Pages

2012-01-26

A few more Tanzanian Piscines

 I took a couple of days field break in the nearby town of Mtwara, sans internet, and managed to get a dive in at the "Monoliths" site and the "Fish Market" site near the town.

Dive equipment, camera and buddy were from Graeme Marrs at ECO2 dive centre in the former slave port of Mikidani, a couple of km along the coast from Mtwara.

The two dive sites differ markedly. The Monoliths are pinnacles rising to about 10m below sea level from a harbour bottom at [considerably greater depth - you're not going there without a squeaky voice], and giving a good reef-ish or wall-ish dive requiring a boat.
(As always, the photos below are considerably reduced from the originals.)
The usual suspects were visible. Moorish Idols were strutting their stuff all over the place, then showing off their thinness the moment you press the shutter :
Moorish Idol on the Monoliths
They can be a bit of a tease, because they're reasonably unconcerned by photographers coming up on them, but they dart around a lot, often disappearing because they're so thin laterally.
Meyers Butterflyfish
This one is considerably less common than the Moorish Idol, and moves away more rapidly. It's also very laterally compressed, showing the almost disc-shaped form of the typical Butterflyfish. Very pretty.

 The Tanzanian relaxed attitude to ... well, everything ... is obvious in some of the fishes too (this one on the Monoliths) :
Siesta time

The Monoliths was a fun dive, but having quite a bit of swash (we'd got 1-2m of swell on surface), we were getting bounced around quite a bit, which makes photography a bit awkward. Then we moved on to the Fish Market, in the harbour area of the town. This is a "muck dive" - a muddy bottom giving way to the south to patch reefs. Lots of life in the mud, but also lots of debris from the (literal) Fish Market onshore. This site can be done as a shore dive too, without requiring excessive (and most un-Tanzanian) levels of  masochism, unlike the Monoliths, which would be severely hard work, even given good navigation.
A lot of the life hides down in burrows or under logs.
Shrimp ( Rhynhocinetes durbanensis ? approximately) on the underside of a log ; catfish under the log itself.

The common anemone fish are present on the more reefy bits, including this couple who are not interested in having any photos taken of their homes.
See you! Nemo!
 They really are territorial, and that makes them easy to photograph. So people do.

Platyhelminth - a.k.a. flatworm. colourful, so probably horribly poisonous.
Towards the south end of the Fish Market site coral heads become more common, with more vertebrate life.
Peekaboo !
Or maybe it was looking for a place for a nice kip? It was very definitely siesta time by then.

Sites : 10 Degrees South (and ECO2 dive centre ; adjacent)

View Larger Map
Monoliths (approximate ; don't try navigating off this) :


View Larger Map
And finally, the Fish Market :

View Larger Map
This is also called the Dhow Port, for fairly obvious reasons. The rotting remains of a tug boat are beached here, and the dive runs SSE from there.
All in all, a fun day in the water, and tyhanks and a plug again for Graham and ECO2 for organising the trip. And a Bajaji (Piagagia 3-wheel taxi ; a "tuk-tuk" in most of the rest of the world) back into town after a fine meal and +1m decompression stop.

No comments: