Thursday, August 30, 2018

I'm not chasing it...I just wanted to get closer for a better photo!

The first thing that went through my mind when I heard this from an uninformed and not very quick young lady today was: oy vey!

This is the animal I was hoping she wouldn't harass:

Not only are they federally protected, they are somewhat shy and really don't need people to bother them. My usual practice is to take a couple of quick photos and swim the other way. 

It was a five octopus day, too, so other than the honu incident, things were great. I also saw a shell on shell on shell experience, but I'll get to that later. If you know me, you know he'e (octopuses) are my main interest! (Did you know there's no s in the Hawaiian language, so if you hear someone talk about leis, tell them!

Not to start off on the defensive, we were still recovering from a lot of rain recently, thanks to the passing of Hurricane Lane, so the visibility wasn't the best.

 This is the big adult one that's out near the reef.
 This one is harder to see, as it is hiding just below the rock, which is the same color as the octopus. 
 You can see the size of this one a little bit, as it is compared with the Saddle Wrasse. But it was a small is so hard to make the size evident!
 They do this a lot: bulk up so it looks like they have shoulders. Note the siphon on the right (tube with brown outside and white inside.)
And this is one of my regulars, showing the aqua color on its siphon. And in this case, the eye is just below that tube.
 It is hard to discern, but the abudefduf pictured is the one with what I thought was a mortal wound...not! Apparently this fish wanted to live, wound and all.
 This is another Horn shell. I'll put the other one at the end of the post.

Can you tell what this is? A black Leaf Fish, holding tightly to the rock. It is usually hard to snatch a photo, as they try to stay out of the main flow of water.
 And I was VERY surprised to learn that Christmas Wrasse, the very pretty fish with aqua and orange, eats Brittle Star fish!!! Who knew?! This fish grabbed a snack ..and then proceeded to bash the bit it bit against rocks as it swam past. I really had never seen this activity before (and hubby says the brittle stars stay out of the light as a general rule, which is why I don't usually see them) and it blew my mind. I don't know why, but I had thought this fish would be a vegetarian. Shows what I know.
 And an unusual sighting: the yellow phase of the Cigar Wrasse! Always love seeing these fish, as they run sleekly through the scene.

 Clouds and Palm trees from the water.
 Nice female Trunk Fish. 
It took me a while to figure out what was going on here:
 A hairy Triton Shell was locked in mortal combat with a horn shell! Face to face, as it were...

 Look carefully at this Horn shell in the photo below: a bit of the animal is protruding from the shell on the bottom left (look for grey spots and white)
 Below is what I saw at first. Look closely: there's a white bubble-shaped shell above the two other shells, and the crab inside has green legs. That is what I noted first, as the crab slogged its way around on the two shells.
 I must admit, and couldn't quickly find out on the internet, which of the two shells would win in a battle between Horn Shell and Hairy Triton. I did discover that the triton has acid in its body to use to take prey over, so I'm guessing the Triton will win. If it had been a fast battle, I would have used film. But there was very little evident activity while I was watching the shells.
Juvenile Rock Mover Wrasse. Love these fish!
I did see a big adult rock mover, rubbing itself against rocks, but didn't see an octopus near that.
 Snowflake Moray Eel trying desperately to get away from me and hide. Really, they are not federally protected, but truly, I don't hassle these animals.

The Turban Shell above appeared old and empty (except for sand), but I wasn't sure. It was in pretty good shape, even if not in pretty condition, so I put it back down on the bottom.
A very nice swim. Two and a half hours, fully worth fighting the rip current! 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

After Lane: 2 octopuses!

After getting a snorkel/weather report from my pal, I drove down to Poipu to swim for the first time since Hurricane Lane was in our area. Not great conditions, but it was good to get back into the water. The rain waited for the most part until I got home. 
 A very small Humu, totally ready to disappear in a hole, if I threatened.
 I was glad to see the injured Abudefduf was still around. Still surprising!
 Ambon puffer swimming near an urchin.
 Nice blue skies.
 He'e 1 with aqua on its siphon.
 He'e 2. If you look closely, you can see its eye just at the bottom of the hole.
 A turtle was resting on the beach when I arrived.
 Clouds, palms and a rip current. I chose not to swim in the deep part; people see one person in and they decide it's ok. This was before the lifeguards arrived, so I was trying to be good and not encourage anyone to go beyond their skills.
 Little Snowflake Moray Eel.
 Spotfin Scorpion Fish. Right where people sometimes walk on the bottom.
 Surf. There were a few hardy souls out there.
 This group of Trevally was clustered around their friend with the fish hook and line in its mouth. I swam around after it for about 10 minutes, but wasn't able to cut off any of the line.
This is the beach in front of where I normally swim. Nice sky. God answered prayers: we didn't get much from Hurricane Lane. In fact, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm by this morning. So thankful!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

5 octopuses - a day late!

I normally try to post a swimming experience on the same day. I have found that if I wait until the next day, some of the immediacy has gone. But I was too into prep for the possible hurricane to type and post anything yesterday. As it is, I won't be swimming tomorrow or probably the whole weekend, as we are expecting big surf, so I better do this post while it is at least somewhat fresh:

So five octopuses. Yay! Including one really small one, which always makes me smile:
Aww. So cute! This one didn't like me looking, but didn't change to angry maroon until much later.

The one below was #1. Always a good thing, as that helps me know they are still out there.

Sometimes, when they hide in their holes, they get sand on themselves. Perhaps they think it helps with the camouflage!
 You can see how they hide....or maybe you can't! Look down from the red'll see pale brown and white and an octo-eye, near the lower right of the photo.

 Here's the angry brown I referred to above. This one was hidden in its den and had seen me a few times before. Really, I don't harass them, other than taking their photo!
Sometimes, I have to drag myself away from taking more photos, as if I think they may care. Actually, they may care, so I do try not to stay lurking over them for too long.
 I was surprised to see this was the one that I had noted a week or so ago, that had a chunk bitten out of it. Glad to see it had weathered the injury well.

 One without the chunk taken out.
 A black Leaf Fish. It was in a cleft in the rock, so it wasn't that easy to spot. If you have any trouble, look for the blue on the right of the photo...the blue is on its right fin.

 A small 3 spot damsel, protecting its coral head. They are tiny!
 The two Indo Pacific Damsel fish that are headed in the same direction were possibly doing a mating dance. They darted up to the surface, then down, then up again. A smarter blogger would have taken video. I'm rarely accused of being smart.
Goat Fish are so "regular" that I rarely take their picture, but this one had some nice purple coloration, so I made an exception.
 This humu was about 2 inches long. Adorable! But feisty. It kept darting toward the hole to its right, in an attempt to hide.

 Nice shell, possibly a basket. But don't quote me.
 You can see a few of my faves in this one: the pencil urchin, the little blenny and on the right, a brighteye chromis. I don't normally have so many neat things in the same photo, so I snapped it up.

 Pencil urchins.
 My pal, the Rock Mover Wrasse! I thought the light on it was pretty. These are the fish that often associate with octopuses.

A snoozing seal on the island. Thankfully, I didn't have to give any lectures on seal niceties.
 I am not sure why some fish like to hang out near eels, but the Trevally do this too. Here a Saddle Wrasse joins in.

This eel was giving me what for. Regardless of how this looks, they don't normally challenge swimmers. But I wouldn't advise walking around on the bottom either. This is definitely the most prevalent eel I see regularly.
 A nice Turban Shell, and since it was in good condition, I couldn't tell if anyone was living in it, so I put it down again. This is the shell that makes the operculum that I collect.

 Here's the same shell once I deposited it down on the ocean floor again. 
I'll keep you up to date on the progress of Hurricane Lane. Please pray with me that we don't get blasted! And thanks for reading.