Snorkelling around Maenporth

A few days ago I headed down to the coast near Falmouth, with the hope of finding suitable conditions to head out snorkelling. The weather over the last few weeks has been a bit mixed, leading to fairly murky water for the most part, so to cycle up to Maenporth and find a flat calm sea and superb clear waters was great. I was in a bit of a rush to get in the sea, as I only made it down after a two o’clock lecture…the sun as already getting lower in the sky, so opportunities for photography was diminishing too!

Thankfully I was in the cool water within a short while, slipping out of the shallows and into the more biodiverse depths of the rocky coastline. I really enjoy snorkelling among the kelp forests and peering down to see what interesting sights appear from amongst the mass of waving algae. The water was much clearer once I had passed out of the surf zone, and exploring my way in and around the various rocky channels and hidden inlets revealed a wealth of wildlife to observe…

Spiny Starfish, ranging in colour from a deep blue to bright white with brown markings, were scattered amongst the rocks- if you watched them for a little while, you could see the very slowly making progress across the seafloor. Seaweeds of many different species were the hiding places of an interesting variety of fish, from the bulky Ballan Wrasse, the more colourful Corkwing Wrasse, and also a handful of bright green little fish, which I haven’t identified as yet. One of the fish species I really like seeing if the Common Blenny– these characterful little rock-dwellers are very well camouflaged, and rest atop barnacle-covered rocks closer to the surface. It is quite fun to approach and watch their reactions as you invade their territory in an attempt to photograph them.

Every now and then I would come across a little colony of Blue-rayed Limpets, all clustered together at the bases of Kelp fronds- although they don’t look like much from a distance, you can see their fantastic electric-blue dorsal stripes when taking a closer look. Perched sedentary on the edges of rocks and hiding amongst the kelp were the occasional Snakelocks Anemone, tentacles waving in the gentle swell. Clinging to the rocks closer to the surface were Dog Whelks, Limpets, Winkles, the pretty Common Topshells and Razor Clams.

 One of the brighter variants of the Spiny Starfish (Marthasterias glacialis) with a Breadcrump Sponge (Halichondria panicea)

Blue-rayed Limpets (Patella pellucida) clumped together in a cool little cluster on the stipe of kelp. These herbivorous species much their way through the kelp using their radula (teeth), working their way down the stipe and eventually loosening the holdfast and resulting in the Kelp’s uprooting

 Common Blennies trying to remain hidden, although their inquisitive nature often results in them coming right up to the camera and investigating the new intruder
 Snakelocks Anemone- some of these cnidarians often have a greener hue, with purple tips where symbiotic algae photosynthesise and contribute energy to the anemone
Common Topshell

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