Underwater scenery

During a nice stretch of calmer weather and clear water, we’ve been enjoying lots of underwater time.  I’ve been out with Mark to his new favorite fishing spot, snorkeling with Leslie around some shallow gardens, shared a dive with Bob & Robin, and on my own out to a few of my old favorite spots.  

Leslie borrowed my extra underwater camera to test it out and she took several nice photos (especially after adding a weight belt), including this flamingo tongue and lovely white scroll algae.  Well done!

Bob and I had a shark sighting, but luckily it was a small reef shark about 3 feet long and was just passing by.  And then there was the hogfish who was hiding and got away…

This water-time has definitely helped with my primer on reef coral identification, including algae.   So now, not only do I appreciate the lovely colors and shapes of different corals, but am slowly starting to recognize species and learn subtle differences within a species.

The limestone shoreline and ledges are interesting to explore, alongside shallow rubble areas decorated with hydroids and algae. 

I know my hydroids well, yet was happy to find a new one (to me), the solitary sponge hydroid on a green finger sponge.

They resemble the solitary gorgonian hydroids without the curlicues on the ends.

Unique shapes, colors and texture combinations always catch my eye (don’t know what the big pink balls are yet)...

Shelf-knob sea rod; Christmastree hydroids; Fuzzy-tip algae; pink balls??

Erect rope sponge; social feather dusters; etc

Overgrowing mat tunicates; Christmastree hydroids; etc

I’ve started photographing interesting coral that I can later identify.  These are all new & cool discoveries for me ~

Knobby brain coral

Doughnut sea rod

Shelf-knob sea rod

Slit-pore sea rod

Convoluted barrel sponge

Getting to recognize types of algae has also been interesting.  Although often covering dead coral areas, they are quite pretty in their own right.

Sargassum algae

Network algae

Leafy rolled-blade algae

Pink segmented algae

It’s not often that I see new (to me) fish in these familiar waters, so a MOST exciting discovery was a new blenny!!  

This guy was perched and from afar I thought it was a redlip blenny that I see often… but I love blennies so swam over to take his photo.  

Turns out it was a mimic blenny, which took me a while to identify thanks to a lucky close-up photo that I took right before he scooted away to hide.  

The Reef Fish ID book has this as a rare blenny meaning sightings are exceptional, so I’m thrilled to have found him!

Mimic blenny

I recently saw four critters that I used to see often in Panama, but had a first time seeing here in the Bahamas…  never gets old!

Lettuce sea slug

Bearded fireworm

Pencil urchin

Giant hermit crab

© M&M 2016