Monday, November 3, 2014

Duet for Cornet and Kayaker

One of my favorite things about the tropical ocean is its capacity to surprise. On Sunday afternoon, with the island's tourist engines in full roar, I joined the kiteboarders north of the Ritz-Carlton for an hour on the kayak.

Because of the twenty-knot breeze, I stuck relatively close to shore, chasing the roving schools of jacks with a small anchovy imitation. I was watching a far-off pelican dive on a school of bait when a blue-spotted cornetfish took the fly.

Cornetfish are a miracle of nature, closely related to seahorses and sea dragons. We often see them while snorkeling, as they sometimes hunt along the same flats and reefs where I watch for bones. (In the Red Sea, cornetfish have been known to devour the invasive lionfish. It's unknown whether our local species does the same, but we can hope.)

Calling this fish "blue-spotted" is a serious understatement, as their vivid hues are unlike anything in humanity's own drab palette. This individual came to hand without too much fuss, though it remained shy of the camera, like a wary backyard cat.

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