Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Octopus, shells and pencils..oh my!

Yesterday had a lot of fun stuff, as you see in the title of this post. 
This octopus was the same one the lady stepped around for me. Its "shoulders" were up on the back of its den.  It had placed some rocks near its hole, so it was easier to spot: both a good thing and a bad thing. Those of us that look for tako can find the den by the rocks. The bad part is that some people eat the poor things. Bad, bad people! In some locales, you can tell where the octopus is by the empty shells outside its den. Maybe in my area, the shells are carried away by the waves. Speaking of waves:
Really enjoy seeing the waves like this.  And the "rock" on the top
 in the left corner aren't really rocks: it's the reflection of the rocks below in the water.
Pencil urchin:

Light really helps.  It is somewhat tough to get these shots, especially when the waves are moving you about. Terrestrial photos much easier.

What you are seeing is two Electric Blue Crabs trying to get into a Turban Shell. Luckily for the Turban Shell, its operculum is intact and acting like a shut door. I didn't stay around to see what happened...takes a while. My time is limited. Well, in this case, limited to 3.5 hours. HA.
Male Trunk Fish. We call 'em box fish.  They have a hard bony body underneath that pretty blue skin with all the dots. And bulgy eyes. 
No swim is complete without my octo-finder, the Rock Mover Wrasse.The jaws of this fish are incredibly strong, as they pick up rocks and search underneath for food.

Snowflake moray eel.  They have rounded teeth.  Still wouldn't want one to bite me.

Pretty little Ambon Puffer fish. Quick little fish.

Some cowry shells snuggled up under a ledge for protection. Or privacy. Who knows?
Barred File Fish eating something on coral.

This cone shell was above the coral...it fell a bit when I sneaked a finger in to pick up some Turban Shell pieces. Then two bluefin trevally swimming together:

And a Christmas Wrasse joined the search party.
You cannot tell well in this photo, but the Cowry shell that's on its back was about to be attacked by a hermit crab in the orange-covered shell. Another Cowry shell nearby felt empty, so I picked it up and took it home. Unfortunately, when I unpacked my findings later, it was not empty but alive, and clinging to some other ocean bits.  So I went to my car, with the shell in water, and drove to Ahukini Landing.  A little boy and his brother were there...I asked the bigger boy to throw the shell into the water for me. He did.  We were all happy. I would have felt bad if the shell died because of my shell picking. Only broken shells from now on, unless I can tell it's truly empty.
Haven't had the chance to catch a photo of this for a while. It's an urchin with its waste sac showing. Pretty, but not good to touch!
And always happy to see a flounder:

Movement is the key: if this one hadn't moved from its initial position, I doubt I would have seen it.

To finish this post, imagine the lovely smell of these Plumeria trees. It was wonderful. And palm trees for my sweetheart. You can also just see the Lifeguard tower...I took them some cranberry/walnut scones. He said: You baked these yourself?! Bien sur!

The Lady

I have been a slouch! I swam for 3 days and only posted about one.  So today, before work, I'll let you know what showed up. But first, yesterday, I was watching an octopus I had seen before.  I saw Teva's feet coming toward us, so I popped up and asked the lady if she would be willing to walk around us, so she wouldn't walk on the octopus.  She was very kind and acceded to my request. How nice.
Saturday's swim was also graced by octopus: two.
The first one was so small that I at first thought it was seaweed.  Well, it was about 10 feet below me.
It looks upside down, but it was really just the angle of my photo. When the waves are moving me, it's tough to get close. This one I had to dive down for...and then pop all the way back up. Not easy, but worth it for this little guy. And it wasn't seaweed...
I also saw a Hawaiian Green Lionfish. Their bigger cousins are hunted to keep their numbers down, as they eat everything on the reef, apparently. Happily, I have never seen one of the bigger lionfish in the wild. 
The spines on their back are what you need to worry about..and not walk on! Apparently they have poison. I told a lady who was walking in the area that there was a poisonous fish and she shouldn't walk. I offered to show it to her, but she swam away. I guess she either didn't care to see it or was afraid.  I think they're fascinating, but others' mileage may vary.

I also saw a Devil Scorpion fish. It was so blended into the seascape that I almost didn't see it:
If you don't see it immediately, look at the right side of the photo: its tail. Then follow that back to the center. As I said, really well camouflaged!
Then I saw a cute pair of Bullethead Blenny.  Aren't you proud of me that I actually looked that up before posting?!
They were having some kind of fishy conversation. I was surprised that I got this shot, as normally, they run for cover immediately. Perhaps whatever they were discussing was more important than that big shadow overhead.
Parrot fish with its cleaner wrasse.  Do click on the photo...much better when bigger.
The Pencil Urchins mostly hide...this is fun to try to get a photo of, because the light is sometimes lacking. In this case, I think it worked out ok.
 Nice male trunk fish. Always scooting away.
The Barred Filefish. Look at those teeth. Small mouth though. They eat coral. Or maybe what is ON the coral.
Finally, I got a photo where you can see the eyebrows of the Moorish Idol! I love these fish. Not particularly afraid, and so pretty with the stripes and coloration. Note the different yellow on the nose, as compared to the yellow on the body. 
I enjoy the urchins when they are hidden in their holes. The better to miss their spines! I have been quite fortunate in not being poked by these, thank God!

Small Basket Shell. Love the bumps.

Rock Mover Wrasse:
I always think of a clown when i see the designs on their faces.

Upper left in the photo is octopus #2. So glad when I see an octopus. 

And then it was peeking at me:
Lower left: look for the brown and white. It was hiding in a hole. You can just see its eye: a little slit in the pale tan. They will peek at you to see if you have gone away.
This is a hermit crab...it's actually called the Cone Shell Hermit Crab. And indeed, that is the house it was using.  The stripes on the legs give it away..

Nice Trunk Fish female for my sweetie...Adorable.

And Cowry shell.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's cowry story..

Saturday, May 27, 2017

two octopus day

A two octopus day is a good day! Especially since last week, all the octopuses were hiding on Sunday.  Glad they were back today. 

I'll forgive you if you say they are hard to see.
#1 octopus was hiding so well, that I came back to see it 2 times and could only find it on the 2nd try. I don't know if it left the area for my 3rd try, but I couldn't see it. It does blend rather well, wouldn't you say?
#2 was hiding in a hole. I search all along the shore and sometimes I am rewarded, as I was today. I love how they can make their skin bumpy. It helps them blend in even better.
There was a seal napping:

I cropped the top photo because you can see its "hand" with fingernails! and same seal a bit later, having rolled onto its back. I love seeing their golden stomachs. By the way, and you'll be proud of me for this, there were 2 guys who thought it would be a good idea to walk in the water in front of this seal. See how too close that would have made them?  And I didn't even blast them! I really wanted to, but they did move on.  Good for them. At least the seal didn't seem to care. They were breaking the law, though...there's a distance limit.
Now for the toughest fish in the sea...well, my part of the sea, anyway:
It's the Rock Mover Wrasse.  These fish pick up big rocks and throw them about with their jaws.  It is unbelievable. This one appears to have a rip or something above its gill slit, so I hope it's ok...they often lead me to octopuses, so I hold them in some esteem.

This one has 3 types of striped fish: the abudefduf on the left and bottom, the sergeant major, near the rock in the middle and the Convict Tang on the right.  All up and down stripes, but they look so different!

I'm including 2 eel photos. They are different eels, but the same type.  I thought the one with the Christmas Wrasse was cool...the wrasse had been harassing the eel, darting all around it.  This looks like the eel might make it pay. They ended up separating, but it could have been ugly.
I think these are sponges:
The part on the right had a hole in it, which made me think it's a sponge. If you know better, please let me know!
A pair of my fave fish: brighteye chromis:
Aren't they just so cute?  So quick. And nicely colored..

Here's a cone shell that was hiding in the coral:
I have been surprised lately when I peer into coral: sometimes there are shells hiding, sometimes crabs.  (Oh and by the way: if you get a chance, look on youtube for Lembeh Strait...it's in Indonesia and they have amazing underwater animal videos. And yes, there are octopuses...)
Cowry shell:

Now isn't that a pretty little shell? I didn't pick it up, but assumed it was in use. And I missed the mulberry drupe shell on the left until I got the photos home..
Christmas Wrasse again:
A very nice male trunk fish.  I saw a female too, so they are happy in this water.
And last, but not least, a blenny, poking its little head out of a hole:
Camouflage almost as good as the octopus's!
Thanks, God, for a wonderful and safe snorkel.  When my friend and I were leaving, the lifeguards were closing the deep part of the beach, due to high surf and swell.....glad I got in my swim in time.