The first time I saw a snowflake moray was at Sunabe Seawall in Okinawa, Japan as I was assisting my instructor with an open water course. The eel was hiding in the coral just watching with curiosity from his hole. Once he realized that we were watching him he pulled himself into the hole for protection. We waited for him to appear and cooperate to show the students what creatures they could see in the underwater world. He poked his head out for a second to watch us, but wouldn’t come completely out of his hole.
A week later we were at the same dive site finishing up the open water course that we had started the week prior. I was swimming along behind the class to make sure that the group stayed together. As we were heading to do our three minute safety stop right in front of me swam a four foot snowflake moray eel. I was shocked that this creature swam so calmly just a few feet in front of me like I didn’t exist. Then I realized I was with out my camera for this dive. I would to have loved to show friends and family what I saw that day, but instead I would have to describe what I saw.
Since those moments I keep a close eye at holes I pass in the coral wall for an eel to peek his head out. Both those experiences have made me realize how lucky I am to be able to see this underwater world.
Another experience I had with snowflake moray eels came about a month later. We were diving at Maeda Point in Okinawa, Japan. It was a beautiful sunny day. Water conditions were perfect, and for once Maeda Point was not crowded with snorkelers and tourists. We had just descended to enjoy our fun dive looking for subjects to photograph. As we went through one of the crevices, all of a sudden I get a knock on my face mask. At first all I thought was a juvenile sea snake had decided to strike. Once I calmly realized that it wasn’t a snake, but just a juvenile snowflake moray eel that had become spooked with me swimming over it’s hole. He inspected me as I inspected him. It was one of the most random things that have ever happened to me while diving. Luckily this dive I did have my camera with me. The photo above is the small creature that gave me such a fright.
These sort of experiences are what makes diving so much fun. I have dove both those sites over twenty times. I would have never thought that the same reef that I have swam over all those times I would have been surprised by these creatures. Since those moments I keep a close eye on holes I pass in the coral wall for a small creature to poke their head out. All these experiences have made me realize how lucky I am to be able to see this underwater world.
Main Image taken while doing a 3 minute safety stop at Sunabe Seawall Okinawa, Japan on January 10, 2016 with Intova IC14 at 5m.
Second Image taken at Maeda Point, Okinawa, Japan on January 3, 2016 with Intova IC14 at 7m.