Maui Honu. The Hawaiian word for the Green Sea Turtle is Honu – a common sight while snorkeling or scuba diving along the south shore of Maui. Hone are endangered species and deserve the respect, and distance, afforded any wild animal. They are harmless and a delight to observe. They typically rest on the sandy bottom under rocks, eat vegetation growing on coral, and casually cruise through the beautiful clear blue waters of Maui’s shorelines. Air breathing, they will come to the surface to take air, may float around the surface for a while, taking more air, and then dive down, remaining underwater for 20-30 minutes.
The parrotfish is generally brightly colored; about 60 species of parrotfishes swim in coral reefs around the world. They have fused teeth that form beaklike plates, giving them a parrotlike appearance. They have large thick scales that, in some species, are strong enough to stop a spear.
Parrotfishes produce tons of coral reef sand each year. The sand-making process begins as the fishes graze on the algal film that grows on coral rock. To feed on the algae, the fishes munch on pieces of coral. Molarlike teeth in their throats grind the coral, which then travels through their digestive systems and is deposited in the reef as white coral sand.
Parrotfishes are daytime creatures. At night they burrow in the sand or hide in crevices. Some species even secrete a clear mucous cocoon around themselves at night, which probably masks their scent and helps protect them from predators like sharks and moray eels.
Parrotfish are in the Phylum Chordata, Class Osteichthyes, Order Perciformes and Family Scaridae. The images you see here are typical of the parrotfish seen underwater around Maui, which is but one of the sights which makes snorkeling so much fun. These were taken on December 13, 2015, with my little underwater point and shoot in the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve Area, a place protected from all forms of fishing, such as pole, net, spear. Lots of fish! A delightful place to snorkel!
the colorful parrotfish appears to have a perpetual smile
This morning’s underwater sights were quite novel with observations of a white octopus. This very intelligent creature has the capacity to change color like a chameleon and became completely invisible when perched amidst the coral adopting the color of its surroundings. But, when it moved, it became quite white, and very visible, which was the only reason I happened to see it; otherwise, I would have passed it by without a second thought. In addition to the octopus, which is quite a rare sight, there was also a Moray Eel cruising by, rather quickly, before it slithered itself under a rock, which is where they tend to reside. Of course, there was a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, which are common, and the always mesmerizing underwater landscape. Each of these images has been processed in Photoshop to remove some of the particulate matter, and to add the Oil Paint filter, which gives it a smoother, softer and, in my opinion, rather appealing appearance. Enjoy the views….
One need not go to sleep to have underwater dreams along Maui’s shores. Just slip on a mask and casually swim around. You’ll see a whole new world thriving with life alien yet an integral part of our world. From the ancient and endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, aka Honu, to the plentiful Yellow Tang, Angel Fish and a periodic Parrot Fish to wonderfully odd and beautifully arranged gardens of coral and rock formations. Better than a daydream, more real than a dream from sleep, these underwater dreams are as real as being fully awake (which as many a poet and mystic have said, is but a dream).
Every image in this collection was taken with a simple underwater point and shoot camera while swimming around Maui’s south shore beaches. Each image is also adjusted through a ‘paint’ filter in the computer to give it a more dream like quality.