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The ‘akule, commonly called the bigeye scad elsewhere, is one of the most well-known fish in the islands.


Kailua Bay, Hawai‘i Island

While it was a staple for centuries and continues to attract numerous fishermen, the ‘akule has also begun to draw attention from photographers like Steve Dunleavy. “By day, the ‘akule gather tightly in schools for protection in shallow bays,” says the shooter, who discovered the silvery fish in a spherical formation called a bait ball during a recent dive off the Kona Coast on Hawai‘i Island. “These bait balls are truly one of the great sights of the ocean,” Dunleavy explains. “While the fish only reach a size of up to 12 inches, the schools can be as big as a house or a boxcar, comprising of hundreds or even thousands of fish.” For Dunleavy, it was a perfect moment. “I was excited to come across them because it had been two years since I’d seen any,” he says. To get his shot in the less than ideal visibility that day, the photographer swam up close and snapped this photo of the school in motion. In our opinion, it’s truly a natural wonder.