Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dive number 3, Northeast edge of Goat Island

We’ve had a couple of weeks off. Not entirely dry weeks though. We went for a very enjoyable drift snorkel thorough the mangroves at the estuary at the southern end of Matapouri and fantastic clear water snorkel in the Whangateau Estuary at high tide. Both revealed dense shell and small fish life, reminding us how relatively unspoilt New Zealand’s coastal waterways are.

Now we are bouncing our way out to the reserve. The time to get the boat into the water is rapidly reducing, but this time, we got tied up in the first day of school activities and reading email before leaving home. But the sky is clear, and there is only a slight easterly swell running, which is milder than predicted. We’re excited to see deep-blue water all around us. We’re going to try to dive the outer edge of Goat Island itself. We find a surge-free area to anchor the boat to the Northeast of the island and we drop into the water.
At first, the 5-6 meters water is very clear – we estimate the visibility to be 50 feet or more. As we descend, it becomes hazy, but still a very acceptable 30 feet of visibility. Finger sponges are everywhere – we guess some of them might be pink, and are excited that they are they are both bigger and more plentiful (and in more picturesque settings) than our last dive.
On the way back, we encounter a school of triggerfish. We wonder, in fact if eight fish of the same species, swimming in a loose group, roughly in the same direction, does in fact constitute a school? Is there a minimum size for a school of fish? What is it if not a school? A gathering? A group? A family?
Or perhaps it’s just a small country school? Triggerfish always make us smile. And ponder it seems.

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