Sunday, April 06, 2008

Feeding Frenzy

This season I learned a little trick for attracting the cute little reef fish while snorkeling. Take something like dry cereal or dry bread and place it in a small airtight plastic bag. Put a tiny hole in one corner of the bag so you can slowly release its contents as you squeeze the bag underwater.

This trick has worked like a charm, often luring skittish fish out of hiding and some will follow as you release the snack. It’s amazing to turn around and see an array of these colorful reef fish so close to you. On the downside, I have not been successful at handling the snack bag and my camera at the same time so I have no proof.

The other day I went snorkeling with a snack bag – only melba toasts this time, which seemed to work better than cereal. Before too long I had fish following me without releasing any food. I waited until I was surrounded by a sizable group of these cute and colorful fish and then motioned for my snorkeling partner to join me for “the show”. As I waved her over, I inadvertently released a little food. This is when my fun ended. More fish joined what appeared to be a tornado of feeding fish next to me. When the food was gone the situation got worse. They remembered I was the source and came after me. I was frantically trying to swat them away as they started to nip at me. As I swatted I accidentally released more food and the nipping turned into biting. This is when I was forced to let go of the bag in hopes of making an escape. This decision allowed me to loose most of the pack and the few fish that followed were persuaded to leave by my frantic motions. At a distance I watched as a huge blur swirled around the tiny bag until it was shredded. Even from a distance, after the feeding frenzy some of the fish saw me and came closer. The little fish no longer looked cute. I swam as fast and with as much motion as possible to the safety of the dinghy.

Oh yeah, and for days I had teeth marks to prove it.

Lesson learned. Do not feed the fish – no matter how small or cute you think they are!

1 comment:

Miriam said...

thank goodness they were not piranhas