Monday, September 21, 2009

Giant Moray

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

One morning, while swimming out to a dive site in Keauhou Bay, I saw a dark, writhing mass on the seafloor below. I couldn't make out what it was, but it resembled a really big octopus. I decided to start my dive at this spot and see if I could get close enough to ID whatever this thing was. As I descended, the mass slithered under a coral head and temporarily out of sight.   After reaching the bottom, it didn't take long to find out what the mystery creature was. Looming out of the reef was the head of the unimaginatively named Giant Moray (Gymnothorax javanicus).  Although this species of eel has been characterized as being  aggressive, this particular individual was well-mannered and allowed me to photograph at close range. The literature says this eel can reach a length of eight feet and a weight of 77 lbs. This specimen was definitely close to that size. It is rare in Hawaii although I saw one in Honaunau Bay around two years ago. I've also heard of a huge moray at the dive site called "Pipe Dreams" near the Natural Energy Lab. 

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