Mugshot

Over the last day or so, my Facebook feed has showed me two posts of groups of people re-growing coral reef during the pandemic – instead of their usual, tourist-based jobs. As the boats have become empty of visitors, they spent their downtime growing coral instead. In Bali and in Australia.

I’m so proud to have played a small part in this here too, especially in this strange time. Because of this time. It’s been nice to read this work has been happening even on a global scale. It’s a small step.

With this, I did my usual coral rotation on Thursday. A Thursday with a difference in fact, because I got to see my favourite juvenile, half-the-size-of-your-pinky fish. A baby filefish. For this reason, I have been carrying my camera with me – just in case. This baby filefish is so stealthy. I know it hides among the hanging baby corals, but it can be hard to spot. It just drifts and moves as the coral itself when you rotate the nursery tree to clean it.

Every once in a while, I catch sight of the filefish. Before it literally disappears. So I’ve been carrying my camera, hoping to catch it. When all the good stuff comes out.

In this same vein, I am still hoping a shark will come cruising past before it’s time for us to set sail from Bonaire. A friendly shark of course. FYI – it’s approaching turtle mating season. This means it’s also turtle munching season. Indeed, last week, two reef sharks were spotted by divers in our official dive site, Something Special. Then, around the same time, swimmers in the area spotted a floating turtle head. Not the figurative kind either – but an actual turtle head. Separated from its body.

You know when you read comments which may be – well, innacurate? In this case, people were bemoaning the fishermen’s likely role in this poor turtle losing its head. Hmm, I thought. Are they jumping to conclusions? I mean, I didn’t see the turtle’s head personally but my friend, Mark did and he told Jack it didn’t look chopped off – to him. It looked serrated. This means you-know-who may have actually chopped it off.

It’s nature and it’s normal. Rather it should be normal. It would be a sign of a healthy ecosystem for sure. Just not one I would like to get that close to. But I don’t mind a healthy ecosystem cruising past a diver scrubbing a coral nursery tree. Especially a diver with a camera.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered the most interesting underwater stuff is actually the small stuff. And the mysteries. There are endless mysteries underwater. Like how a tiny filefish can change colour by the white sign identifying the type of hanging coral?

Like Bonnie says, ‘It’s a mugshot’. And just on cue, the filefish disappeared.

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