Though only equipped with goggles, snorkel and fins the wide and clear shallow lagunes offer plenty to watch - colorful corals, anemones, clown fish, neonfish, packs of coralfish, damsels, parrot fish, butterfly fish as well as larger species like dorado, needlefish, bardacuda, tangs sometimes well hidden box-fish, morray eels, octopus, squids and turtles.
1 Outside of the coral reef barrier - two beautiful Powderblue surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternon).
2 This is Lined surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus) and is probably the most colourful fish we have seen snorkeling in Mauritius lagunas.
3 Adult Indian teardrop butterflyfish (Chaetodon interruptus). Those usually stay alone, would not see them in large amounts together.
4 This pack was very tame - they follow small boats, swimmers and divers, but they do not let anyone touch them. Scissortail sergeant (Abudefduf sexfasciatus).
5 Katka found this beautiful shaped shell among corals in some 3-4 m depth and it looked empty. However, taken off water we discovered it had an inhabitant. Therefore we photographed the catch and then said bye to both the shell and its tenant and returned them back to the lagune. No idea whether it was poisonous or not, but did not really want to try. Picture suffices.
6 We have spotted quite few of these giant clams (Tridacna maxima or squamosa). It was usually of a wonderfull blue color ranging from 20 up to 40 cm.
7 Curious form of this peaceful fish - Cornetfish (Fistularia commersonii). It has an yellow friend (Aulostomus chinensis) that is not so peaceful and also readily occurs. We have not seen that one though.
8 It is not unusual to meet many hundred fish of the same kind. We think this is Brown surgeonfish (Acanthurus nigrofuscus).
9 Some fishpack are very distrustful and they only allow a very short glimpse to take a decent picture. Convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus trigostegus) pack.
10 This was a very fast moving Rip butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifasciatus) and below right to it there is a black Sea urchin (Echinotrix diadema).
11 We have seen those Whitespotted surgeonfish (Acanthurus guttatus) only once and on the ocean side of the reef. The two blue examples in the front are likely to be Blue triggerfish.
12 One of few quiet moments for resting Meyer's buttterfly (Chaetodon meyeri) in a healthy pink Bush coral - likely (Pocillopora verrucosa).
13 We have been stunned sometimes with examples of coral shapes - this is a brain coral next to more typical table corals or Staghorn corals or Bush corals.
14 It is more difficult to find and distinguish the fish in the afternoon for many reasons - due to the small boats traffic and particles of the sand, tide and angle of the sun. We think it is the yelowfin goatfish pack.
15 Another beautiful butterflyfish. Puzzled whether it is a Lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus), Triangular butterflyfish (C. Triangulum) or Vagabond butterflyfish (C.vagabundus).
16 It is a mix of small fusiliers and pullers - Bluegreen pullers (Chromis viridis). They levitate very close to the corals and in any sightest sign of a danger they escape among the thorny branches of their coral hosts, but kept peeking out with a lot of curiosity.
17 It looks like that one of the best snacks is white toast bread. Luckily, not all the fish are used to this, however on the really top localities fish expect to get a bite (and if not, they gently remind you (bite) of their liking. What you see is a large pack of black and white Humbug damsels (Dascylus aruanus) and more colourful Six barred wrasses (Thalassoma hardwicke).
18 Typical coral reef fish that likes to stay in a large packs. It is Yelowfin goatfish (Mulloides vanicolensis) and they often mix with other kinds like Yelow-band fusilier (Lethrinus obsoletus) and Yelowspot emperor (Gnathodentx aureolineautus). We have spotted them in crystal clear waters of the strait between Ile Ronde and Ile Plate. Pure joy to watch!
19 Beautiful but very lazy and slow example of the poisonous boxfish - Blackspotted pufferfish (Arothron nigropunctatus). Occassionally it also exists in bright yellow with black dots, but we did not spot any of those.
20 This is a very nice example of the male Whitespotted boxfish (Ostracion meleagris), though books say that Mauritius would have the Ostracion trachys as more likely example. However the latter has no spots on its back. Though the couple stays fairly close together, but we have only spotted the male. Female of both species has a just plenty of white dots on a black background, not other colors.