Category Archives: Fish

Whitemouth Moray Eel

A whitemouth moray eel in the waters off Hawaii
A whitemouth moray eel in the waters off Hawaii

At one of my regular snorkeling spots, there’s a spot I call The Eel Motel. It’s a little hole in the rock, which is often occupied by a small Whitemouth Moray Eel or Yellowhead Moray Eel. On this visit, the former was home.

In the top photo, the eel’s head is on the left and its tail on the right. Even though the eel has its mouth closed, the white tip to the tail is another sure identifier. I drifted above it, taking photos, while its head twisted back and forth keeping track of me.

The markings on these eels can vary quite a bit, one of which is a full spread of bold white spots, such as these.

Magnificent manta rays

Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii

Yesterday, my wife and I hadn’t been in the water long when we saw large shapes ahead. There were two manta rays in fairly shallow water that was a bit churned up and cloudy. I took photos, but wasn’t optimistic they’d turn out in the conditions. The mantas swam away and we followed at a distance. There’s no point chasing mantas. Like most things in the water, they can put on a burst of speed that would leave us far behind.

Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii

The mantas didn’t go far before they curled around and came back towards us. The water was clearer in this area and sunlight illuminated them as they headed our way. The lead manta was quite a bit bigger than the other one, probably around a 14-foot wingspan. They passed close beneath us, then turned again, looped around and headed back. They did this back and forth three times before finally moving on.

Later, when I was coming back, I saw the big manta again. It was in deeper water that was more cloudy so I didn’t get photos, but I watched as it did a couple of loop de loops and some sharp banking and turning. It just seemed to be having a fun day in the ocean and in doing so, made it a fun day for us, too.

EV Nautilus

The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii
The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii

I saw this ship off the coast of North Kohala, but couldn’t immediately identify it because it was too far offshore. Luckily, it hung around and a couple of days later I saw it much closer and stopped to take photos.

The ship is the Nautilus and it’s an exploration vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust and was engaged in research, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. They were studying marine mammal vocalization and local shark diversity and abundance around Hawaii.

For more information about the ship, go to https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/technology/vessels/nautilus/nautilus.html. For more information about the research project, go to https://nautiluslive.org/.

The NOAA EV Nautilus off the coast of Hawaii