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14.06.2020
New Caledonia
Stories of divers
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Turtle Ballet, Friendly Dragon and unlikely Friends

VIDEO
  • Daily diving
14-fugu
16-turtle
Samuel Lejarre

Wait for it! Hawksbill Turtle Ballet

As Samiy Diver drops into the crystal clear blue Boulari Pass of New Caledonia, he meets a brown marbled grouper, then a reef shark, then a beautiful school of black triggerfish with tantalizingly long tails. While we wait for the star of the show, another reef shark plays peekaboo, as does a cute Pacific blue tang, right out of “Finding Dory.” Another friendly marbled grouper pauses for the camera, then a school of schooling bannerfish schools on by. Alas, it’s time for the beautiful Hawksbill Turtle to make her entrance. She circles in an entrancing ballet, an underwater whirling dervish, hypnotizing, entrancing.

Hawksbill turtles are one of the seven types of sea turtles worldwide, and are critically endangered. Their tapered head and distinct bird-like beak enables them to reach into cracks and crevices on coral reefs and other hard to reach areas in search of prey. Considered to have the most beautiful shell, their beauty has led to their severe decline. It’s estimated that global hawksbill populations have declined by 90% over the last century.


Friendly Dragon : Petting a Large, Friendly Moray Eel

The yellowmargin moray eel, also called the yellow edged moray eel, or speckled eel, is common in Pacific Ocean tropics. Though usually with yellow eyes, those in New Caledonia often have blue eyes, like this one. Their streamlined bodies allow them to hunt in crevasses and reef structures with ease. They can grow up to about 8 ft long (2.5m), and their large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth help them grasp prey like reef fish and octopus. Moray eels open and close their mouths to move water through their gills for respiration. This can look threatening to divers, but in fact, eels are generally shy creatures and rarely attack, only doing so if they feel threatened. As you can see here, this particular moray seems to crave personal contact, enjoying it as Samiy Diver takes a moment from his dive to caress the gentle creature. Many underwater creatures, like eels, rays, and sharks, scare people, who think they are ferocious and dangerous. This is generally not true. Hopefully this video can help change perceptions of people so that they will want to protect our oceans.


Unlikely Friends: Moray Eels and Pufferfish Buddies, méli-mélo for lovers..

These four fish friends are underwater in the Madeleine Islands of Dakar, Senegal, a protected underwater marine park. Though many people have not heard of diving in Senegal, as you can see, the water is clear and filled with abundant, colorful marine life. Pufferfish and moray eels are a common sight, and both can be seen on almost every dive. There are two different types of moray eels in this video, a beautiful spotted moray and a young green moray. They are both getting along with the puffer couple quite well.

The internet is filled with images showing eels eating (or attempting to eat) pufferfish, but these two puffers and two spotted moral eels in one small crevasse show they have developed a symbiotic relationship that serves both species. Though pufferfish are cute – almost cartoonish – in actuality they are carnivorous predators that eat, among other things, snails, crabs, hermit crabs, clams, barnacles, and shrimp. Most people know moray eels are predators, but they are actually much friendlier than most people think (and won’t attack divers unless they are provoked). Pufferfish will similarly only puff up, by filling their stomachs with water (or air, if pulled out of the water) when they are threatened. It is not good to try to disturb puffers to entice them to blow-up, as doing so is stressful on their internal organs and the stress can sometimes kill them. They can triple their size in as little as 15 seconds.

Though it’s not clear how these unlikely friends help each other out, they obviously have a symbiotic relationship that works. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the fish and eel friendship in this video as much as Sami Diver did while filming them.

Samuel Lejarre

About author

I am french Dive Master. I dive all over the world and try to make nice videos.
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