by B. N. Sullivan
When I used to shoot film underwater, I made it a habit to mark a code number on the frame of each of the slides as soon as they had been developed. The coding system I devised long ago consists of a number that corresponds to a particular entry in my dive logs -- that identifies the when and the where -- plus a letter code that indicates something about the subject.
Jerry finished scanning all of our old underwater photography slides awhile back, and as he went along, he labeled each with its original ID number and sorted the scanned images into folders according to the subject code on the slide. I still have not finished reviewing all of the thousands of images, but every once in awhile I sit down in front of the computer and spend the next few hours sifting through those digital files.
There, peeking at the camera from an excurrent opening of the sponge is a little fish! (I can't decide whether the fish looks surprised or merely annoyed.)
The next surprise for me came when I looked up the numerical code in my log books. I was amazed to discover that I had taken this photo in 1990, during our first-ever dive trip to the Cayman Islands! According to my log book notes, that roll of film was shot at a place called Angelfish Reef, Grand Cayman.
I have no idea what species of sponge that is, nor do I know the identity of the little fish. My best guess is that it is some kind of Blenny. It's about the right size, and many fishes in that family like to hide out in small holes in the reef with only their heads visible to passers-by. In any case, we're glad to give him a new home in our underwater menagerie here on The Right Blue.