"" Writer's Wanderings: Flying Fish are Fascinating!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Flying Fish are Fascinating!

It was on our first cruise that I saw for real what I had only seen and heard about in biology classes: fish that fly!

We were standing on the promenade deck of the ship during our lifeboat drill. It was taking place while we were at sea since the ship had left late at night due to a large group of international travelers being delayed along their way to the port. Normally we would have had the drill before leaving port. As the ship cut through the warm waters off the Florida coast, I saw what looked like silver flashes streak across the top of the waves. I blinked. And looked again. Suddenly a half dozen more were airborne and I realized they were the flying fish I'd heard about in one of my high school biology classes.

Flying fish are actually gliders. They don't have wings but rather large pectoral fins that spread out when they break the surface of the water. It is fascinating to watch them flit across the waves. Reportedly the longest timed flight of one was 42 seconds.

On our way back to Fort Lauderdale on our latest cruise, we saw scores of flying fish through out the day as we steamed home. Unfortunately for the fish, we also were accompanied by a seagull that kept swooping down upon them. Ah, the laws of nature at work.

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