My fish book describes the brown surgeonfish as “so unremarkable in appearance that most divers and snorkelers overlook it.’ While this is true, any photographer knows that the right lighting can do wonders for a subject.
This varicose phyllidia is a small nudibranch, which I saw several times over the course of a week or so. Apart from being a lot smaller than the clumpy nudibranchs I saw a couple of months back, the varicose phyllidia has gills under the mantle skirt rather than in an exposed, wavy clump.
This one was two to three inches long. In the middle photo, the tiny white-spotted toby and small brown surgeonfish give a sense of scale.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Morning Rituals.’ See more responses here.
Most mornings, I try to get in the water, as conditions and schedules allow. Morning is the best time for snorkeling as the water is usually calmer before the wind picks up as the day wears on. Visibility can vary from day to day and it can help to check surf reports to see if there are any swells moving in. But calm water doesn’t guarantee good visibility just as swells don’t always mean bad visibility. There’s only one way to be sure and that’s to jump in.
My favorite thing about snorkeling is that every day is different and I never know what I’ll see. Going to the same spot means I become familiar with some of the regulars, but there are always transient creatures passing through including rays and dolphins. And while those big creatures are great to encounter, it’s equally interesting to watch the activities of smaller fish and marine invertebrates.
It’s a rare day indeed that I don’t emerge prattling on about something I saw while I was in the water. And on those rare days, well, I’ve still had a good swim to set me up for the day ahead.
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.
Shoals of yellow tang are the most visible fish on the reefs. Their bright yellow color means that they’re often easily seen from shore. The smaller silvery fish are juveniles, though I don’t know which kind of fish they are. But it’s fun to see them darting around in the shallows and, as seen in nature documentaries on TV, turning en masse from one direction to another when I approach.
This is a second response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Waterworld.’ (See more responses here.) Yesterday, I posted about the movie Waterworld. Today, it’s a probably more expected response.
These are photos I took during my swim yesterday. Visibility in the water was patchy with some good areas and some not so good. I didn’t see anything startling, though the mackerel shads aren’t a common sight. Last time I saw such a shoal there was a great barracuda lurking on the other side. I looked around and, sure enough, there was another one looking interested as it cruised low down, too low for a decent photo.
The other oddity was in the photo at left. I saw what I think is a spotted coral blenny on this patch of cauliflower coral, and snapped a quick photo before it took off. But it was only when I processed the photos that I saw something else, to the left and slightly below the blenny. I think it’s a small trumpetfish, but it could be something else. A lot of small fish and other creatures hide in coral heads so I must pay more attention from here on.
In short, it was a fairly typical swim.
A variety of reef fish – including yellow tang, goldring surgeonfish, whitebar surgeonfish, brassy chub, and ember parrotfish – forage on a shallow rocky shelf.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Re-imagine Orange.’ See more responses here.
A shoal of orangeband surgeonfish is fun to see with their orange bands making them easy to identify and follow. For the purpose of this challenge, I took the photo below, desaturated the other colors, then boosted the orange to emphasize their defining feature. These changes virtually eliminated the other fish, particularly the yellow tang which went from bright focal points to almost invisible.