Striped Eel Catfish

Posted in: Marina Life on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Amazing Striped Eel Catfish schooling in pursuit of breakfast

Today I can add another wildlife encounter to the list of wondrous sights I’ve seen while living at the marina. Ben and I first spotted these interesting looking fish hanging out near the docks at the marina entrance this morning. I was pretty pleased with that sighting brief as it was, and thought nothing more of it because not long after that I had to say goodbye to Ben which is my least favourite part of the day.  But later while sitting in the boat I heard unusual splashes in the water so popped my head out the hatch to see the school again.  I grabbed my camera, which thankfully had it’s battery and CF card in it and ready to go, and found the school in the berth next to us.  This time I got to watch them for about 10 minutes as they swam from berth the berth, under the dock and around boats.  Obviously intrigued by my mad dash from the boat the ships cat came down for a look too.

I was fortunate to get these shots, as having photos on hand makes the task of identification much easier.  Although today I didn’t have much trouble, I just Google image searched ‘Stripy schooling fish’ and bingo there they were!  Striped Eel Catfish.  I like it when finding a fish or bird is so easy! Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Striped eel catfish are native to the Indian Ocean, the western Pacific ocean and Papua New Guniea.  Predominately a tropical fish it has been recorded down both the eastern and western coastlines of Australia.   It is the only known species of coral reef dwelling catfish which makes it unique among other catfish species.

Adult Striped Eel Catfish can grow up to 35cm in length and will often lose the distinctive stripes that the juveniles are known for. They have a roughly cylindrical body shape which tapers down into a distinctively eel shaped tail.

Juveniles live in schools of hundreds of fish but as they mature those schools will dwindle in size to considerably smaller groups of around 20 fish.  They mainly feed on benthic invertebrates (organisms that live on the bottom of a water body or in the sediment and have no backbone) algae and sometimes small fishes.

The school I observed today were feeding on small fishes. You could see the smaller fish jumping out of the water in panic ahead of the school.  The catfish would herd their prey between boats and the dock cutting off escape, the water erupting into a feeding frenzy.  It was fascinating to watch.

If you catch one of these guys be careful, apparently they are highly venomous with the forward serrate spines of the dorsal and pectoral fins inflicting painful wounds which may even be fatal. Striped Eel Catfish are definitely in the look but don’t touch category of marine life.


Information sources:

Life under the blue water – http://lifeuwater.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-striped-eel-catfish-interesting.html

Australian Museum – http://australianmuseum.net.au/Striped-Catfish-Plotosus-lineatus

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plotosus


Here comes the sun!

Posted in: Marina Life on Friday, March 8th, 2013

It may not have been a full day of sun but i’m overjoyed to say that for the most part we had a sunny day with blue sky and everything! At least I think it was blue sky, it’s been so long  I was sure I had forgotten what it looked like.

Beautiful blue sky

It’s possibly the most sun we’ve had all March.  I spent more time outside than I have in weeks enjoying the warmth and the relative dryness of everything.

I wasn’t the only one, lot’s of people had come out to enjoy the beautiful weather, including one guy who obviously hasn’t grown out of his love of remote controlled toys.

Great weather for boats of any size to head out for a sail.


Small but graceful.


Out enjoying the sun.


Sunny daze are happy daze indeed!


*click on images to see larger versions


Boat Envy

Posted in: Marina Life on Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Living at a marina makes boat envy a daily experience, reading other sailing blogs online makes it almost inevitable.

Don’t get me wrong, we love Tygress and think she makes a good home and from all accounts she will sail beautifully too.  But when you live next to pristine 47′ Beneteaus and shiny new Bavaria’s it’s hard not to lament the comparatively tiny budget we had when buying our boat.

Reading other sailing blogs online and seeing pictures of spacious, well laid out interiors, with well equipped galleys that have actual bench space with ovens and big sinks, not to mention lovely civilised heads and oodles of storage space can make me a little jealous. Albeit in a light hearted, quickly forgotten way, well most days that is, other days when the realities of living on a boat get me a bit down in the dumps then the jealousy can make me a bit whiny and bitter. Never attractive emotions on a lady.

We were lucky to have the finances that we did when we purchased Tygress, but a small budget doesn’t go a very long way when looking for a boat that meets a long list of requirements for permanent live-aboard life, especially in the Australian boat market.

Tygress sitting in her marina berth, we love her but she could be classed as a 'fixer-upper'

So how do I deal with boat envy? Well when all thoughts of grand larceny have been subdued I do the following;

First I try not to get too focussed on it, I try to keep it a passing thought, I focus on it washing away with the next tide along with all the other gunk and pollutants in the marina water.

Second I tell myself to be thankful for what we do have, which at the end of the day is a decent size boat with good living space and a light airy cabin. A big, if not completely irregular shaped main berth that will sleep skippers 6.2ft frame in comfort (that is if I don’t hog all the space, steal the sheets or knee him in the back all night – “Not guilty your Honour!”). And a head, that unlike some of the boats we saw for sale is not smack bang next to that main berth, and I mean so close you could reach out and accidentally put your hand in it while you slept (more on our head in another post).

But mainly I’m thankful to have a home, no matter how old or unrefined her interior may be, that we can take anywhere in the world the wind blows…or doesn’t blow as the case may be but that’s what diesel engines are for. Although our appears to be leaking water when we run it, I sense expensively fun times ahead on that front.

Thirdly I tell myself with all the deluded certainty I can muster that when we win lotto (which will be some time after we actually start buying lotto tickets) we’ll buy ourselves one of these babies and be the envy of all! The video is really worth a watch, but I’d recommend having a rag handy to mop up the drool.



Laundry Day

Posted in: Featured, Living aboard, Marina Life on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

In my land life I hated laundry and didn’t do it as often as I should have. Consequently there was usually a giant pile of it lurking around somewhere.  Which didn’t bother me too much as I had a large selection of clothes to choose from.

When we moved aboard Tygress we had to downsize our wardrobes considerably, a lot of our clothes were just not practical for boating life not to mention we don’t have a lot of space aboard to store clothes.  All of this means I have to actually do my washing regularly,it also means we have redefined our concept of dirty clothes.  Once one or two wears would count as dirty, now though, dirty is defined as ‘obvious stains and/or emitting unpleasant odours’.

My cute, fully automatic washing machine

Even with our extended wear periods I still have to do laundry more than I like.  Thankfully though it’s not too hard to do the washing while berthed at a marina.  Especially since my MIL bought us a cute little 2.5kg fully automatic washing machine.  It won’t be much use to us cruising (I have a a small hand cranked washing machine for that, also thanks to the MIL) but for our current life at the marina it’s perfect.  It’s light and easy to manoeuvre, there’s plenty of space to use it in the cockpit and thanks to Skipper’s handy work it fits snuggly under the companionway stairs when not in use.

All I have to do is plug it into a water supply (garden hose) and power point (our power board connected to shore power) and away she goes.  I use an environmentally friendly detergent that can be safely drained overboard and has the added benefit of keeping my conscience light and guilt free.

You might ask why I don’t use the marina’s laundry facilities.  And I would answer that I would if they weren’t so expensive, $4 a load of washing and $4 to dry your clothes.  So I hang my washing out to dry on the lifelines, thankfully the sparrows have seen fit not to crap on it. You’d be surprised how quickly the washing dries on a sunny day, and even quicker when there is a breeze blowing.  So far I haven’t lost anything overboard, barring one blue peg which hopefully Neptune can find a use for.

Our clothes out to dry on the starboard lifelines.