Friday, March 21, 2008

Night Dives in the Grotto

Night dives are absolutely my favorites, you just see so many different and cool things, and you have the oppportunity to get right up next to fish and take their picture while they're sleeping. This colorful little guy was tucked into a little ledge on a big boulder in the Grotto and was out cold. I kept taking pictures and the flash was going off inches from its face, but he never moved. It makes it so much easier to get just the right shot.
It seems almost everytime you look into holes tucked deep into the rocks you see a bright blue patch tucked way back in. The parrotfish like to be tucked way back in where hopefully predators won't be able to get at them. They surround themselves with a mucous-like bubble while they're sleeping, so often you'll see what looks like a transluscent bubble around them. They are typically very sound sleepers so you can take all the pictures of them you like and they never stir. Sometimes you can even touch them or bump them and they just keep sleeping. But then other times you bump them and they come flying right at you like a freight train. You know how you react when abruptly woke out of a sound sleep, they're much the same way.
This speckled peacock grouper wasn't quite asleep, but he was close enough that he was letting me get right in his face to take the pictures. It's always nice when the fish are so cooperative about posing for pictures.
This is undoubtedly my favorite bi-valve shell, for the life of me I can never remember it's proper name, but it's commonly called the fire oyster or electric oyster. If you look in the opening you'll see a bluish line on the top. When your flashlight hits that, it looks like an electric current pulsing through the opening of the shell. They already look very funky with all the little whips flowing out from the shell, but when you throw in the blue pulsating feature, it just makes this guy very cool.
Last night was the first time I can remember seeing these particular coral polyps. They were amazingly bright and vibrant, the colors from them almost jumped out at you. There was a little colony of them on one of the big boulders near the hole #1 exit to the Grotto, and that's the only place I saw them.
They are definitely worth a visit to though, you won't believe how bright and colorful they are. That's one of the things I love the most about diving, even after having done thousands of dives, I'm still discovering things I've never seen before all the time. I'm like a kid in a candy store down there, I'm just looking everywhere in awe.
And on night dives you get to see cool critters like this slipper lobster, they are out feeding at night. During the day you very rarely ever see these guys, but at night they are a pretty common sight.