Fish Fascination and Raja Ampat

I admire fish the way they keep their cool, in the face of imminent danger.

Seemingly being eaten is not any big problem, just something that keeps you on your toes.

I admit to spending an inordinate amount of time, watching fish.

It was a contagion developed from early age, building endless fish ponds, fish tubs, fish tanks, and living in Sydney house with a sea wall.

Fish in ponds were nurtured and loved, fish in the ocean, on the other hand,( mainly leatherjackets), were destined for a gruesome end impaled on my spear, more evidence supporting the argument that being a fish is perilous.

Fish here in Raja Ampat are rather abundant and active. Clouds of the little fuckers make me feel I am astral traveling in a 3D movie bespeckled with 3D movie fluffies...whatever that shit is.

Ever present is a bigger fish, hanging out to eat a little fish, and in the case of schools, its seems just go with the group consciousness, dart left when everyone darts left, and when that vicious Golden Trevally comes in for the kill, hope its not you, kind of like humans reading the death count news on their device.

We have been haplessly helping feed a pack of little sharks here at Wayag, that love to dart between our legs in 60cm of water at the beach edge. Each month, the little black tipped critters get a bit bigger, and a bit more game, and I suspect we are maybe breeding up lion kittens, and sooner or later, someone will need that needle and thread kit, that we keep in our first aid kit.


Sharks do not go to Swiss hospitality finishing school.

But being a fish is tough, so be a shark and hope ya mother does not eat you.

Some fish can give. Those tiny little invertebrate critters that leave endless snake trails of glowing bioluminescent left overs, make fireflies look positively tight arsed with their lamps. But you need to come to Raja Ampat to see this light worker. And when you are here, you might see depth charge light bombs, the “TRON” bio boys that light up on touch, defining the otherwise invisible bodies of your fellow freediver.

Then there are the local thugs. These are the coral trout, smartly dressed but dangerously behaved. They eat the locals, making their presence as unsettling as a raptors nest above the hatchling fields. I always find it odd the way a spike toothed aggressor can mix with such social grace amongst those it eats, and not spook its neighbours...but maybe I am missing something, maybe for example, coral trout have a local area, community consultation MOU, a signed agreement with those willing to eat or be eaten.

I guess justice comes the way of the coral trout when it comes to their dead succour behaviour with a baited hook. Sad really, and every time I see a photo of a proud fisherman grinning near his boat load of coral trout, I think hmm, what is happening here is not good, as when you extract a top level predator from the ecological balance, like a wolf or a lion, you throw the whole system out, so for example, let the coral eaters breed unchecked, and corals get hammered, just as grazing fields turn to stubble when wolves are removed.

People think that when in 2040, a predicted table fish will be rare or non existent, that that’s the end of it...but that’s just the start of the problem, as an ocean in serious imbalance, our major carbon sink, is also a contributor to our planetary demise. So we need to think before just buying fish for flavour and texture. Do not buy reef fish maybe.

On a lighter note, seahorses make great pets. I used to keep them in ponds and tanks, and was rather surprised when the elegant animals started to breed, kangaroo pouch style.

They seemed to be oblivious to a 5 inch rainfall that upset their pond salinity, and clearly loved whatever I was feeding them. Sweet little things, little being the key word for the local species. Micro infact.

On the other hand, an octopus does not make a good pet, after I spent a few days arranging a nice octopus's garden in my new giant fish tank, only to have the irate new captive tear it apart with all the skill of an eight handed bricklayer.

So much for my cute curvy, underwater, Positano walls.

The fucker then tried to pull me into the tank and 'ave me, only to loose the tug of war via the glass cleaner, with me swearing away at the other end, and when Mr Octopus lost his quite considetable grip, he ended up sliming across the kitchen floor like the Knights of Nit, still wanting a piece of me.

The cat refused to eat it, so it was spared the frypan, and was returned to Balmoral Beach, where its now likely 2m across, with an audience of Nemo's, telling exaggerated tales of once living with weird humans.

The puffer toad was glad to see the end of Mr Octopus, as it never took to well, to being rolled up like carpet in an octopus arm, where it was forced to perform its bloating trick.

The guys at Disney witg Nemo, where on to a great idea...come see