Fish Soup at Goat Island

5/11/2016 (603)

I went for a morning dive, the weather was not very promising, quite heavy showers on my way from Auckland. Also the wind was strong and the long swell at Goat Island was destroying visibility.

Once on the beach I could see a group of scuba diving students already swimming to the island. I changed my course and headed a bit more to the west. There is that relatively shallow reef with deep gutters. I was glad nobody was in the water in that area.

As for the fish presence, it was one of the best dives I’ve ever had in the reserve. I met a big school of jack mackerel (chased by a group of kahawai), so many eagle rays I stopped counting them at some point. Then big silver drummers, blue moki, butterfish, kelpfish, leatherjacket. And of course snappers … from tiny ones (6-7cm) to those heavy ‘trucks’.

jack mackerels

A school of jack mackerel chased by kahawai. It was like a dance in 3D, though a bit nervous I must admit.

Inquisitive leatherjacket

A leatherjacket in open water close to the surface. They usually turn off the camera. This one was very inquisitive, probably interested in its own reflection in the camera port.

Eagle ray taking off

One of many eagle rays during that dive. I was approaching it slowly, it was calm without a move … up to a point. Then it changed its position to the ‘ready for take-off’ one. I expected it to disappear in a cloud of sand, but it did not happen.

Eagle ray resting

Another eagle ray resting on the flat bottom. Note the grey sponges next to it. Some specimens of that kind look like a small toilet.

Orange golfball sponge among kelp

A single golfball sponge among kelp. It looks like an orange among leaves of green lettuce.

Yellow sponges under kelp

Getting a bit deeper (not really deep in this case, only 10m) means colourful sponges start to appear … first in shaded places under overhangs, later in the open too.