December 30, 2006 - December 31, 2006 - January 1, 2007 - January 3, 2007 - January 5, 2007

January 4, 2007: Queensland, Australia

A New Years in Australia 2007 dive
"Steve's Bommie (Cairns)" - "Temple of Doom (Cairns)" - "2 and 2/3rds (Cairns)"

Two morning dives on a pinnacle: Steve's Bommie.
Diving off the northeast coast of Australia:
  • Directions from Tampa: Um. Well, talk to a travel agent. It's in another hemisphere, no matter how you look at it ...
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny

  • Personal Notes: Steve's Bommie was named after a dive master that worked in the region. It's a very nice pinnacle that supposedly has a couple of resident shark (can't remember what species). Paul and I were more fascinated with the two Leaf Scorpion Fish and assorted Nudibrancs that we would find all around the pinnacle.

    Temple of Doom was a decent site, but 2 & 2/3rds made for a crappy night dive, particularly since we hadn't been there in the day to see what the site was really like. It was mostly (as far as Paul and I could tell) Stag Horn coral, which, while beautiful and healthy, makes for a relatively boring night dive (at least for photographers, as the fish hiding in the site are hard to shoot). Paul said the name of the site (which supposedly stood for its position relative to some reefs) was its rating out of 10. We let a lot of people down on that site, as quite a few were expecting us to find cool stuff.


Steve's Bommie (Cairns)
This picture was taken pretty deep, and it's probably overcast, which explains why it's coloration is a bit washed out ... but there's (what I think is) a Sea Slug in the picture.
This Lionfish didn't want to look at me.
I don't think this one did either.
Better the Triggerfish be hunting for food rather than going after me - they sometimes get territorial and bite divers.
These Leaf Scorpionfish were pretty much the coolest things I had seen on the dive.
Which is not to say that the orange on these nudibrancs wasn't brilliant.
Here's a closer shot.
But the Leaf Scorpionfish were bigger, easier to shoot, and unlike most things their size, didn't swim off.
This big pink rock is actually a poisonous Stonefish.
This nudibranc was swimming to climb the wall he was on - eventually I'll have video of that since it was very cool. The whole body undulated.
He made it to the top.
I wish I had a flash just to make the green on this nudibranc come out a bit more.
This Orangespine Unicornfish had the coolest looking tail to me.
The Leaf Scorpionfish were still where we left them.
These nudibrancs were also where we left them. Later in the dive, one of them moved away ... a lot faster than we're used to seeing nudibrancs move, but still a relative snail's pace.
The more pictures you take of something, the more likely it is that there will be a really good shot.
This Pipefish was not too far away from the Stonefish (who, while still there, I didn't get a shot of this dive). I would show people first the Stonefish, making sure they didn't accidentally use him to steady themselves (and get poisoned in the process), and then showed them the Pipefish.
Something this small isn't easy to photograph for my video camera. And he was under a ledge so the lighting wasn't ideal either.
Temple of Doom (Cairns)
This is probably a Yellow or Gold Damselfish.
These are (I'm guessing) three Sea Slugs.
A Featherduster - didn't see too many of these; I see plenty in the Caribbean.
This was one ugly Lizardfish.
I got probably eight minutes or so (that's a lot) of video of this Mantis Shrimp. They are usually very skittish and hide in their holes until you go away. I stayed far enough away so this guy felt comfortable going about his day.
2 and 2/3rds (Cairns)
I had never seen a "real" Unicornfish before (the other one didn't have the horn).
Spaghetti Worms tend to be an easy thing to spot on a night dive, and people usually think "Wierd!" Until they see something else.
I'm not sure what this is but it looked cool.
This snail saw Paul and I coming and quickly buried himself.
This Hermit Crab didn't seem to mind me taking his picture.
Again, when I see something like this, I have to guess that it's a Coralimorph of some sort, but I have no creature book for the Pacific, only the Caribbean.
Another shot of the Coralimorph.

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
357 Steve's Bommie (Cairns) 103 feet 53 min. 81 F
358 Steve's Bommie (Cairns) 89 feet 57 min. 81 F
359 Temple of Doom (Cairns) 67 feet 56 min. 81 F
360 2 and 2/3rds (Cairns) 42 feet 54 min. 81 F
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