Great barracuda

This is a photo that comes with a story. There’s a place where I often snorkel that is home to a large group of barracudas. Most of these barracudas are around a foot and a half in length, though a few are much larger than that. I’ve mentioned before how barracudas give me the willies. They have not attacked anyone in Hawaiian waters to my knowledge, but they just have a certain look about them.

On this day I had passed the barracudas’ territory closer to the shore than I usually do. I didn’t see a single one of them. On my return, I swam farther out and, at one point, saw this barracuda and a second one (the jaw of which can just be seen in the photo) coming toward me. This was a bit unnerving but they slid by to one side, which is when I took this photo.

I turned my head and saw them curl around behind me. This wasn’t unusual; I’ve often had barracudas track me as I pass. Then I noticed a couple more arrive. This was less reassuring. I kept swimming steadily because I didn’t really have any other options. There was no way I was going to outrun them. Pretty much everything in the ocean moves faster than me and that probably includes some snails and sea cucumbers. Equally, I didn’t feel like turning to face them because the possible results of doing that included some I didn’t much like.

It seemed like every time I turned my head to see where they were, another barracuda had joined the pack. There must have been eight or nine of them at one point. Luckily, I didn’t see any of the very large barracudas among them, as that would definitely have made me even more nervous.

After a while I reached a rocky islet, a place where I usually first encounter the barracudas. They were all still behind me when I got there, but soon after I passed they were gone. While I’ve seen them in many different areas, this spot does seem to mark some edge to the territory of the main group.

I swam on, looking behind from time to time, and feeling more relaxed each time I did so. At least until I looked ahead one time and saw one of the huge barracudas heading right at me. It too passed by and I didn’t see it again, but it was time for me to get out of the water.

7 thoughts on “Great barracuda

    1. Graham Post author

      Barracudas have been known to attack people, but such attacks are rare. They are attracted to shiny objects, possibly mistaking them for the flash of a fish. I’ve been told, by local free-divers, that when they dive barracudas follow them. The fish might think they’re spear fishing and they could get a free meal

      Liked by 1 person

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