Underwater fix


Over the course of several calm days, I spent as much time possible underwater.  A welcoming committee was there to greet me as I jumped off the back of the boat to check out a nearby patch reef.




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Traveling light to Antigua to pick up our new boat, I took my old standby Panasonic Lumix TS6 camera that was compact enough to justify bringing “just in case”.  The water was warm, clear and inviting!




Just about every type of cool sea critter stopped by to say hello!


Snappers & grunts ~


Gray snappers, french grunts (with the occasional nassau grouper) mixed with schools of white margate.




The gray’s always give themselves away with their curiosity...




Groupers ~


Juvenile nassau grouper are always in the nursery reefs that I frequent.  They like to sit on their tails and watch what I’m gonna do next…  




Strawberry groupers were also very curious about the strange, big fish with masked eyes floating nearby.







Cardinalfish & sweepers ~ 


On a familiar snorkel spot, reef cardinalfish seem to be proliferating like crazy.  They were everywhere.  Normally you might catch a glimpse of them in a cave, but this time they could be found around every corner. 





I came across a banded cardinalfish under a dark ledge when looking for something else…  This one had two freckled cardinalfish companions, a first for me.





Closer inspection of shiny, floating mass of sealife revealed adorable, translucent, juvenile glassy sweepers.  




Usually, this type of mass flashing in the sunlight hanging out at a cave entrances turns out to be mysid shrimp.





Blennies (!!) & gobies ~ 


I hadn’t seen masked gobies in a while and was pleased to see a few archetypical subjects ~ motionless, in suspension around the reef.




Saddled blennies and rosy blennies are very abundant in the areas I frequent here in the southern Bahamas.  They are always happy to see me and the most cooperative of my underwater friends!










I was thrilled to discover a new (to me) blenny, but couldn’t identify it without my books.  There were two next to each other in shallow waters.  They were reminiscent of a rosy blenny… but very distinctive with a bright orange ventral fin, bluish box near the tail, orange highlights and X-cross pattern on either side.  






Without books or particularly fast internet access for searches, finally my REEF friends online helped me ID this as an imitator blenny!




Snails & slugs ~


Just off of the stern of Reach on my way to a reef, I found this true tulip snail booking pretty rapidly across the sandy bottom in sea grass.  It was making such an effort that I could get a full view of its speckled body for once!







I was excited to come across a frilly lettuce sea slug!  While very common in Panama, I have only seen a couple in the Bahamas.







Flamingo tongues are always photogenic.  This one was actively eating and I was able to get an underside vantage without disturbing it.  I finally saw its full head and tentacles for the first time… and cool, there is his eye too!


 





Other cool visits include a relatively inquisitive porcupinefish, a spawning group of wrasses, a crazy-colored mantis shrimp, a slender filefish along with ubiquitous angelfish.





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This week provided an excellent underwater fix that will hopefully last me for a while...



© M&M 2016