International Rock Flipping Day

Sunday, September 13, 1025 Update

We are on the island of Bonaire, where one dare not touch a rock, even in the gentlest of ways. So, for International Rock Flipping Day, I decided to follow some fishes that are the best at rock flipping: goatfishes. My video contribution starts with a Spotted Goatfish and ends with another species, the Yellow Goatfish. Goatfishes got their common name from a pair of highly sensitive appendages (barbels) just under their chin that they use to detect small crustaceans and other prey under the sand and rocks. In my video, the goatfishes are accompanied by jacks, that sometimes hunt opportunistically with the goatfishes.

A very large part of Bonaire’s beautiful hard coral stands along the west side of the island were destroyed by two storm events, Lenny, in 1999 and Omar in 2009. The coral rubble, silted over, offers very little stable base for new corals to settle so most divers swim over it to reach the reef. We spend a lot of time meandering over the rubble looking for tiny treasures, like the Sailfin Blenny, that makes homes of holes in the rocks. And we can see just how adept goatfish are at flipping rocks to catch a meal.


International Rock Flipping Day Logo

International Rock Flipping Day 2015  is this Sunday, September 13. Get yourselves outside and turn over a few rocks and share your finds. This was founded in 2007 by Dave Bonta and Bev Wigney (you can see the original post here) and now held the second Sunday of September. Hosted each year by different bloggers – this year over at Wanderin’ Weeta.  To participate, check out the instructions on her post, including the important precautions – you know, like watching for snakes under rocks and hornets nests and stuff. My own caution is: don’t break any rules. Also use proper etiquette: remember rocks often cover someone’s home, so take extra care to gently return a rock to the position in which you found it without squishing the resident.

On Beqa Island, Fiji - tide pooling
On Beqa Island, Fiji – tide pooling and turning rocks

You can post your photos on the rockflippingday FLICKR group. If you blog, you can send a link to Wanderin’ Weeta (see instructions on her page). Tweet your finds to #rockflip. and yes, there is a Facebook page to follow: International Rock Flipping Day

Nailed by a bristle worm - hazard of rock turning
Nailed by a bristle worm – hazard of rock turning

Ned and I are habitual rock turners above and below water. Here we are this past March in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji, where Ned got nailed by a bristle worm that was living under a rock that he turned over (hello… precautions)! On Sunday, I’ll update this post with my finds. Until then, happy flipping!