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Quote of the Day - Beauty seen is never lost, God's colors all are fast. - John Greenleaf Whittier
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MIPTC's South Seas Journal: Underwater In Australia's Great Barrier Reef - Day Seven

Bright magenta. Deep neon blue. Screaming yellow. Ruby red. Glorious green. Dark, inky black. Oh yes, and orange like there's no tomorrow - orange that would easily put a highway worker's reflective vest to shame.

These adjectives do no justice to the underwater nouns in front of me. I simply can't describe the brilliance of the colors on the multitudes of fish circling Steve's Bommie, which is a sea mount where I spent my last day on the Great Barrier Reef scuba diving, starting at nearly 100' below the surface and ascending clockwise around the pinnacle.

But then there's the dull brown of the Wobblygon shark, sleepily hidden and barely squeezed in a six-foot long hole in the rock, almost perfectly blending into the sandy background with its strangely curved, short, fuzzy bearded whiskers on its snout, almost like singed nylon strands curling back toward its jaw.

And then there's the Rockfish, so perfectly camouflaged in a nearby but much smaller hole in the rock that the only way you really know it's there is to see its gills move ever so slightly, confirming this mess of three-dimensional pinkish red, white, brown, and sand skin is actually alive. The Army would do well to adopt such successful methods, especially given its foot-long, half-a-foot wide size - one of the largest I've ever seen.

Then there's the blood-red anemone, smoothly swirling around to and fro mocking the waves above, which hosts an equally blood-red anemone clownfish to protect it. Swimming in stark contrast to the red clownfish, next appears the ubiquitous orange and white-striped Nemo clownfish protecting an orange anemone, as equally brilliant as Nemo.

The anemones you may have seen in salt-water aquariums are no match for those in the wilds of the Reef. The ones in tanks are small typically measured in inches, and the ones in the wild extend up to four or five feet in width, and accommodate as many as ten anemone fish.

The namesake for the bommie (underwater sea mount), Steve, has a memorial plaque in his name gently resting on the top of the lower bommie. I can't imagine a more fitting memorial for a scuba diver.

You can see photos of the site here, which just about says it all.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, April 02, 2007 at 03:51 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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