Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hawaiian Flame Wrasse

Here's my first shot of a Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) that has come out really at all. This is a male. They're tough to get a shot at as they tend to dart away at the last minute and you can't really get all that close to them. I took this one from probably 5-6 feet away and luckily I was shooting in RAW and could bump the exposure up enough after the fact to get a recognizable image... awfully dark otherwise.

They're endemic (live only in Hawaii) and pretty hard to spot, so not that many visitors are aware of them. You need to be able to tell the difference between them and a female pencil wrasse, and there's lots of pencil wrasses where these guys tend to hang out. The males can look spectacular when they are flashing and in full display. Take a look in the blog's sidebar at the Amazon ad for "Hawaii's fishes"... a male in full display is on the cover of that book. One of these days I may have to break out my strobe and see if I can get enough light on one to do it justice.

It's still quite flat, but brrrr is it cold for here in the water. Call it 71/72. I'm packing extra shorties on the boat for the next bit in case the divers aren't staying warm enough with their full suits... layering usually does the trick.

Yesterday's dives were fun. Cathy did a dive in Pawai Bay with our customers and the highlight of the dive was a couple of 8-10 foot hammerheads that joined in on the dive for a few moments..... WAY COOL! I did the second dive, off at Kaloko Canyons and while we didn't have any awesome shark action, we still saw some neat things. We pulled a double yesterday. Bob's under the weather for the next week or two it seems, so old friend Rich, an instructor and state research diver I've worked with off and on for several years, filled in for the evening dives. The manta dive was sort of strange... Rich saw 5 mantas on the evening dive, but the night dive was a bust for much of the dive 'til one showed up towards the end.

There were very few boats on the water yesterday morning. We only saw 4 other companies out and we were the only 6 pack boat that we noticed. Things ought to pick up for everyone the next couple of weeks with spring breaks... hopefully. Things are pretty slow in Hawaii in general. I heard rumors of 30-35% hotel occupancies the other day, not good.



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