At a glance you could be excused for thinking this shot was taken on some exotic tropical reef. Certainly gorgonian corals often feature in deep tropical reef locations but they are just as at home here in our South Australian cold to temperate waters as in the tropics.
I first found gorgonian corals many years ago on one of Adelaide’s most popular and underrated dive sites, Port Noarlunga Reef. Now, every time I dive here I experience a little bit of nostalgia and a little bit of regret for those divers who will only ever know this location as a training dive site.
Port Noarlunga Reef is popular because at least half of Adelaide’s divers can get to it inside of 40mins, and underrated because most of them will never take the time to explore here properly. It takes about 10-15 dives to even get a feel for this interesting and highly accessible reef system. Add daylight/nighttime hours and seasons to that mix and this underrated location just keeps on delighting and surprising with its abundance and diversity of marine life.
This beautiful gorgonian coral off the south west corner of the reef in nearly 17m of water is just one of the reasons I keep coming back to dive here time after time.
Photo: Robert Rath, ‘Noarlunga Gorgonian’, 1/200s f/16 ISO640 16mm