The crystal clear waters surrounding North Solitary Island are thought to be home to the highest concentration of anemones in the world.
In particular Anemone Bay and its surrounding area is renowned in scuba circles as a fantastic diving spot. Here the density of anemones can be up to 60 per square metre, creating a shimmering and colourful carpet covering the reef. And that’s not all; the anemones attract thousands of symbiotic anemone fish (think Nemo’s clownfish), which means nowhere else in the world will you be able to swim with such a vast number of these cute darlings of the big screen. A huge treat, especially for the kids.
There are around 1000 species of anemone in the world, but it’s thought only ten provide a habitat for anemone fish – and two occur at North Solitary Island. The Bubble tip and Leather anemone, which together can occur in nine different colours, are the most common.
Besides the thousands of clowning anemone fish, there are plenty of other creatures to admire, including sharks, turtles, rays and cleanerfish with their attendant “cleaning stations” (fish actually line up to get cleaned by this particular fish). All in all, a truly unique and must-see corner of the underwater world.
Where // Anemone Bay, part of North Solitary Island, is around 40km northeast of Coffs Harbour on Coffs Coast, NSW. www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/simp.html
Did you know? // Clownfish, despite their cute Nemo-inspired public image, are aggressive little fellows that aren’t afraid to repeatedly attack divers in order to protect their territory. Luckily they’re so small you barely notice it.
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