Batwing Coral Crab vs Spanish Lobster

Talk about crabby!  Mary spotted a creature and shined her light into the recess of a coral mound.  Suddenly sand came shooting out of the crevice and Mary motioned me over to have a look.  A batwing coral crab and Spanish lobster were having a very lively disagreement over something.  Just a quickly as it started it was over.  The obvious winner was the batwing coral crab who set about cleaning up after the altercation.  The Spanish lobster moved up the coral mound and, if he had had lips, I am sure he would have been pouting.

Both the Spanish lobster and batwing coral crab generally hide during the day and forage for food at night.  We have observed that a lot of critters considered to be nocturnal are seen more frequently during the day. 

The Cove - Take Action

On our bellies, hanging off the bow, Mary and I watched dolphins effortlessly ride the bow wake. Two adults swam on each side of the bow. A baby, amazingly fast, darted in and out among the adults. Not able to match the speed of the adults the baby eventually peeled off and was immediately followed by one of the adults, its mother perhaps?

Three adults easily keep pace with the boat as one flips over on her back. Mary claps and shouts with delight as the dolphin shows off her skill at swimming upside down. Her belly is swollen, she is pregnant, and Mary instinctively reaches out her hand knowingly.

Sea Anemone Mouth

Sea Anemones are members of the phylum Cnidaria (Nigh-DARE-ee-uh) derived from the Greek cnidos, meaning "stinging nettle" because they have stinging cells called nematocysts.  The anemone has numerous tentacles with these stinging cells embedded in them and if something comes in contact with the tentacle the stingers will discharge.  All quite fascinating but probably the most interesting and beautiful part of the sea anomone is its mouth which also functions as its other end as well.

Encircling the mouth are a number of tentacles to catch prey and particles suspended in the water.  If you place your hand on the tentacles you will notice that they are sticky and will stretch with your hand as you pull it away.  Don't worry the nematocysts cannot penetrate your palm.
We observed many varieties of anemone in the Pacific Ocean.  This picture gives you an idea of how big the anemone can grow.  Notice the clownfish swimming about.  Clownfish live in a symbiotic relationship with the anemone providing a very secure home which the clownfish will tenaciously defend.

Reflections of Beauty

It is said that the eye is the window of the soul, yet, fish are said to have no soul. Its window is a reflection of expressionless darkness encased in beauty for what purpose?

Giant Hermit Crab - Cozumel

After two wonderful morning dives on a small fast boat we had decided to take the afternoon cattle boat, something we are usually loathe to do, but this being our last dive day we hated to waste the opportunity for one more dive on Villa Blanca Wall in Cozumel.

Bearded Fireworm

End of the diving week and you enter that time of purgatory; the preflight surface interval.  You cannot dive before your flight and you have every intention of doing one of those interesting things you saw in a  brochure, like hiking remote trails, birdwatching, fishing, museums, you know all that tourist stuff.   So you grab your snorkel gear, head back to the beach and jump in.  Why dry out before you have to?

Mantas of Yap Part 3 - Final Encounters

For two more days we dived the same spot with each successive dive better than the last. It was as if the Mantas were coming to observe us and had asked all their friends to join them. On one dive I counted eleven Mantas and Gordon said he counted twenty-two.

Mantas of Yap Part 2 of 3 - First Encounters

After a 60 minute surface interval and constant reassurance from Gordon that we would see Mantas we did a back roll into our second dive.

Repeating the same procedure we had on our first dive we lay on the bottom staring into the dark water ahead. Waiting what seemed like an eternity I was certain that we would have a repeat of our failed first dive. Suddenly I saw Gordon move to our line of sight and point up toward the coral mounds. Our eyes strained to see what Gordon was pointing at and then a black mass began to slowly and gracefully appear.