Green jacks sometimes follow you when you are swimming or paddling. It’s fun swimming with them and observing their behavior. Today my head was out of the water and could see through the glassy clear, calm water a huge shiny thing coming at me. Suddenly I had, “flight for flight;” an instinctual scare. But when I plunged my head into the water, I broke out laughing. I saw this great school of small jacks colliding with my path, going crazy feeding, diving, darting. Here is a clip of them! I see this fun school of small Green Jacks each day on a routine snorkel swim. Today they really surprised me! This species of fish is one of the many special fish in Ventana Bay. I just love them!
I ran into this incredible school of Crevalle Jacks weighing in around 10-12 pounds. They swam at me rapidly, turned and left. I immediately dove to the bottom and waited til they came back and circled me. Then tried to follow them once they left again. Yeah, right! They were far gone in a flash. It’s the largest school I’ve seen of big fish near shore since I started snorkeling regularly since fall of 2016. This school is one of the great schools of fish I hoped for at the end of my The Return of the Sardines video. It’s truly amazing to witness how the sardines have transformed the bay, bringing back a sizeable return of the pelicans (counted 200 one day) and a diverse group of other birds along with them. There’s been far more water surface activity of fish feeding in the bay like I’ve never seen. Let’s hope the Dorado and the Sierra and other big schools will show up near shore once again!
Sergeant Majors are one of the more reproductively active fish in Ventana Bay, reproducing consistently for most of the year. They excavate down to uncover large smooth boulders to lay their eggs on. Their nests are easy to spot when you are snorkeling because multiple nests can be found in clusters of around 5-9 nests, and also, there’s a lot of activity to witness. The male protects the nest by darting around, chasing predator fish away from the nest. With this activity and that of the pair reproducing in a way that looks like a dance, you can’t miss them if you are snokeling in the bay.
This short piano piece I first heard when staying at Singing Bridge in along the Westfield River in the hill country of the Bershires in Western MA. (U.S.A) and recently found it in my music files. Hearing it again inspired me to share two of my fish photography files I haven’t yet shared. One is a perspective shot I call belly shots, shot from below the fish, and another “belly rubbing on sand.” Hope ya like it.
Finespotted Jawfish excavate a tunnel down into the sand. They back their tail and trunk into the hole and most often can be scene with their head visible within the opening of the tunnel. As you swim over, the fish will track you with their eyes, and you can sometimes see the head turn to follow you as you cross over their path. Watch!
Longenose puffers can be pesky! I have been bitten 5 times. Become aware of their behaviors so you can keep that number at zero. Those that have been approached by this cute little fish, please share your encounters in the video comment section.
Here is a video of Stingrays Swimming in Ventana Bay. They have a reputation of being stingy creatures, however, stingrays would rather not sting you. But when you step on them, you leave them no choice! To prevent this, some recommend shuffling your feet in the sand to scare them off.
Here is a very short video to introduce what a Stingray looks like buried in the sand. Stingrays are harmless creatures, unless you step on one when they are buried in the sand. Some people shuffle their feet in the sand to scare them away. That’s what I do when I enter the water. A Stingray has a barb on the tail that they use to defend themselves; that’s the sting in Stingray. It’s very painful. Stingrays will leave you alone otherwise. I enjoy watching their unique and graceful way of swimming.
Learn to recognize when a female Sharpnose Puffer exhibits nest building behavior so when you snorkel, you too can spot the reproductive behaviors of these fish. This short film shows three pairs of Puffers engaged in reproduction.
Eels are interesting creatures. Some people get scared when they see them swimming with their mouths wide open. Eels swim with open mouths because that’s how they breath; water must enter their mouths to circulate through their gills. Eels are harmless unless you bother them. They have better things to do than bother you.