Tag Archives: squid

Royal Sea Aquarium stay-cation

Some coral at the SeaQuarium beachPam and I are staying at the Royal Sea Aquarium this week. A stay-cation if you will as we are still on the island, but at the opposite end to where we live. We don’t often get down here, and it’s been a nice change.

Caribbean Reef SquidWe had a nice snorkel off the Sea Aquarium and the water was amazingly warm. Saw all the usual suspects, although we saw a group of larger squid. Most squid we’ve seen lately have been of the smaller variety, but these were quite large.

The resort has evolved a little since we’ve stayed here last. They have a nice poolside bar, with breakfast service. Taco Tuesday is a new day long special as well. The suites are as amazing as always.

The only downside was that they have discontinued the free entry to the aquarium. Most disappointed with that. We used to go and watch the dolphin shows a couple times at least.

Still, a nice little get away. Nice to sleep in. Nice to “see” this side of the island!

We had a nice dinner out at our favorite pizza joint, Il Forno’s and it didn’t disappoint. A very nice dinner.

Playa Lagun

The staircase to Bahia Beach barPlaya Lagun is a smaller bay, near Westpunt. It has a couple of nice restaurants very close by – one behind the parking lot, and another that requires climbing a rather long set of stairs up to the Bahia apartment complex. Both have pretty good food, but the Bahia Beach Bar has much nicer views. The beach itself has a few palapas, a masseuse, a batido (smoothie) food truck, and a place that sells fresh fish. There is no shower, and restrooms are in the restaurants only.

Playa Lagun entryIt’s always quite busy. Lots of sun tanners on loungers, that are for rent. The bay is quite narrow, but there is usually always something fun to see in the ocean. The best way to enter the ocean is on the far left side. It’s very sandy there, and is quite easy to get in. The right and middle of the bay is quite rocky with lots of bigger chunks of coral that hurt your feet, so definitely enter and exit on the left side.

The coral starts to get better the further out you get. Both walls are quite fun, and today we saw a large school of squid, a flying gurnard and a turtle. It was a fun snorkel, and there was lots of other fish to see, what we call the usual suspects. After our snorkel, we grabbed a batido from the little food truck, like we normally do – she does a great job!

Small turtle Flying Gurnard Staircase to the bar The bay is a star too!

Snorkeling at Playa Kenepa Grandi

Swimming with ducksWe don’t often snorkel at Playa Kenepa Grandi, sometimes just called Playa Grandi. It’s supposed to be the most photographed beach on Curacao. It is easy to see why. It is very picturesque, with a long sandy beach and beautifully colored water. There is a small snack bar, a pay shower, bathrooms and lots of beach chairs. It is very busy most days, and today (Monday, November 28) was no exception.

The coral is not great, but there are lots of varieties of fish. We saw a big school of squid. We used to see squid a lot, but not so much anymore. The ones we’ve seen have been quite small, but these were the largest we’ve seen this year. Nice to see. But today’s highlight was an eagle ray.

Eagle ray in CuracaoIt’s not often we get to swim with eagle rays. Usually, we see them for just a minute or two and they swim off at a high rate of speed. This time, we swam with this guy for a long time, probably 20 minutes. And it only ended because we got tired of chasing him around. He seemed to take great delight in swimming in a circle about three hundred meters around! Round and round we’d go, I’m sure he just wanted to see how long we’d chase him.

Swimming about

Pirate shipWe had a relaxing day today. A short little swim at the beach where we encountered the large bait ball a few days ago. The pelicans were still there, maybe even more! The bait ball was still there, but seemed smaller than before, maybe my imagination.

Blue striped gruntWe swam further north that we had the other day, and encountered a really cool environment. It was quite a bit different than anything we’d seen on Aruba. It seemed more rugged, less spoiled. I think it’s because there is really no easy beach access. We had to swim quite a ways to get to it from our entry point.

Parrotfish We saw some neat fish here. There was another HUGE school of Caribbean reef squid, probably the largest we’ve seen yet. I think we’ve seen more squid this trip than all the others combined.

There was a strange pink/red parrotfish which we can’t find in our books. She had blue lips, and blue markings over a mostly pink body. She was not shy and was completely unconcerned about us diving around her trying to get a good photo. I’m sure it’s not a mature fish yet, so she’s going to be even more colorful when full grown.

Needlefish There was a huge school of needlefish, which seemed to be taking the place of the palomettos of the other day. That is, they circled the bait ball, keeping it tight together, while diving in for a snack whenever they wanted. These fish swim within a couple of inches of the top of the ocean, hardly ever going deeper than a foot. Cool looking fish, and there were some quite large ones here too.

Striped gruntThere were lots of schools of grunts, and snapper just drifting on the waves. We saw a couple of big barjacks, and Pam saw a couple larger fish, perhaps a Cero. They move so fast it’s almost impossible to get a picture unless you have your camera on, and pointed in their direction.

LobsterThere were lots and lots of lobster. Must have been a party, because we could have fed half of Aruba with all the lobster there! Seemed every rock that had a shelf under it had a couple lobster hiding under it.

Here is a short movie of the pelicans diving into the bait ball. The seagulls land on their heads, and sometimes reach inside the pelican’s pouch, looking for tidbits! It’s pretty funny to see, actually.

Swimming with turtles

Boca catalinaMonday we headed out to Boca Catalina beach. The weather was amazing, sunny and calm. As we approached the beach, we noticed a lot of snorkelers in the water. And with good reason! The water clarity was the best we’ve had so far. Green Turtle Near the shore, it is quite sandy so it was a little cloudy, but once out about 15-20 feet you could see for miles! We got some really amazing shots. It was hard to pick just a few for the blog!

Here is a movie of what we think is a green turtle. I’m including both movies I took, Just Because it is so awesome to swim with these dudes! The Red Sail snorkelers had gone right over the top of him and missed him. I saw the guy, took a few pictures, then dove down hoping he’d some up for a swim. Green turtleWell, he didn’t disappoint us! One of the girls from the Red Sail group couldn’t stop giggling with glee when she saw him. Lucky for them, Pam called them back for the view!

Queen triggerfishWe also saw so many Queen Triggerfish I can’t believe it! It’s a fish I just love! It’s so elegant in the water, with such amazing colors and patterns. I’m posting pictures of two in particular, an adult one, and a juvenile one. Queen triggerfish The juvenile one has a more delicate color, almost lavender, and she was about eight inches. The larger one is a deeper blue, with darker colors on her facial features. She was well over a foot, maybe eighteen inches. They are usually tough to get a picture of, because they swim away from you, but the little one in particular let me take a lot of pictures of her.

I was busy taking pictures of a French Angel, when Pam said to me, “Are you taking pictures of the Angel, or the scorpionfish?” I hadn’t even seen the scorpionfish! And this brief movie will show you why it’s so hard to see them! He’s laying right on the shelf and looks like the rocks and coral he’s around!

French angel The picture of the French Angel is kind of remarkable too. Usually they swim away from you too. They just don’t like you pointing a camera at them. This particular Angel kept coming right up to us, approaching within three or four inches! The sun hit her at a remarkable angle, and made her gleam and glint with amazing sparkles. I really like this picture!

Barjack Another shot I managed to get was of a barjack. These fish are tremendously fast swimmers, and come shooting across the reef, usually in small schools, but sometimes they are alone. The other fish scatter in their path, because they are predators, using their speed to snatch the unwary. This jack was very large, and paused right beneath us, allowing me to snap this shot.

Caribbean reef squidWe saw a large school of Caribbean Reef Squid, maybe the largest we’ve seen. Usually these fish will move away when you get too close, but again, they just hung around. Not sure what it was about today, maybe all the great sunny weather made them lazy! Anyway, here’s a brief movie of them just hanging around. Interesting colors on them in this movie.

Tuesday at Baby Beach

Black durgonWe took a drive to the beach, and things seemed to be calming down, so we drove down to the south of the island to Baby Beach. It’s always been a great place to snorkel, with a man made barrier that creates a bowl of calm water, that is never over five feet deep.

ParrotfishWell, it was a great decision! The water was clear, and there were just tons of fish to see! We were very surprised how good it was. The water levels are high, and we were able to easily go further out than we ever have before. We saw all the usual suspects, chubs, yellow tail snapper, parrot fish, blennies, damsel fish, Sgt Majors, plus durgons, Caribbean reef squid and many others.

SquidI took a few nice movies, that I think are worth taking a look at…

They are in high def, so I think they give a better feel of what it is like to be in the ocean here in Aruba. The first movie is of the Caribbean Reef Squid. They hang out in schools, and there were about eight or ten of them together. They communicate with each other by changing color. They are pretty shy, and move off when you get too close to them.

This movie is of a Black Durgon, a type of triggerfish. It is quite a dark fish, but it does have some yellow around its eyes. I like the way to moves, quite graceful.

TrumpetfishThis last movie is a little longer, but I was just drifting along a rocky ledge. When I paused, you can see several fish coming up to the camera. The smallish darker colored fish that is quite aggressive is called a Damselfish. He is the most aggressive – and will often nip at you! haha Delusions of grandeur I guess – or maybe a shark in a previous life!

Just a reminder about the photos: if you click on the GALLERIES link at the top of any page, you will see a new Gallery called Aruba 2010 – that has all the pictures from our trip this year. I have not referenced all the pictures in the blog posts. As of today there are 13 pictures in the gallery, but I have referenced only 10 in the posts. So if you want to see more pics, then head to the Aruba 2010 Gallery.

Tuesday at Baby Beach

Black durgonWe took a drive to the beach, and things seemed to be calming down, so we drove down to the south of the island to Baby Beach. It’s always been a great place to snorkel, with a man made barrier that creates a bowl of calm water, that is never over five feet deep.

Parrotfish Well, it was a great decision! The water was clear, and there were just tons of fish to see! We were very surprised how good it was. The water levels are high, and we were able to easily go further out than we ever have before. We saw all the usual suspects, chubs, yellow tail snapper, parrot fish, blennies, damsel fish, Sgt Majors, plus durgons, Caribbean reef squid and many others.

SquidI took a few nice movies, that I think are worth taking a look at…

They are in high def, so I think they give a better feel of what it is like to be in the ocean here in Aruba. The first movie is of the Caribbean Reef Squid. They hang out in schools, and there were about eight or ten of them together. They communicate with each other by changing color. They are pretty shy, and move off when you get too close to them.

This movie is of a Black Durgon, a type of triggerfish. It is quite a dark fish, but it does have some yellow around its eyes. I like the way to moves, quite graceful.

TrumpetfishThis last movie is a little longer, but I was just drifting along a rocky ledge. When I paused, you can see several fish coming up to the camera. The smallish darker colored fish that is quite aggressive is called a Damselfish. He is the most aggressive – and will often nip at you! haha Delusions of grandeur I guess – or maybe a shark in a previous life!

Just a reminder about the photos: if you click on the GALLERIES link at the top of any page, you will see a new Gallery called Aruba 2010 – that has all the pictures from our trip this year. I have not referenced all the pictures in the blog posts. As of today there are 13 pictures in the gallery, but I have referenced only 10 in the posts. So if you want to see more pics, then head to the Aruba 2010 Gallery.