Thursday, May 28, 2015

Swimming Nudibranch

Nudibranchs are the marine equivalent of a garden slug. However, unlike terrestrial slugs, nudibranchs can often be quite colorful and attractive. The largest of the Hawaiian nudibranchs is the Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus) which can sometimes achieve a length of over one foot.

While most nudibranchs crawl across the substrate, the Spanish dancer, when alarmed, can swim through the water column by flexing and extending its body in an undulating fashion. In doing so, its extended mantle waves rhythmically much like a flamenco dancer's skirt!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sleeping Sharks

There have been a lot of whitetip reef sharks (Triaenodon obesus) in Honaunau Bay over the last couple of months. One morning I found eight of them crammed tightly together under a small ledge in shallow water. In addition to the shark's head in this photo, you can see the back of one and the tail of another.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Commerson's frogfish seen at Honaunau

A few months back I encountered this medium-sized Commerson's frogfish (Antennarius commerson) at the north end of Honaunau Bay. I was able to get some decent photos including this one of it swimming.

Frogfish aren't built for swimming but are wondrously well adapted for sitting still, so to see this one swim for a short distance was interesting. While sorely lacking in either speed or endurance, the frogfish has an ingenious form of propulsion wherein it forces jets of water from ducts under its "arms" (pectoral fins) to give it an extra boost.

Also kind of cool (to me) is this final shot where you can see the thin spine sprouting from the forehead with a bushy "lure" at the end. The lure is called an esca and is jiggled by the frogfish to lure unsuspecting prey close to its generously-sized mouth. And thus, the Circle of Life remains unbroken.  Hakuna Matata!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fresh Manta Ray Pics from Keauhou Bay

I haven't posted for a while over concerns that my photos were showing up on the internet in places I never intended them to be. As a result, I am now putting the copyright directly on the photo instead of putting it in the caption. I hate to be so petty but, even with my relatively unsophisticated equipment, it takes a lot of time, preparation and effort to obtain these photos and I don't enjoy others taking them as their own work. 'Nuff said.

The winter swells are subsiding and I recently made a sojourn to lovely, if somewhat busy, Keauhou Bay to commune with the manta rays. Fortune favored me as I saw three different mantas over the course of two dives. I also saw a sandbar shark but only briefly and from a distance.

As usual, the mantas were present to be cleaned by the various wrasses but they seemed to take longer to "settle down" to be cleaned. Perhaps they haven't had many daytime divers around during the winter and they weren't used to having company.

Nevertheless, it was a good time and I returned with some satisfying photos to share. Conditions were fair with a higher than average amount of marine "snow" making photography a bigger challenge.

Betty and I witnessed some huge surf roll into Keauhou Bay this past winter but the reef seems in good shape compared to Honaunau which took a huge beating.

Well, that's all folks! Mahalo for stopping by.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lava Activity at Kilauea

All photos Copyright 2015 by Barry Fackler

During late April and early May, the volcanic activity at Kilauea really picked up. The lava lake inside Halema'uma'u crater overflowed its banks and spilled out onto the caldera floor resulting in a spectacular show! Betty and I spent two weekends in the rain, wind and cold to view this amazing sight and it was definitely worth it! The lava has receded underground for now, but could surface again at any time.

If you ever get an opportunity to see flowing lava, by all means take it!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Backyard Dinosaur

Photos Copyright 2015 by Barry Fackler

This Jackson's chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksonii) lives in our backyard but is rarely seen.