Susan Cocking -
The huge Goliath grouper seemed to be playing peek-a-boo with divers hovering near the wreck of the MG III about 60 feet deep off Jupiter.
If the humans swam too close, the giant mottled brown fish backed up deeper into the shipwreck.
But if they held still and waited, it edged closer — cocking its head to eye them, then opening its cavernous maw so that they could see all the way down to its palate.
Not far away, some other divers creeping up on scores of Goliaths puttering around the wreck heard a deep boom that sounded like an orchestra tympani or the penetrating bass of a rap song.
That meant the humans were invading the fish’s space, and it was warning them off using vibrations from the muscles attached to its swim bladder.
Far from scared, the divers were elated.
“That was so cool,” they told one another after surfacing at their charter boat, the Blue Tang.
In a two-tank drift dive that covered three 90-foot-deep artificial reefs — the Zion, Miss Jenny and Bonaire — followed by the shallower MG III, the dozen divers probably had observed several hundred Goliath groupers.
Large schools of the huge, gentle giants began showing up on shipwrecks from Boynton Beach to Stuart in July for their annual spawn, which peaked in August and is expected to extend into mid-October.