Tag Archives: Filefish

Place of Refuge and Two Step

There’s a good variety of fish at Two Step including raccoon butterflyfishes, seen here mingling with goatfishes and yellow tangs.
A barred filefish swims by with a startled look on its face, which is just their usual look.
Ki’i at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, better known as Place of Refuge.

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Anniversaries.’ See more responses here.

Often, on our wedding anniversary, my wife and I go to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden (formerly Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden). This year the garden was shut, and still is, probably until tourists return to the islands. So a different anniversary is my birthday, which is not marked with candles on a cake, since that would be prohibitively expensive, but usually by a trip somewhere and a meal out. This year we went down to snorkel at Two Step and then had a wander around Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge, which is right next door.

Two Step is a very popular snorkeling spot on Honaunau Bay, south of Captain Cook. This is a marine reserve so no fishing is allowed and the fish tend to be more numerous and mellow because of this. It’s a popular spot to see and swim with dolphins, though I haven’t done either of those things there. Currently, it’s not nearly as busy since there are very few tourists on the island and those that are here are diligently following quarantine rules (I’m trying to keep a straight face writing this!).

After our swim we made the short walk to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The park is on the south side of the bay and, at the moment, is fully open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, on the other days, pretty much everything else is accessible, it’s just that the parking lot and visitor center are closed. What this means is that there’s basically nobody there so our visit was quiet and uncrowded. The park is an important place in Hawaiian history, and the location is beautiful. What’s not to like?

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm.

Palm trees reflect in one of the fishponds at Place of Refuge.

Scrawled filefish in the wars

I noticed this scrawled filefish because it was catching the sunlight, as they sometimes do, and the blue scribbles on its side were beautifully illuminated.

The photo on the left is the first sighting I had of the fish, and as it dove I noticed something trailing it. This can just be seen below the tail. It looked like fishing line. So I followed it and got the top photo where I could clearly see that the fish was trying to dislodge a hook and line from its mouth. Not only that, but it had a good-sized slash in its side.

I had visions of trying to grab the line and remove the hook, but the fish kept going down, away from me and out of my reach. It disappeared from view and I was left only with the photos and the rather sad image of the struggling fish.

Scrawled filefish

Scrawled filefish are at their most scenic when they catch the light. The blue scribbles that cover their bodies glow with intensity. They’re a peculiar-looking fish with a flat body and long tail, and they can quickly change color to a camouflage pattern when needed.

In this photo, the two dorsal fins are visible. The forward one is just a thin spine which can be raised and lowered. The other one is very fine and often hard to see. In this photo it has a bit of a wave going on.

Spotted pufferfish and squaretail filefish

Spotted Pufferfish and Squaretail Filefish

These two very distinct fish that are regularly seen near shore. The squaretail filefish on the left is distinguished by the white patch above the base of its tail fin, while the spotted pufferfish is black or brown and covered with small white spots.

These two aren’t traveling together, as some other types of fish do, to hunt or feed. They just happened to be in the same vicinity.