Click on photos to see larger versions... Click here to return to the journal list

Underwater Action

Annoyed Octopus

Leaving the GoPro propped against an underwater rock to take photos at timed intervals allows us to get closer shots without bothering the subjects, or so we like to think. Most critters either ignore our camera or appear a bit curious, but Cortez Damsel Fish have attacked the boxy little intruder. And apparently we were emulating the paparazzi a little too closely leading this octopus to pitch two coral chunks at the camera. Talk about armed and dangerous.

Click on photo for short movie

Click on photo for short movie

Flying Rays

A loud slap on the water catches our attention. It's a mobula ray, also called a devil ray, trying its best to fly. These creatures look like small manta rays and can often be seen leaping out of the water, flapping their wings like crazy and then smacking back down on the surface. They do this in large groups or by themselves. One day three shot out of the water like synchronized swimmers, energetically flapped toward the boat for several seconds, then plunged back to the sea together. Impressive! Since they don't let you know when they are about to spring out, grabbing a snapshot is definitely a challenge. As to why they behave this way...well, theories include escaping predators, exercising, getting rid of parasites, and communicating with other rays for hunting or mating. It seems no one rayly knows.

Munching Moray

A flash of movement caught my attention and I turned just in time to see an eel wrestling with...a balloon? Closer inspection revealed a Jewel Moray with its jaws clamped around an inflated puffer fish that was struggling to escape. The battle was over very quickly, leaving only a bulge in the eel as evidence of the fray. We are pretty sure dinner was a Spotted Sharpnose Puffer.

Spotted Sharpnose Puffer (un-puffed, and not the one that was eaten)

Sealions at Play

We've previously described the antics of the sea lions at Los Islotes; here are a few more memorable encounters with these playful animals.

A youngster zooming in for a quick face-to-face

This one intended to nip at my flippers

Flexibility is handy when catching fish, or scratching an itch

Terrific Turtles

At Caleta Partida turtles popped their heads up regularly; some even let us swim along with them as long as we didn't get too close.

Delightful Dolphins

These Pacific white-sided dolphins gave us a terrific show.

The joy and excitement we experienced was dampened by dismay and anger when a power boat began harassing these wonderful creatures, circling them closely at high speeds. Sigh - sometimes we really relate to this t-shirt.

Whale Sharks - A BIG Deal

Description Description Description

You'd think it would be easy to find the biggest fish in the sea but not for us, so we splurged for a splash with whale sharks. You also might doubt the wisdom of swimming with sharks that can be 40 feet or longer and have three or four thousand teeth. Actually, these mammoth creatures aren't quite as scary as they sound. A person could get hurt by an errant tail if not careful, but the whale sharks are filter feeders and those many teeth are apparently small and not used for eating (which leaves me curious about what they are used for). Nonetheless, it seemed wise to avoid both the tail and that gaping mouth, and I admit to wondering if it would be possible to be sucked in.

Description Description

Click on photo for a short movie.

The three of us (Bjarne, Auntie Dy and Barb) were taken out to a shallow area near El Magote at La Paz where we swam with two different whale sharks. The guide explained that these were young ones, about 5 years old, so they were only 25 or so feet long. It was pretty awe-inspiring to swim beside these massive fish which the Vietnamese appropriately call ca ong, meaning Sir Fish.

Description Description

Click on photo for a short movie.

Other Strange Water Creatures

Click here to return to the journal list