I Love Grouper Fingers

I like grouper fingers! I don‘t think you understand how much I REALLY like grouper fingers. There is nothing better than sitting at a table in some remote Caribbean location with a beautiful view of the ocean and a big plate of grouper fingers and French fries. YUM!

Now I am a carnivore, after all my father was a butcher, and I love to eat meat and fish but I have come to understand that many of my eating practices are not sustainable. We are over harvesting certain species that are critical to the health of our oceans and the grouper is one of them.

My Brother James - The Great Lionfish Catcher

I spoke with my brother James this week about the recent dive trip he led to CoCo View Resort in Roatan. Liz Wayne the long time manager left in February and Mitch and Deb Karlson from Texas have replaced her. James was very impressed with Mitch and Deb and he says they are doing a great job of making guests feel at home.

Pin Cushion Seastar

What do politicians and sea stars have in common? They are both bloodless, brainless critters that will eat you alive. Okay, I couldn’t resist the joke but it is true that the sea star has no head, brain or blood. Yet the politician has a head and blood but no brain, go figure.

A sea star is an echinoderm, which means “spiny skin” and literally uses water as it’s blood. The fluid within it’s vascular system is seawater with some cellular and organic material thrown in. It uses this fluid to move its tube like feet, transport food and supply oxygen and carbon dioxide to it’s body. Quite an amazing critter especially considering it’s ability to regenerate a lost limb.

Trumpetfish Comedic Master of Camouflage

Have you ever seen a kid playing hide and seek that is hiding behind a curtain with their legs and feet showing. They think they are completely hidden from you because they cannot see you, so you must not be able to see them. Well that is what I think about every time I see a trumpet fish. A comedic master of mimicry and camouflage you will see them drifting with their head down in a gorgonian swaying back and forth with the current trying to, like the child, blend in so you cannot see it. Often you will see them straddling a grouper or other large fish in the hopes of stealing a morsel or two should the opportunity arise. This is how they feed by stealth getting very close to their prey and then sucking them quickly into their mouth. The trumpet fish mouth is capable of swallowing surprisingly large prey.

Be In a Hurry

As we loaded our gear on the dive boat we saw a little old woman standing on the pier. I remember she wore a red one piece swimming suit that drooped and sagged so much I feared it would fall off her old wrinkled skin. She greeted each diver with a kind word and a gleam in her eyes and then stepped aboard with a ready to go smile as the captain handed her snorkel gear to her.

Spotted Goatfish

Sinking to the sandy bottom on a dive in Saba Mary and I settled in to watch some goatfish feed.  If you dive you have probably passed by these ubiquitous fish without a second thought.  Next time slow down and observe the beauty of the texture, shape and color of this common fish and you just might be amazed.

The spotted goatfish  can dramatically change color from white to blotched and mottled red to reddish brown when inactive.  If you are very still they will approach closely.  Look at the beautiful symmetry of the overlapping scales.  Look closer and you will see the scales have yellow tips that give the appearance of light waves rippling across the body.  Light blue dashes streak from the mouth across the eye to the tail fin as if painted on by a brush.  A row of three large brown blotches look as if an artist just dabbled her brush on the canvas of his body as an afterthought.