Garden Eels are Maddening

Garden eels in Anilao Philippines

Garden eels are fascinating.

They live in colonies, each in its own hole, with their bodies and heads extending out. They sway like charmed snakes and the overall effect is eerily attractive. You want to get closer to get a better look. But you can't.

As soon as you approach, they retreat into their holes and hide.

Garden eels are maddening.

I had begun to think that maybe the best way to look at garden eels was to fly to Tokyo's Sumida Aquarium, where they have over 600 of the eels in a spectacular tank.

They also have...


... wait for it...


Garden eel churros.


I'll give you all a minute to book your flights to Narita. If you are anything like me, you cannot resist the pull of the eel churro.




Anyways. Sometimes you're not in Tokyo and you want to see a garden eel. Sometimes you're in Anilao, and the garden eels are right there, and you really should give the whole "getting close to a garden eel" thing another shot.

Enter my rebreather. One of the benefits they sell you on when they're pushing rebreathers is this song and dance that "no bubbles lets you get closer to fish." I haven't particularly found that to be true. I mean, it's not like I go silent and suddenly I'm invisible (Wouldn't that be cool). The fish still know I'm there, and generally they aren't all that happy about it. I can't get any closer to the leopard sharks at La Jolla on closed circuit than I can with a snorkel, for instance.

But the garden eels! I can trick the garden eels, just for a second, anyway. I inched toward them--silently!--and was able to get about 3 feet closer than I ever could as a bubble-blower. Victory is mine at last.

Garden eels in Anilao Philippines


... And then they ducked into their holes and hid.





One Response to “Garden Eels are Maddening”

  1. Rhonda Albom says:

    Wow, these are really interesting. Personally, I would prefer the one of churros.

    · December 24, 2013 @ 4:14 pm


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