Monday, 27 June 2011

Cueva del Diablo (The Devil's Cave) Mallorca

The Devil's Cave dive profile.

There are two large chambers within the Devil's Cave.  The first at the entrance was completely submerged whereas the second was filled with air and accessible through a tunnel running vertically to the surface.

The second chamber was impressive.  There were numerous remains of candles which would have made the cave even more spectacular, however, the effect of our torches also offered its own alluring experience.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Skylight Cave, Mallorca

The Skylight Cave was one of my favourite dive sites.

With the opening directly above the cave system almost the whole cave was illuminated.  On entering the cave, divers proceed to the middle of the cave below the skylight.  The area on the far left of the diagram was unlit and required the use of torches.  The group could then swim up at the back of the cave and surface in the top left corner.  It is possible to stand in this area but with great care, many plants and organisms lived in this area and it would be a shame to recklessly crush them.  The group could then swim back towards the skylight and swim down to the lower level.

 
 A conger eel was regularly found in a crevice at the back of the Skylight Cave.

 Part of the dive included showing the other divers the conger, if he was at home.


Friday, 10 June 2011

Entering el Cueva del Diablo

The Devil's Cave was known as one of the best dive sites so all the divers were excited and anxious to enter and explore the cave.  The conditions that day were favourable and the divers in the group all had enough experience and no hesitations regarding diving in caves.  I can just be seen at the far back of the group in the video.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Cratena peregrina in Mallorca



 



Sarpa Salpa - Cow Bream

Close up of Cow Bream seen in Cyprus

 Sarpa Salpa is a species of bream clearly recognizable by the golden stripes which run down the length of its body.  They stay in groups and graze on sea grass.  They are particularly wary of divers and don't tend to allow close proximity.


 



Sea Cucumber


This sea cucumber defends itself by expelling their sticky cuvierian tubules to entangle potential predators. When touched or startled, these cucumbers can expel them through a tear in the wall of the cloaca (cakey button) in a process known as evisceration.  Replacement tubules grow back in one-and-a-half to five weeks, depending on the species. 


On finding such a Sea Cucumber it can be an extremely interesting sight.  You have to be careful not to get the tubules entangled on your equipment or you'll spend the rest of the dive picking off the substance which is very much like a spray of chewing gum.


The tubules are surprisingly strong and if you intertwine some into a strand you find that it is extremely strong.

The release of these tubules can also be accompanied by the discharge of a toxic chemical known as holothurin, which has similar properties to soap.  This chemical can kill any animal in the vicinity and is one more way in which these sedentary animals can defend themselves.


For more information, pictures and videos on evisceration visit the Echinoblog by ChrisM.

Watch this video for some humourously told facts about sea cucumbers:


Moray Eel


The Cathedral and Three Caves, Mallorca

This was another of my favourite dive sites.
Confident divers could enter the cave on the right which descended down towards the left.
At the back of this cave, sometimes hidden by dead sea grass, was a little tunnel.
Entering this tunnel with lamps the group exited from the second cave.

 The exit of the big cave (second from the right in the diagram)

Entering the middle cave 

Lights out

 
The Cathedral

Friday, 3 June 2011

Octopus


I remember when I first started out as a dive guide and being told that a particular dive site was great for spotting octopus.  After a while I began to get better at making dives more enjoyable by pointing out interesting things to see.  One thing to keep an eye out for are holes and crevices with rocks and boulders piled up at the entrance.  This often indicates that there is an octopus (or two) resident.  If the octopus wasn't disturbed too much he could generally be expected to be found in the same place on the next dive.

 

When threatened  an octopus's main defence is to hide.  They retreat into the space using their tentacles to pull back the rocks and protect itself.  They really are intelligent and you can almost sense their bewilderment in their eyes as you admire their home.  The most common secondary defence is to escape fast.  Other defence strategies I have seen includes squirting their ink and camouflaging. 

Be careful not disturb the Octopus too much or you might have your camera stolen.

Lobster

The Big Cheese, Mallorca

The Big Cheese dive site profile









The Big Cheese is near the port of Cala Ratjada.  It's a big rock that rises from the water and is riddled with holes giving it its name.  This was without doubt the best dive site in the area for spotting sea life: octopus, barracudas, lobster, nudibranchs, moray eel sightings are guaranteed. 


Moray Eel
Mediterranean Slipper Lobster
Pair of Mediterranean Slipper Lobsters
Barracuda in the distance




Video produced and edited by Michael

Cuttlefish




I love watching cuttlefish,
You can find them hiding under the sand, however it can be difficult to see them.
Their change of skin colour is incredible, very much like an LCD screen.


Going..
Going..

Gone!