It’s been a gorgeous day here at the Three Kings, and the conditions have been perfect for diving – calm and sunny. We’d already been for two dives on the north side of Archway Island in the Princes groups before lunchtime, and everyone has been out on the back deck all afternoon sorting out all the samples they collected on the dives.
When we jumped into the water for our first dive we were all amazed by the clear water, and the vast forest of Johnson’s sargassum that covers everything. It is a soft looking seaweed that sways beautifully back and forth in the current. Wendy says some people call it ‘totara weed’ because it reminds them of the foliage of a totara tree. The fish swimming next to the sargassum in the photo above are butterfly perch.
As you can see from the next photo these fish have a real personality!
It’s a real seaweed bonanza down there! Malcolm took this photo of a typical patch under the Sargassum, and when I asked Wendy how many different kinds of seaweed she could see in it she said ‘At least 12 – and probably more!’
The large strappy pink seaweed in the middle of the photo was described by Roberta. She called the genus Psiromenia, because its blotchy mottled pattern reminded her of the skin condition Psiriasis. Wendy and Roberta are lucky this seaweed actually has a name as many of the algae they are collecting are still waiting to be described and named.