'Opae - Harlequin Shrimp, which average about 1 inch long, are almost always found in mating pairs, taking shelter in the base of a branching coral head, in crevices along the reef, or under rocks. The pairs generally can be found in the same area along the reef for months, if not years. Though they may look like beautiful flowers, harlequin shrimp are savvy predators, sensing their prey with flattened antennules and eating their captured prey while it is still alive. We stumbled across this mating pair on a recent dive, which is a great find! In order to preserve this species, we will not be disclosing the location of this pair of Harlequin Shrimp. Reference: http://www.mauioceancenter.com
Honu - Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle: In the Hawaiian Islands, there were families that considered the green sea turtle a personal family deity or aumakua, not to be eaten or harmed. Green sea turtles are reptiles whose ancestors evolved on land and took to the sea 150 million years ago. They are one of the few species so ancient that they watched the dinosaurs evolve and become extinct. If you come across one, DO NOT TOUCH, as they are an endangered species. Admire this amazing creature from a distance.
Kokala - Porcupine Fish: Similar to a pufferfish, the porcupine fish sucks up water to scare away predators. The porcupine fish’s thick, leathery skin is covered with spiny scales, which extend when the porcupine fish sucks in water to blow up like a balloon, or rather, a spiny balloon. We ran into this little guy on our dive today. Always observe from a distance, as we are always guests in their home.
Hihimanu - Spotted Eagle Ray: Early Hawaiians had only two words to describe the nine members of the ray family found in Hawaiian waters: lupe, meaning "kite" and hihimanu, meaning "magnificent", "lavish", or "elegant". Both words describe one of the most beautiful and graceful of all rays - the Spotted Eagle Ray. On today's dive, we came across two of these magnificent creatures, with wingspans of up to five feet! Each one has its own fingerprint of spots, no two are alike. Never chase or try to ride a ray of any kind. As with any marine mammal, respect their space and observe the Spotted Eagle Ray from a distance.
Kaku - Great Barracuda: On this adventure, we dove the Mahi Shipwreck on the west side of Oahu. This little, yet BIG (6 ft) barracuda decided to join us. Sometimes referred to as the "silver bullet" of the sea, the great barracuda deserves its reputation as a fierce predator. Long, lean and mean, it can strike without warning, reportedly at speeds approaching 40 feet per second. Also known by its Hawaiian name of kaku, this largest of the barracudas in Hawaiian waters can weigh up to a maximum of 100 pounds and reach six feet in length. However, barracuda of such size are uncommon. Always observe from a distance, especially this guy!! Reference: http://www.mauioceancenter.com