We are just now leaving French Frigate Shoals after to diving days here. A little shallower than some earlier dives, working a subtle 60m ledge that goes around most islands in the Pacific. The ledges are often rich with life, as they act as an oasis of sorts, providing cover for all manner of reef fish and invertebrates, which in turn bring in the predatory fish.
Decompression up here seems to be boom or bust – today was a good one – sharks and pelagic reef fish like Ono and small tuna schools came by. I also saw my first Mobula ray – at first I thought it was a small, slightly funky Manta Ray, but as I swam closer, I was almost certain it was a Mobula. Later review of the footage led our group at least to call it a Mobula – pretty cool.
On the way up the chain, earlier this month, we also stopped at French Frigate Shoals, and I saw a rare unicornfish, Naso annulatus on decompression. However, my camera was on a drop line and turned off, and by the time I pulled it up, turned it on, and looked for the fish, he was gone. Luckily today, there was a small group of 10 or so, feeding on the plankton around us as we decompressed. Such a bizzare group of fishes; I don’t believe that anyone really knows why they have such outrageous noses.
We came up with a fun diversion on deco at Lisianski earlier on the trip, where I hang a GoPro on some stainless steel fishing leader, and dangle it about 8 feet below where I am off-gassing. Sharks and jacks are naturally curious, especially when items are shiny or clank around. At Pearl and Hermes, I had a huge Ulua (Caranx ignobilis) actually eat the camera twice, then spit it out. The shot below is what a poor little reef fish must see, just before the end.