Monday, April 27, 2009

Fishing in Hong Kong Part 2

Hello everyone. So lets continue on to my fishing adventures in Hong Kong.

These are the boats that will be taking us to the fishing place.

Some friends waiting for our boat to arrive.

A guy in a corner doing what he likes best!

A view from the docks. Tourists here can rent windsurfing equipment and enjoy other water sports!

As we were waiting, these little fans were being passed out. It was around Easter and traditionally the locals go visit and pay respect to their passed away loved ones on the islands. The graves are "Fung Shui" chosen on the different islands for the best resting place. The little fans are a reminder to put out the fire on the candles after paying respects.

And here we are off to the fishing grounds!

Nothing like being on a boat!

Here is one of the grave sites that I was talking about earlier.

And here we are arriving on the floating platforms. Looks just like the "carambas" we have here in Indonesia. The place reminded me of Nha Trang bay in Vietnam.

And here we are getting off the boat. Note our captain and host is a lady!

The place was really cool. People can rent these floating platforms on a daily basis to go fishing or just to have a family gathering. Pretty cool little hangout place!

And here is the toilet. Well what did you expect?
Some other fisher people relaxing on another platform.

Most of these floating platforms are used to grow out fish. Later I will have some pictures to show.

Our friends getting ready to set up the rods.

One thing I noticed about the fishing in Hong Kong is how the everything is kept neat. Every piece of tackle has a place of its own. And everything is compact and mobile. The guys really take care of their equipment. I can't say much for us fishermen in the US though. Most of us just throw our poles and equipment in the garage until it is used. Then we simply throw it in our pickup or the trunk and grab a bucket full of tangled tackle, or even that messy tackle box with all kinds of tangled lines! The fishermen in Hong Kong are very meticulous and tidy.

Check this out. So besides the normal spinning and level winds, these guys came up with this strange unique cool looking "hybrid" reel. I can say that it is a combination spinning and baitcast. And get this, this reel and the "special" rod is designed just for floating platform fishing. God forbid, no one dares to use regular equipment, although it would do the same.

And to go along with the special floating platform reel, is the special designed ultra light pole.

The back screws out and the rod is a telecopic type.

It has zillions of eyes and is ultra sensitive. By now, I figure out that we were not fishing for 200 pound tuna!

Bobber stoppers are a norm tool of the trade, although we seldom use this in the US.

Even the weight is special. These thin strips of lead are cut to the fishing conditions.

The trick is sensitivity. Bare minimum of weight to get your bait to the bottom. I got frustrated with my bait sinking too slow and put on more weight. Of course our fellow fishermen thought there is no way I can catch fish that way. They were right I didn't catch much, although the reason wasn't because of the weight though. You will see what happened on the next post.

So here we are, ready to drop my line down to the dark green water. I leaned over to the edge of the platform and saw some things growing on the sides of the floating drums that was holding up the floating dock. That blue thing in the picture is the plastic empty drum.

I leaned down and looked closer. Wow! There were all kinds of living things! From tunicates to mussels to even anemones!


Ok guys that is it for today. On the next post, we will look more in detail of the life that I discovered on the sides of the floating drums. Also we start catching fish!

I've been in Sulawessi for the past week. I will be flying out to Bali later today and then off to East Java for more corals - mostly softies and sps!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

H.R. 669!

Hello everyone. I apologize for not posting sooner, but I've been extremely busy island hopping for corals. I would like to interrupt "my adventures in Hong Kong" for an important announcement.

Some friends in the industry have alerted me to a proposed bill that is going to be sent to the congress tomorrow. If it passes, we can say goodbye to the export of fish and corals. This bill does not only effect us reefers, but it also applies to all nonnative wildlife in the US.

The bill is known as H.R. 669, and it was probably conceived by dumb people that had nothing to do but sit there in front of their computers and think of ways to make life better, without actually thinking! Basically the purpose of this idiotic bill is "To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species or human health, and for other purposes"

Can you imagine what the consequences would be if this bill would pass? Basically the whole pet trade would be in jeopardy. How can you help? Go check out this Youtube video to find more information and how you can make a difference.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fishing in Hong Kong Part 1

Hello everyone. I have already returned to Indonesia and wow, what a trip Hong Kong was! Besides corals, my other passion is fishing. My friend decided to take me on a fishing trip in Hong Kong Bay.

So we started out early in the morning. I took the local subway and met up with my friend at another station. We then took a taxi to a marina nearby. We stopped at this "Together cafe" to have breakfast and joined up with some other fishing friends. The menu was kind of weird, a combination of Chinese and British dishes.

Right next door to the cafe was this little fishing store. The rectangular wire mesh thing on the bottom is actually a fish trap. Many similar traps are used to catch rabbitfish using bread as bait!

After breakfast, I took a walk around the marina and discovered a whole street full of seafood restaurants. Note the large aquarium the tourist couple is checking out.

Upon getting closer to the aquarium, I was greeted by two enormous napoleon wrasses! I have never seen one close up before and I was amazed. These brutes were about 3 feet long, and I know they can get bigger than this. They were beautiful! Their turquoise color with yellow-orange markings were just insane. I felt bad as these beautiful creatures seemed like pets, very curious and following me around the tank! But we all know why these guys are here, to be eaten! I have never tried napoleon wrasse, but I hear that they are really good eating. And for sure very expensive!

Check out the mouth, kiss me!

Next to the aquarium, there was this paper taped to a wall.

Wow, cites document! Here in Indonesia, napoleon wrasses of this size are protected. There is a strict size limit (only small specimens) and a strict yearly quota on the harvest of these beautiful fish. Of course most of the exports of these wrasses from Indo end up in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Chinese have a fixation about live seafood, and this fish is at the top of the list.

I wonder where these particular guys came from? Surely they were imported in from another country. I think the waters around Hong Kong are too cold to have local populations of this fish. The weather and water in Hong Kong is sub tropical.

The napoleons were housed with giant groupers, also for the dinner table!

A huge potato cod! Some of these fish are probably from Vietnam. I remember seeing these guys in an aquarium on an island in southern Vietnamese coastal town of Nha Trang.

Right next to the tank with the huge fish, some smaller holding tanks for other live sea foods. This is not a seafood market, it is a restaurant with the goods outside to showcase.

Very strange, I didn't know you can eat horseshoe crabs! These ancient crustaceans are from local waters and are huge!

Cuttlefish anyone? Fresh steamed with garlic... oh man, makes me hungry!

Gorgeous blue grouper with yellow fins. This is a very aggressive grouper. I remember keeping a smaller one as a pet back in the days. I believe these colorful guys are from the Philippines.

Some local razor type of clams.

Blue lobsters anyone? We usually see small tiny ones for the aquarium trade. I hear they really taste good.

Big giant monster crabs from Australia.

Here is a close up shot of one. These amazing crabs have one giant claw and big ones can cost as much as $500 plus in restaurants in the US. Check out the large spider crabs in the background!

Around the marina, there are tons of these outdoor cafes.

Hong Kong is a place where dogs are treated like kids. I have never been to a place where animals are so loved. I saw many little dogs in baby carriages!

This is a common site. People having breakfast with their dogs at their sides.

Before heading out to the boats, we stopped at this restaurant to buy some roast duck for the trip. Later we would eat these along with other goodies for lunch!

And here we are, the boat dock. From here, we would take a small boat to go fishing on a floating platform. And these platforms look exactly like the ones in Vietnam and Bali!


Ok guys that is it for today, keep an eye out for the second part of "Fishing in Hong Kong", coming very soon!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hello from Hong Kong!

Hello everyone. So I'm having a blast in Hong Kong. Never knew that this little island would be such a blast! With great food, great weather, and how everything runs so efficient - I can see myself staying here for a long time. I'll go over "life in Hong Kong" on the next post.

For today's topic, let's have a look at the local fish stores (LFS) in this cozy little island. The only problem is that the stores will not let anyone take pictures inside. I guess the competition is fierce and don't want any spies taking conspiracy photographs. The store owners really know what is up. They all sell the latest gadgets and carry every brand of dry goods you can imagine. I can say that for the most part, the reef shops in Hong Kong are all high end guys.

And the fish! I saw fish from Red Sea, Australia, Caribbean, Hawaii, South Pacific fish like ventralis anthias, Philippines, Vietnam, South China Sea, and of course Indonesia. Cleaner shrimps and fire shrimps from Sri Lanka seemed to be everywhere. The fish selection is truly huge and for some, really cheap! For others, crazy expensive like the ventralis anthias. The males were selling for US$200 a piece! The females were less. They must have had at least 20 males and more than that of the females. And sure enough people were buying!

The main part of Hong Kong where the "fish street" is located is in an area called Prince Edward. I stay in a little hotel in this area because it is walking distance to the shops. The picture above is an entrance to the Prince Edward subway station. For sure it is named after one of the royals of Britain. After all, the British colonized Hong Kong many years ago and left many of their influences behind. More on this on the next topic.

I took this photo as I was riding the subway train. Kind of odd since all the other stops were Chinese names, and then you have "Prince Edward"!

So this is the entrance to the "fish row". It is dominated by fresh water aquarium stores, but there are lots of high end reef shops. Many of these shops are located upstairs. There are signs but you would miss it if you didn't know that they were there. You would have to ring the doorbell and let the owners let you in and climb up the stairs to the second story.

Convenience is a factor. Pre - bagged and to go!

Here is a close up shot. This rack mainly has tetras and mollies.

Neon tetras by the bunch.

One of many reef shops on the street. Having such a store with door to door competitors actually help the sales. Surprisingly though, there were customers in each shop buying all kinds of things.

Many of the goods are displayed along the sidewalk. Here I am enjoying Hong Kong Coka cola. It is interesting to taste all the different formulas of this addicting soft drink. I say different formulas because it taste different in every country. But technically, the formula should be the same and taste the same, but it doesn't. One thing I have noticed is that our coke back in the US tends to taste much sweeter than its counterparts in the South East Asia. That is why I drink diet coke back at home!

Here is one of the premier reef shops on the street. There is a nice display tank near the entrance. I believe this is one of the guys that carried the Clarion angels from my friend Steve Robinson. Just to let you know, Steve will be bringing in the rare Clipperton angels to Hong Kong soon, and chances are that you will see some in this store.

Freshwater fish in cubicles for sale.

Freshwater live plant tanks are pretty popular in Hong Kong. I saw many beautiful display tanks, but couldn't take any pictures.

Some baby turtles and plecos and few other odds and ends on the sidewalk for sale.

Some cool original names of their shops. The one on the left is called "Success Aquarium"!

Some are just silly. I think they meant "High tech Aquarium"!

I managed to take this photo of a killer blue seafan on a door entrance display tank. I was told that this came from the South China Sea. Just insane!

Here is another high end reef shop, even properly named!

Even on a weeknight, the street is busy with hobbyists!

These guys are selling golfish right on the street!

And so I was allowed to take pictures in the shop that will carry my corals. These are actually a customer's fish. The owner does lots of maintenance work besides retailing, kind of what I used to do.

Check out the bicolor looking Centropyge joculator pigmy angelfish. This rare beauty comes from the Cocos-Keeling islands in the Indian Ocean.

The Hong Kong fish keepers are into big fish! I saw all species of giant angelfish, including this magnificent French angel from the Caribbean.

The Ear-Spot angelfish from East Africa, Pomacanthus chrysurus. Beautiful fish and seems common in Hong Kong!

Sorry guys for the blurry picture, but this guy just did not want his picture taken! This is a very rare Pomacanthus chrysurus - Pomacanthus semicirculatus hybrid. I have heard of them and seen in books but never saw in person, until now!

I've seen these deepwater anthias come out of Flores from time to time.

.Ventralis anthias! I'm not sure where these came from. They could have come from one of many of the South Pacific islands. The one in the front is a male, and the other three in the back are females. Way overpriced in my opinion here in Hong Kong.

Nice skimmer doing its job. High end skimmers like Bubble Kings are pretty popular here.

Ricordia floridas from the Caribbean. These guys are far away from home, and worth lots of money in foreign soil!


Ok guys that is it for today. For my next post, I think I will be posting it from Indo, we will look into "life in Hong Kong" Pretty exciting stuff, including pictures of huge 3 foot Napoleon wrasses for eating! Also took a day and went fishing, wait and see what I found in Hong Kong harbor! All this and more coming up in the next posts. After that, I will post more coral pics, still have hundreds to share!


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007