Monday, March 23, 2009

At Sea with Boobies

Imagine, if you will, a humble flying fish going about its business as dawn breaks near the Seychelles. The flying fish hangs out near the surface, feeding on plants and small pelagic creatures. All of a sudden, a giant comes roaring across the surface of the ocean. What should the fish do? Well, if you are a flying fish, you swim away as fast as possible and launch yourself into the air.

That's a great strategy for getting out of the way of the ship -- the fish can easily travel a hundred meters or more. But there's a problem. Red-footed Boobies have figured this out. So as the sun rises, our ship is accompanied by a booby squadron. And when a flying fish takes off, the boobies dive bomb. Usually they miss -- flying fish have some evasive maneuvers up their, er, sleeves. But the boobies succeed often enough to make this a worthwhile strategy (or it may just be that they enjoying riding the wind above the ship).

P.S. Still hoping for a better flying fish photo; but at least we got one.

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