Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another trip to Eilat

During the last two weeks I was working around the clock. Yael and Lior are in Boston, and Roy is away in the army, and so I didn't have many distractions.

I got an offer to go for quick visit to Eilat, and jumped on the opportunity, even though I was there just two weeks beforehand. Eilat was still very hot and full of people. But we still managed to dive and see some underwater life.

Surprisingly, the sights were very different than the ones of the previous visit. Partially it was because we dove at different locations, but partially also because of the dynamics of this live environment.

The new find of this trip are dresser crabs. These are crabs that camouflage themselves by sticking various objects they find on their outer shell. This is a very effective strategy as they can quickly adapt to new environment. I knew about the classic BBC movie showing how they do this, but didn't know we had them in the local reef.

During a night dive I noticed a piece of sponge moving in a rather directed way. Looking closer I noticed that it had legs. From that point it was clear that this was a crab. Next to it I found another one that decorated itself with a live tunicate. Sadly, the camera batteries were almost gone by this stage, so the pictures are not at the level I would want (I was still figuring out the lighting when it died on me :-(

What you are seeing is a crab (the legs are quite distinct) with a piece of sponge on top of it and a tunicate (the red object). If you can see where the head of the crab is, let me know, as I didn't manage to decipher that.

We run into a large number of glass fish - small translucent fish that aggregate near reefs of caves. Usually we could find such a school in one or two locations. But now there are schools in many locations, and they are larger than ones I have seen before. I guess this is due to a particular rich year where many offsprings made it to adulthood. 

The glassfish are shepherd by larger predatory fish that keep the school in place (and also feed on it slowly). 

We saw main octopi

a turtle

and various fish.

Finally, we revisited the wreck on the north short.