Dive Site: Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef – Fish life

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Site Overview

Site Type: Fish and fauna generally
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 12MBottom: 20M
Location: Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef is about 50kms north of the Whitsundays conveniently accessible via ReefWorld owned by Cruise Whitsundays

Description

Five dives on Hardy Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef, were undertaken on two consecutive days in spring during a ReefSleep overnight stay on ReefWorld owned by Cruise Whitsundays. Rather than document what we saw on any particular dive, it seems more useful to illustrate the large variety of corals, fish, nudis and other miscellaneous critters by type, so this 100m stretch of reef is covered in four parts: Hardy Reef Nudis, Hardy Reef Coral, Hardy Reef Seastars & other critters, and Hardy Reef Fish. So take your time and read them all. This one is illustrates the great variety Fish at Hardy Reef.

It’s also hard to work out which order to present them in, as each encounter is completely random. Let’s start with the pretty and obvious ones, like the defensive Damsel who is a match for any diver (or so she thinks).

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

There are always Anemonefish, and this one is a Pink.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

A Long beaked Coralfish with leather coral.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And a Gold-barred coralfish with a shorter snout.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

The very colourful and very common, Saddled butterflyfish

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And the not so colourful, or common, Black butterflyfish (Chaetodon flavirostris)

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Even rarer, for me anyway, the Yellow finned angelfish

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Whereas the Six banded angelfish (getting a clean) are ten a penny!

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

This rather ordinary looking guy is a Pearly monocle bream

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

This tiny blenny is no more than 25mm high, and in none of the books in my possession, so I don’t know what kind.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Conversely, that most common of reef lizard fish – the Reef Lizardfish!

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And here’s a rare find: the Signal Goby (Signigobius biocellatus), sometimes called the Crab-eye Goby.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Another little chap you don’t see too often, the Cryptic or Sneaky wrasse.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Looks at first sight like an ornate or dwarf hawkfish, but apparently the 10 dorsal fin spines are a dead giveaway (yeah I counted them!)

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Another fish you don’t see too often, the Southern Tubelip Wrasse – look at his chops!

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And one you do, though not usually from this angle – Crescent wrasse.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Also from the front, the Slingjaw wrasse. This guy can shoot out his lower jaw a few centimetres to consume anything that gets too close.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Another colourful favourite of mine, the Harlequin Tuskfish. He plays havoc with Photoshop. The red always comes out an unnaturally bright scarlet with my dive light, and even when I’ve toned him down, it still looks like I’ve over done the saturation and hue.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Moving on to the grouper, the obvious place to start is the Honeycomb grouper

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Next is the Camouflaged Grouper,

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And this one, which is a Grouper with orange spots – but not the ‘Orange Spotted Grouper’ which is found closer to estuaries, not reefs, and looks completely different.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Next up the Starry grouper

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And this one, ‘spotted’ on a night dive, which I thought might be a Cryptic crevice dweller – but no just another starry grouper.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

How do you tell the difference between the spotted and the starry? Well, the Spotted Coral Grouper has a blue ring around eye.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Finally, the Black tipped grouper, clearly showing the black tip of his dorsal fin. Normally, he looks quite glum, and depending on the light, has distinct red and white bands, or not.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

The Sweetlip emperor is identifiable by the red markings,

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Whereas the Spangled Emperor is identifiable by his spangles*.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Everyone loves the Titan triggerfish – especially when he’s re-arranging the reef – as everyone gets a feed. It’s true, the female will charge divers, but only when protecting her nest in the sand. She patrols an (inverted) cone above the nest – so just stay out of that area. And if she gives chase, swim horizontally away, not up and away!

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

There were a large number of Yellow fin surgeon, they tended to patrol the waters directly under the pontoon.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

And last, and unfortunately, not least, the Lionfish.

The many different fish and other marine life you’ll see snorkelling or diving at Hardy Reef Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

* That was a poor attempt at a joke.