The larger ones are the more obvious. In my first weeks in June, we were lucky enough to see one of the larger fish in the oceans, a bumphead parrotfish! This incredible parrotfish is called ‘bumphead’ for a pretty obvious reason – it bumps is head into the coral! This is not because it is angry, or because it is reckless. Parrotfish use their beak-like mouths to munch away at the coral to get the animal inside. The bumphead just takes it to the extreme and bashed its head into the coral to create cracks and break off larger chunks.
We saw it on several of our snorkels in June and early July, and after it wasn’t seen for a while, I feared that it had left our bay. However, I did see our friend the bumphead parrotfish again earlier this week, meaning that it has not forgotten about us here at Petite Anse! I hope that in the future maybe a few more will join him, so that we get a school of the giant fish!
We have also been seeing dolphins in the bay in recently! In the Seychelles we are more likely to see either the bottlenose or spinner dolphin. Earlier this week there was a pod of 6 spinner dolphins in the bay, unfortunately they didn’t stay around for very long, but it is always exciting to see these incredible creatures in their natural environment!
In July we also had a possible sighting of pilot whales far out to the right hand side of the bay. A guest thought that they had seen dolphins, but the creature that they described (dark grey, quite thick, short curved dorsal fin) seemed to fit the description of a pilot whale. It is exciting to think that there were whales in the bay, and I hope that we will be getting a few more sightings of them in the future!
And of course, like the larger marine creatures, there are also the small. Most of which are overlooked because of their size, and to the untrained eye may look like just another piece of coral or weed!
I have always been fascinated by nudibranchs. I remember the first article I saw on them in the National Geographic, against a white background, the pinks, greens, blacks and oranges mean that these sea slugs are much more exciting than those found on land! So, because of their size, I have always had difficulty finding them. It was only earlier this week that I found my first nudibranch here at Petite Anse, completely by accident! I found this black and purple creature only an inch in length tucked under an overhanging piece of coral three meters deep on a coral bommie. I got overexcited trying to get a photo of the creature that I almost hurt myself. I went to the same patch the next day, and my friend was still there, so I am hoping he will hang around so that I can show more guests!
One of the smaller fish on the reef is also the prettiest fish we see here in the bay. Longnose filefish can be seen over the reef, in shallow waters and deep. They prefer the shelter of the coral, hiding in between coral fingers, close to the reef. They have the most incredible blue and yellow patterns, with a larger eye that seems out of proportion with their body. They are usually found in pairs, or groups of three, so despite being only a few centimetres long they are a little easier to see.
Although they are some of the smaller fish on the reef, glassfish can be easily seen because they are found in such large numbers! Glassfish have one of the strangest relationships with another marine creature on the reef. They can be found swarming around smaller patches of corals, usually ones with an overhang. They have a relationship with the redmouth grouper, in that the grouper will protect the smaller glassfish from other predators. However, in return for their protection, the grouper can eat the glassfish. It is clear from this relationship that the glassfish are not the smartest fish on the reef!
These are just a few of the amazing marine creatures that we see here at Petite Anse, all of which can be seen in the Gallery.