"" Writer's Wanderings: Flying Fish

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Flying Fish

Whenever we cruise the Caribbean I always look for the flying fish. They are like little white bullets that shoot out of the wake of the ship and skim over the water and waves and disappear again. When you first see them you think your eyes are playing tricks but they are real and on our World Cruise I saw them in the Pacific as well.

The fish are anatomically built for flying--so to speak. Their tails are sculpted with over-
sized lower lobes and when in danger, they vibrate it more than 50 beats per second. The vibration propels them out of the water. Once free of the water, they spread over-sized pectoral fins that have been tucked against their sides while underwater. The pectoral fins act as wings when they become airborne.

Flying fish which can reach 18 inches in length and weigh a pound and a half are usually only airborne for two or three seconds but some have been known to stay airborne for as long as 45 seconds and cover a distance of 2,000 feet but do so like a flat stone that's been skipped along the water's surface. If you were being pursued as dinner, you'd learn to run too!

Unfortunately flying fish are pursued not only from below but above as well. Larger fish feed off of them and above the surface they are prey to keen-eyed albatross and frigates. And new to me, it was mentioned by one of the lecturers that flying fish can be found on the menu in some countries.

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