It’s been quite a while since I last saw a Manta Ray while snorkeling, so I was thrilled a few days ago when I saw a familiar shape heading towards me. It was low down in the water and when it saw me it veered away a bit, carrying on at a good clip despite swimming into the current running that day.
The manta was big, with a 10 to 12 foot wingspan, and a lot of pale markings on top. It seemed in good shape though its left wingtip appeared to be permanently curled up. I hoped it might slow down or turn, but that was not to be and it soon disappeared to the south.
Yellowfin Goatfishes often hang out in large schools close to shore, providing a splash of color against the rocks. I like seeing how the schools just seem to move as one. If I came back as a fish, I’d be bumping into other fish left, right, and center.
While this isn’t the greatest photo, I liked how the very small inhabitants of this rocky area were all looking at me at the same time. At the top is a juvenile wrasse, probably a Saddle Wrasse, though the Bird Wrasse is somewhat similar. The middle two are Bright-eye Damselfishes, and at the bottom is an Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby, the giant of the group at about 3 inches long.
Schools of Whitebar Surgeonfishes are fairly common where I snorkel most. They cruise around rocky areas, feeding on algae. Often they can be seen with other reef fish such as Convict Tangs or Whitespotted Surgeonfish, seen in the background of the lower photo.
Most of the fish in this photo, with five vertical black bars, are Indo-Pacific Sergeants. But there are a few fish where the bars fade away and these are endemic Hawaiian Sergeants. The two species sometimes interbreed, so some of these fish might be hybrid sergeants. Regardless, they’re a familiar sight in the water, usually swimming in large groups and feeding high in the water.
I was taking photos of Tahitian Prawns in the stream at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, but when I looked at them later, I mostly liked the abstract effect of the light and water. But, yes, there is a Tahitian Prawn in this photo.
For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.
This week’s Sunday Stills color challenge theme is ‘Ruby Red.’ See more responses here.
The top photo shows a Crown of Thorns sea star, which feeds on coral, though not to a problematic extent in Hawaii.
The second photo illustrates a definite problem. When I stopped by the Harbor House restaurant at Honokohau, these were the only two Kona Brewing taps available. I was told the company has discontinued their Castaway IPA, which, if true, is a sad state of affairs, it being by far their best beer in my humble, but completely correct opinion.
The bottom three show a Gold Dust Day Gecko on a torch ginger, a Budweiser (not my beer of choice) sign at the Harbor House, and what I think is a Western Blood-red Lady Beetle.