In the past I wrote about Mahurangi Harbour a couple of times. It’s silty and the bottom is flat, yet I dive it regularly; perhaps because it often surprises me. My dive there on last Wednesday was no exception … the harbour offered a couple of surprises.
Coral tree … there is that sunken tree in the bay, it’s close to the shore, usually there are a couple of tunicates growing from it. I’s all changed now. Bushes of soft coral Alcyonium aurantiacum (dead man’s fingers) grow on it. In such a shallow water, in such a silty bay with muddy bottom.
Missing purple finger sponges … unfortunately I could not find the usual purple finger sponges. There were plenty of yellow nipple sponges and areas of orange boring sponges, but almost no purple ones.
Schools of parore … on my way back to the shore I got encircled by a school of young parore (Girella tricuspidata). Suddenly they were everywhere around me. It was a great view, however, they were very shy and kept the distance.
Sea hares everywhere … in the deeper water on the flat muddy bottom there were dozens of hairy sea hares (Bursatella leachii). It’s spring the mating season is here.
Nice biscuit … on the sand near the beach I found a nice cake urchin (snapper biscuit, Arachnoides zelandiae) … a friendly “see you next time” from the harbour at the end of the dive.
Note: When I speak of Mahurangi Harbour, I usually mean its mouth … I dive from Otarawao Bay beach toward the Pudding Island. As I don’t surface during my dives so I don’t know how far I get, my guess is it’s less than 1/4 of the distance.