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This is still another is a series of distraction diaries meant solely to provide a brief respite from the battles of the day and to remind people of the beautiful life with which we share this small planet.

We will start with a sunset photo taken on the west side of the island of Oahu.  People who frequent these diaries know I shoot with some very high end Nikon gear.  This shot, and all subsequent sunset photos were taken with a small Panasonic point and shoot.

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On the north shore of the island of Oahu is a stretch of shoreline that has been designated a Marine Life Conservation Area with no taking of any marine life for any reason. I did four dives this past weekend in the area known as Three Tables. Here are some of the results.

Day Octopus
Day Octopus (Octopus cyanea)
These cephelapods are highly prized for food in Hawaii and are very hard to find.  They are also masters of camouflage.  This is a very small specimen that I was only able to get a couple of frames of before it tucked itself away deep in a hole.

Whitemouth Moray
Whitemouth Moray (Gymnothorax meleagris)
On my first dive I had opened my housing to adjust something and forget to confirm that the stobes were firing properly.  They were not.  This is the only frame I decided to keep from the dive because it shows the whole body of the eel.  Water filters out all the red end of the visible spectrum so without the addition of artificial light photos look, well, like this.  Blue.

Whitemouth Moray
Fortunately it was still there on the second dive.  See the difference?

Whitemouth Moray
Note all the teeth in the top of his mouth.  The teeth in the center are attached to a muscle that retracts down the eels throat pulling the prey down toward the eels gut.  It's like something out of the movie Alien.

Kumu
Whitesaddle Goatfish or Kumu (Parupeneus porphyreus)
This fish is endemic to Hawaii. It is also highly prized for food and is hunted heavily by spearfisherman.  In this no take area I saw several very large specimens and they were quite unafraid of me. It is obvious that the reserve is working.  Unfortunately there is always vocal, nearly rabid opposition from the local shore- and spear-fishing community to any suggestion of creating more no take zones. I find it depressing and short-sighted.

Aweoweo, Munu & Kumu
In this shot from left to right: Hawaiian Bigeye or Aweoweo (Priacanthus meeki), Island Goatfish or Munu (Parupeneus insularis), Kumu, and a Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides phthirophagus)

Hawaiian Bigeye, Aweoweo
Hawaiian Bigeye.  This is another endemic species. The red color and large eye are typical of nocturnal fish.  Red is essentially black at any significant depth because red light does not penetrate (as noted above).
This is another highly prized food fish. I have never seen them this large anywhere else and these two were completely unafraid. I took this photo with a very wide angle lens so I was very close.

Hawaiian Bigeye, Aweoweo
One more of the Bigeye.

Whitetip Soldierfish
A school of Bigscale Soldierfish (Mripristis bernti)  This is another red nocturnal fish that you find hanging in caves and under overhangs during the day.

You also find something else hanging out in caves during the day...
Whitetip Reef Shark and Cardinalfish
Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) and Cardinalfish (not sure on the species). These are the most common sharks found in shallow waters in Hawaii. There were three small sharks hanging out in a series of caves at this dive site.  They rest during the day and come out to feed on reef fish at night.

Whitetip Reef Shark
Researchers ID them by the pattern of dark spots on their sides.

Whitetip Reef Shark
Some large pelagic sharks have to keep swimming to breathe but the majority of shark species have no problem sitting on the bottom.

Whitetip Reef Shark
The three sharks were probably three to three and half feet long.  Adults can get over six feet long.

We will finish with some more point and shoot sunset photos.

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Well I hope you have enjoyed this brief distraction.  Feel free to post your photos and, as always, please be good humans.

Aloha

Originally posted to Haole in Hawaii on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:15 PM PDT.

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