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As is often the case perfect weather and surface sea conditions sometimes
don't reflect conditions beneath the surface.  The underwater visibility at
Shelly Beach was down to a meagre 25-metres in the shallows - and about
15-metres out at 'Dragon Patches', where the colony of Weedy Seadragons are
usually to be found.  The water temperature is also - in the early months of
our Spring - still on the cool side at 18 deg. C.  :-)

Six of us, including Julian, Birdo and Jonathan - who leaves Oz next week to
spend two years working in New York - turned up for the Saturday morning
ritual dive to check out the Seadragons.
http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/students/focus/seadrag.htm

Apart from a couple of rays, a small cuttlefish, juvenile moray eel,
roughy's, damesls, leatherjackets and wrasse - including several of the
large Eastern Blue Grouper that swim up to us and demand to be petted - we
only managed to see one seadragon; a male carrying eggs on the outside of
its stomach.

The Port Jackson sharks that litter the sandy sea floor in late July and
August when they come in to breed and that, in smaller numbers, have still
been evident in recent weeks, were nowhere to be seen.  Neither could we
spot any wobbegongs that are usually found resting under rock ledges and
overhangs.  The only outstanding find was a very, very large numb ray that
Julian spotted buried in the sand.  Capable of giving a very powerful
electric shock that will stun or even kill the smaller fish on which it
preys, they usually rely on attracting curious fish by means of lures that
resemble flat worms.

This one was quite happy lying in the sand until Julian gave it a prod in
the bum with his fin!  It reared straight up in the water.  I don't know
what it did next as I'd slipped my own fins into overdrive and was busy
swimming quickly away from the danger zone!  :-)

And afterwards there were Tim-Tams and coffee - and a reminder to Jonathan
to stock up with Vegiemite and other Ozzie tucker just in case he couldn't
track down a supplier in New York!  :-)

Strike