Lady Musgrave Island
The bommie had a couple of large swim throughs that are always fun, one filled with thousands of baby fish, translucent, and strangely not frightened by our approach (safety in numbers?). As you swam through the crack they would part in front of you and close in behind, so that everywhere you looked was thick with fish.
The bommie had a lot of large overhangs, most of them built by large sponges. They looked like cereal bowls glued upside down all around the bottom. The overhangs stopped about 2 feet from the sand, and under each lurked a small group of large sweetlips, cod, coral trout, or snapper.
Further around the other side was another of those huge Hump-headed Maori wrasse that were beginning to become the signature fish of this trip.
This was a delightfully diverse dive. Lots of large and small fish, coral, sponges, sand, and colour. Jason and I decided to get a closer look at the coral wall that forms the lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island. This would entail leaving the anchor at about 10 - 12 metres and making a long swim on a compass bearing towards the shallow coral.
It was well worth the effort, as the diversity and colour of the coral life on the edge of the lagoon was some of the best on the trip. There were large plate corals, thick and thin staghorn corals in all sorts of colours. Every colour was represented - yellows, red, greens, blue and interestingly it at the shallower depths, mixtures of colours on corals. For example, yellow staghorn coral with blue and purple tips.
Fish life nearer the shallow coral was understandably smaller, but more diverse. All sorts of small fish, and juvenile fish of larger species were using the coral as a safe haven. They'd quickly move deeper into the safety of the coral as we approached - however, quite hovering nearby would soon see them cautiously re-emerge.
At 100 bar we turned to head back to the boat. The long swim back, with the addition of a little extra distance from our exploring of the reef used up all of my air, and I had to share air with Jason for the last bit of the swim back.
A lot of people specifically want to see just the fish on the reef, and miss out of the coral. I'm glad we took the opportunity to go shallower and have a look at the coral specifically. Overall a great dive.