Saturday, September 19, 2009

Right Place, Right Time

Betty and I live a 10 minute drive from a dive site called Two-Step at Honaunau Bay. I have dove this site between 700 to 800 times. People often ask if I get bored doing the "same dive" over and over. Well, it's never the same for me. Each dive is unique and the ocean always has something new to offer if you're looking in the right direction at the right time. The eel pictured here is a good example. This is a Dragon Moray which is very rarely seen in the main Hawaiian Islands. They are abundant in other parts of the Pacific, but not here. We found this one on a weekend morning on a coral head we've looked at many, many times in the past. On this day, I saw a little unusual movement , approached slowly and was treated to this unexpected sight  This is small specimen, but its pattern was bright and vivid with bright orange and white offset by black and brown. The jaws on this eel curve so much that the mouth is incapable of closing completely. Fleshy sensory appendages resemble horns, completing the dragon-like appearance. All that's missing are legs and maybe wings, if that's how you like your dragons!

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

Anyway, we had a nice long encounter with this individual and got to take lots of photos. I looked forward to further "photo sessions" as we knew the exact location of his lair. However, this was not to be. We visited the area time and again, searching high and low but never again saw our dragon moray. This is the nature of life on a coral reef. Things swim away, get eaten, change hide-outs or whatever. We don't leave a department store never to return again because we've seen everything they've got. Likewise, the ocean "re-stocks" frequently and it' never hurts to drop in and see what's new!

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