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In The Ocean

Various Specimens from below the surface of the ocean

semi-overcast 22 °C

Although our technology was fairly limited we did have a basic underwater camera with us, an Olympus mid level quality point and shoot that we purchased in St. Thomas three years ago on a previous voyage when we expected to do some snorkeling.

Shooting underwater has many additional challenges that one does not have to face as frequently on land. Firstly your subjects have a bad habit of darting about when you least expect it. Next the lighting is very challenging at the best of times and using a flash is not recommended as it often reflects back blurring the photo. When you finally get your subject in focus and in the light he decides to move into a dark shadow. Finally, using the zoom feature is not advisable as it seriously compresses any murkiness in the water making what appeared originally to be a nice clear shot to turn out as a shot clouded by heavy haze.

Since we did not have our guides walking beside us to help identify the many species of fish we encountered we have not been able to identify the fish.

A typical scene from an advanced snorkeling trip. The Zodiac would take us off to some remote site where the only point of access was from the boat. We would drop over the side and sight see for 45 minutes and then they would call us back to the boat. In the picture it looks like david getting ready to climb up the swim ladder

Our intrepid adventurers, from the left side - Hazel, Sue vanderkwaak and Roy Vanderkwaak. For those who do not already know Sue and Roy are the parents of Brian Vanderkwaak who married Hazel's daughter Emily. So as we tell fellow travellers we share a grandson, Emily & Brian's son 7 year old Avery

Hazel poking her head up for a look around. In this picture you can see how steep the shore line falls off and it continues at the same rate underwater

The ever present sea lions. they like to come in and cruise by the divers for their own amusement. Note this one is swimming upside down.

A very colourful fish

More colourful fish

Two Galapagos penguins quite oblivious to us snorkeling close to shore

Sea turtle cruising under us, he was very big and very close

Another close up of the sea turtle

Very pretty fish in relatively shallow water

Fish feeding on the bottom oblivious to our presence

There is that bright yellow fish again

Star fish in fairly deep water. In this picture you can see how even a little bit of zoom applied can cloud up the picture

No name fish, sorry

Good size school of some species of Tank

No name fish, sorry

Another large school of small fish

Hazel waves good by

Posted by DavidandHazel 17:47 Archived in Ecuador

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beautiful fish and great to see the turtles in the water!!

by Beth

The first fish is a Harlequin Wrasse or Galapagos hogfish (Bodianus eclancheri / español: vieja mulata )

Not one fish looks like the other, they have various designs of orange, black, white and yellow. Most have a white chin patch and all, a black spot at the base of the pectoral fins. Large adults have a distinctive bump on their forehead. They prefer cold water and are thus more common on the western islands.


The Second fish is a King Angelfish (Holacanthus passer / español: Pez bandera / Deutsch: Kaiser von Mexico)

It is dark blue or black with a white vertical bar. Females have yellow pectoral fins, males white ones. Like with other angelfishes, the juveniles are colored differently, orange or hazel brown with blue vertical stripes and yellow pectoral fins. They also live north to Panama and Costa Rica and Baja California. King angelfishes are seen in the Galapagos often while cleaning larger fishes like hammerheads or mantas. They pick various parasites off them. They also feed on algea and small invertebrates. About 25 to 30cm.


The turtles are green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

This sea turtle's dorsoventrally flattened body is covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace; it has a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. It is usually lightly colored, although in the eastern Pacific populations parts of the carapace can be almost black. They are mostly herbivorous. The adults usually inhabit shallow lagoons, feeding mostly on various species of seagrasses.


The next fish is another King Angelfish

by Brian Vanderkwaak

The next are The Yellowtailed Surgeonfish (Prionurus laticlavius or razor surgeonfish / español: Chancho / Deutsch: Galapagos Sägedoktor)

is only found in the East Pacific. This is the most common surgeonfish in the Galapagos, gray to silvery with small black dots and two dark stripes around the eyes and a yellow tail with three retractable spines at the base. They are seen in large schools usually in shallow water. Juveniles are yellow and also school. Feed on algae attached to rocks. About 46cm.


The next is another Galapagos hogfish

The Starfish I am not too sure about, but from the colouring, the broad 5 arms and what look like hard blunt spines across it's body my best guess is the Red Cushion Sea Star (Oreaster reticulatus)

The red cushion star usually has five thick, broad arms projecting from a broad cushioned disc but some specimens have four, six or seven. The upper surface is hard and is covered with blunt spines. The colour of adults is some shade of red, orange, yellow or brown. The juveniles are greenish-brown with mottled markings.


The next fish is a female Yellow-Bellied Triggerfish

Found singly or in small groups along rocky reefs and coastlines sometimes in deep water swimming high above the reef. Usually observed at nesting time when guarding their nests!
They feed on a wide range of food items, including live coral, algae, sea urchins, crabs, molluscs and other invertebrate groups as well as fish and sea squirts.
Triggerfish have a hard spine Dorsal Fin that can be locked.
When sleeping this spine is used to wedge them into place in a crevasse and so deter predators from pulling them out of their bed!
The spine is also held erect as a warning to other fish to stay away.

by Brian Vanderkwaak

The next group of fish are a school of Yellowtailed Surgeonfish

The next fish is a Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon Muricatum)

The humphead is the largest of the parrotfishes at 130 cm in length and weighing up to 46 kg. They are distinguished by beak-like teeth plates only partially covered by fleshy lips. Males and females look the same in this species. The juveniles start out a greenish brown colour with 5 bands of whitish spots arrayed vertically along their body. As the adults mature they develop a pronounced bump on their vertical head profile. When fully grown they range from olive or bluish-green to slate grey, with a yellowish to pink blaze down the front of their face.

The last group I am unable to identify. Are they large or small fish?

I used the following website to identify they fish.

1) an image sheet titled "Fishes of Galapagos" with images, English and Spanish names of the fish

2) A fact sheet titled "Information sheet about marine animals seen underwater in the Galapagos" with descriptions for the most common types of fish

3) Wikipedia for the few descriptions of fish not found in the previous reference.

by Brian Vanderkwaak

I need to make a correction.

I said one fish was a female Yellow-bellied triggerfish. It is not. It is a female Bluechin parrotfish.

This species is blue-green to green in colour and commonly grows to approximately 46 cm. It may have a central stripe on the dorsal and anal fins that is pink in colour. The underside of the body may be pinkish or yellowish. There may be blue markings around the area of the pectoral fin.


by Brian Vanderkwaak

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