This is my first blog and I couldn’t ask for a better story to begin with. I have to start out with telling you about the best two days diving I have had in a long time on the Great Barrier Reef at one of the best known reefs in Cairns, Hastings reef, with one of the best dive boats in Cairns, Passions of Paradise.

I have done over 175 trips with Passions over the past few years and travelling with them always feels like coming home. The crew go above and beyond to make your day special, despite being part of the furniture after so many trips! I am very lucky to have a solo diving ticket which allows me to go diving on my own and so can spend the entire dive looking for one particular thing if that’s what I choose. One of the best tips for a macro photographer is to go slow, something that is particularly easy when you’re on your own.

Now it’s not often that you find two rare fish on the reef in two days, especially ones that people most often just swim straight past as they are too small to notice, but that’s exactly what happened.

I have been diving at Hastings for many years now and in the last few weeks, found an area of the reef where my gut told me to keep returning to. It was the perfect spot for something special. On the 16th April, my patience paid off and sitting at 12 meters, was a hairy ghost pipefish (Solenostomidea paradoxus) only 4cm long. Well camouflaged on the sand as a piece of seaweed, this was the first one that I have seen in two years. I spent the dive with this little guy taking his picture and just watching him dance and feed, the whole time feeling very privileged.

The next day, less than 200 meters away at the adjacent dive site, I found another ghost pipefish, this time a harlequin one (Solenostomus paradoxus)! This little critter is see through so incredibly hard to get a picture of. That certainly didn’t stop me from trying though and I spent a lot of time with him getting that perfect shot. To find two of these guys back to back is like winning the lottery for a macro photographer and so I feel very lucky.

I’d like to say a very special thanks to Passions of Paradise and the crew. Captain Craig and his crew always make it a day to remember with fantastic service where nothing is too much trouble, and serve brilliant, freshly cooked food right when you need it. I have been out on many different dive boats from Cairns over the years and by far, Passions is one of the best. As an underwater photographer, it really helps that they have the rights to go to many different reefs in the Cairns area and have a huge number of sites for diving and snorkelling to see all the beautiful life the reef has to offer. It is by far the best day out on the Great Barrier Reef.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, look out for the next one.