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Tuesday
Jan232018

Danananananananana…Batfish!

Diving at Bikini never disappoints, its’ by far one of the best dive sites I’ve had the pleasure of diving at. From the flatworms, to the lion fish, to seeing hundreds of fusiliers and unicorn fish swim past you, you never quite know what’s in store for you next.

On this particular dive, we descended, swam up and over the reef then down into the valley between the reefs to find our rod. The visibility was great and after laying out the transect, I found a baby lion fish hiding under some coral which is always a treat to witness. After being encased in a shoal of Barracuda, the survey was complete so me and my two buddies swam to the moor line to start our three-minute safety stop. As with any other three-minute safety stop, we swim around a little to discover any new part of the reef we haven’t seen before, a little to the right of the moor line lives a beautiful sweetlips beneath a tabular coral. Upon return to the moor line, we start our ascent.

In the distance I see something huge swimming towards me, I pause my ascent and wait to see what creature will surprise me from the deep blue. Sure enough, a fish I’d dreamed about seeing made an appearance, a huge adult batfish. Typical to the morphology I’d learned about in our fish families test over three months ago, I was mesmerised by its beauty. It was even more majestic than I’d imagined. It turned side on and glided through the water gracefully before turning and swimming away back towards where the sweetlips lives.

A moment or two later I see the Batfish return, only this time it returns with a buddy exactly the same size. Their playful demeanor is thrilling to witness, like two peas in a pod they seem made for each other. After watching them for a couple of minutes they swim off, I go to stop filming on my camera and realise I hadn’t started recording in the first place. Frustrated that I hadn’t caught on camera my first glimpse of two huge playful Batfish, I reluctantly returned to my ascent with my buddies.

I could tell we were all beaming from ear to ear, and sure enough as soon as we surfaced the first words we spoke were how amazing an experience we had just encountered together.

Until next time Bikini.

By Ruth Woolley - Fiji Marine Volunteer

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