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Romance under the Ocean (Watch Video)

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It’s not often that we have a chance to watch a romantic courtship while we’re diving. I was lucky enough to be there to watch and film the whole thing.

If you dive a lot you become attuned to the way fish behave, and the way you expect them to behave. When Kingfish appear chasing a fusilier bait ball, all the small reef fish dive for cover. When morays and lyretails are out hunting some of the opportunistic feeders join the hunt, and on one occasion when they caught and killed a large prey I watched as the entire reef was pulsating with hungry predators, including white tip reef sharks.

But when this romantic courtship began, the reef dwellers behaved as though they were at a wedding.

We all get excited when we see an octopus, and normally they duck back into their holes and hide. Getting close is not easy. They are preyed upon by most reef dweller and pelagics, so their lives are fraught with hazard.

Imagine my astonishment when I came upon a huge fellow on the sand in broad daylight, cuddling up to a Yellow Edged Lyretail. The Lyretail preys on octopus, so this alone was surprising. But he was well away from the reef, so he was almost asking for trouble. Usually they assume the protective colouration of the corals, and they never ever move away from their holes.

I began to film him.

It was 26 metres, so my bottom time on Nitrox was about 30 minutes, and I am not a heavy breather so I was able to watch enchanted while this fascinating courtship evolved.

The octopus lives for up to 2 years depending on sea conditions, and this one was huge. When the second one appeared, I realized that they were going to mate.

The male prepares a sac, which he attaches to his extended tentacle. This tentacle seems to appear only at mating time. The female indicates her readiness by becoming coy and elusive, rapidly changing colour and flashing her colours. The male passes over his tentacle and plants it. As soon as the sperm parcel is embedded in her ovarian sac she flares up and turns pure white. After the ceremony the female ducks into her hole and incubates the eggs.

I wished David Attenborough had been there to do the voice over, because this was a rare and special event. And the reef dwellers behaved like the guests at a wedding.

Diving doesn’t get better than this.


  • Words: Jill Holloway
  • Copyright: Ocean Spirit www.osdiving.com 2020
  • Images: Ocean Spirit

Jill Holloway lives in Mauritius and at Sodwana Bay Isimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa. A PADI qualified Nitrox diver with over 1,500 dives, she is a passionate observer and preserver of the marine environment, and has a database of over 35,000 fish pics and hundreds of Gopro videos on fish behaviour, which she shares with her readers.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition.The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Louis’ film – Uncovering Cornwall’s Little Known Oceans – can be seen here:

Third in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Chloe Hurst, overall winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Chloe Hurst, winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition.The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Chloe’s film – Waves of Change – can be seen here:

Second in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

Continue Reading

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