Birds in the sea, fish in the sky

I never get tired of seabirds (that much is probably obvious by now). One of my challenges is taking photos of them underwater, when I myself am not underwater. Underwater camera housings are expensive, yo. So I’m quite pleased with the Fluttering shearwater above, with his head all stretched out by the rippled surface.

I don’t usually get the opportunity to take photos of fish above water. I’ve seen a few flying-fish on our trips out in the Gulf, but I’m never fast enough to catch them. So when an odd grey pancake hurls itself out of the water a few times and we suddenly realise that it’s a Sunfish – well that was exciting. Mola ramsayi – the Southern Ocean or Short sunfish is found throughout the southwest Pacific and southeast Atlantic. They’re smaller than their more famous relatives the Ocean sunfish Mola mola (which can weigh up to a tonne!). They eat jellyfish and occasionally fling themselves out of the water. How anything so ungainly can build up the momentum to break the surface is beyond me. But they do it, and it’s not entirely understood why – maybe to dislodge parasites from their sandpaper-like skin.

The Hauraki Gulf is full of wonders, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to experience them (and photograph them!).

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