drifting in current and crawling or rolling around on the seafloor!

This is the kind of marine creatures that you will always remember after seeing them the first time, owing to their brilliant colors and odd appearance. The animal lives on the southwestern coast of of Western Australia - no wonder I have never seen them off Perth beaches even though they live in shallow water.

Blogger FAQs LogoBlogger FAQs Logo
Blogger FAQs Logo
Fishlife off Delwood Beach didn't seem to be as impressive as that off Fairlight Beach. Still, after a few tries, I managed to get some presentable photos of the pygmy leatherjacket (Brachaluteres jacksonianus). The species apparently lives in Perth waters. But as I mentioned in my previous post, getting photos of leatherjackets is always a task for me when snorkeling at Cottesloe. So I was quite happy I could watch the pygmy leatherjacket, a small fish about 7 cm or so in length, swimming near me. It is one of the cutest fishes I have come across so far!

Blogger FAQs Logo
Rock cale (Crinodus lophodon) (a.k.a. cockatoo fish) resting on a rock.
This fish is abundant off Fairlight and Delwood. They seem to like sitting on rocks. I tried photgraphing a few that were sitting on bare rocks but unfortunately they didn't turn out well. They would have made some great shots!

The fish is not a Western Australian and is confined to the southeastern coast of Australia.

Blogger FAQs Logo
Not a fish, but a ctenophore, or comb jelly.
There are plenty of them in the water. When the animal is in the right position in relation to the sunlight, you will see fluorescent, rainbow colors passing down the rows of beating hairs (whitish bands) on its body.

Blogger FAQs Logo
White-striped anemone (Anthothoe albocincta) - another non-Western Australian. I found them under a rock while running after a few passing fishes.

Blogger FAQs Logo
After half an hour or so underwater, I gave in to the cold and decided to call it a day. On my way back to shore, I found this octopus (Octopus tetricus) resting in a crack between rocks in shallow water (~1 m).

Blogger FAQs Logo
This last picture shows a large colony of Neptune's necklace that live near the shore.

No comments:

Followers