Tag Archives: Snorkeling

Dwarf Moray Eel hunting

A dwarf moray eel swimming in the waters off Hawaii

I was snorkeling recently when I saw this Dwarf Moray Eel hunting with a small Saddle Wrasse. It promptly disappeared under a rock and I didn’t expect to see it again. But I was in no hurry, so moved away a bit and kept watch. After a while the eel poked its head out, hesitated, then swam out.

I snapped these two photos, the first as it emerged and the second as it disappeared again. I like how, in the top photo, the eel oozes out of a hole no bigger around than it is, which is less than an inch! These small eels typically are less than a foot long.

A dwarf moray eel swimming in the waters off Hawaii

Hawaiian Gregory

An endemic Hawaiian Gregory in the waters off Hawaii

This endemic damselfish is mostly black or brown with a mottled distribution of light and dark scales, but it’s easily identified by its yellow eyes. It eats filamentous algae and is said to ‘farm’ the algae in its territory, which it defends vigorously against other algae-eaters after its crop.

Convict Tangs and a Surge Wrasse

A surge wrasse swims in front of a school of convict tangs in the waters off Hawaii

I was photographing this school of Convict Tangs when I saw this initial phase Surge Wrasse swimming in the opposite direction. This is not a fish I see too often and it’s one which my fish book describes as ‘one of the most difficult Hawaiian fish to photograph.’ I think this is because of its scarcity and it’s tendency to spend a lot of its time close to shore in shallow, surging water.

A Manta Ray zips by

A manta ray swims in the waters off Hawaii

It’s been quite a while since I last saw a Manta Ray while snorkeling, so I was thrilled a few days ago when I saw a familiar shape heading towards me. It was low down in the water and when it saw me it veered away a bit, carrying on at a good clip despite swimming into the current running that day.

The manta was big, with a 10 to 12 foot wingspan, and a lot of pale markings on top. It seemed in good shape though its left wingtip appeared to be permanently curled up. I hoped it might slow down or turn, but that was not to be and it soon disappeared to the south.

Fish at Viper Rock

Fish swim in the waters off Hawaii

On the coast where I snorkel, there’s a spot known locally as Viper Rock. This is where a very large Viper Moray Eel used to reside in a recess in the rock. I haven’t seen him lately, but it’s also a good spot for a variety of fish so I go down there regularly.

On this day, I approached the rock from the shore side and noticed these Whitebar Surgeonfishes swimming by. Then I noticed the Great Barracuda that can be seen in the background against the edge of the farther rocky outcropping. A few moments later I saw another one, and then a third.

It appeared that the barracuda ohana that frequents that area was around in force. Rather than cross to the other side of the ridge by Viper Rock, where the barracudas were, I returned the way I came. A couple of barracudas looked like they might follow, but quickly lost interest. Their interest in people appears to be related solely to the possibility that those people will snag some fish which the barracudas will then hope to steal.