Moray Eel with Cleaner Shrimp
West Palm Beach, Florida
Canon Camera, dual ion strobes
20 meters (65 feet at depth) during a drift day dive
West Palm Beach, Florida has some of the best diving in the United States. Boat dives drop you off and you dive, dive, dive….. You need to drop when you hit the water and follow the group because of the current. This is called a negative entry. When I was getting into the water on negative entries, I like following everyone because more eyes will give you more opportunities to see something unique. I like to be in the middle of the pack. That way if you see something really good, you don’t have to worry you are losing everyone as you take photographs. I remember seeing a shark in the distance and some small rays and other fish swimming right up on you but this moray eel was special. This eel knew where to go, to get his skin clean. He was on a cleaning station, where some eels were enjoying shrimps “cleaning off” their skin of parasites. The shrimps would stay in little crevices and this eel was hiding in one of the rocks peeking his head out. I was taking photos of him and noticed the shrimp wanted to get near the camera. This shrimp stopped to take the time for a photo and then went back to cleaning the eel. I quickly took this shot because I didn’t want to get left behind the rest of the group. Overall, this dive group was patient and was not in a race. As a photographer, I was eternally grateful. Currents with dives out in West Palm Beach can be strong so I was fortunate I was able to get under some rocks to photograph this interaction.
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