This is a quick blog post about a fun experience while snorkeling recently.
Sergeant Major Damsel Fish are one of my favorite fish. We typically see them closer to the surface. Often under boats or dinghies. We mostly saw yellow Sergeant Major Damsels in the Atlantic. Since we have been west of Galapagos we have seem mostly the blue to light blue. I was having such fun watching them follow Mark that I started snapping photos. It is not something we have posted before.
I joke that they are the greeters of the reef. As soon as we jump into the water they are often the first fish we see. They look at us with big eyes and seem to be saying, “Hello! Whatcha doing down here? Where are you going? Can we follow?” They dart around us like excited puppies, following close but not too close. It is like they have adopted us as part of their group and made us the leaders.
If there are Sergeant Majors in the area where we snorkel they visit us. Usually they check us out for as long as we are in their territory. They typically do not follow us very far. In a recent visit to a new snorkel location a group of Sgt. Majors followed us for the entire 2 1/2 hours we were snorkeling. It was such a great experience.
They are pros at photo bombing. They will dart in from the side, top or bottom. I swear they are smiling at me out of the shear joy of surprising me. Then they are in front of the camera as if to say, “Wait for me!” “Watch me!” or “Did you get that shot of me?!” I have countless photos of Sgt. Majors coming out of nowhere, ending up a blur in my shot. It is almost like it is a game to see if they can surprise the human.
The Sergeant Majors that we have encountered tend to stay a decent distance from our fins and our bodies so they can dart away quickly and not get hit. If we stay really still, they will swim right up to our mask and look at us eye to eye. I often wonder what they might be thinking. Do the fish think it is odd that I am in the water? Or, like me, do they just think it is fun to swim together?