This Pacific Day Octopus was easy to spot when it was on the move, but when it settled down it quickly became almost invisible.
Category Archives: In The Water
How many Arc-eye Hawkfishes can you fit in a head of Cauliflower Coral? I count six here, though there could be more, and who knows what else besides. Corals like this offer vital shelter for small fish and other creatures seeking to avoid the many predators out hunting.
Abstracts: Water patterns
A look down into a tide pool reveals patterns in the water and a single different-colored rock.
Yesterday, I posted photos of a manta ray encounter (here), noting that, if fins are seen in the water, manta rays are one likely reason. After the post went live, I went for a swim. I didn’t see anything unusual and was heading back in when I turned and saw fins in the water. This time, they were clearly dolphin fins.
Sometimes, the dolphins zip by as if they’re late for an appointment, but these were proceeding in a very leisurely fashion, so I thought I’d swim back out a ways and see if any came to check my out. As I swam, I’d pop up to see what was going on. Quite a few dolphins went by in small groups, but I saw more were following.
Luckily, one of these groups was traveling closer to shore than the others and as I ducked my head underwater, I saw them approaching. The lead dolphin did veer in my direction, but carried on its way, followed by a trio that maintained impressive formation as they passed. The whole encounter lasted just a few minutes, but I was thrilled to see them and happy to get a few decent photos.
Right time, right place
A couple of days ago, my wife and I arrived at our usual snorkeling spot and, when we got out of the car, she spotted fins in the water. Fins generally belong to dolphins, sharks or rays. Each has a different look and these had the look of manta ray wingtips. We could see that there were at least two mantas in the bay. Sometimes, especially with dolphins, the fins will be on the move as the bearers move along the coast. These mantas did not seem in a hurry to go anywhere, but were just puttering around the bay. We hustled down to the water and swam off in the general direction of where we’d seen activity.
We were swimming along when I saw the first manta heading towards me. I stopped and started taking photos. It came fairly close before veering away and heading back the way it came. Then it turned, came back past us and continued on its way.
When it became clear it wasn’t coming back we continued on our way. A little farther along we saw the second manta. It was doing barrel rolls and then came our way. Again, we stopped and watched. This one was more curious, passing by quite close and then looping around several times. Sometimes it went a fair distance away and we’d pop up and follow its progress when it was close to the surface.
Eventually, it seemed to head off in the general direction of the other manta. We lost track of it and popped up in the water to decide what to do next. When I ducked under the water again and turned around I saw the manta again. It made a couple more passes before heading out towards deeper water.
Black Nerite Snails
Recently, I was sitting on a rock, preparing to get in the water. There were a lot of little black bumps on the rocks, which I’ve seen before, but never really paid attention to. Except, this time, I noticed some of the bumps were moving.
These bumps are Black Nerite Snails which live just above the waterline. They’re about half-an-inch long and graze on small plants that grow in that zone.
Undulated Moray Eel
I saw this Undulated Moray Eel out in the open recently and, rather than dart for shelter, it remained where it was opening and closing its jaws. While this looks threatening, it’s typical of most eels, the purpose being to push water over its gills, the equivalent of breathing. However, that’s not to say it’s a good idea to dive down and interact with the eel.
My fish book describes the Undulated Moray Eel as “one of the nastiest.” Its narrow jaws hold three rows of teeth, one running down the middle of its mouth. It’s usual prey includes small fish, but this eel was accompanied by a changing group of fish, and neither seemed too bothered about the other.
In Hawaii, this eel is often called the chainlink eel, for obvious reasons.
A tangle of floating fibers creates an abstract pattern in the water.