It was the first dive of the trip, and it started with very slight current and some fan corals. The highlight of the dive came towards the end, when we reached the wreck in very shallow waters. There were sweetlips and a nearby school of jacks, which promptly went towards the wreck, making for some very nice pictures. Other people on our group saw four stingrays and lot of baby grey reef sharks—about 10, they said. Maybe they were lying . . .
Dive 2, 10:30 am, Wall Street
Blasted ghost net suffocating the reefs
Visibility was not so good, and the current kept going back and forth. Highlight of the dive was a big ghost net wrapped around the reef beside a big barrel sponge. Two tunas passed us by, and a school of Emperor snappers swam with the current below us for quite some time. Lots of anthias around the top of the reef.
Dive 3, 4:15 pm, South Park
It was nearing dusk, and the bad visibility suddenly turned enchanting, creating a nice, filtering effect with the rays of the sun. There was much reef damage, but with the nice light, the reef became photogenic, and we shot it against the late afternoon sun.
First crown-of-thorn starfish sighting
Some nice fan corals, and one hosted a crown of thorn starfish. The other group saw lots of them; Aussie boat manager Wayne counted more than a hundred throughout the dive. I picked up two rice sacks that were smothering the reef, and Yogi photographed them floating in the blue – very surreal – like, what animal is that?!
Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.