Nether Regions - Dutch Diving May 06

The plan was to go and see the cuttlefish spawning but (sadly) the water was behind schedule and we were too early but we had a great time doing our diving up in the tranquil waters of the Grevelingenmeer and exploring the pylons of the Zeelandbrug in the Oosterschelde. The trip by ferry took about the same time as going to the Farnes. Thanks to Caroline at De Kabbelaar for accomodating us.

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The weather was perfect. This is the haven at Scharendijke where we stayed at the De Kabbelaar dive centre who had a very easy self service air station.
The downside of dyke diving is the upside of the dyke wall...
A big shaggy mouse nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) rambling on a reefball
Lots of the prawns looked pretty pimped-up, prior to its next moult this one is covered in bryzoans
Plenty of anemones of course!
A butterfish chatting to an oyster
These are 'giant' hydroids, at least 10 times the size of the Oaten Pipe breeds (Tubularia indivisa) which we see a lot in the North sea... a favourite slug food
Hermit crab
A flabellina pedata doing an impression of the MGM lion... Grrrrr!
For the terminally interested I think this slug has its lungs on the side ,not its back, and you can see that here... I think.
A vivid burrowing anemone
After looking at a few of these we realised that most of them had resident arthropods we seemed to be feeding on the food that the hydroids had caught. Its pretty small and looks like a translucent woodlouse
Dawn drifting gently back into the shore under the Zeelandbrug.
I don't know what this slug is but its looks a bit seahare-ish with its folded wings. I didn't see any try to swim off though.
At last some diving porn! Everyone knows that banacles have the largest willies relative to body size in the animal kingdom and here's one in action. The elegant fan in the upper right is one barnacle feeding whilst the thing approaching from the left is its neighbours todger... Get a reefball you two!
A roving photography supplies salesperson inspecting a reefball (yes it has got a christmas tree in it)
Not all the dives were clear but our diver in the Grevelingenmeer had decent vis.
A black goby seeing off intruders
Artifical concrete 'reefballs' had been placed on a lot of the sites to encourage the aggregation of wildlife on the relatively new dyke walls. They seem to have worked very well, I wonder why more sites over here haven't tried them?
This prawn took a shine to his reflection on the lens of my camera, maybe he was just checking he was free of bryzoans?
Rob Spray.