The next day my sister, Nikki, and I hopped into the water with our snorkels and fins ready to explore this little cove down the road from our rental house. As we were heading out from the beach a pair of older guys were wading back while talking about getting attacked out in the water. Nikki and I interrupted, "What are you talking about??" They winked, "Oh you'll see!" The other responded, "Watch out for the triggers!"
The humuhumunukunukuapua'a (also known as a Picasso or Reef Trigger) is the state fish of Hawaii. We actually had one (named Humu Harry, rest his soul) that lived in my dad's saltwater tank while we were growing up, so we were fairly familiar. They're not the nicest fish but we'd seen worse. We put on our masks and ducked under.
Less than 30 seconds later we were swimming along toward the reef when something slammed into my left hand. I screeched into my snorkel and whirled around to see a trigger making a speedy getaway. Next to me my sister was half-drowning as she snorted with laughter. I examined my hand and found a perfect oval of teeth marks. The sucker bit me!
It's no shark bite, but it'll do!
|With a stuffed Humu in downtown Kona.|