Monday, November 23, 2009

Bait Ball

Yesterday we went for a dive at the house reef at Ocean Encounters West called Alice in Wonderland. We descended to about 50 feet and saw something out in the distance. It was a large school of silvery fish (about 5 inches long) swimming in a tight circle, it's referred to as a "bait ball". The fish swim like this for protection from predators. These bait balls can be seen getting herded herded up towards the surface where dolphin, sharks, larger fish and birds feed on them. We descended down to about 70 feet and went out away from the reef a bit to see it. It was sooo cool! At one point the ball began moving upwards and we found ourselves in the middle of hundreds of swirling fish. Luckily we had our camera and got some great pictures! (see pics dated 11-22-09) We were hoping something large would come to feed on the fish but we didn't see much. One very large silver fish that came and went. It was a really thrilling experience. The pic above was taken from inside the bait ball.


Louise said...

Gorgeous! That photo looks like a painting. I can't wait to do our dive certification class and get down there in the water with you!

Steph said...

Louise, I read on your blog that you guys are certifying soon - that's AWESOME. It would be so fun to all go diving together. I'm really looking forward to seeing you in Ft. Lauderdale :)