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August 2010
In August we took the trip over to Brisbane, Australia catching up with Hayley's sister Melanie, then travelled out to
Tangalooma for a few days. Melanie is like us a keen scuba diver and has dived several spectacular sites around the
world. In 2005 we went together to Vava'u in Tonga for a couple of weeks for some memorable diving, while Melanie
later also has dived such places as Truk in Micronesia and more recently the Maldives. She is also big on marine
biology and conservation. Considering that I'm spending a big part of my life with hunting/fishing/gathering one could
imagine that we would be miles apart in approach to the marine environment. However, we're both reasonable and
respect each others opinions. (She happily comes with us diving for scallops when she visits New Zealand.) Questions &
answers regarding how we fit into nature aren't black & white...

Tangalooma is located within the Moreton Island National Park and it's quite a gem so close to Brisbane. Tangalooma
itself is also a bit of a contradiction. From 1952-1962 it was a whaling station, primarily processing Humpback whales.
Now, that factory type of whaling was a far cry from the sort of Minke whale hunting we do in Norway today. Humpbacks
are long since accepted as a species which shouldn't be hunted, in particular considering the population is fairly small.
Today Tangalooma functions a Marine Education and Conservation Centre. They have a great wildlife on their door
step with dolphins coming in from sea for daily visits, also resident pelicans and kookaburras.
A couple of action photos of Finn during some windy days
at Tangalooma, and a Wobbegong shark photographed
by Aidan & me while fishing..
The Moreton Bay also has plenty on offer in terms of fishing and diving. At Tangalooma there is an easy swim out to the
wrecks of some of the whaling boats, which were purposely sunk there after the whaling operations ended. These
wrecks can easily be explored by snorkelling, no scuba gear necessary. More spectacular just north of Moreton Island is
the famous Flinders Reef, some of Hayley & Melanie's favourite diving in Australia. In rougher weather the Curtin
Artificial Reef is a brilliant alternative. Further south in the bay, by Stradbroke Island, are also some excellent dive sites
and breeding ground for grey nurse sharks.
Finn, Hayley & Aidan (self-portrait)
Tangalooma wrecks
Some of the most sought after seafood from the area are things like Moreton
Bay bugs (a delicious type of lobster, which only in Australia could be given such
an unflattering name..), mud crabs, sand crabs, squid, prawns and fish like
bream, snapper, whiting, tailor and flatheads. Aidan and I caught various of
these species, though what I was wanted to test my culinary skills on was Coral
trout! No problems with some tips from the locals!
The Coral trout are amazing looking fish and
highly regarded in the Queensland kitchen.
They are piscivores, which means they are fish
eating predators. They most commonly eat
Damsel fish which they stalk and attack at great
speed. The juveniles eat crustaceans, mainly
prawns, which is why I decided to serve the fish
with a sauce full of local Moreton Bay prawns.
I've seen the Coral trouts when diving on coral
reefs and being so highly rated as food by
Australians, this was something very different to
serve up. Having grown up in a fishing family in
North Norway, now living & exploring the NZ
coast and seafood, I was a bit surprised that the
fish wasn't more flavoursome. The meat is white
and delicate but it needed that extra bit from
tasty vegetables and sauce. For fine dining it presents well and is very inoffensive, even to people who don't like fish.
For us, a bit rougher around the edges, who command flavour from our catch on the plate, we'd like a bit more...!