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UK - Sea Life

So far we have dived in Portland, Horsea Island, Vobster Quay and Selsey. You can see photos of some of our exploits in the Gallery section.

These common cuttlefish were spotted close to Selsey Lifeboat station. They were displaying zebra stripes, an indication that they were/had been mating. In the top left hand corner of the picture the eggs can be seen. We spent about five minutes observing them. The video we took can be found here. The female, in the foreground, was attending the eggs and the male was protecting her. Females mate once then die.

 

 

 

Dahlia amenome are basically short and fat. When open (as seen left) they are very close to the ground and can be up to 20cm across. Their banded tentacles are quite stumpy particularly in comparison to snakelocks (see below) but this does not stop them being ferocious predators, feeding on shrimps and small fish. This amemone was situated on its own although there were others in the area. In some places dahlia anemones can form a thick carpet on the seabed.

 

This is a worm photographed on one of the Forts in the Solent. We have become particularly interested in photographing worms both in the UK and in the Red Sea. These animals are extremely shy and if you don't sneak up on them very carefully they will disappear into their tube, which is constructed from mucus and mud. This very beautiful specimen is a type of fan worm. What you can see is the tentacles of the worm which collect both oxygen and food from the sea water. The tentacles can be up to 5cm across.

 

 

 

 

 

This Devonshire Cup-coral was found on the Countess of Erne, which is situated just inside Portland Harbour. It was a cold dull day and the visibility was 1-2 metres for the whole dive. This picture was taken on a little Fuji F30 with a flash and it wasn't until we got home and up loaded to the computer that we realised how beautiful they were. We can't wait to get back there again to take more pictures of these amazing animals. They look similar to anemones when they have their tentacles extended although they produce a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate. They come in many different colours.

 

The greater pipefish is a close relative of the seahorse. Just like the seahorse they take good care of their young. The female lays her eggs inside a pouch on the male who then incubates them. This one was photopgraphed at Selsey not far from where a large colony of seahorses is supposed to reside.

 

 

 

 

 

This photograph was taken on the Far Mulberry Harbour Unit, three miles off Selsey in West Sussex. These dead men's fingers are a type of soft coral and therefore each finger is made up hundreds of individual animals. There are two varieties, white and orange. In the south, the white variety are much more comon than the orange, however both were spotted during this dive. They tend to spread out covering the wreck, rocks and the sometimes the seabed. In the picture you can see in the top right of the picture that tiny tentacles are extended whereas on the bottom left finger the tentacles are retracted.

 

This ballan wrasse was photographed on tha Far Mulberry Harbour Unit. It wasn't frightened of us at all. The Ballen wrasse is the largest wrasse in the UK and can grow up to 50cm in length. This Ballan Wrasse was about 40cm. They can vary in colours, being brown, grey, green or red and the patterns on their backs are also highly variable. They feed on molluscs using their strong teeth to break them. Juvenilles are always female however, after they have bred a couple of times a small proportion will change to be males.  

 

 

 

This photo of a snakelocks anemone was taken in about five metres of water. When these anemones reside in shallower water there tentacles can bright green and have purple tips,due to symbiotic algae that reside in the tentacles. However, the infrared radiation in sunlight can not reach much more than a couple of metres, even in clear water, and so the deeper the anemone, the less algae is present. This specimen was about 6cm but they can grow to 20cm.

This shoal of approximately 200-300 bib was photographed on the Far Mulberry Harbour Unit in June. Bib belong to the cod family and the banding on the fish which identifies them from other fish in the family is clearly visible in the picture. As we swam towards the shoal the fish circled us in the hope that we would stir up food on the seabed. Small bib eat crustaceans and larger bib eat squid and other fish.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2014

Just visited Sulawesi in Indonesia for the first time and can totally recommend it.

We spent a week at the Tasik Ria resort on the North of the island diving in the Bunaken Marine Park. We then moved on to the Lembeh Straits staying at the Kasawari Resort which was very lovely indeed. Lots of new critters were seen including seahorses, frog fish and a whole new fleet of nudibranchs. Just counting the days before we can return.

Meanwhile we are looking forward to the start of the UK diving season.

DodgyDivers

 

 

 

Selsey BSAC

Hairspring Scuba

 

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