Feb

26

Date: 26th February 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: I’d heard rumours that lots of Seahorses where being seen around Rye Pier. So i took the boat over in an attempt to get a few seahorse shots. The Pot-bellied Seahorse is that awkward size that is too big for a 60mm macro and too small to make shooting with a the tokina 10-17mm easy. So i decided to chuck a teleconveter on the tokina to make it a bit easier to light. This proved to be a pretty good combo and i could shoot lareg nudibranchs, the seahorses and even a large smooth ray. Other critters around where mosiac leatherjackets, hermit crabs and a squadron of calamari squid.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm + 2X, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jun

10

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 6m

Details: I headed over again to Rye to see the Spider crab aggregation that was underway. There was much more moulting activity this time around and vis was much better than last visit. Its amazing to see the crabs pulling their way out of their old shells and appearing, seemingly double the size of the shell they left behind.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jun

8

Conditions:

Visibilty: 5m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 6m

Details: Word was out that the Spider crabs had started arriving at Rye Pier again this year for their annual moult session. Not able to resist, i headed over late in the day and spent about 40 minutes looking for them with no luck. Only a couple of shells lay around so i was wondering if i was misled. I headed out to Elsa’s reef to check out the artificial reef. I started getting cold and low on air and headed back to the pier. As i arrived back under the pylons…here marched the army. Thousands of Spider Crabs marched into the area from the north. Damn…at the point of hyperthermia i had to battle through get some pics of the event.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jun

10

Dive Number: 315 10/06/12 14.20, Rye Pier

Wind: ???

Tide: ???

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: 12.2c

Bottom Time: 76minutes

Max Depth: 5.4m

Air usage:

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: I made my second visit to the spidercrabs and it was a vastly different experience to the first and really put the puzzle peices together.

My first visit was when the aggregation was at its peak. Of the 10’s of thousands of spidercrabs present that day, i only spotted a few of decent size. The majority were small with a dark brown body, and these were the spidercrabs forming stacks on top of each other. Most spidercrabs on this day were fairly inactive and almost appeared to be resting or sleeping.

On my visit yesterday, numbers had decreased significantly, there were still some of these small, brown shelled crabs around, but the majority where large red/orange shelled crabs. These large crabs were very active, “marching” en-masse within the L-shaped confines of the pier with some climbing up the pylons and over the thousands of “brown-shelled” carapace’s littering the area under the pier.

It all started making sense when i saw one of these small-brown spider crabs actually going through the moulting process and seeing a newly formed red-shelled ‘adult’ spider crab about to emerge from the rear of the brown-shell.

It dawned on me that the intial aggregation were all pre-moult crabs that had come together to provide a ‘safety in numbers’ approach to sheding their old shell and emerging as a new ‘adult’ spidercrab. This process involved a period on non-activity where they were rendered immobile as they formed a new shell within the confines of thier old one, and then had to emerge from their old shell in a gelatenous, soft shelled form. All this makes an individual vunerable to predation, however, as a spider crab undergoing this process, you’re much safer if you can perfrom this process in the bottom layer of a stacked mass of spider crabs. The species as a whole has a much better chance of continuation if they can at least get a few thousand individuals safely through the moult process and into a hardened adult form. Of course, the crabs probably dont have such altruistic goals. Each individual wants to be in the centre of the bottom layer of the stack. In fact, its not the bottom layer of the stack that is the ultimate position, its the centre of the group…e.g. not on the outside flanks. This leads to stacking because all the crabs are climbing over each other trying to get into the centre. (or a positon that is away from the outside edges of the group.)

All the above is well documented and has been said before(and i’ve probably got some assumptions and terminolgies wrong), but to see these two distinct periods of the same event with my own eyes, has really made it all the more amazing, so i’d thought i’d share my experience.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , SS200 Strobes

Photos:

Jun

10

Dive Number: 314 10/06/12 14.20, Rye Pier

Wind: ???

Tide: ???

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: 12.2c

Bottom Time: 76minutes

Max Depth: 5.4m

Air usage:

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: I made my second visit to the spidercrabs and it was a vastly different experience to the first and really put the puzzle peices together.

My first visit was when the aggregation was at its peak. Of the 10’s of thousands of spidercrabs present that day, i only spotted a few of decent size. The majority were small with a dark brown body, and these were the spidercrabs forming stacks on top of each other. Most spidercrabs on this day were fairly inactive and almost appeared to be resting or sleeping.

On my visit yesterday, numbers had decreased significantly, there were still some of these small, brown shelled crabs around, but the majority where large red/orange shelled crabs. These large crabs were very active, “marching” en-masse within the L-shaped confines of the pier with some climbing up the pylons and over the thousands of “brown-shelled” carapace’s littering the area under the pier.

It all started making sense when i saw one of these small-brown spider crabs actually going through the moulting process and seeing a newly formed red-shelled ‘adult’ spider crab about to emerge from the rear of the brown-shell.

It dawned on me that the intial aggregation were all pre-moult crabs that had come together to provide a ‘safety in numbers’ approach to sheding their old shell and emerging as a new ‘adult’ spidercrab. This process involved a period on non-activity where they were rendered immobile as they formed a new shell within the confines of thier old one, and then had to emerge from their old shell in a gelatenous, soft shelled form. All this makes an individual vunerable to predation, however, as a spider crab undergoing this process, you’re much safer if you can perfrom this process in the bottom layer of a stacked mass of spider crabs. The species as a whole has a much better chance of continuation if they can at least get a few thousand individuals safely through the moult process and into a hardened adult form. Of course, the crabs probably dont have such altruistic goals. Each individual wants to be in the centre of the bottom layer of the stack. In fact, its not the bottom layer of the stack that is the ultimate position, its the centre of the group…e.g. not on the outside flanks. This leads to stacking because all the crabs are climbing over each other trying to get into the centre. (or a positon that is away from the outside edges of the group.)

All the above is well documented and has been said before(and i’ve probably got some assumptions and terminolgies wrong), but to see these two distinct periods of the same event with my own eyes, has really made it all the more amazing, so i’d thought i’d share my experience.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , SS200 Strobes

Photos:

May

19

Dive Number: 310 19/05/12 11.57, Spider Crabs at Rye Pier

Wind: ???

Tide: ???

Conditions: Rainy

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: 14.0c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 6.5m

Air usage:

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: Word was out that a spider crab aggregation was happening at Rye Pier, so me and Chris jumped in the boat and headed over. It was a cold, wet day and vis was pretty bad, but an amazing event to witness. The numbers were incredible…well into the thousdands. They were doing thier “stacks-on” behaviour, and forming pyramids of crabs. Alan and Mary showed up with Rani and Shannon, so i snapped a few shots of them photographing and playing with the crabs. On the way back, i just had to try an underover rainbow shot.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , SS200 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

28

Dive Number: 265 28/01/12 ???, Rye Pier

Wind: ???

Tide: ???

Conditions:

Visibilty: 15m

Water Temp: ???c

Bottom Time: ???minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Air usage: 170bar/2500psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: After diving Blairgowrie i thought i’d give Rye a look. There were boats and jetskii’s everywhere and the beach was lined with people like a mediterranian resort. It was fairly quiet underwater though. A seal was a nice suprise and it suprised the hell out of a few snorkellers and swimmers that were on the surface.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , SS400/SS200 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

14

Dive Number: 87 30/09/2010 21.44  Rye Pier

Wind: 10 knot NW.

Tide:   0.24 low tide at the heads

Conditions:  Dead still night…

Bottom Type:  Sand bottom

Visibilty: 5+m

Water Temp: 14c

Bottom Time: 102 minutes

Max Depth: 5.0m

Air usage: 200bar/2700psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  I caught up with Jim and Guy who were diving Rye that night. Turned into a sensational dive with lots of critters around, and a port jackson shark even put in an appearance.

Camera Details: Sigma 17-70mm , single SS200 strobe.

Dive Report: