February 9th, 2008

Fresh Cuttlefish on Anemone Reef

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We have been having some amazing dives off Shark Point and Anemone Reef of late. Apart from the great 40 metre viz that is to be expected this time of the year, we have seen some really interesting stuff…If you are looking for big stuff, then lets keep fingers crossed for good luck. We have seen consistently in the past weeks, some leopard sharks sitting pretty in the sand as we descend. And lets not forget the bamboo shark that was sleeping snugly under that rock. And the occasional turtle that seems to have crossed over from King Cruiser Wreck over to Anemone Reef this season.

But what really intrigued the group of us last week was when at about 18 meters, lo and behold, a school of cuttle fish scuttled past us. There must have been at least 30 of them. It was amazing watching them as they winged their little petticoats daintilly across our paths. Then, as we thought the pleasure of watching these “pretty maidens” passing by was over, another school of at least another 20 or more of them came from the opposite direction, gracefully skirting their way to the surface.

Some facts about Cuttlefish…They are marine animals of the order Sepiida belonging to the Cephalopoda class (which also includes squid, octopuses, and nautiluses). Despite their common name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs. Cuttlefish have an internal shell (cuttlebone), large W shaped eyes, and eight arms and two tentacles furnished with denticulated suckers, with which they secure their prey. Cuttlefish eat small molluscs, crabs, shrimp, fish and other cuttlefish. Their predators include dolphins, sharks, fish, seals and other cuttlefish. They live about 1 to 2 years. Recent studies showed that cuttlefish are the most intelligent of the vertebrate species. Isn’t that amazing?

Right, you’re still not impressed? And you still want to see whale sharks, mantas and other big stuff? I have long outgrown the desperate need to see only the biggies…Honestly, every single dive is and can be an incredible one – and the sheer delight of discovering a leaf fish camoflouged against the corals, with its big beautiful glassy eyes reflecting the sunrays like two diamonds glistening in the water already enriches my day.

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