Tag Archives: Snorkeling

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.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle passes by

A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle passes close by

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Green.’ See more responses here. These photos are from a recent encounter with an Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.

I was snorkeling over a shallow area when this turtle rose up from the deeper water beyond. I reached the edge of the shallows at about the same time as the turtle which slipped below me, between me and the rocks, before disappearing in the direction I’d come from.

Adult turtles mostly eat algae and sea grasses, which turns their fat green, hence the name.

A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle passes close by

In the pink

A Pinktail Triggerfish in the waters off Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge is ‘Pink.’ See more responses here.

The top photo is an appropriately named Pinktail Triggerfish. Below, we have a Gold Dust Day Gecko cleaning the windows, a pink hibiscus fronting an orange tree, and an Hawaiian Stilt with an itch.

Spinner Dolphins stop by

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii
Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

A couple of mornings ago, I was about to get in the water when I noticed something out in the bay. After a few moments, I realized they were dolphins, and they didn’t appear to be in a hurry to get anywhere. Often, dolphins zip up or down the coast and, even if I’m out there when they go by, it’s a fleeting encounter.

But when they move slowly, as they were on this day, there’s a fair chance they might hang around. So I jumped in and swam out in the general direction of where they were heading, hoping to cross paths. Each time I popped up to try and locate them, they were still there. Soon I saw the first one and then they were all around me.

After several minutes they headed back the way they came, but still in no great hurry. I followed at my own pace. There’s no way I could keep up with them and I knew my main chance of seeing them again was if they turned back my way. This they duly did.

The dolphins remained in the bay for half an hour or more, going back and forth. A few leapt out of the water as spinners do, but under water they twisted and turned and just seemed to be having a good time. It was nice to see several youngsters among them. Eventually, they took off in the direction they’d been going when I first saw them and I swam back to shore.

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

These are some of the photos I took during the encounter. I had one photo with 45 or so dolphins in it and I know I didn’t capture all of them. I think there were probably 50 or 60 dolphins in the pod, possibly more. It’s only the fourth time I’ve encountered a pod that size and it’s a wonderful experience that will never got old.

Arc-eye Hawkfish

An Arc-eye Hawkfish waits in coral in the waters off Hawaii
An Arc-eye Hawkfish waits in dead coral in the waters off Hawaii

Arc-eye Hawkfishes come in two color variations. The top photo shows one that is reddish tan with a white stripe on the side. The bottom photo shows a fish that is a darker brown with no white stripe.

According to my fish book, John P. Hoover’s The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals, the white stripe coloring is most common in deeper water where the coral is spaced farther apart. In shallower water, where the coral colonies are closer together, the darker coloring predominates. However, both these photos were taken in shallow water so it’s not an either/or situation.

Predators

Blue Goatfishes and other fish hunt fro prey in the waters off Hawaii

It’s not unusual to see this kind of gang activity while snorkeling, and what they’re doing is hunting. Their prey is small fish that take sanctuary in coral heads and among the rocks.

This bunch of hunters is dominated by Blue Goatfishes, easily identified by their blue bodies and yellow saddle at the base of the tail. There’s also a Bluefin Trevally and Pacific Trumpetfish toward the bottom of the photo and, near the top of the photo, a Peacock Grouper with a Whitemouth Moray Eel curling below it.

Eels are popular members of these hunting parties because they can wriggle into the smallest spaces, flushing out prey. The goatfishes perform similar work using long, white barbels below the chin to probe small spaces in the hopes of disturbing a meal. Other fish tag along hoping to be beneficiaries of this work by being the first to snag any victims that get flushed out.

Aquatic

A greeting on the sea floor at Two Step, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills color challenge theme is ‘Teal or Aqua.’ See more responses here. I’m going underwater for a selection of aquatic aquas.

The top photo shows what happens when divers have too much time on their hands.

Next, we have some Square-spot Goatfishes and a few Orangeband Surgeonfishes meandering over a patch of sand. Then a Bullethead Parrotfish displaying a variety of colors. And a shoal of Hawaiian Silversides going hither and yon over a rocky bottom.

Finally, a couple of Spinner Dolphin photos, where they swam below me over an aqua background.

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off HawaiiA Spinner Dolphin in the waters off Hawaii