Some time ago I mentioned in my article on Matheson Bay, leatherjacket is the king of the kelp forest there … especially in winter. Mainly because it was the only fish I could see there. Recently (December 2015) I visited the bay again. There were more fish there than the last time, mainly juvenile spotties. However, they could not change the overall mood of quietness and solitude. You know, sometimes I feel underwater like in a fish soup, fish are everywhere. Or like a shepherd, I cannot see a fish, but when I turn back, tens of them follow me. Not so in Matheson Bay. There it’s only you, water, the forest … and an occasional leatherjacket. It’s not exciting. It’s calm … and beautiful.
A specimen of Ecklonia radiata on the sandy bottom. Once attached to a rocky reef and providing shelter, now it’s moving helplessly with the current.
Single plant still far away from the surface. It looks very fragile, yet thanks to its pneumatocysts it can stand proud (read straight).
A field of kelp fronds in the shallows. No fish around, just the layer of light brown algae moving with the current.
Mixed kelp in the slightly deeper water of Matheson Bay. By the ‘deeper water’ I mean 4-5m, where stalked kelp Ecklonia radiata appears and the real kelp forest begins.
A typical view in the shallows of Matheson Bay. Brown seaweeds supported by their pneumatocysts reach to the nearby surface.
A brown-yellow translucent piece of algae on the flat bottom. These pieces are not attached to anything, they travel around with the water movement. It would be great to find out what they are.
As usually, leatherjackets were the most common fish in the bay. Their slow swimming was strengthening the impression of quietness and solitude.