Posted by jim on August 28, 2016 at 12:05:22:|
In Reply to: 2016 posted by Jim on August 28, 2016 at 11:58:43:
Cozumel August 2016 Year of the Batfish
Twenty-odd years ago, we were at the Galapago Inn, since renamed Scuba Club Cozumel, in Mexico with a group of scuba diving friends. On a night dive starting in front of the hotel we swam slowly into the current using our dive lights in search of octopus and other creatures of the night. Deborah summoned us together by flashing her light and we assembled to see what she had found. Standing on the bottom was a very strange creature/fish, shaped like an arrowhead with legs like a chicken, and a face that resembled a Hercules aircraft with a protruding nose. We all gazed in amazement before continuing the dive and heading back to the resort underwater. As soon as heads broke water in the entry pool everyone started talking at once: "What was that?" "Did you see what I saw?" "I think it looked like…" At dinner, people tried to describe what they had seen and/or draw the fish from memory. Someone approached one of the dive guides and described what we had found. David said, "It’s a Hopka." To this day we don’t know if he was pulling our collective legs or if Hopka is a Mayan name. The next night, a bigger group set out to see if we could find the Hopka again. Deborah said it was in seventeen feet of water and 1400 psi left in her scuba tank, so we headed out. Once down to about 1400 psi, we lined up and searched at a depth of seventeen feet. Miracle of miracles, we located the fish again and circled the poor critter, blinding it with our dive lights trying to remember what we were looking at; at that time none of us was taking underwater photographs so we had to rely on our observations. It was only later that we determined the Hopka was really a short nosed batfish (Ogcocephalus nasutus). The Mexican name for the batfish is murciélago tapacaminos. A couple of years later, Judy C found a little batfish in the same location, but only a half-inch long. She marked the spot with a ring of rocks and we were able to return to the site and with lots of searching find it on more than one occasion. Fast forward a few years and our dive guide Jesús found a pair of batfish on Villa Blanca reef. In twenty-five years of diving in Cozumel, doing hundreds of dives, we had seen four. That is until this year.
Day 1 – arrived via DFW on American Airlines, luggage arrived, too, which made for a good start to our vacation. It was only a short ride in the van to Scuba Club Cozumel where we were greeted by Sofia, "Welcome home!"