Caves & Overhangs on Two Mile Reef, Sodwana

Dive sites (Sodwana): Caves & Overhangs

We were feeling a little beaten up after our first dive in Sodwana, what with the rough surface conditions that had had more than one of us (no names mentioned) leaning over the side of the boat feeding the fish before AND after the dive! The focus was on getting into the water as soon as possible, because once we were below the surface everything else melted away.

Caves & Overhangs on Two Mile Reef, Sodwana
Caves & Overhangs on Two Mile Reef, Sodwana

The second dive we did was to Caves & Overhangs on Two Mile Reef. The beauty of diving Two Mile Reef is that the longest boat ride you will have to endure is about 10 minutes, and we often spent more time kitting up on the boat than actually locating the dive site!

Justin identifying fish
Justin identifying fish - our underwater naturalist

Justin, Gerard and Tami were doing their Fish Identification dive for their Advanced course, which was a darn good thing because I couldn’t name a single thing I’d seen so far and planned to piggyback off their knowledge! The three of them swanned about with their slates, drawing the things they were seeing. The end results were somewhat hilarious… Compare Justin and Gerard’s slates below (with apologies to both the budding artists for revealing their work in such early stages, and for the water drops – the pictures were taken before I’d removed my camera from its housing):

Justin's fish ID slate
Justin's fish ID slate
Gerard's fish ID slate
Gerard's fish ID slate

I was beside myself with excitement – yelled into my regulator – when I spotted a gorgeous moray eel, with his head sticking out of his cave, opening and closing his mouth to breathe. He was a medium-sized guy, and I tried to stick around for as long as possible watching him, before the surge took me away.

Guinea fowl moray eel on Caves & Overhangs
Guinea fowl moray eel on Caves & Overhangs

My photos from this dive are uniformly terrible – I took several of my eel, and only the one above was vaguely clear. The one shining light however was this picture of what Tony calls the Colgate nudibranch – Chromodoris hamiltoni – who was an obligingly stationary photographic subject. As I recall, I also managed to find something inanimate to hold onto while I took the picture.

Chromodoris hamiltoni
Chromodoris hamiltoni posing on a rock

This dive was far easier and more relaxed for me than the first one. I was wearing a dorky little swimcap (thanks Tami!) which made the rest of the group want to disown me, but which controlled the free flowing hair that had made the first dive tricky, and I was more willing to let the surge move me around.

I hadn’t quite got the knack of pressing the camera shutter button in between surges, but even if I didn’t manage to get pretty pictures of everything, I saw some wonderful parrotfish, unicorn fish, goldies, more than one nudibranch, colourful little wrasses, and an anemone fish rubbing himself all over the largest anemone I have EVER seen. I also saw a host of different kinds of butterflyfish and angelfish, a nice little yellow puffer fish, Moorish idols (wow!), and a tiny little domino who I stalked until he emerged for a photo.

Brain coral
I love love love brain coral!

Dive date: 8 October 2010

Air temperature: 23 degrees

Water temperature: 22 degrees

Maximum depth: 15.3 metres

Visibility: 12 metres

Dive duration: 58 minutes

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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