Thursday, May 7, 2009

april 1st 2009...The hunt for the Diamond Bannerfish....'Poisson D'avril'

The Diamond Bannerfish, a seasonal visitor to Seychelles!

April the 1st came quietly to Seychelles but with it news of the return of a fish species found only seasonally in the area, Heniochus cubicus or the Diamond Bannerfish.

Eager to give the day's divers a bit of a challenge the centre team prepared some laminated photos of the fish for inclusion on the pre-dive briefing and the divers were all keen to see if they could add this rare fish to their personal fish-check lists! The divers on this dive were a multi-national crew from Canada, the UK, Germany and South Africa, all keen to be the one to find this elusive species first!

The divers searched diligently on their dive around Grouper Point, an area where the Diamond Bannerfish was supposed to have been seen before, but despite their efforts no-one could find the elusive species.

On returning to the base the Centre team had to come clean and told the crest-fallen divers that the local name for the fish was 'Poisson D'avril' which literally translated from French is April's fish but in its common usage is April Fool!
The adventurous divers after their search for the 'Poisson D'Avril!

The term comes from the 16th Century when Charles IX declared that France would now follow the Gregorian calendar, starting the new year on January 1st instead of April 1st (the Solstice); French legend has it that anyone who didn't follow the calendar were called 'Fools' and were invited to fake parties or had other tricks played upon them. French children continued the tradition of pranking each year by taping a fish to their friends back and when discovered calling out "Poisson D'avril"!

Some think that the fish connection came about as on April 1st the sun is leaving the Zodiac sign of Pisces..... others say its because fish were thought to be dumb and easy to catch (? maybe in the 16th Century!!). Whatever the origin our team of divers were delighted to have been pranked in this way and have a new entry for their log-books if not their fish lists.

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