The Hunt for the Yellow Goosefish

Let’s get this out of the way first. This is a yellow goosefish, and i’ve never seen one. It’d be great to tell you that i had, but i shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Went diving on short-notice. Just me an the guide, who turned up with a hangover and looking a little worse for wear. He did however have a glint in his eye – something was afoot!

When it’s just the two of us we usually head off for a nice long surface swim, and then down to the second point (二の根) to check out the nudibranchs. Today we were going a little further out towards the fifth point, looking for a reportedly meter long キアンコウ (anglerfish, yellow goosefish), that had been spotted over the weekend, in about 40m of water.

Seeing as it was now tuesday, and said beastie was last seen moving, i didn’t really fancy our chances. Even thought the visibility was good (20 – 30m), trying to find anything that is the same colour as the sand, on a plain that drops off out of sight is never going to be easy.

And, it wasn’t! On the far side of the second point the sands really open up out to the fifth point, and it’s all super deep. My feeling was that even if we did find this thing it was going to be way to far down to get to… in the end it didn’t matter, by the time we’d blown through out bottom time (and had a few false alarms) it was clear that it wasn’t going to happen.

Back at the beach, with several hours to mull over our defeat it became obvious that the only thing to do was go back and try again! Extended silences were punctuated with exclamations of determination to have another crack. It doesn’t help when some of the other regular guides are there with pictures, and encouraging advice about where to look…

Deciding that we’d go back, see some of the other sights, and not stress about finding the anglerfish. That way we reasoned we were bound to get lucky. Needless to say, we didn’t.

Trying to get more time to explore, the second surface swim was longer than the first… which had been plenty long enough. By the time we were practically over the second point a nice long nap seemed like a good idea. Instead down we went, swam right along the top of the point, and down to about 35m where a thorny seahorse (イバラダツ) was hiding… i say hiding, but it was actually in plain site, i just couldn’t find it! Somehow my guide managed to take a picture of it without me noticing. I blame it on the lack of nap. We then swam over the sands towards the fifth point, where another guide pointed out a warty frogfish. Unfortunately this was also down close to 40m, so it was then time to get up a little and head back to the beach.

Two 45 minute dives at some silly depths, hunting for weird and wonderful undersea creatures. Great days diving. I’m really going to miss these monthly dives! Don’t suppose i’ll ever get to see a yellow goosefish, but it was a lot of fun trying.

Oh, and as an aside, i’ve managed to cure my problem with the cold (it was 14 – 15ºC at depth) by buying an undershirt made from merino wool. Quite amazing how much of a difference it makes. They always say that you shouldn’t wear cotton next to your skin if you’re trying to stay warm, and i can really see why.

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Wise words...

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