Trigger Finger

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Thu 2 Jan 2014 01:37
We moved around the coast with Sudoeste lagging behind (briefly) and found an empty bay to anchor in for a few days, Petite Anse de Artlet
Wonderful snorkelling our first taste of coral and tons of interesting fish to look at.  The girls had great fun collecting dead conch shells from the bottom only to find that actually, whilst there was no conch, the shells are often home to something else.  For a while we had a bucket aquarium going where we were able to examine our discoveries.  Most interesting were the Queen Triggerfish, they are very colourful and pretty and like to hang out near the empty shells. When you swim down they duck inside for safety and being of reasonable size this leaves their tail in view.  The hiding strategy, much like an ostrich putting its head in the sand, is of course counterproductive since the approaching young girl was actually only after the shell.  The fish obviously feel quite safe inside and simply stay there for the swim back to the boat. 
Queen Trigger fish have powerful jaws and can even eat conch, they slowly grind away with very strong teeth at a particular place on the shell until they wear through it and can access the animal inside.  Aranya experienced first hand the power of a Queen Trigger fish bite when one got a bit pissed and bit her on the (trigger) finger.  There’s clearly some relation to a mastiff in these fish as he held on while she tried to shake him off.  We were surprised at the size of injury the wee critter inflicted but in the end the blood stopped before the tears.  The girls are going well at depth, Aranya in particular has stepped it up and is comfortably doing 20 foot dives, Asia more.
Whilst the variety of fish, sponges and coral is amazing compared to the Med it is unfortunate that on every dive outing I was able to find the very pretty but invasive Lionfish.  I plan to have one in the frying pan soon.
This is a Manchineel tree, they grow along the coast and are very toxic.  The ‘apples’ give a nasty blisters top to bottom, burning the wood causes toxic smoke, even standing under the tree to shelter from rain is ill advised.  Many have been identified for dumb tourists with red paint around the trunk.
Our first Pelican sighted
Happy as a coconut
Lionfish and sea sponges
Juvenile Moray
Fish trap, there’s a three to one ratio of those with floats and those without, even so the surface is littered with coke bottle buoys.  I guess once in a while the lost traps are retrieved.
Aranya surfacing after a successful dive for Sand Dollars (Snapper biscuit).
The water was a bit murky so to enhance the image I photoshopped this guy.
Baby cray in four feet of water