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.
Tag Archives: Coral
A pair of Fourspot Butterflyfishes disturbed a pair of Arc-eye Hawkfishes perched in a head of Cauliflower Coral, as they often do. The coral head is doing OK, but areas of it have died off, probably during one of the coral bleaching events that have happened in the past few years, where the water gets too warm.
I can get chilly fairly easily when I go swimming, but for me, it’s more distressing when the water feels oddly warm because I know this is bad news for the corals.
Yellow fish in blue water
Yellow Tangs nibble on coral heads on the steep slope down to deep water at Two Step, a popular snorkeling spot in South Kona.
Another beach find to follow up yesterday’s post. When I saw this I thought, ‘skull,’ though it’s possible it’s just a lump of bleached and weathered coral.
Posted in response to this month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme of ‘Odd.’ See more responses here.
Watching an octopus
The easiest way to spot an octopus is to see it swimming (top photo). They’re not large creatures but they’re quite distinctive when they swim.
If they’re not swimming, one thing to look for is certain fish, such as goatfishes and jacks, just hanging around in a spot for no apparent reason. When these fish are hunting alone, they tend to be more active in probing the rocks and trying to disturb prey. But when they’re hunting with an octopus, they seem more content to let the octopus do the work and snapping up whatever emerges. I’ve found that goatfishes are particularly helpful as an octopus indicator.
A while back, there were videos online of an octopus apparently punching a goatfish. I wasn’t surprised by this. The octopuses I’ve seen don’t seem best pleased by the presence of goatfishes. Part of this might be down to feeling that the goatfishes are not pulling their weight in the hunt. But another factor might be that if goatfishes give away their position, for the octopus that can be fatal.
Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii and has long been so. If I’ve learned to look for goatfish as an indicator of their presence, then no doubt spear fishermen have too. These days, if I see an octopus when anyone’s spear fishing nearby, I don’t do anything to draw attention to it.
A pair of reef lizardfish rest on a patch of lobe coral. I usually see lizardfish by themselves so this was unusual. Their complete lack of movement was not unusual. That’s what they do unless you get too close.
A spotted eagle ray passes below
I hadn’t seen a spotted eagle ray in quite some time before I saw this one, hunting in deeper water. It looked in very good condition and had a fine array of spots.
The morning dip
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Morning Rituals.’ See more responses here.
Most mornings, I try to get in the water, as conditions and schedules allow. Morning is the best time for snorkeling as the water is usually calmer before the wind picks up as the day wears on. Visibility can vary from day to day and it can help to check surf reports to see if there are any swells moving in. But calm water doesn’t guarantee good visibility just as swells don’t always mean bad visibility. There’s only one way to be sure and that’s to jump in.
My favorite thing about snorkeling is that every day is different and I never know what I’ll see. Going to the same spot means I become familiar with some of the regulars, but there are always transient creatures passing through including rays and dolphins. And while those big creatures are great to encounter, it’s equally interesting to watch the activities of smaller fish and marine invertebrates.
It’s a rare day indeed that I don’t emerge prattling on about something I saw while I was in the water. And on those rare days, well, I’ve still had a good swim to set me up for the day ahead.