Freshwater Photos

underwater photos in lakes and rivers

By Floor Anthoni (2006)
(all photos A5)
By far most sources of fresh water in New Zealand are heavily polluted by runoff from the land, mainly the mud from erosion and unwise land use. It turns the water murky, unsuitable for viewing underwater life, and eventually unsuitable for that life. But here and there water surfaces after a long journey underground, by which offending particles have been filtered out. During this long journey, the water is also cooled to a near-constant temperature of between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius, summer and winter. Such waters are frequented by trout who hunt by eyesight. Clear water has a primordial attraction on people, hence our deep longing for submerging our bodies while feeling, tasting and seeing the pristine clarity of this medium. For the photographer it creates new vistas of light rays and reflections, which we have portrayed on this page.
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Keywords: NZ, New Zealand, Anatoki, Riwaka, crystal, pool, resurgence, freshwater, fresh, clear, water, swim, swimming, dive, diving, snorkel, snorkelling, freediving, reflection, mirage, mirror, surface, drink, drinking, thirst, thirsty, paradise, Eden, 

f027627: a snorkeldiver views the clear waters
f027627: a snorkeldiver views the clear surroundings while preparing for a dip to the depths.
f027628: a snorkel diver in the Crystal Pool
f027628: a snorkel diver in the Crystal Pool of the Riwaka Resurgence.
f027629: freediver silhouetted
f027629: freediver silhouetted against the crystal clarity of the pool.
f027625: a fish eye view of the forest canopy
f027625: a fish eye view of the forest's canopy above the pool.
f027623: diving to the Crystal Pool's inner sanctum
f027623: diving to the Crystal Pool's inner sanctum where the water emerges.
f027634: a branch has fallen in the water
f027634: a branch has fallen in the water, now covered in mosses but above it the parent tree can be seen through the translucent surface.
f027632: a swimmer jumped into the pool
f027632: a swimmer, scantily clad in an ill fitting wetsuit jumped into the pool.
f211630: a river leaves the pool
f211630: The crystal clear water leaves the pool, feeding a substantial river.
f211629: Crystal Pool looks shallow but looks deceive
f211629: the Crystal Pool looks shallow as a bird bath but looks deceive.
f211631: rain forest near the resurgence
f211631: the footpath to the Riwaka Resurgence leads through a remnant of original subtropical rainforest.
f211635: forest trees NZ
f211635: only native trees can be seen through windows in the canopy.
f211634: Riwaka Resurgence extends behind the hole
f211634: the actual resurgence belies its spectacle underwater as the black hole leads to a pitch dark chamber from where the underground river can be explored further, but it is dangerous.
f027803: a diver explores the resurgence
f027803[A6]: a diver explores the dark cavern of the Riwaka resurgence.

Through Takaka on the South Island west of Nelson, runs the Anatoki River. At a tourist animal farm, Bencarri Farm, two old ladies have been feeding large freshwater eels of the longfinned type (Anguilla dieffenbachii) since the early thirties. Many of these animals do not swim out to sea for spawning, but grow old instead, and large. The feeding still goes on, every two hours during the summer season but less frequently during winter. Tourists pay to view the feeding and to feed morsels of mince meat attached to the end of a stick. While people sit abhorred high on the rocks, the interpreter stands in the crystal clear water of a tranquil bend in the river, with large eels hugging her feet. She can hand-feed them and they let themselves be lifted out of the water, gently, showing no fear at all.
On this day the very large eels did not show, but during a reconnoitre underwater, we found them right where the feeding is staged. These eels are really large, about twice the thickness of the ones shown on these photos and they are some ninety years old! The reason for their aversion we also found because a farmer had dumped a sheep carcass in the river, plenty for a week's feed for these animals.

f027517: freediver swims a clear river
f027517: a free diver explores the geology of the many types of stone in the Anatoki River.
f027507: diver strokes large longfinned eel
f027507: large long-finned eels (Anguilla dieffenbachii) have been hand-fed here for ninety years, and some exceeding this age can still be found here.
f027512: diver and longfinned eel
f027512: although they are large and potentially dangerous, these long-finned eels have become quite used to the presence of humans but divers are for them a new experience.
f027514: diver feeds longfinned eels
f027514: a snorkel diver feeds the large eels with bits of mince meat, which they consider a delicacy. It is quite daunting to place one's hands in front of six hungry mouths with many teeth.
f027503: longfinned eels waiting to be fed
f027503: it is feeding time and the large eels jostle for the best position.
f027502: longfinned eels swimming
f027502: although the large eels defend their territories and dormitories, they become quite tolerant of one another when being fed.

f211513: an eel smells the hand that touches the water
f211513: a small eel sniffs at the hand that is presented to it.
f211517: it does not take long before other eels follow the example
f211517: it does not take long before other eels follow the example of the first one.
f211533: children and adults feeding eels
f211533: children and parents feeding the large eels. The cat always comes along for mopping up spilt morsels of minced meat.
f211613: visitors watching the feeding of big eels
f211613: the eel-feeding spot is idyllically located on a cluster of large rocks by a tranquil spot of the river.
f211612: visitors watching the eels being fed
f211612: only about half a dozen eels are interested in food today, but at times their numbers swell to over two dozen.
f211603: the interpreter lifts a large eel
f211603: the interpreter lifts a large eel, which is difficult to hold if it struggled just a little. However, this one is completely docile and trusting. Look at her gentle hold!
f027728: eels surrounding your legs
f027728: while the large eels writhe around her legs, the interpreter unperturbedly gives her talk.
f027733: an eel rises towards a foot
f027733: the eel's perspective as an eel rises above the water toward a girl's foot.
f211609: a young girl has overcome her fears.
f211609: within minutes children overcome their fear for these horrid slimy fish, and they brave the eels' sharp teeth.
f211610: girl lifts eel triumphantly
f211610: a young girl triumphantly lifts a large eel after having fed it first for a while.
f211532: eels, children and cat
f211532: this tourist attraction remains a low-key real family affair, the cat being part of the 'troupe'. 
f027735: an eel's perspective of the hand that feeds
f027735: an eel's perspective of the hand that feeds and the people who watch it.
f027720: eels sharing their home
f027720: all eels were found downstream for the obvious reason that the smell of food does not waft upstream. here four are seen sharing the same home.

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