52. A Night at the Pipe

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Last week I went for a night dive at “the Pipeline,” in Nelson Bay, with Dave Harasti, who has dived, studied, and helped protect the area for over a decade. This post is photographic, a record of the dive’s creatures.

The area where we spent most of our time was a little away from the main site, a field of soft coral. Those corals are teeming with small animals – cowrie shellsdecorator crabs who start out clothed in coral before graduating to sponges…

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… so much small-scale life that it was startling when this enormous Armina came crawling towards us like a cat.

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Here is a closer look, featuring the red rhinophores (nudibranch nostrils).

This Smooth Angler Fish, nestled in a sponge, was not especially small, but extremely unassuming:

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And this is a nocturnal octopus, Octopus australis.

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The next morning we went for a dive at Fly Point. A highlight of the light of day was this beautiful Phyllodesmium poindimiei, a nudibranch with a name whose convolutions match those of its body.

Phyllodesmium poindimiei Fly pt sst 1 ccmp4

Thanks to Dave and Paul (exceptionally good animal spotters) for showing me around.


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