Whyalla’s beautiful cuttlefish are known for attracting visitors from all around Australia, however it appears their influence stretches far beyond our own shores.
German divers Robert Sigl and Barney Ruebe recently visited Whyalla to film a documentary, diving into the waters around Point Lowly to catch sight of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish.
They spent around three hours in the water every day, immersing themselves in the kaleidoscope of colour created by the friendly critters.
In preparation for their filming, the duo touched base with scientists who told them the best place to film the cuttlefish would be Whyalla.
Mr Sigl met with Tony Bramley from Whyalla Diving Services to find the best areas to dive for cuttlefish.
“Whyalla is definitely a unique location, it’s so easy to get into the water and the infrastructure is just great,” he said. “Especially with the apartments in the city, the diving services.
“Everybody is so friendly around here, people helped us a lot.”
Mr Ruebe said the visitors filmed the cuttlefish extensively, ensuring they covered all bases for the film.
“We filmed every cuttlefish from behind, beneath and below. We covered all the actions they do – the mating, the different mimics, special behaviors,” he said.
One of the more special acts that the two filmed was the ‘drag queen’ cuttlefish.
“Our last essential shot was of the mimic male ‘drag queen’ cuttlefish. It goes down to mate with the female that is guarded by the large male. It took us the whole 14 days of diving to get a perfect shot of that,” Mr Sigl said.
“It happened twice, the first time we filmed it nicely but the second shot was perfect. Because it was at sunset you saw the sun coming down through the water.”
Mr Sigl said it was part of the cuttlefish’s sophisticated mating behavior.
“There’s a lot of pressure for the males to mate with the females. There’s a lot of competition among them, the small males don’t usually get to mate with the females because the large males chase them away,” he said.
“You have the big males fighting with lots of colours, then you have the ‘sneakers’ who hide and camouflage, waiting for their chance to mate with the females when the males aren’t watching. Then there’s the mimic males as well.”
With positioning very important when filming underwater, the divers relied on their experience to assure the quality of their footage.
“We know where to be and where not to be – at least most of the time. If there’s two people underwater filming then you have to make sure the other one is not in the picture,” Mr Sigl said.
The duo said the enjoyed their time in Whyalla.