Saturday, 12 April 2014

Do you masbangu?

Most of the cool, colourful fish you'll see on every dive, every day in Curacao, are either reef fish or demersal fish. Just like us, these guys like hanging out in relatively shallow water, populated with lots of corals, sponges, rocks - and other good places to hide from their predators. And who can blame them.

But every now and then, the masbangu head into town, making for quite a sight.

Better known as Big Eyed Scad, these silver pelagic fish usually live in deeper water where there are few places to hide from their larger predators - deep sea fish like tuna, marine mammals  like the recently spotted humpback whale and dolphins, and seabirds.

Pelagic fish typically hang out in large schools and instead of hiding when threatened, like their colourful cousins, these guys do the opposite: hide in plain site by forming into a huge bait ball, all but shouting "Bring it on!" at the predator.

With literally a thousand sets of eyes watching the predator's every move, the fish react as one, using amazing, sophisticated evasion techniques.

If you've been lucky enough to dive with, or better, IN, a bait ball, you'll have seen the fishes' silvery bodies flashing and dazzling with rapid direction changes, reacting with lightning reflexes to their predators' movements. Absolutely amazing to watch - and quite disorientating if you're in the middle of one!

A semi-permanent school has been hangin' out at Directors Bay for years, but a new school of masbangu has just moved in at the mouth of The Dive Bus house reef, meaning you have to swim right through to get onto the reef.

We hate our jobs ;o)