Almost four decades after seeing Chris Newbert’s portrait of a larval long-armed oceanic octopus, we finally saw one for ourselves. We joined our friend Steven Kovacs for ten nights of diving in Kona, Hawaii, where blackwater diving began.
Bonaire, 2009 – Hatching jawfish eggs! A male jawfish has guarded these eggs in his mouth for close to a week, and we managed to photograph and video them hatching. It only took fifteen years to get the shot! We fell in love with jawfish in 1995 in Bimini. The first magazine article that Ned and I wrote together for Ocean Realm magazine was about Yellowhead Jawfish, Opistognathus aurifrons (a link to a scanned copy of the 1995 article is … Read more
Solomon Islands, Bilikiki Cruises ~ After a week of smooth sailing we wake at 6 a.m. to overcast skies and threatening seas at Kicha Island, the westernmost stopover on our Solomon Islands’ itinerary. All I can make out of our anchorage through the cabin’s rain-splattered porthole is the shadowy silhouette of a craggy volcanic island being battered by surge—I roll over and groan. The idea of squeezing into a still-wet wetsuit to make the unusually early morning dive on a … Read more
If it hadn’t been for a bit of movement, we would have never seen the pair of coral gobies living inside a fortress of branches fashioning a soccer ball-sized mound of cauliflower coral. It would seem that a small, simple life, lived out in small, simple surroundings, would be simple, but like everything else in nature it’s delightfully not.
Time to say “Bye” to 2020 with some of our 2020 social media favorites. We certainly had plenty of time to sift through old files and dabble. I wish we had more to say about diving (sigh), though we did manage to slide in two trips – one to the Philippines before the pandemic lockdown, and a quick, socially distanced trip to West Palm for a few days in July. A friend recently commented that if we’re posting anything “on … Read more
At first glance, adorable little boxer crabs don’t look like kidnappers, but a closer look reveals incriminating evidence—living anemones grasped tightly in each claw. As it turns out the crabs, which spend the day hiding beneath rocks along shorelines in the Indo-Pacific, commandeer hostages for gathering food as well as protection. This novel form of symbiosis was labeled as kleptoparasitism—the theft of food—in a 2013 scientific paper. The authors studied the relationship using aquarium experimentations and observations. In an unexpected … Read more
An opportunistic Black Grouper steals the show at a Bahamas shark feeding dive by snapping up the chumsicle.
When I became a diver, worms were among the first reef creatures to attract my attention. More accurately, it was the exposed crowns of frilly gills of Christmas Tree Worms, Spirobranchus giganteus, that drew my eye—so colorful, so appealing, so utterly unwormlike, and to Anna’s and my unending irritation, gone in a flash whenever we swam too close. While the worms’ long segmented bodies remain tucked away safe and sound inside strong calcareous tubes, their delicate crowns, vital for absorbing … Read more
Note: Portions of this article were originally published in Asian Diver magazine 2006 and in Scuba Diving magazine 2008. While exploring the pumice plain of Lembeh Strait in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, I watched a coconut roll down the steep sandy slope of Teluk Kembahu Bay. Even though much of the Strait’s mountainous terrain is fringed with copra plantations, and huskless shell halves commonly litter the seafloor, I had never seen an intact coconut underwater, much less one tumbling along the … Read more
One of our favorite suggestions for fish watchers in the Caribbean is to look for small one-to four-inch Slender Filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri, hiding out within gorgonian bushes, where they shelter from predators, feed, and even more delightful, sleep or rest at night by biting down on polyps for stability – especially helpful when the current runs. This behavior turns out to be a common family trait. In the Caribbean, we have also observed the Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus, Orangespotted Filefish, … Read more