The vis at Hantu was incredible this morning! We hit the water at about 10am and managed a free descent with buddies in view (not in contact). Taking advantage of the great 5-6m vis, we stuck in the shallows of the fringe reef for the first dive and saw schools of damsels, rabbitfish, six banded and vermiculated angelfish, indian grouper, copper banded butterflyfish, scissorstail and bengal sergents, anchor tuskfish, fan-bellied filefish, marine worms (above picture), sandperches, spanish flag snappers, wrasses, gobies... the reef was alive! Not that it isn't usually, but the racing pulse of Hantu's reefs often remain hidden and its creatures made elusive by the low vis. So today was just perfect. Divers who took to the larger submerged reef for the first dive were well surprised by lionfish, and a lone diver on the smaller submerged reef logged a green turtle! Wicked!
Since I missed the turtle, I shortened my surface interval and spent 25 mins around the patch reef where it was sighted at apparently 8.7m. Unfortunately I didn't catch a glimpse of it, but I did catch an octopus as it slipped into a crevice beneath the coral, and a sneek peak at a pair of flabellina's mating (above picture), which was really cool.
On the last dive at 1pm, we thought we'd try searching for the bumboat wreck west of the island, past the sand bar. I was making my way along the channel between the big and little patch reefs when I got completely distracted by a pair of saddleback anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) (above picture). They are lovely fish to watch and I ended up just hanging out with them and their housemates - a swimmer crab, cleaner shrimp and heaps of anemone shrimp bouncing all over the place. It was a party! Good time passed and I began making my way back to the boat, crossing the sandflat Northward before heading East. That's where a Yellow-lipped Seakrait swam right into me! As it grazed the silt bottom, it left me in a cloud of dust and I wasn't able to give chase much farther. Back on the reef flat, I sent my regular greetings to the 2 false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion occllaris), before doing a slow descent to the surface, with a crazily-huge smile of my face. The perfect way to tie up the week.
I took heaps of pix of some really neat creatures, and also of gorgeous, huge, coral which would be usually difficult to photograph because of low vis. I'll reveal these to you over the week.