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Moray vs Octopus


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#1 diver dave1

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 02:33 PM

The hunt was on. The octopus gliding along, moving along the side of a lava tube. The Yellowmargin Moray in pursuit a fair distance behind. The octo dropped into a crevice then slides along it until it reaches the end and moves deeper into the crack.
The moray gliding along behind, moving to and fro to keep the scent – looking like a dog on the trail of bird. Into the crevice goes the Moray, sliding up the crack until it reaches the octopus hiding place. The moray is long enough to stretch along the entire crack, maybe 6-8 ft of it. Then the action really starts.
Wild spinning by the moray’s body seen at the edge of the hole and all the way down the crack. A tentacle is cut off and lays along the entrance to the hole, to the left.


The cut tentacle is visible on the left of the crack. It does not move again during the struggle.
A careful eye can catch the moray's gold-brown spotted body in the crack on the right half of the picture.
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Moray and Octo parts flash into view and gone again, debris flying out of the hole.
The Moray’s head flashes into view with white showing around the mouth. Its either got some octo in its grasp or been seriously injured. The action is too fast to tell. The Moray's body can be constantly seen spinning along the crack.

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Spinning moray body flashes into view again. Then the octo starts to get to the hole entrance above the moray. The octo is extracting itself while moving arms across the eel.
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Then suddenly, its over. The octo breaks free, shoots ink twice at the moray and hole. The octo shoots by within a 2-3 ft of me, missing two tentacles but lives to hunt another day.
We never see the moray leave the hole through the ink. No one volunteers to approach the crack through the ink to check on the moray more closely.

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Note:
The account is the combination of my view and another. I was late to the party, not seeing the hunt until the action was started in the hole.
All photos are with Tokina 10-17 with considerable cropping. There was a limit to how close I was willing to go for the shots.
Color and exposure adjustments were made in an attempt to highlight the colors of the combatants - not for artistic or technical accuracy.
No attempt was made for backscatter removal...there was just too much there and it shows the amount of action. The water in the area was very clear of debris except near the action.

Nauticam D7000, Inon Z-240's, 60 micro, 105 micro, Tokina 10-17

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#2 derway

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:25 AM

Wow, amazing story and shots.

Was this a boat dive? What operator?

I hope the beginning of the story was not, "The dive master spotted, caught, and handled an octopus, then let it go mid-water, and the moray spotted it, and the hunt was on."

I have seen the former too many times over there, by certain DMs.
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#3 diver dave1

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:28 PM

It was a boat dive. I do not recall the operator's name but its the shop servicing the Marriott, about 30 min. North of Kona airport.

I missed seeing the prey/hunter swimming along. That part of the story was told to me back on the boat.
So I would have also not seen a DM handling the octopus. Based on the telling of the story by another diver on the boat, the DM was not involved.

But I am quite familiar with what you are saying. The first frogfish I ever saw was huge and bright orange. And while I was taking it all in, savoring the moment and considering where to position for a photo, etc...the DM swims up, grabs the fish and positions it on top of the reef...later telling me he was "helping me". It rather ruined the entire event. The memory of it is still a bit bitter. I just wanted to fin over and smack the DM upside the head. Instead, I backed up and refused to take a photo. The fish walked back down to his spot. I waited for the DM to get bored and swim away. Once he was all relaxed and happy again, the frogfish and I got to know each other a bit without any 'help'.

Nauticam D7000, Inon Z-240's, 60 micro, 105 micro, Tokina 10-17

www.shiningseastudio.com