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Monday, 28 March 2016

Do you feel like we do

What a feeling to jump back in the water again at LHP. It's been a while, that's for sure thanks to the weather, but the jinx has been broken and we're back with a vengeance.

Once again I took the opportunity to strap a gopro on the BC for a muck around, so theress video somewhere on here, again I don't claim to be Coppola, so take it for what it is.

Anyway, it was about 5-6 knots ESE at the surface and decent viz below and we started with a little surface swim before dropping down over the sand to make a beeline for the main wall.

 I'll be honest, today wasn't the best day for the big stuff coming out to play, but with scenery like this, you really can't complain....

The second dine was off to a good start straight  of the bat with not one but two octopus. One big one hiding out in it's hole and a small one hiding round the mooring point giving me some high fives.

As well as some fantastic blennies. Lots of them. It wouldn't be a dive without them.

And we some banded jawfish (no eggs yet), needlenose filefish, and some hamlets into the mix.

And last but not least, a christmas tree worm. Everyone needs a christmas tree worm in their life.

There you go, a short and sweet update today, so plenty of pictures and minimal reading. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

I am aware

With so many marine creatures showing signs of inteligence, it's no surprise that mantas are on the list of showing signs of being self aware.

Link: HERE

Very few animals can gaze into a mirror and know it’s themselves looking back. Gorillas, leopards, dogs, and cats, can’t quite grasp the concept, often believing that their reflection is just another animal looking back.

Nonhuman animals that have been observed to pass the mirror test include bonobos, chimps, dolphins, elephants, and some birds. According to new research published in the Journal of Ethology, we can now add manta rays to this list. It’s the first time that a fish has been observed to pass the mirror test.

Researchers Csilla Ari and Dominic D’Agostino from the University of South Florida in Tampa observed two captive giant manta rays in a tank, both with and without mirrors inside. When the manta rays saw their reflections, they didn’t try to get friendly and socialize with them. And tellingly, the white markings on their back did not change, which is what usually happens when a manta ray meets a new individual.

But the manta rays did exhibit self-directed behaviors consistent with self-awareness. Specifically, the fish made “frequent and unusual” repetitive swimming movements in front of the mirror, suggesting that they were investigating, experimenting—or even playing—with their reflections. Incredibly, the manta rays also blew bubbles in front of the mirror, which is an unusual behavior for these creatures (perhaps it’s the elasmobranch equivalent of sticking one’s tongue out).

As the researchers concluded in their study, manta rays may be “the first elasmobranch species to exhibit self-awareness, which would imply their potential for an ability to higher order brain function, and sophisticated cognitive and social skills.” The researchers said that future studies should determine whether these self-directed behaviors are typical and frequent among manta rays.

For the researchers, this result did not come as a complete surprise. Manta rays have brains with similar structures and functions found in other vertebrates, including those animals capable of passing the mirror test. Manta rays also have the largest brain of any fish.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Split personality

I honestly believe that this is the worst winter we've had on island for quite some time, just cold front after cold front hitting us and we have another one on the way later this week. Today was a small victory in the fact we actually got in the water. The wind was 10-12 knts. SE at the surface so relatively flat but we didn't head too far North due to nursing a bit of a sick engine.

First stop was Split Rock, where we had a little shark action going on, but they kept their distance, so much so there's no way I could have got a shot, it would have been a waste, but they were there nonetheless.

We had some nice rope and barrel sponge formations to play around with and some nice deep shots.

Speaking of deep, I was pushing the limits pretty heavily to get some shots, yet some of the clowns on the boat still managed to get a good 8-10 metres below me, much to the chagrin of Miss Caitlin. She had to go down and chase them up they go themselves into serious difficulties. Poor Caitlin. I'm grateful for who and when I can teach in my spare time so I don't have to deal with muppets like that on a daily basis!

During surface interval, Captain Nige managed to make a literal meal of his easter cupcakes.Honestly, I can't take him anywhere. Debs need to have serious words with him.........

Second splash was in at Kathleens where Miss Sarah showed us a nice high hat which I haven't seen many of here, or anywhere else for that matter.

Because I was mostly twatting around with the high hat, I wasn't really looking for too much else but there was the odd occasional little blenny and goby and other such little treats.

As well as a monsterous trumpetfish right at the very end. This thing was huge, way too big for the lens, I had to back right off. He wasn't the least bit shy either.

So a great mornings diving and it was nice to get back in the water again. I sacrificing various animals and small children to the weather gods so we can actually spend some quality time at LHP soon without the weather screwing things up.

And last but not least theres a little video clip below and on the youtube channel with a snippet of diving from this morning. I borrowed a gopro and I was just twatting about with it to see it could be anything useful to me, so ignore gopro positioning, etc, as this is just purely a proof of concept, but you get the idea. Safe diving everyone.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Billion dollar babies

Think you're a tough macho man? Think you're man enough to have a baby? How about 2000 of them? Didn't think so.......... Check out the video and try and stop your eyes from watering..

Link: HERE

"Seahorses are one of two groups of animals (along with pipefish) where the male carries babies to term. First, the lady seahorse deposits her eggs in her man’s brood pouch. The eggs are internally fertilized with the male’s sperm, and after a 10 to 25 day gestation period, he churns out a brood (clutch, litter, swarm?) of tiny, fully-formed seahorses. Thousands of them."

Friday, 4 March 2016

Eight days a week

A new uni dentified species of octopus discovered at 2.7 miles deep. Amazing!!

Link: HERE

"At 4,290 meters down scientists noticed the ghost-like creature sitting on a flat rock. “Upon further review, this ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any yet-described genus,” the team wrote."

" This creature they observed seems to lack pigment cells, which explains its ghostly complexion. Some have suggested naming the creature Casper, because of its striking resemblance to the friendly cartoon ghost."