Monday, October 12, 2009

Belated Weekend Dive Report for 10/10/09

This weekend we had the Ford Ironman Triathalon going on in Kona, so it was good to be diving far away from the crowd down south in Honaunau. I don't find the Triathalon to be a particularly thrilling event to witness and I've managed to avoid it every year so far. Water conditions at Honaunau were calm on the surface throughout the morning hours. Visibility was so-so with a lot of "marine snow" particulate matter hanging in the water column.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

The goofy face above belongs to a Burrfish that has been holed up in a small cave for a couple of months now. This is a kind of fish often referred to as "blowfish". It can gulp large amounts of water when threatened, distending its body into a globe shape and erecting its spines. This effectively deters sharks and other predators from making a meal of the Burrfish.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

This was a nice close-up I was able to get of a Crown-of-Thorns sea star. Without the flash these appear dull brown but the strobe brings out the blood-red coloration.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

The spiny creature above is a Collector Urchin. These are very common in Hawai'i and are unique because they pick up pieces of algae, shell and other bottom litter to cover themselves with. This particular one is interesting because it has covered itself with the bluish-purple skeletal remains of its brethren. A little ghoulish marine behavior for this Halloween season.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

This is a female Spotted Boxfish I found in a crevice. It has a rigid, armored body from which the fins and mouth protrude. It appears awkward, seemingly wiggling its fins frantically to swim. In fact, it is surprisingly fast and very agile. The males of this species are vivid blue with gold trim.

After my dives I was joined by my wife, Betty, and my grandson, Jacques, for a little playtime in the tidepools. We saw a couple of different eels, baby Raccoon Butterflyfish, a small Moorish Idol, and some shrimp. Here, my family is joined by Aquaman.

I didn't get to blog yesterday because our family made the long trip to the "big city" of Hilo to do some shopping. Specifically, we went to buy Hallmark Christmas ornaments. One of our purchases was this Finding Nemo ornament featuring Mr. Ray who is clearly based on the form of a Spotted Eagle Ray like the one in my prior post. Pretty cool!

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