Life Is Good. Especially In The Dark. And Underwater.

1. I went night diving yesterday evening and Oh. My. God. It was marvellous. Wonderful. Splendid. Fantastic. Generally Jolly Good.

Its amazing how much breathing through a hose in the pitch black focuses the mind.

And it is beautiful down there at night. Really, quite indescribably lovely.

Peaceful – with only the sounds of your own bubbles and with every movement made in graceful slow motion, trailing phosphorescence.

So, what did I see in the sweeping beam of my underwater torch? Crested horn sharks, wobbegong (or carpet) sharks, yellowtail barracuda, red morwong, octopus, cuttlefish, cardinalfish, bullseyes and even some anemones with their bright red tentacles out.

I didn’t have my camera, but here are some other photos* of the creatures mentioned above, since they are, I expect, none of them immediately recognisable to non-Sydney divers.

So, above is the crested horn shark…

this chap is the spotted wobbegong or carpet shark… for obvious reasons…

Barracuda are recognisable anywhere with that underslung jawline…

Octopus, however, are masters of disguise and are almost as unexpected as the Spanish Inquisition…

Cuttlefish are my favourites. Any creature which can change the colour of its own body and flash lights along its sides, not to mention having an expression like that, earns my respect…

And those guys are the red morwong, who look to me as though a child painted them, which makes me smile. No mean feat when you have a regulator clamped between your jaws, believe me.

So, night-diving: if there is a better way to spend Thursday evenings, I don’t know what it is.

2. This afternoon I have been ‘storyboarding’ (i.e. drawing up concepts for) a new children’s book about Leonardo da Vinci. If there is a better way to spend a Friday afternoon, I don’t know what it is.

3. Tomorrow I will be baby sitting for 4-month old Hugo in Balmain, which is one of Sydney’s more relaxed and artsy quarters, accessible by ferry from my house. If there is a better way to spend a Saturday, I don’t know what it is.


*Obviously, those photos were all taken during the day, but you get the idea…

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15 Responses to Life Is Good. Especially In The Dark. And Underwater.

  1. modestypress says:

    I will never visit Australia in the flesh. I will never dive underneath the surface of the sea with a tank. I appreciate your sharing your journey with description and photographs.

  2. Wow. I love the “carpet shark,” though I think he could just as easily be called a 1970s Linoleum Shark, and/or a “Questionable Upholstery” shark.

  3. modestypress says:

    All on sale this week at Walmart.

  4. sledpress says:

    I like octopus myself. They’re smart. If I ever wrote children’s books, I might write one about the adventures of an octopus.

  5. robodad says:

    All of those animals look so delicious.

    Also, we here in the rest of the world have been taught, since the age of 3 months (post-conception), that Australia and its oceans are death traps, what with all the jellyfishies and sharks and crocs.

    Here read this: Are you having a panic attack now? Welcome.

    Maybe you guys need some serious urban development to, uh, “take care” of some of that dangerous wildlife (if you know what I mean).

  6. woo says:

    Mr Random – my pleasure. You get to see and hear about all the cool stuff but don’t have to spend half an hour rinsing sand out of every orifice… 😉

    David – now, you see, comments like that are precisely the kind of thing which will make me giggle underwater next time I see a wobbegong. If my dive buddy goes into ‘Rescue Diver’ mode, thinking I’m choking, I shall blame you.

    Sledpress – yes, they are smart. Far too smart to be remotely bothered by scuba divers. Their attitude is like “Oh yes, more rubbery heavy-breathers, greetings. Normally I’d stop to chat, but I’m afraid I’m actually terribly busy here so, if you wouldn’t mind moving on, only you’re putting the locals off. That’s it, yes. Much obliged.”

    Robodad – one of our ‘amusing’ customs here in the office is to give a pack of playing cards to our foreign guests which show all the deadly Aussie creatures which will kill you as soon as look at you. Oh, how we laugh! I’ve been here 2 and a half years, though, and I’ve yet to see anything deadlier than a prawn sandwich which has been out in the sun too long.

    And, at the risk of starting a troll nightmare, I have to say I think Steve Irwin got what was coming to him. Wildlife is not there for us to grab and manhandle – even if its ostensibly done in the name of ‘conservation’.

  7. robodad says:

    Ooooh look… a Stingray! One of nature’s most groiceful creachas. Oim ‘onna stick me thumb up ‘is butthole.

  8. doctordi says:

    That’s a very sweet few days, Woo. That cuttlefish is so cool, kind of like a Womble/Muppet/Woolly Mammoth…Where did you go diving, exactly? Because it sounds like a very happening nocturnal neighbourhood!

  9. zeusiswatching says:

    Sharks are fascinating. I think the carpet shark could also be called the sports jacket shark or maybe the car seat shark.

  10. woo says:

    Robodad – I’ve never been more glad that I haven’t picked up the Australian accent 😉

    Doctordi – you described the cuttlefish exactly! And the dive was just in Manly at Cabbage Tree Reserve, off Shelly Beach.

    Zeusiswatching – ‘sports jacket shark’ *chortle*

    Az – 🙂

  11. OmbudsBen says:

    Re cuttlefish: oh, yes. I saw a brilliant public television special on cephalapod intelligence, featuring octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish, and they were amazing. That we can’t converse with them is such a damn shame–but isn’t it a lovely thought to think it might happen, some day?

  12. woo says:

    Ombudsben – yes, I would love that! Although I think they’d pretty swiftly sto bothering with us, as inferior intellects…

  13. OmbudsBen says:

    Think neon, woo. Neon. I’ll bet if we gave a cuttlefish a good shot of Las Vegas neon in its prime, they’d love to chatter away with us. Maybe even play some pinball.

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