View Full Version : Coolest Animal Encounter?

08-19-2009, 21:38
I myself haven't had many cool animal encounters underwater, but I am wondering what the coolest animal you have encountered underwater is. As always, pics are encouraged...can anyone beat that Whale Shark encounter?

08-19-2009, 21:44
I don't have a lot but on my last 2 check out dives we saw about 5 octopus's and the biggest was a little smaller then my head. nothing super impressive but not bad for Destin......

08-19-2009, 21:48
A cuttlefish pretenting to be stag coral was cool, he was floating a few feet above the coral and made is tentacles the same colour and shape.

But night diving is the best, big parrot fish just lying on coral sleeping, and turtles meandering around. Love the night dives.

08-19-2009, 22:09
Yay, fish stories.

It's a tie between seeing a couple of rooting manta-rays or having a big Queensland Groper park itself next to me. Probably the Groper.

I was inside a wreck waiting for my buddy to clear a hatch and this fish the size of a compact car pulled up next to me. There was a mutual "OMGWTF?!!" moment as it spotted me about the same time I spotted it.

Other cool encounters were watching hunting sea-snakes and a shovel-nose ray doing it's best to convince me it's a proper shark.
Whale-sharks are top of my wannasee list. :-)

08-20-2009, 01:55
I've got several.

Had a Whale Shark go right by me, stop, turn on his side and eye me then blow a bubble last spring off Utila. He thought I might've been the researcher who'd just unsuccessfully tried to get a tissue sample. He was pretty mad...
One of 6 we saw over two days that week. One was estimated at 25' or so. It's like diving with a bus.

We dove Big Hole off Cay Sal several years ago. It's where Nekton does their shark feed. At the end of our first dive, I was circled by 10-15 totally passive Cariibbean Reef sharks in about 20' of water - they would veer off as they got within about 10'. Funniest part was seeing the expression on some of the other divers hanging nearby on the safety stop bar. The next dive we went and sat on the bottom and they swam between us - could've touched them as they went by.

Off Seal Dog Rock in the BVI's about 4 years ago I swam into a school of baitfish. Thousands of them. As I'd move, the school would move around me. I noticed a barracuda about 40' away, the next time I turned around he was 3' away - and eyeing my shiny video housing. As I watched he hit several of the baitfish and was joined by a 3-4' Smook (sp) a couple minutes later. Just lots of flashing scales everywhere.

I've done two dolphin dives, in Curacao and at AKR in Roatan. Both were memorable for the encounter.

During the Roatan dive, I went up early, my friends still on the bottom waiting for the dolphins to return. As I was doing my safety stop, I noticed them about 100 yds. away from my friends so I waved to point them out. One of the dolphins saw me and swam up to within about 5' of me, stopped and stared me in the eye. I carefully reached my hand out, showed it to him and touched him under the chin - they told us not to go near the blowhole - as I did that, he moved closer, "kissed" me on the chin and took off to rejoin his buddy.

A dive buddy probably has the best one though. He was diving off Catalina about 10 years ago and noticed a big black dot through the kelp. As he swam up to it, it winked, then the whole wall of kelp sort of shuddered and came at him in a wave. As he backpedaled away from it, a huge whale swam past him. He thinks it was a Blue Whale - could've been 60'+ by his estimation. He said it looked bigger than the diveboat.

08-20-2009, 04:49
I had a whale encounter off the NW side of Isla de Tiburon once-was within feet of it-really cool encounter-frightening and humbling at the same time. The same trip, I got to see a manta idly swimming in a cove on the SE side of Tiburon.

08-20-2009, 06:16
Not seen a lot, but the Eagle Rays and an Octopus on last Bonaire Trip.


08-20-2009, 07:10
Snorkeling within feet of humpback whales in the silver banks. Priceless.

08-20-2009, 12:25
Snorkeling within feet of humpback whales in the silver banks. Priceless.

Wow, that really does sound like an awesome experience! How many whales were there?

08-20-2009, 12:53
Snorkeling within feet of humpback whales in the silver banks. Priceless.

Wow, that really does sound like an awesome experience! How many whales were there?

We were there for 4 days on the Turks and Ciacos Aggressor. Saw dozens of humpbacks. Snorkeled with them a few times when we could slip out of the boat quiet enough.

08-20-2009, 16:05
The whale shark two weeks ago was my high point, but a close second would have to be running into a 400 lb Goliath Grouper (Jew Fish) inside a wreck. Kinda like the reply above, neither of us were aware of the other till we bumped into each other. I showed more emotion than he did. :smiley2:

08-21-2009, 00:40
Long ago...........bull shark after a Blackbeard dive.

08-21-2009, 02:22
It's tough to pick my favorite story...hmmm....I think this would be my favorite because of the combination of the animal and the location....

I was startled to see a Puffer fish every bit the size of a 35 lb Thanksgiving turkey just sitting by himself inside a tiny room near the lower engine room deep inside the Fujikawa Maru in Truk Lagoon. I thought "don't scare him! ...there won't be room enough for us to get by if he puffs!" lol ... interestingly enough, when
the last of our party of three moved on down the hallway he followed us....and continued to follow us all the way out of the wreck into open water. (do puffers get lost? - how can you tell? they ALWAYS look confused!)

The guide diving with me confirmed that it was the biggest puffer he had ever seen.

08-21-2009, 09:20
I have two stories. My favourite animal encounter has no pictures. My second favourite has pictures.

My favourite animal encounter was Superman's Flight in St. Lucia. The week before diving there it had been raining. The DM leading the drift dive apologized for the poor visibility (it was only 60' but I'm used to 15' on a good day). There was a lot of microorganisms in the water and all the marine life was out for feeding.

We are flying along this fast current with a cliff wall on the right. I look all around as the fish drift with us. There are literally more species on this one drift then all the species I have seen in 20 different Caribbean locations. It is absolutely amazing. Then out of the murkiness I see a school of fish coming right at me. They are swimming hard against the current and veer to the right, passing me on my left. I glance over my left shoulder to wait them swim away. As I return my gaze to in front of me I am startled by a large barracuda just 6 feet away and closing fast. He veers to the right and passes me on my left. My heart is racing and I can barely contain my excitement.

I have seen a lot of barracuda but to see one hunting some fish was just so cool.

My other encounter was diving L'Abym in Dominica. This is a wall dive that drops off to way beyond technical levels. We swam along the wall at 60 feet looking at all the life. Again the abundance of life was amazing. Near the end of the dive we started hitting shallow water and the abyss ended. There was around a dozen of us and we'd some how bunched up into two groups. As we hit the shallows I looked over at the other group and saw a ray (mantaray?) following Rudy and Robert. I signaled to them to look behind them. At first Robert gave me strange looks. As he turned to look behind the ray moved to stay behind him. He finally turned around on the spot and saw it. Here is a picture of the ray:


the other cool thing I saw on this dive was frog fish. Here is a picture of two of them:


08-21-2009, 10:36
I've had four encounters that come to mind 1) Whalesharks in Holbox that knocked me around....2) 9' Silvertip that bumped into me in Fakarava. 3) the Manta dive in Kona they will knock you down. 4) the Bottlenose Dolphin that was staring at me in Rangiora.

I do have high expectations in November to see that Blue Ringed Octopus and Flamboyant Cuttlefish in Lembeh.

08-21-2009, 16:59
I swam alongside green sea turtles in Maui. That was pretty cool for me.

08-21-2009, 18:03
I had a great weekend of diving last week in San Carlos, Mex. We had a brief encounter with a whale shark that apparently had other places to be because it was moving right along. Also spent four dives with sea lions which were amazingly curious and liked to challenge divers to a game of Simon Says. My wife actually ended up with 3 juvenile sea lions trailing her through a swim through at about 50 feet and they hung with us for the rest of the dive...zipping around and getting right in our faces

08-26-2009, 09:31
Sealion in Los Cabos, Mexico. There are some videos of that day: YouTube - upelado's Channel (http://www.youtube.com/upelado) :smiley20:

Last week, Acapulco night dive. Spotted Manta face to face, less than 10 ft. I was frozen, tryed to move away a little, it came right to me and passed just inches from my fins... the only thing I was thinking was on its tail... could it hurt me? (I know there are too few posibilities, but that was REALLY close)

Shame thing was: every diver (5) pointing their lamps at us and did not realize that I have my cammera until it was gone.

08-26-2009, 11:04
My most recent fish encounter was pretty great. We ran into 3 Eagle Rays, at, where else, Eagle Ray Pass in Grand Cayman, swimming in formation. Looked a little like the flying Blue Angels, but more graceful. Just when you thought they were gone, they turned and came right back at us.

08-26-2009, 19:50
I've had four encounters that come to mind 1) Whalesharks in Holbox that knocked me around....2) 9' Silvertip that bumped into me in Fakarava. 3) the Manta dive in Kona they will knock you down. 4) the Bottlenose Dolphin that was staring at me in Rangiora.

I do have high expectations in November to see that Blue Ringed Octopus and Flamboyant Cuttlefish in Lembeh.

Guys, I have to say I absolutely love the pictures that have been posted with this thread. It really does get me excited to hit the keys and get under the water! I am sooooo excited!

08-27-2009, 19:47
for me it was a barracuda, grouper, toucan and manatee (last 2 taken at Xcaret)

08-28-2009, 08:23
I must admit my first encounter with a Blactip reef shark in the Turks and Caicos was awesome. Just 10 feet away...

But the critters in the Philippines just blew my mind away. This Pigmy seahorse was simply an amazing critter. So is this Frogfish found on a wreck during a night dive (spotted him about 3 minutes before the end of the dive!). Seasnakes simply fascinate me. Saw tons, and they aren't shy either often coming right up to you! And well cuttlefish... You can just tell they are as fascinated with you as you are with them. :smiley20:

Another fascinating event was watching a baitball form and a bunch of Jacks and big snappers dive in and out feeding on them (sorry, no photos of this).

These are certainly some of my highlights of aquatic animal encounters.
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG_2437_edited-1.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136351)http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG_2404_edited-1.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136350)http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG_2370.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136349)http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/500/thumbs/009_edited-1.jpg (http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136348)

Cougar Diver
08-28-2009, 12:02
My dive buddy and I were checked out by a sunfish in our local lake. For 20 mins it would just float about 3 ins from my fins. Then it would swim around to my back and then go back to my fins. Very friendly. He is my new fish friend.

08-28-2009, 14:16
Well, I guess the one that comes to mind first, is snorkeling with a very large manta while anchored in the shallows off Bimini. How something that large can move so gracefully in such shallow water is amazing.

I guess the next is a second place tie between the shark dive at Cay Sal, and a large hammerhead I saw somewhere in the western Bahamas...both of which were very close encounters.

The next would have to be a manatee at Crystal River that followed me around like an old hound, constantly rolling over on her back wanting me to rub her belly. I would pet her a little while, and then start heading towards the boat (getting low on air)...only to get bumped by her, and turn to see her rolling over on her back again. She had no shame. :smiley36:

The eeriest (is that a word?) encounter was a night dive, where I was looking at all the colorful nightlife on a coral head, when something large bumped me from behind. I instantly turned my light in that direction, and nuttin there. I don't know if something was sizing me up for dinner, or just stumbling in the dark like me, but it had me looking over my shoulder the rest of the dive.

08-29-2009, 04:59
and saw a ray (mantaray?)Spotted Eagle Ray :smiley20::


Manta Ray:


08-29-2009, 08:58
Thanks diversteve. By the time Robert sent me the pictures I was back home and no one here knew what it was.

09-19-2009, 10:47
By far, swimming alongside a green sea turtle in St Croix - turtle didn't seem to mind, just kind of swam along together for a few minutes then waved good bye as he swam off.

Probably about 20 feet down, 5-7 feet between us, good visibility, shell was clean and I'd guess about shell was about 1-1.5 feet long, turtle appeared to be healthy.

Second would be spotting 2 sting rays about 20 feet away swimming around and swooped up and could see their undersides. Again in St Croix, another dive though.

09-19-2009, 18:01
Haven't got to dive with whale sharks or manta's yet ,but diving the Sugar Wreck in the Bahamas is a must see. The depth is approx 22' and there is more sealife on that site than any other I've been to. From logerheads, to nurse sharks, to baracudas and everything in between! Plus you can stretch the dive to 90 minutes at that depth. One of the wildest things I've seen, is a lobster, darn near the size of an 80cf cylinder lurking in the deeper waters of Cozumel. If I remember right, it was somewhere near the Palancar caves.

09-19-2009, 23:29
and saw a ray (mantaray?)Spotted Eagle Ray :smiley20::


Manta Ray:


Tassie Diver
09-20-2009, 07:03
There are two things I can't decide between. Both of them were open water swimming rather than diving.

The first was a southern right whale and her calf. I knew they were in the area but was pleasantly surprised when they swam over to me and checked me out. I watched the mother nuzzling her calf, who wanted to swim over to me. They passed by so close, her pectoral fin went underneath me and I had to roll out of the way of her tail fluke. Not content with that, they swam away about 100 metres, then turned around and came back for a second pass.

The second was a pod of about half a dozen bottlenose dolphins that looped over and around me for a couple of minutes while I was swimming along.

The best part about both these experiences, is that they happened within view of my lounge room!

Okay, whales win!

And diving, well I once watched an octopus hunting and feeding for about 20 minutes. It was content to go about its business, spreading its web over a crack under a rock and then 'tickling' the shrimp out, before sucking them in, eating them and then squirting the detritus out of its siphon. There were a few fish that hung around and snatched up the debris. Very cool experience.

And I just noticed this is my 150th post! Cool!

09-21-2009, 08:39
While the sea lions and seals near La Jolla were fun, I've got to say my favorite encounter was being pinned to the bottom of Crystal River, FL by a manatee cow.

She was just eating up the rub-down with a nail brush, and (gently) laid on me for 10-15 minutes. I got to interact (touch/play) with her calf and yearling (?) as well, which made it my most memorable dive.

No, I did not chase/harass them, they initiated the interactions.

11-24-2009, 09:26
I had a few interesting encounters, but if I have to choose one it will be from this year's dive in the Princess Alice Bank in the Azores Islands, some 40 miles off shore from Pico Island.

The encounter was with over 40 Devil Rays (Mobula mobular), but I should let the pics do the talk here:

This one appeared as soon as we arrived to the site!

Now from under


A close pass

While I was clinging from the boat some others divers where coming out, that Devil Ray seems to be saying good bye!

The same as above, notice the diver's fin on the right side...

...and finally some barracudas from the same dive.

It was really an amazing dive, which I would recomend to any diver!

WV Diver
11-24-2009, 10:06


:smiley20: Cool thread. Besides the two links above I have encountered other things that were never put down in writing, except in my logbook of course. Like a very unexpected Hammerhead on Molasses Reef off Key Largo and an extremely large Spotted Eagle Ray on the same dive, Manatees, monster Lingcod, Cabazons, very large Tarpon, a 6' Barracuda, several 400lb+ Goliath Groupers, Seahorses, octopus, freshwater jellies and salt water ones too.

By far the most exciting and up close and personal, was also the latest, an Oceanic Whitetip encounter. It's is the rather long winded thread listed above. I hope you don't get bored with it. I generally don't make long trip reports so I apologize in advance, but I was inspired.

I have been blessed to have had these encounters and I wouldn't trade a one of them.