These quite large fish are commonly seen hanging in the water in small groups. When approached they will ease away without any apparent effort so that it’s difficult to get close enough for a good photo.
This one, however, displayed the same kind of curiosity chubs tend to have. It went by two or three times, clearly checking out the large, ungainly creature splashing around in the water, before deciding I wasn’t very interesting and moving away into deeper water.
This big-eye emperor fish gave me the big eye, which is very unusual. Big-eye emperors are the kings of hanging in the water and imperceptibly drifting away. It’s an act of extreme futility to try and get close. The more you try, the farther away they get.
Bluestripe snappers are particularly distinctive with their four blue stripes, which glow when the light hits them right. Often seen in schools (the fishy kind), they’re also liable to be seen in pairs or alone as this one was.
It’s quite common to see this fish, usually in ones and twos, hanging almost stationary in the water, facing into the current or swells. Often they can be found hanging out in the same area for days in a row. Usually, when I approach, they drift away with minimal effort or noticeable movement. They’re quite large – up to two feet – and fun to see with their big eyes and dignified manner.
In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.