Dan and Justy Down Under


January 23, 2005

Dan or Justy

The wake up on Big Cat Reality is a rude one. Roosters, klaxons and, worst of all, an Aussie-pop version of "Who let the dogs out". You want to get up and out of there.

We crawled out of bed, up the stairs and into our dive gear. Still crawling, we fell overboard and struggled mightily in tough current down the incredibly active (and dangerous) anchor chain to the shipwreck. All this in about 20 minutes. A bit much. I sort of regained full self-awareness at 85 feet.

The wreck isn't a spectacular sight, but harbors them. We saw 2 lionfish: one in the perfect setting for pix. He was quite amiable and posed for us innumerable ways as we oohed and ahhed. Justine didn't have the camera, of course.

The other was inside the wreck, where we got some respite from the current. He was attached, limpet-mine style to the side of the wall, waiting for unwary prey. Luckily, we were wary.

On the second dive, camera in Justy's capable hands, we encountered a cool drama. A large grouper (not a huge one, just regular ol' large :) was chasing an octopus twice his size. I signalled Justy to come over and she initially didn't see the octopus, as it had blended in to the coral where it was defensively postured.

The grouper was very confused by us. He backed away slightly, but did not run. He took up a position in the sand and kept his face pointed to us as we worked with the octopus. He would retreat somewhat if we got too close (only prudent from his perspective, I suppose). The octopus used this and our reluctance to truly interfere with him, to move back to the coral I believe the grouper was trying to shoo him from.

I had a rush of shame as I realized I may have allowed the octopus to feed on the grouper's eggs.

Nature's love is a tough love, and the grouper will make more little groupers, but I felt guilty for the rest of the day.

Last dive and a leisurely one with a nice highlight. I found a little, itsy-bitsy Nemo clownfish in his own right-sized anemone. The picture Justy took needs much magnification to see him nicely, and it was almost a macro shot. I just hovered watching him for a long time.

If you know me, then you know I'm liable to murder and get off on grounds of insanity, the first person I see when woken by yelling or loudness. Not only was I exhausted, but to wake up to the sound of "Who let the dogs..." makes me want to kill even now!

The 3 dives today were pleasant and fun! I loved just hanging out at 40 foot reef for an hour chasing fish and shooting the coral! Absolute heaven! The wreck dive started challenging due to current and boat anchor variables, but was otherwise grand! Except for not having a camera for the posing lionfish, it was a perfect dive. I even saw 2 coral beauties mating!

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

Digital Pix Courtesy of Shimmivision.com
More Digital and Film Pix Coming Soon.