When there is a storm in the forest it’s safer to go for a walk to a sheltered park area. A similar approach is true in the sea as well. When the sea is rough on the open coast, there are sheltered places in harbours suitable for an underwater walk. They are usually quite murky, yet very suitable for chasing seahorses and pipefish, watching small critters among colourful sponges or in the branches of the sea weeds, or simply enjoying the weightless state.
Ti Point Wharf is one of such underwater “parks”. Well known among the divers from Auckland as a safe bet when the conditions are unsure, still appealing after many dives there. Enjoy a couple of pictures from the last week.
This type of walk is very comfortable, a diver can hover in space and move slowly from one boulder to another.
This looks like a bush growing in a red pot with the paint peeling off. In fact the pot is a piece of junk metal covered with a bright red encrusting sponge.
Colourful cushion sea stars (Patiriella regularis) are gathering for a feast on the flat sandy bottom. The bright white thing is a piece of rotting fish flesh.
If the rock was above water it could have served as a worm-up place for reptiles. We are underwater, there are no warm rocks here. Sea stars don’t need to warm up anyway.
A rich crop of mushrooms (sorry, sponges) on the bottom of the forest. Note the fish behind the plants. It’s parore (Girella tricuspidata), largely vegetarian, it behaves in a similar way carp does in European freshwater lakes, i.e. it’s always around, but keeps distance, it hides behind the weeds and gets scared easily.
A large eleven-armed prickly sea star (Coscinasterias calamaria) on a dark patch of the silty bottom that looks like ashes.
Nicely cut yellow lawn … a boulder covered with yellow nipple sponge.
A jellyfish got stuck on the sandy bottom. Cushion sea stars will gather and eat it.
The plants reaching the surface remotely remind of magnificent kelp forests of California and Tasmania. They also remind me of some artificial lakes in southern Slovakia where water plants reach surface from 4-6m of water.