Day two on Taka was a day of “firsts”. On this day we saw our first pygmy seahorse, and our first minke whale.
The first dive of the day was at the famous Cod Hole. We have dived this site about 8 times over the past 10 years and every time it has been magical, crystal clear water, beautiful corals, bright white sand, lots of potato cod, grey reef and white tip sharks as well as the smaller fishes. Sadly, the Cod Hole was damaged by Cyclone Ita, which hit the area in early April this year. The dive site looked more like a gravel pit than a coral reef, but there are signs of new life and coral growth even now, and you can still witness the famous cod feed, although there are not as many potato cod as in previous years.
We were told there were pygmy sea horses at the Cod Hole and we were keen to find them. We had previously only seen photos so we decided not to hang around for the cod feed. Armed with detailed instructions we headed down to 35 metres, the opposite direction to all the other divers. Phil went straight to the sea fan that we were told the pygmy sea horses live on and he immediately started taking photos. I could not see what he was photographing, I kept nudging him and gesturing “what do you see” but he just kept photographing. Finally I saw them, I could not have imagined that they could be so tiny.
These sea horses are smaller than the nail on my pinky finger.
We did also spend some time at shallower depths taking photos.
The Minke Whales
Soon after leaving the Cod Hole the boat encountered Minke Whales while motoring between dive sites. The skipper immediately cut the engines and two long lines were released from the side of the boat. These lines are for us to hang on to while hopefully the Whales come in to take a look at us, and they did! Phil and I were in the water with the whales for about an hour. I was so excited, I couldn’t think about how to take photos I was just holding up the camera, clicking and hoping for the best, most of the photos are bits and pieces, tails, fins and blue water. Phil actually grabbed my arm so he could remove the flash diffuser lense from the front of the camera.
We counted 8 whales in our vision at one time. There were approximately 20 whales swimming around us during this encounter.
Here are some photos. But really, you just have to be there.