Tag Archives: Fish

Water inlet

Behind the beach at Anaeho’omalu Bay are two fishponds, Kahapapa and Ku’uali’i. These ponds are typical of the kind that form behind a beach, which protects them from the ocean waves. The ponds are connected to the ocean by this channel, which allows was to come and go with the tides. A sluice gate was used to prevent fish using the channel as an escape route.

Where natural ponds weren’t available, they were created by enclosing areas with rock walls. I featured one such fishpond here.

In Hawaiian history, fishponds were very important. In such an isolated community it was important to have reliable food supplies. The ponds provided this, supplementing fish caught in the ocean. Many ponds have disappeared due to development, volcanic activity, tsunami, and the like. But the ones that survive are a bit of living history, used now more for education than for food.

For more information about Hawaiian fishponds go here.

Snowflake moray eel

I saw this fairly small snowflake moray eel sliding over and around a shallow rocky area recently. Often times, eels will vanish into barely visible holes in the reef, but this one stayed in sight for quite a while before doing so. I like how, in the top photo, it’s peeking out to see if I’m still there.

Snowflake eels are probably the prettiest eels to be seen in the waters around here.

Place of Refuge pond

Place of Refuge pool

Palm trees are reflected in still waters at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge. This is one of the royal fish ponds, an anchialine pool in which fish were held for consumption by Hawaiian royalty.

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

Sriracha, a female Bengal tiger, paces at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo.

Sriracha the Bengal tiger

Sriracha, a female Bengal tiger, paces at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is to choose your favorite photo taken in 2017. I’m going with a photo that I haven’t posted before (though below I offer a few of my favorites that have run).

This is Sriracha, a female Bengal tiger and cousin of Tzatziki, a white male tiger. Both can be found at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo. What I like about this photo is those huge paws, the quiet movement, and the sense of great power that could be uncoiled at any moment.

For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.




















As far as favorite photos already posted are concerned, I offer a few here:

Left. A gold dust day gecko drinking from a bird of paradise flower is a blaze of color (posted here).
Right. This photo captures the awesome spectacle of the lava firehose from Kilauea Volcano pouring into the ocean (posted here). Currently, while the flow is still active, lava is no longer entering the ocean.
Left. I was happy to snap the moment a passion vine butterfly laid an egg (posted here). This was taken on the same day as the gecko photo above, so a banner day for me.
Right. I like all the photos in this post for their color and how they capture something of this most Hawaiian of dance (posted here).

Finally, I love this gargantuan blenny for its name, and was very pleased to get this photo, since the fish is apt to dart away and the shallow water was rocking (posted here).

A Bluefin Trevally and Whitemouth Moray Eel hunting in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii

Bluefin trevally and whitemouth moray eel hunting

A Bluefin Trevally and Whitemouth Moray Eel hunting in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii

There are a fair number of predatory fish in Hawaii, that eat other, smaller fish. These fish have a variety of hunting strategies, everything from ambush to outpacing their prey. Some fish team up with other predators.

Fish that employ this latter strategy include various goatfish and bluefin trevallies. These fish often accompany each other on hunts, but either or both can also be seen with other predators including eels and octopuses.

I followed this bluefin trevally and whitemouth moray eel for a few minutes and didn’t see them catch anything, but they were definitely traveling together. If the eel hung out for a while under a ledge, as they like to do, the trevally would hang around, passing back and forth or circling the spot.

This tendency is actually helpful for spotting eels and particularly octopuses. Several times I’ve seen a goatfish or two milling around a rock for no apparent reason, so I’ve waited and watched. Sure enough an eel pops its head out or, better still, the rock turns out, on careful examination, to be mostly octopus.

There you go, an actual useful tip for snorkelers.

A black triggerfish showing colors when it is agitated or aroused

Black triggerfish transformed

A black triggerfish showing colors when it is agitated or arousedA black triggerfish with normal coloration

Most of the time, black triggerfish look like the photo on the right, a fairly uniform black, apart from two bright pale blue lines at the base of the dorsal and anal fins. However, when they become aroused or agitated, their colors can change, and this color transformation can happen very quickly. Sometimes it’s just the brilliant blue lines radiating from the eyes, sometimes the flush of yellow or orange on the sides, sometimes the blue-green lines along the side.

This black triggerfish gave me the full display, and rather than swimming off, it hung around and presented a broadside view. It’s possible it was defending its territory or perhaps some eggs.

I took the photo and swam on, not wanting to bother the fish more than I apparently already had.

A giant porcupinefish peeks out from behind a rock

A giant porcupinefish peeking

A giant porcupinefish peeks out from behind a rock

This would have been a good photo for a recent WordPress challenge, peek, but I took this after that was over. However, it also works for this week’s challenge of ‘experimental.’

My underwater photography setup is not a spiffy camera and a bank of lights, but a point-and-shoot Canon S 90 in a waterproof housing. It doesn’t have tremendous zoom capabilities so I’m constantly experimenting with ways to approach fish so I can get a decent close photo.

Taking photos in areas where fishing, spearfishing, and fish collection are banned makes things easier. Fish in those areas seem to know they have less to worry about, at least from humans, so they’re less inclined to dart off. Elsewhere it’s a different story. Often I can get reasonably close, but when I raise my camera toward them they tend to zip away, possibly thinking it’s a new type of spear gun.

The best approach I’ve found is to be as quiet as possible in the water and just drift toward something I want to photograph. In this instance, I was puttering around when I saw this giant porcupinefish headed my way. I like these fish with their big eyes and a body tapering from the huge head back toward the delicate tailfin.

This fish spotted me and dipped down behind a large lump of rock and coral. I waited, but it didn’t reappear. I eased forward, keeping the rock between me and the fish. Still no sign of my quarry, so I slid to one side and saw the tailfin fluttering. Ah ha! With my camera ready and a gentle flip of my flippers I moved to the other side where I found the fish peeking out and giving me this look. I snapped a photo and an instant later the porcupinefish pivoted and headed the other way at speed.

Despite their ungainly appearance, giant porcupinefish are good swimmers and it was soon a good distance away, but when I got home I was happy to find that I’d got this shot. I also like how the goldring surgeonfish in the photo looks suitably startled by the whole encounter.