Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday - Kingfish

Yellowtail Kingfish
Last week we saw Neds beach on Lord Howe Island and I mentioned the fish feeding held each afternoon. Some of the fish that visit are the Kingfish. Here are two milling around waiting for the feed. There's lots of information about the fish here at the Australian Museum website, and also a photo of one at Neds Beach where it is clear and stunning (not murky and green!).

On my first trip to LHI, I did a lot of snorkelling at Neds Beach between dives. Once I went out before the fish feeding and swam down the beach from the feeding zone. There were heaps of these big kingies milling around. I was in awe, snapping photos on my disposable underwater film camera (because this was a long time ago!). They were circling around me, heaps of them, it was the most stunning thing I'd ever seen. They came closer and closer and I was more an more in awe. And then they vanished and I was left with a shark swimming around me. Now most of the sharks are reef sharks, non-aggressive, but Neds Beach is open to the ocean so it could have been any type of shark and by now you know how useless my ID skills are! My heart in my throat, I snapped a couple of photos and then I backed up, keeping my eye on that shark, until I got to water I could stand in and I walked very quickly out of there!

One of the Admiralty Islands
What scared me most was that I was alone. Who would notice me gone? Would anyone see me eaten? How long would I be missing before my family found out how I'd gone? It was quite terrifying...not so much the shark, but the way my poor family would suffer.

Anyway, nothing happened and I got back in later to swim behind the fish feeding and there were more sharks, but also more people, so I felt safe (silly huh?).

The other photo is of one of the Admiralty Islands. They lie to the north of LHI and can be seen from Neds Beach, Malabar Hill and Kim's Lookout. There are 8 rocky outcrops in the group and are home to thousands of sea birds (sooty terns, noddies, masked boobies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, grey ternlets, white-bellied storm petrels, tropicbirds and little shearwaters). We dived out here once, when the weather was right, and it was stunning. The water so clear and blue, fish aplenty, and lots of corals. The girl I dived with (who worked for the dive company) was also collecting (and mapping) any crown-of-thorns starfish in the area.

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