Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cape Peron - John Point (II)

5 Dec 2009

I went snorkeling at Cape Peron with Paul today. It was a day with a great start because we saw dolphins coming into the bay (Long Reach Beach) while we were putting our wetsuits on. I remember there were three or four of them. Paul was fast to hit the water to swim with the dolphins (at a distance). He told me later that he heard the dolphins' calls underwater! What an experience! Unfortunately, the photos didn't turn out well, so I have none to share here.

In the bay, water visibility was pretty good although there weren't too many fishes to be seen. I was quite pleased that I spotted a southern eagle ray and Paul saw it too.

The most abundant fishes in the bay had to be the banded toadfish. There must have been hundreds or even thousands of them!

A toadfish "bait ball" - at least a meter across!

Two shots of Paul hovering over a huge school of banded toadfish

Later, we swam to the few limestone outcrops off the beach between Cape Peron and the Penguin Island. But there weren't much to be seen too - despite our long swims. It must have been two km's plus! I thought I had enough exercise for the whole summer at the end of the swim.

We then moved on to John Point. Personally I think it's a fantastic snorkeling spot. The shallow reef near the beach is pretty good for finding small, interesting creatures. We saw small fishes that were resting in holes in the rocks and the tubes of (dead?) tube worms, only poking their small heads out.

Probably a False Tasmanian Blenny (Parablennius intermedius)

Not sure what species these two are

And I saw a pair of Southern Blues-spotted Flatheads (Platycephalus speculator) for the first time.

They were just resting on the sand, almost indifferent to my approach. They did change positions a couple of times in response to my attempts to get closer for better shots. They are about two feet long each.

An exciting find in the shallow water (~1 meter) was this orange and black dragonet (Dactylopus kuiteri). I have seen them at John Point before but it's such a beautiful creature that nobody minds seeing it more than once I guess.

The red arrows point at the fish's elaborate and upright dorsal fin.

The dragonet swam away as soon as I approached it and soon disappeared into the seaweed. It's about 30 cm long. But its erected fins made it look larger than that.

The day began with the sighting of dolphins (Great!) but ended with Paul's car window being smashed and our stuff stolen from his car. I have no idea how it happened. The car park was not really deserted and quiet that day. Anyway, each of us ended up learning a very expensive lesson that we shouldn't take too much with us when we go snorkeling and that we must never leave anything in the backseat of the car.


glhopman said...

You have some beautiful fish here. I really like the flatheads, their eyes kind of remind me of cuttlefish eyes.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Gerrit,

"their eyes kind of remind me of cuttlefish eyes" - you are surely a big cuttlefish fan!

: p


j2aney said...


Just wondering what camera you're using Chai? I have just started getting into snorkelling and am thinking of getting a waterproof camera. :p