Today we took it easy, just one swim at Boca Catalina. Whenever we go in at Boca, we swim up to Malmok, because that’s where most of the reef is located. It was a pretty clear day, and nice clear water, for the most part. Sometimes close to shore it gets a bit churned up from the sand and waves.
Today we saw some nifty stuff, including several new fish. There was a quillfin blenny, which we had not see before. It’s kind of a large blenny, and rather strange looking. It’s a shy fish, and quick to take cover, so we’ve never been able to photograph it before. There was another blenny, a two-toned blenny that we managed to get a shot of too… it’s another fish that won’t sit still for a shot, so we were lucky to nail her.
We saw a queen angelfish, which have been very few and far between. I think we’ve only seen her once before, and Pam was the only one who saw her. It’s a really colorful fish, bright blue and bright yellow/orange.
There was a yellowtail jack – in a school of four or five. The look and act just like a barjack. The other fish get nervous when they cruise by. They come out of nowhere and blow by you in a hurry. You have to have your camera on and ready to take a pic in order to get a shot. We got lucky today!
I managed to get a shot of a queen triggerfish with her front trigger raised. The first time we’ve managed to do that I think. They use the trigger to lock themselves between rock, when they feel threatened (I know this because I read it in our fish book!)
We saw another turtle today, a hawksbill. She was quite a bit smaller than the one we saw yesterday, so that means there are least three turtles in this area! It’s been a treat each time we get to swim with them. They only use their front paddles to move, unless you startle them, then they kick with all four legs.
We followed the turtle out quite a ways from shore. Then we saw this large school of fish we’d never seen before. They were quite large, about two and half feet up to about four feet. They moved quickly, darted around in a huge circle. We think it might be a rainbow runner, or a guaguanche, which are related to the barracuda class of fish. They are long and thin, and amazing swimmers.
There was a Spanish hogfish that I managed to get a pretty cool shot of… I dove down, and as I was coasting along the bottom, he popped up from behind a rock and I had my camera ready. I think it’s one of the best shots I’ve taken the whole trip!
This is one of Pam’s favorite fish, so I was glad to get this shot! I guess it’s the color of them… they do stick out in the ocean! But I still can’t figure why this fish is called a hogfish. Maybe it has strange eating habits!
I also got another pic today that I’m pretty happy with as well. I was diving down to get a shot of a scorpionfish, a fish we’ve taken enough shots of! I saw this great photoscape and just took it. It came out better than I dreamed! Really happy with this shot.
On the way back, we saw a balloonfish. They are cute little guys, with weird psychedelic eyes. They have a green pattern, like some pattern you’d see on a disco light show! Usually they are under a rock, peering shyly out at you, but this guy was laying in a depression of the ocean floor. Maybe he thought he was hidden! Quite a cute little fish.
I’m going to add a second one, just because he’s cool. He’s about ten to twelve inches long. He has these little quills that he will stand on end, and he’ll puff up to be about two or three times his size, if he feels threatened.