Health issues have been keeping me out of the water, so I’ve been going through the photos from our November Bali trip. Found some interesting stuff. Today’s topic is tobies, those diminutive puffers that are another of my favorite fish groups. I like them because they’re pretty, diverse, and approachable.
Winding the year down with some leftover Bali observations. Some of these are trophy fish—those that all the aspiring National Geographic photographers ask the dive guides to find so we can bring back photos. But most are just fish that I happen to like.
On Sunday we dove with our good friends at Kohala Divers. This was our first outing on their new 46 foot dive boat, Nakama. It’s a very sweet boat, spacious, comfortable, with all the bells and whistles, maybe the best dive boat we’ve ever been on. The crew was, as always, great. Tradewinds were howling on this day, so our crew chose sites tucked close into the North Kohala shoreline. First dive was at a site called Horseshoe and the second was at Crystal Cove.
On Saturday Marla and I met up with our buddies Jeff and Sandra for a snorkel at Ho`okena Beach Park. Ho`okena is almost two hours south of us, and we don’t get down there much, but it’s one of the Big Island’s premier snorkeling sites. Here you can find fish species—Potter’s angelfish, flame angelfish, Hawaiian garden eel—at snorkeling depths that are only found at greater depths at other sites. Jeff and Sandra are much more familiar with this site than we are, so they gave us a tour. It was quite productive…
The relationship between certain tropical sea anemones and the group of damselfish called anemonefish is a textbook example of symbiosis. It’s not clear if the relationship is commensal (only one of the participants benefits) or mutualistic (both participants benefit). It is clear that anemones provide shelter to the fish, who are immune to the anemone’s poisonous stings—anemonefish are virtually never seen away from their invertebrate hosts. Benefits to the anemones are less obvious, but there’s evidence that they receive nutrition from the fish’s waste (both feces and food scraps) as well as protection from certain species of butterflyfish that eat the anemones. It’s also been speculated that movement of the fish within the anemones’ tentacles helps clean and feed the anemone. And there may be other benefits to either or both species.
Balinese reefs are home to at least ten species of anemonefish, offering abundant opportunities to observe this fascinating interaction. I posted photos of four anemonefish species in my 12/24/17 post. On our most recent trip we spotted two additional species. But anemonefish are not the only animals that cohabit with anemones…
Marla and I just returned from a fantastic three-week trip to Bali. Like last year, our primary objective was to get in as much diving and snorkeling as we could while enjoying Bali’s delightful people and culture. Like last trip, we divided most of our time between Amed on Bali’s northeast coast and Pemuteran—with day trips to nearby Menjangan Island—on the northwest coast. Both of these face the warm, calm Java Sea. On this trip we added a couple of days in Padangbai, which faces the colder, wilder Indian Ocean. There were also the mandatory couple of days in Ubud, often described as the cultural heart of Bali, the setting for the novel and movie Eat, Pray, Love. For Philistines like us it’s more like Eat, Pay, Leave. (Actually, we quite like Ubud despite its crowds and touristiness.)
I took a lot of photos of a lot of different species of fish and invertebrate. I’ll restrict myself to just a couple of posts though. Well, maybe three. Four, tops. Starting with this selection of a few of my favorites:
Some more of what we saw at Paniau last weekend.