These are the pics I submit to the Roatan Marine Park photo contest.

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The Roatan Marine Park annually is looking for pictures for the new calendar, this are those I submit.

The Best Find category will be judged by “you” on facebook with the most votes winning that group. All other categories will be judged by independent adjudicators and the winners will appear in the 2014 RMP calendar.
Get on the Roatan Marine Park Facebook page and vote!

Flying Gurnard!

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This is why after several years of diving I never get bored. On another beautiful day of diving in Roatan, I found one of the peculiar looking fish of our reefs.

Second morning dive, no wind, no waves and clear waters, perfect day to visit Blue Channel, 40 minutes in to the dive, i was leading the group to this big sandy area inside the lagoon. This is one of the sites where I know that if you explore there are always something odd to see.

And I wasn’t wrong! a Flying Gurnard, after checking my divers I looked at the side and it was there without moving, I recognized it immediately, I have seen it before, but how long ago, 2 years? I am not sure.

The Flying Gurnards are a family, Dactylopteridae, notable for their greatly enlarged pectoral fins. Also known as Atlantic Flying Gurnard, Flying Fish, Sea Robin, Grunt Fish and Grondin Volant. It is a carnivorous bottom dweller, they have been observed to “walk” along sandy sea floors while looking for crustaceans and other small invertebrates by using their pelvic fins.

They possess a swim bladder with two lobes and a “drumming muscle” that can beat against the swim bladder to produce sounds. They have heavy, protective, scales, and the undersides of their huge pectoral fins are brightly colored.

 Flying gurnards never fly, however, get around in an unusual way for a fish: the first few forward rays of these fins are free of membranes, enabling the walking fish to dig into the sand. As it moves, the gurnard usually keeps its giant pectoral fins folded at its side.

Blue Channel 25 feet.

Blue Channel 25 feet.

 

A sporadic visitor!

In the Sandy Bay, West End, West Bay Marine Park, we have the great fortune to see turtles on an almost daily basis. The green turtles and hawksbill are so abundant in the reserve that a few turtles may be found on a single dive or snorkel. But last tuesday in the shallows at the Turtle Crossing area i was surprised by a Loggerhead Turtle!

These turtles have a massive head with powerful jaws used to feed on shellfish (conch, clams and crabs). It has a wider range and travels further than either Greens or Hawksbills and unlike the previous two, it mates during migration. They reach maturity at around 35 years of age, and individuals have been known to live over 100 years. It is believed that Loggerheads spend their early years hiding out among the floating seaweeds of the Sargasso Sea.

Hopefully it will stay for a while on the neighborhood, I will keep you posted.

Shallow Turtle Crossing 35 feet.

Shallow Turtle Crossing 35 feet.