Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Fish and the Eel

I was recently snorkeling along the Kohala coast in Hawaii. A small group of friends and I hiked through a nice golf course to get to this great snorkeling area. We got our masks and snorkels on and headed out to the reef ledge near by. Lots of big yellow Tangs the size of dinner plates were swimming about. Blue Parrot fish and multi-colored Wrasses swam right past us. For some reason all of these fish were larger here than I have ever seen anywhere else. It must be a perfect habitat. A few golf balls were strewn about the sandy bottom or lodged in coral stands. I was watching this one big fish (a Grouper) with a black body and purple fins swimming rapidly along this one coral ledge. He (or she) would swim fast, then stop as if it was looking for something it had lost. All of a sudden a big whitemouth spotted eel pokked its head out. The fish swam over quickly to the eel. I though for sure there was going to be a fight and one of them would eat the other. The eel swam out of his coral cave to meet the fish. Then the two of them swam together for a few yards and the eel popped back into another coral cave. The fish searched frantically from entrance to entrance to find the eel again. The eel would come out, swim for a short while and pop back into another cave. Eels remind me of boa constrictors, but have a blunt end. I watched this cat and mouse game for at least 15 minutes, facinated by this display. I concluded that they were playing hide and go seek for fun! They were friends. It was a very cute display of affection and connection between two very opposite species of the sea world. I think we can all appreciate this!

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