Everyone was coming at 07:30, so we were up very early to get ready. Kosmos was a mess inside, since we have been more focused on the exterior than the interior since getting out of the yard. We ate a quick breakfast, did some tidying, and got our own tanks filled and our diving gear ready.
Everyone was on board and ready to go by 0800. There were 11 of us total — 4 snorkelers, the instructor and his two students, and another couple that would be diving with us.
Cod hole is 10 miles southeast of Lizard Island. We were happy to see there was a mooring available. The reason the spot is called Cod Hole is because gigantic potato cod live there. Steven, the instructor, gave us the low down about which way to go to see the best sights. He said the potato cod would be right under the boat when we jumped in.
We were worried about having enough space for gear and suiting up since our cockpit is small. It was a little bit crowded back there, but we suited up in shifts and it worked out just fine. Once we jumped in, we saw Steven wasn’t kidding. There were several enormous 4 plus feet cod directly below Kosmos. So was a giant napoleon wrasse, a school of diamond banded sweetlips and schools of unidentified silver fish and black fish. We have never seen this variety of sweetlips before. It is always fun to see new fish. We were able to get some shots with the snorkeling camera.
We went down and visited the potato cod for a bit. They are used to being fed by people and come right up to you. The couple we were diving with, Fern and Pete, petted them. From there we headed against the current to the reef. It is a wall dive. The reef is beautiful, with tons of things to look at. It is always frustrating that when we come up we can only remember a small fraction of the amazing things we saw down there.
There are so many kinds of coral, both hard and soft, in a rainbow of colors. Amongst what we saw we were able to identify snowflake coral, which looks kind of like white broccoli closed up, and when it opens the tips look like little snowflakes. We also identified daisy coral, which looks like green broccoli when closed and when it opens up the tips look like little flowers. There was a lot of fire coral, too. We saw some sea fans, which look red lace fans, kind of like the ones women are always fanning themselves with in movies like “Gone with the Wind”.
There are a huge variety of fish swimming around. We saw another school of those fish that swim in so tightly together that they look like one giant fish. There were lots of big eyed, red fish that could be soldierfish or squirrelfish and a few puffer fish, the ones that look like Chihuahuas. There were pipefish, parrotfish, triggerfish, blennys and lizardfish. There were beaked coralfish, which have a similar shape to beaked angel fish, but with vertical yellow and silver stripes, and threadfin butterfly fish, which have an interesting art deco looking striped pattern. There were a few giant clams. We saw a brittle starfish walking along. Brittle starfish are five fingered with black, fringy bodies, and when it walks it looks like a big hairy spider.
One of the snorkelers was viciously attacked by a large trigger fish. The fish rammed him full force twice and bit him so hard it drew blood. You could see the bite marks on his leg. He commented that if a triggerfish could hit that hard, one can’t even imagine what a shark is capable of.
After we were all out of the water we had a little birthday celebration for Nannette, one of the snorkelers aboard. Someone had made her a cake, and we all sang to her and enjoyed yummy cake. We hope we are like Nanette when we get older. She is very active and not afraid to try new things. She had just learned how to swim a few weeks ago, and was out snorkeling today! From there we headed to the next site, called No Name Reef just a mile from Cod Hole.
Eric filled all the tanks, then we suited up and hopped in. This was a nice wall dive, as well, with lots of colorful coral and fish. We saw a lot of the same things that we did at the last spot. The snorkelers took our camera with them and got some nice shots. The little blue guys are damsels, we think the black thing is a feather starfish, which looks like a brittle starfish but with a lot more fingers, another type of parrotfish, and the last one is a nice reef shot, with clownfish and a few types of coral. The big patch of coral to the left is fire coral.
On our dive we saw a lot of staghorn coral, which are the ones that look like thorny plants, in lots of colors. We learned the name of a coral we see all the time, which is sand colored and almost looks like a short haired wig with a part in the middle. It is called mushroom coral, which is completely different from mushroom leather coral. We saw elephant ear sponges, which are hard to describe. They are light gray and big. There was encrusting coral, which looks kind of like pieces of dark colored lettuce laid in a stack. We saw some more sea fans, giant clams, giant squirrelfish or soldierfish and brittle starfish. We saw lattice butterfly fish, which have a lattice design on their bodies. We saw lots of the striped sergeants. We also saw flowery cod, humbugs and forcepfish. And of course, we can only remember a fraction of what we saw!
After everyone was back on board, we headed back to the anchorage, arriving at sunset. And it was a nice sunset, indeed.