Friday, September 9, 2011
9/9/11: Flying Fish off Senegal!
As we sail southward along the west coast of Africa, it seems to get warmer and more humid. Traversing relatively shallow water off the coast of Senegal which is quite warm (72 degrees F), as I looked out the window, is spotted things jumping out of the water and flying away from the ship. Flying Fish! I’d only seen them once when snorkeling in Maui, but there were scads of them here. Occasionally, flocks of several dozen would all depart the water at once, flying away from the ship’s wake, sometimes in excess of 50 meters. Sometimes they drag their tail (which waggles back and forth behind them), other times they get nearly a meter off the water and glide.
Enjoy the few pictures of them that I got, not the easiest task, given that the ship is moving >20 MPH, and the fish are flying away at perhaps half that. There seemed to be two varieties; one smaller with a blue back, white underbelly and nearly clear pectoral fins (‘wings’). These seemed to always be in groups, and would fly away willy-nilly, rapidly changing direction. The other seemed a bit fatter, tended to be alone, and had reddish pectoral fins. When these flew (to escape prey, I believe), they just seemed to keep a linear path away from the ship.
Note the last image of the several small fish in the center of the image. With my eye to the viewfinder, I never saw the shark fin in the foreground!
Posted by Jeff Warner at 7:51 PM