|Site Type:||Scenic reef and macro|
|Depth:||Top: 5M Median: 12M Bottom: 16M|
|Location:||The Magic Island House Reef is due south of the steps of Magic Island, about 60m offshore and extends east and west by about 80m.|
Magic Island House Reef is where you are most likely to encounter the exotically coloured Mandarin fish for which this area is famous.
The house reef dive starts from the steps in front of the dive centre. Within about 20m offshore it’s deep enough to don fins and fin to the edge of the reef about another 60 m out to sea. The reef edge is distinct, but the slope is shallow and falls away gradually with lots of gullies between large coral clusters.
The first thing that will strike you is the quality of the coral: it is in great condition and clearly unaffected by local divers. There are lots of things to see of all different shapes and sizes and you could probably dive this site several times during a week’s stay.
The first encounter with the marine life was this little bristle tail filefish who was not at all bristling until I tried to take a photograph of him at which point he became fully bristling.
There are lots of little fish like the Split Band Cardinalfish,
and down towards the sand you will find shrimp gobies like this Randalls,
and Sharpnose Sandperch measuring your proximity and readying their escape.
Like some other sites nearby one of the sponges was covered this with small white sea cucumbers.
There are also large seacucumbers, this one with an interesting pattern.
The job of all the sea cucumbers is to filter water and substrate to keep it clean. Some divers are tempted to pick up these colourful creatures, though please don’t as it stresses them and inhibits their ability to perform their most useful marine function.
There are plenty of nudis dotted around,
and in common with many of the other sites there are plenty of sea stars from the big fat granulated seastar down to the Chocolate Chip Seastar,
also available in grey!