Wednesday, December 30, 2009

RESTRICTED ACCESS AT SA JETTIES

Second Valley jetty B4 the collapsed steps were removed

There may not currently be any step access at Point Turton jetty. Al Chandler, Secretary of the Underwater Explorers Club of SA, recently reported the removal of the steps on the jetty. He witnessed their removal by workmen in November. The SDF acted by sending an email message off to the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, asking them if they could act to provide suitable jetty steps for divers. Other SA jetties known to have restricted access at the time of writing include Second Valley, The Bluff, Screwpile and Edithburgh jetties. The collapsed steps at Second Valley jetty were removed recently. There is no ladder (or steps) at The Bluff jetty at Victor Harbor. The steps at the Screwpile Jetty at Victor are out of the water at low tide. There are problems with one of the sets of steps at the start of the jetty at Edithburgh.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Removal of the steps on the Point Turton jetty


There may not currently be any step access at Point Turton jetty. Al Chandler, Secretary of the Underwater Explorers Club of SA, recently reported the removal of the steps on the jetty. He witnessed their removal by workmen in November. “The steps were cut into several pieces using a chainsaw, dropped into the water and then towed by boat around to the boat ramp where a bobcat has placed them at the top of the boat ramp pending their removal. The steps had fallen into a state of deterioration over the past 2 years and despite lobbying by the UEC, Point Turton Caravan Park management and locals for the steps to be repaired, the local council decided the cheapest option was to remove them and replace them with a metal ladder. Access and egress for diving is now via the existing ladders at the outer end of the jetty, via the new ladder when fitted, via the outer rockface of the boat ramp groin or via beach entry just south of the boat ramp. The final option will mean crossing the "mouth" of the boat ramp and swimming around the outside of the boat ramp to access the jetty. The two ladders at the outer end of the jetty are awkward to use as the bottom of each ladder is closer to the jetty than the top, causing the ladders to lean outwards away from the jetty.” The SDF acted by sending an email message off to the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, asking them if they could act to provide suitable jetty steps for divers as discussed in Al Chandler’s report to us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Warning sign placed at Rapid Bay jetty divers' platform


Many thanks go to the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (South Australia ) which has kindly placed a warning sign at the Rapid Bay jetty divers' platform. This signage warns fishers to "Beware of divers surfacing below" and "Please keep stairs and landings clear for divers".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NEW WRECK TRAIL

A trail has now been laid between the Claris and Kalari wrecks off of Glenelg. According to the web page at http://www.sdfsa.net/adelaide_metro.htm, the Claris is a 12m-long (ship?) wreck about 4km west of the Dredge (South Australian). She lies at a depth of about 25-28m. Her GPS coordinates are said to be 35:00:250 S, 138:21:089 E (WGS84). The GPS coordinates of the nearby Kalari are said to be 35 00 273 S, 138 21 110 E

DIVE SHOP NEWS

Adelaide Scuba has now merged with Glenelg Marine and moved in to the premises on the Patawalonga Frontage at Glenelg North. Visit http://www.adelaidescuba.com.au/ for more details.
KI Diving Safaris have now changed their name to Kangaroo Island Dive and Adventures and they also have a new home. Their new dive centre is located at 15 Kingscote Tce at Kingscote. Contact Kangaroo Island Dive and Adventures on 08 8553 3196 or visit http://www.kidivingsafaris.com/ .

Monday, October 26, 2009

Second Valley jetty steps update


I almost forgot to report that, just over 2 weeks ago, the steps on the Second Valley jetty were completely gone, removed, non-existant. Entry & exit to the water needed to be made either via the rocks or the beach. Hopefully the steps will be replaced or rebuilt before too long.

Adelaide Shopper feature 23rd October




The Advertiser chose me at random for the weekly feature in the Adelaide Shopper liftout. I was advertising my friend's son's wetsuit for sale through the on-line classifieds. The Advertiser interviewed me over the phone and then sent a photographer down to take a few shots to work with for the feature. The colour photo was on the front page of the liftout section. A smaller version of this photo featured on the front page of the newspaper. The B&W photo was inside the liftout section. You can't buy publicity like that. The wetsuit was sold by 8am on the day of the paper.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ewens Ponds/Eight Mile Creek update

DEH has released an "Analysis of Public Submissions for the Ewens Ponds Draft Management Plan Amendment". A detailed 39-page analysis of public submissions is available at http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/pdfs/ewens_ponds_cp_amend_analysis.pdf . The Ewens Ponds CP Management Plan 2009 has been posted at http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/pdfs/ewens_ponds_cp_amend.pdf. Ewens Ponds will be available for snorkelling and scuba diving only and a permit system will be introduced to improve the management of these activities. The permit system will include the limitation of the number of snorkellers and scuba divers allowed in the ponds at any one time. Other limitations include the requirement for snorkellers and scuba divers to only be permitted to move through the channels in the same direction as the current flow. The minimal qualification will be increased to Advanced Open Water for dive permits.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Websites re exploding scuba cylinders

Re scuba cylinders made from 6351 alloy , the Luxfer website found at http://www.luxfercylinders.com/support/faq/sustainedloadcracking-australia.shtml discusses FAQs re Sustained-load Cracking for Cylinders in Australia and New Zealand . The Queensland government websote found at http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/publications/alerts/alloy_cylinders/index.htm is an alert to inform people who fill aluminium alloy cylinders of the risks of death and injury from cylinder explosion. The website found at http://biobug.org/scuba/scubatank/ may be of some interest, despite being American. Many thanks to Neville Skinner for these details.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Some aluminium scuba cylinders have now been banned in SA

Steve Robinson from Scuba Com advises that all Luxfer scuba cylinders constructed from Aluminium Alloy AL6351 have now been banned in South Australia following some recent explosions involving these cylinders interstate and overseas.
For example, a 62-year old scuba diver had his right hand severed at the wrist when his diving tank ruptured. Police said the man was refilling scuba diving tanks at a diving business when the one exploded. The intensity of the blast tore large gouges into nearby brick walls. The man, who was treated at Kempsey District Hospital, also suffered several compound fractures to his right leg. He was airlifted to a Sydney hospital for continued treatment. (Source: http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/scuba-tank-explodes-man-airlifted/1597743.aspx )
All clubs and divers have been requested to ensure that these cylinders are removed from service. Luxfer scuba cylinders were manufactured from 6351 aluminium alloy overseas from 1972 to 1988 and in Australia from 1975 to 1990. Luxfer acquired CIG Gas Cylinders in 1997 and some of the 6351 tanks are stamped with "CIG/Luxfer".
Tanks made by Luxfer after 1990 no longer used Aluminium Alloy AL6351 and are safe. The new alloy is AL6061. The AL6351 aluminium tanks can suffer from fatigue (SLC or Sustained Load Cracking). One example exploded at approximately 1500-2000 psi.
Steve recommends that you check your tank and, if it is suspect, drain it now. He says, "For safety reasons, we are committed to getting these tanks off the market. Thousands of tanks nationwide have already been taken out of service. We advise all clubs and divers to ensure that these cylinders are removed from service."
Details are as follows: -
Identification: CIG/Luxfer cylinders marked AS1777 manufactured between 1975 and 1990 where the serial number does NOT start with an 'S'.
Luxfer cylinders marked DOT3AL or DOTE6498 manufactured between 1972 and 1988.
There should also be an identifying stamp with the numbers 6351.
Scuba Com will no longer accept these cylinders for testing or filling. They believe that ALL SA filling stations have adopted the same stance following another cylinder explosion in Queensland this week.
Some photos provided by Scuba Com have been posted at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/ExplodedScubaCylinder. It is understood that this cylinder was tested regularly, had never been over-filled and was 'in test'.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Steve's Shark Site

White pointer shark (c) Terry Goss 2006/Marine Photobank


I'm now up to 3 blogs following the establishment of Steve's Shark Site at http://stevessharksite.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spearfishing at Second Valley

My blog at http://stevesscubasite.blogspot.com/2009/08/spearfishing-at-second-valley.html incorrectly stated "As it stands at present, policing the current ban would be difficult. Spearfishers may enter or exit the 1st bay but be able to say that they only speared outside of the bay."
The Recreational Fishing Guide (found at http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/59935/rec_guide_2008_general_fishing.pdf ) says that "Spearfishing with a hand fish spear or a spear gun is not permitted: In the waters of Second Valley Bay." AND "Persons may carry a fish spear or UNLOADED spear gun in the above waters, but only if carrying the device to or from a boat."

Shipwreck blog


I have now started a shipwreck blog at http://stevesshipwrecksite.blogspot.com/

Huge oil slick off NW Australian coast

According to the web page found at http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/853083/too-early-to-determine-wa-spill-impact, a gas rig spill has left a huge oil slick off the north-west Australian coast. A video can be viewed at http://news.ninemsn.com.au/video.aspx?videoid=b1c933f7-b7fa-4e0f-9c44-d27efba1a09c.

2010 Calendar of South Australian Marine Life


As reported earlier, the 2010 calendar of South Australian Marine Life is now available. They are still $10 ea. Helen Crawford took the front cover photo of zebra fish at, appropriately, Fishery Beach. There are other great photos by Helen, Antony King, Alexius Sutandio, Paul Macdonald, Phil Mercurio, Anne Wilson, Chris Hall, Ray Trezise, Joe Taylor & David Muirhead. The front & rear covers for the calendar can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/2010CalendarOfSouthAustralianMarineLife. Contact me via this blog to order your copies of the calendar.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Port Noarlunga Foreshore Redevelopment


The Port Noarlunga Foreshore Redevelopment invloves, amongst other things, a 'boardwalk'. Peter Jury has taken a few photos of the work being done on the boardwalk close to the Pt Noarlunga jetty. These photos have been posted at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/PortNoarlungaForeshoreRedevelopment.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spearfishing at Second Valley


A spearfishing ban at Second Valley was proclaimed in March 1992. Page 16 of the 2008 “SA Recreational Fishing Guide” says “Spearfishing . . . is not permitted . . . in the waters of Second Valley Bay”. As reported in my blog at http://stevesscubasite.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-spearfishing-sign-at-2nd-valley.html , "A new sign has now been installed at Second Valley, advising of the spearfishing ban in the bay where the jetty is located." (See details in the photo in my blog. Double click on it to enlarge the image.) So it seems that the ban does not apply to all of Second Valley, only the first bay there. Spearing is apparently allowed in the second bay and beyond. It also seems that spearing would be allowed at Lasseters Reef if it is outside of the line between the two points either side of the jetty. Now it may well be that "the waters of Second Valley Bay” only ever meant the first bay. I believe that the second bay and Lasseters Reef ought to be included in the banned area. Even then, spearing would still be allowed along the edge of the two points. Perhaps that whole section of coast ought to be included in the ban. Any marine life there needs to be protected for the enjoyment of divers and snorkellers. As it stands at present, policing the current ban would be difficult. Spearfishers may enter or exit the 1st bay but be able to say that they only speared outside of the bay.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whales at Middleton & Seals at Port Elliot




I just spent a couple of days at Middleton (mid-way between Victor Harbor & Goolwa) on the south coast of SA. The 1st day was perfect for whale watching at Middleton, with at least 6 (southern right?) whales (with calves?) to be seen close to shore. The next day was gloomy but perfect for getting close to seals swimming at Port Elliot. I have posted a few photos at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/WhalesSeals#5368208979486344450.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spearfishing ban at Second Valley

A spearfishing ban at Second Valley was proclaimed in March 1992. Page 16 of the 2008 "SA Recreational Fishing Guide" says "Spearfishing . . . is not permitted . . . in the waters of Second Valley Bay". As reported in my blog at http://stevesscubasite.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-spearfishing-sign-at-2nd-valley.html, "A new sign has now been installed at Second Valley, advising of the spearfishing ban in the bay where the jetty is located." (See details in the photo in my blog. Double click on it to enlarge the image.) So it seems that the ban does not apply to all of Second Valley, only the first bay there. Spearing is apparently allowed in the second bay and beyond. It also seems that spearing would be allowed at Lasseters Reef if it outside of the line between the two points either side of the jetty. Now it may well be that "the waters of Second Valley Bay" only ever meant the first bay. I believe that the second bay and Lasseters Reef ought to be included in the banned area. Even then, spearing would still be allowed along the edge of the two points. Perhaps that whole section of coast ought to be included in the ban. Any divers in the area could easily become the target of a wayward spear and the marine life needs to be protected for the enjoyment of divers and snorkellers. What do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are.
video

Monday, August 3, 2009

Seals at the Bluff


On 3 occasions this year, I've been fortunate enough to see some seals either prior to, or after (but not during) my dives. 1 occasion was at 2nd Valley when I didn't have a camera handy. The other 2 times were both at the Bluff, Victor Harbor, when I managed some shots (with my old camera). I have posted some of these photos at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/SealsAtTheBluff.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

11-arm sea stars at the Bluff


During my recent brief photographic solo dive at the Bluff, I saw numerous large 11-arm sea stars. They were easier to photograph than fish in the trying conditions. I have posted all 8 of my 11-arm photos at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/11ArmSeaStarsAtTheBluff. These creatures are generally considered to be drab & dreary but a close look reveals some wonderful colours.

Steve's new camera


After a brief introduction to digital photography, & an even briefer intro to underwater digital, I invested in a new camera & housing. I did a solo dive at the Bluff on 1st August to test my new camera housing. All went reasonably well in the trying conditions. I have posted a few of my best shots at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/SteveSNewCamera.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New spearfishing sign at 2nd Valley

A new sign has now been installed at Second Valley, advising of the spearfishing ban in the bay where the jetty is located. See details in the photo.



Second Valley boat sheds




I have been meaning to report for a while that the boat sheds at Second Valley were removed earlier this year for safety reasons. Here is a photo of the present view of the previous location of the sheds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2010 SA Marine Life calendars


The wait is over! The 2010 SA Marine Life calendars are now available for purchase. Seriously, they are the best yet. They will sell themselves. There was a shortfall in production, so there won't be so many to go around. They're still $10 ea. Let me know if you want any. I can't provide a preview at this stage but will do so when possible.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Steps @ 2nd Valley jetty closed



There's some good news & some bad news from 2nd Valley. 1st the bad, the jetty steps are broken and have been closed off (see photos). Entry from the beach is also impossible due to thick deposits of dead seagrass. Entry must be made from rocks in either of the 2 southern bays. The good news is that a new beach access ramp has been built to replace the old boat launching ramp. This new ramp is not for vehicles though, just people and possibly wheelchairs. More good news is that there is renewed signage re the spearfishing ban in the area. Most of the above details may mean that there will be plenty of free car park spaces available until the seagrass disappears and the steps are fixed again. A seal was seen swimming at the jetty when I visited on Saturday morning (27th June). More photos from 2nd Valley can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/SDFNewsSheetJuly2009 .

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rapid Bay jetty again


At the end of May, I returned to Rapid Bay jetty again for my 2nd dive there this year. It was great for diving, with flat calm conditions allowing snorkelling out to the T section on the old jetty. My buddy & I were then able to spend a long time out under the T section. Just one thing spoiled my dive. I couldn't fire off any shots with my camera for some reason. I was able to enjoy myself once that I had gotten over it. There were ever so many fish to see, and some large cuttles too. We even managed to rescue a brown-spotted wrasse hooked on some fishing line. We had to cut the line to let it go. It's good to see that some juvenile Blue Groper are still hanging around the jetty. Unfortunately, no photos to show for this dive. I did, however, manage to take this photo of the new jetty after the dive, when checking the operation of my camera.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blue-ring octopus with hatching eggs


Ray Trezise took lots of photos, such as this one, of a female blue-ring octopus with her eggs. A baby blue-ring can be seen hatching from one of the eggs in some of the photos. The newly hatched baby octopus can then be seen swimming alone in some photos. A collection of these photos can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/BlueRingOctopusWithHatchingEggs

Monday, May 4, 2009

Scuba swim at Second Valley again


I managed to get wet again after a 3 week hiatus. Tried to find Lasseter's Reef without success so returned to swim near the jetty. Viz wasn't great but took a few photos and videos anyway. Some of the photos can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/SecondValley. Two videos can be seen on YouTube. The large school of zebra fish that we saw can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTYHZgAdCls. A cryptic cuttlefish can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWIG-PWZyDg&feature=channel. Somebody's "Marino Rocks Snorkel" can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyDbTCOy1Os&NR=1. I must mention that there are still no signs warning of the spearfishing ban at Second Valley. Check out the YouTube video about the now-demolished boat sheds at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T76awUKROQ&feature=related.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back at The Bluff again


11/4/09 I returned to The Bluff at Victor Harbor for a dive. The viz was a bit disappointing but I still tried taking a few photos & videos. I didn't get to see any large octopus this time but a large leafy seadragon more than made up for that. There were a couple of schools of fish around my exit point. I even got to video a seal following my dive. Some of my photos and videos can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/TheBluff.

Return to Second Valley



28/3/09 I returned to Second Valley for the first time since late January. There was still no replacement signage regarding a spearfishing ban there. I dived in the 1st bay left of the jetty. I was doing a special project which may be revealed later on. I ended up around the rocky point where the jetty was no longer in view. The boat sheds have now been removed from the rocky point. I photographed a very large male Rainbow Fish which I saw out near the point. I returned to the jetty steps which were now well out of the water so I had to swim over to the sandy beach.

video

I took this short video out near the point. Check out the large snook which disappears as quickly as it arrived. More photos and this video can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/stevereynolds600/SecondValley.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Latest dive at Port Hughes


I returned to the Port Hughes jetty on 22nd March. The viz was poor but I still enjoyed trying out the closeup lens on my camera. The highlight of my dive was being able to film a large catfish. My short video of the 'very yellow' catfish can either be seen below, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyeY2QhT5L8. I also saw this amazing sponge crab there.

video

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The April 2009 Leafy Sea Dragon Festival


Photo taken by Neville Skinner

The 3rd Leafy Sea Dragon Festival is being held in SA this month, from 17th to 26th April. Visit http://www.leafyseadragonfestival.com/ for more details. A web page of information provided by the Marine Life Society of SA regarding the leafy seadragon can be seen at http://www.leafyseadragonfestival.com/about.html

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Marine Parks submissions


Photo taken by Paul Macdonald

Although submissions re the proposed outer boundaries for 19 marine parks in SA closed on 27th March, you can visit http://www.marineparks.sa.gov.au/ for more details.

New Rapid Bay jetty now opened


Great news! The wait is finally over. After waiting some 4 years, the new jetty at Rapid Bay opened last month (March 2009), much to the delight of fishermen and divers alike. Even better news, the leafy seadragons are still there, along with multitudes of fish and invertebrates. The new jetty is closer to the car park, making access to the jetty much easier. The divers' platform is designed to make entry/exit easy. There are even some great ladders closer to shore. A chain & post trail has now been laid down to guide divers from one jetty to the other when swimming between the old & new jetties. Diving at Rapid Bay should now become more popular than ever before.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eyes of an octopus


They say that cephalopods such as cuttlefish & octopus have well-developed eyes and acute vision. Despite this, they are said to be colour-blind. A hammer octopus, Octopus australis, is said to darken its eyes to appear bigger to potential predators. The octopus featured in the photo above could be either O.pallidus or O.berrima.
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Seaurchins aggregating at Magazine Bay


On 31st December 2007, I made a solo dive at Magazine Bay, near Point Turton. One of the first things that I noticed about the location was that Heliocidaris urchins were to be seen aggregating in large numbers, as shown in these few photos.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Leafy seadragons


Leafy seadragon (taken by Neville Skinner)
We are indeed very fortunate in this day and age when it comes to Leafy seadragons. I don’t recall having had any knowledge of Leafy seadragons when I decided to take up scuba diving in 1978, even though I had been keeping marine aquariums during the 1970s.
The next day after completing my scuba course in February 1978, I dived with the (now) Marine Life Society of SA at the Bluff at Victor Harbor. It was reported that a Leafy seadragon was sighted during that dive but I have no recollection of it at all.
The first time that I recall seeing a Leafy seadragon was also at the Bluff some time later. One of the Marine Life Society members displayed one in a dive tub after our dive.
Back in those days, my fish ‘bible’ was a copy of “The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia”, a handbook of the Flora and Fauna of South Australia, issued by the Handbooks Committee on behalf of the South Australian Government.
The 2nd edition of ‘Marine & Freshwater Fishes’ had been published in 1974. The 1st edition had been published back in 1962. Both editions were full of wonderful black and white pictures of SA fish species. I would often gaze in wonder at the picture of a Leafy seadragon in my copy of the book.
A facsimile reprint of “The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia” was published in February 1980. This new version featured 42 colour photographs of different fish species, including one of a Leafy seadragon in an aquarium. Despite it being a beautiful fish, the photograph was not particularly inspiring.
I had still not managed to see a seadragon during any of my dives despite diving fairly regularly between 1978 and 1980. I had performed more than 70 dives without enjoying the exhilaration of spotting a seadragon. That all changed dramatically in May 1980. That was when I came across a Weedy seadragon at a depth of 18m at Seaford. Although I was ecstatic over this development in my diving experiences, still no Leafy.
My very next dive was at the Rapid Bay jetty later that same month. Members of the Marine Life Society were collecting fish beneath the jetty so that they could be photographed in an aquarium that had been set up on the jetty. I was again ecstatic when I found a Leafy seadragon, which was then hoisted up on to the jetty in a bucket. Several photos were taken of the amazing creature in the aquarium, under the gaze of several Society members and enthralled members of the public. One of the divers later returned the beautiful seadragon to the jetty bottom.
The sighting of a Leafy seadragon at Rapid Bay jetty is a common occurrence these days, but it wasn’t so back then. It was still considered to be a rarity for the next few years, despite sightings occurring more often in the late 1980s.
The Marine Life Society adopted the Leafy seadragon for its logo in 1982. Divers started sighting both Leafy and Weedy seadragons regularly at Rapid Bay jetty and the jetty soon became known as being one of the best spots to see both species of seadragons.
The Marine Life Society had begun recording seadragon sightings by the early 1990s. An article about the Leafy seadragon in the Marine Life Society’s 1991 Journal claimed that not a great deal had been written about the creature to that stage. That Journal tried to change all of that by featuring only articles about seadragons and this ultimately led to the formation of DragonSearch around late 1994.
Articles and photographs featuring seadragons were now starting to become very popular with the general public and within government circles. From the time of those first photos of a Leafy seadragon in an aquarium at Rapid Bay jetty, the Marine Life Society had been gathering a collection of seadragon images as part of its Photographic Index of SA Marine Life. In 1999, the Society was able to publish its first calendar of SA marine life using images from its Photographic Index. A Leafy seadragon featured on the front cover of the 1999 calendar and seadragon shots have been popular features of the annual calendar ever since then.
These days, we really are spoilt. We now have many informative books full of colour photographs of fish, including seadragons. Just about everyone that scuba dives these days carries a digital camera. Seadragon photos are now featured on numerous websites. There have been many television documentaries about seadragons and some are available on video and DVD. The Gould League’s “Seahorses and Seadragons” poster is very popular with divers and students. The Leafy seadragon really has become an icon species, which has boosted sales of everything from mouse mats and stubby holders to designer tops.
All that is required now is for us to ensure the long-time survival of seadragons by protecting their habitat from the many threats that it faces today.

Filming of a leafy seadragon documentary in SA


Leafy seadragon (taken by Neville Skinner)
Ella Danes-Smith of Icon Films (www.iconfilms.co.uk) was recently (March 2009) in Adelaide working on a television series called ‘Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures’. The program makes a point of bringing out serious issues of conservation and human impact, as well as drawing on the cultural importance of the animal in question. The ‘Leafy Sea dragon’ is one of the key ‘amazing’ creatures for this series and the crew is in South Australia in the hope of being able to film some. The crew travelled to Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. They were trying to find out some more interesting facts about these amazing creatures and the environment that they live in. Also if there is anything current or relevant that has happened to do with the leafies or the weedies? Is there anything that is trying to be proven about them recently? They needed details about the leafies and their environment. Also some more detail about the locations and the problems that the leafies may come across.

Cuttlefish attacks


Aggressive cuttlefish on Seacliff Reef (Photo by Antony King)
Phil Porter from Port Lincoln recently told me, “I have just read with interest the article in the 2007 journal regarding cuttlefish attacks on divers. I had an encounter with a large cuttlefish many years ago while diving on a shipwreck just north of here. We were diving from a boat in about 20metres of water. I saw the cuttlefish sitting among the wreck and went in close for a photo. It suddenly rushed out and grabbed the camera, hanging on for several moments. It let go then retreated a little way, before suddenly deciding it wanted more. It again attacked the camera, almost ripping it from my hands. I thought it was probably getting upset because it was able to see its own reflection in the camera lens (it was an SLR in a housing with a large glass lens in front), but after letting go and retreating the second time, it swam back out and attacked my friend who was swimming slowly past. He pushed it away with his fins, and we both swam off, leaving it in peace. Toward the end of the dive, however, it again attacked us as we swam past it, heading back toward the anchor rope. It grabbed my friend's arm, but didn't bite. After pushing it away, it went back among the wreck and sat watching us until we retreated. This is the only time I have ever witnessed aggressive behavior from a cuttlefish, though I have been very close to them many times. I can't recall the exact time of year, but I think it was probably early autumn”, Phil said.
I replied to Phil, saying “I'm happy that you were interested in my article on cuttlefish attacks (see http://www.mlssa.asn.au/journals/2007Journal.htm ). I am just as interested in your cuttlefish attack story. I will do whatever I can with your cuttlefish information.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 Leafy Sea Dragon Festival


This year's Leafy Sea Dragon Festival runs from 17th to 26th April. Visit http://leafyseadragonfestival.com/about.html for more details (and to see some great seadragon photos from some of my diving friends). Above image taken by Neville Skinner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Blog List & Endangered Animals slide show

The very latest posting from Chai'sMarine Life Blog (at http://chaitt.blogspot.com/) can now be seen near the bottom of this blog (under My Blog List). At the very bottom of this blog, below My Blog List, is a slide show on endangered animals.

Akumal sea life blog

The blog found at http://akumalsealife.blogspot.com/ discusses "Marine and Coastal Conservation along the Mexican Caribbean and beyond. News and discussions about the marine conservation work of Centro Ecológico Akumal, other Caribbean conservation programs, and other marine topics." The amazing thing is that (under Other blogs on ocean conservation) it mentions this blog i.e. " Steve's Scuba Site showcases a well-balanced mixture of scuba-diving stories, ocean conservation announcements and updates, and educational tidbits. You will find many links that will guide you to even more ocean information around the Web." It also mentions Chai's Marine Life Blog i.e. "Chai's Marine Life Blog catalogs the underwater discoveries of a student and all-around underwater enthusiast. Practically the moment Tsun-Thai Chai got an underwater camera, a new blog was born." These very same details (for Steve & Chai) have also featured in material from Marine Photo Bank (see http://www.marinephotobank.org/resources/documents/MPBbulletinfebruary2009.pdf and http://chaitt.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-02-17T07%3A55%3A00%2B09%3A00&max-results=1). The Akumal sea life blog says that " Centro Ecológico Akumal and the tourists who come to visit Akumal in order to remain healthy. Although coral appears to be dead rock it is very much alive and, as all life, it is fragile but also very resilient. As long as people behave properly while visiting the reef it will be able to live strong and healthy. On this site you will find information about the Mesoamerican Reef System and tips on behavior to help make sure the reef is alive and growing." According to the web page found at http://locogringo.com/akumal/, Akumal is south of Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula. It is on the mainland near Cozemel Island - see map at http://www.locogringo.com/maps/riviera-maya-coast.html.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crabs killed by recent hot spells




Recent hot weather spells in SA caused the death of crabs on Adelaide's metropolitan beaches. Whilst many land-based creatures were struggling with the heat, crabs were reportedly being "boiled to death" in the water because of a lack of oxygen in the shallow water. I found many dead crabs on my local beaches (Semaphore/Largs) over the first two weekends in February. One can only wonder if many crabs survived the heat.

Large octopuses at The Bluff, Victor Harbor




Large octopuses were seen at The Bluff at Victor Harbor in January. Thierry Laperousaz at the SA Museum suggested that they were maori octopus.

These two images were taken by Heather Bird and Steve Reynolds.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blue-ringed octopus with eggs and newly hatched baby








Here are some of Ray Trezise's photos of Take a close look
at the one which shows a baby octopus by the mother with eggs. Click on the photo to view an enlargement.