Sabellas in Otarawao Bay

Sabella in Otarawao Bay

Large specimen of Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii on flat bottom of Otarawao (Sullivans) Bay.


I went ¬†for a dive to Mahurangi Harbour, got into water in Otarawao (Sullivans) Bay and headed to Pudding Island as usually. The incoming tide was running so the visibility was very poor. I could not see a fish even though spotties and parore are quite abundant in the area. After a while I realised why they disappeared. Kahawai were everywhere, emerging from the misty water right in front of me and immediately disappearing. I saw only one spotty through the whole dive … sitting on the bottom bent around a small stone. A perfect camouflage.

A big surprise waited for me on that flat reef in the bay. I’ve been diving there since 2010 and never seen a mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) there. Until this last dive. Fanworms were everywhere. Among the weeds, on open flat areas, both individually and in groups. I must admit, they are beautiful, but should not be there.

Another sad surprise awaited for me on my way back to the shore. Even though the visibility was bad, I found the coral tree. Some branches were broken off, not a coral on them. The tree is very close to the shore, strongly affected by swell, which will eventually destroy it. I knew that, yet hoped it would last a bit longer.

More images from the dive here.