In January, one of my daughters and I made a trip around west Texas and southeastern New Mexico looking at rare Gambusia. One of these was G. nobilis an endangered fish. One of its homes is San Salomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park at Toyahville, Texas. While at the park we tried to photograph this species, but found it wasn’t possible without an underwater view since the fish couldn’t be netted to photograph. Not having an appropriate camera we failed to get usable photos. When talking to the rangers about the fish, I was told they were present in the large swimming pool fed by San Salomon Spring. Then and there I decided to get an underwater camera.
Fast forward to today. Susie (my wife) and I were on the way to California for a couple of speaking engagements and were traveling past the park on I-10. Susie had purchased an underwater camera and I read the manual and prepared the camera on the road. When we arrived at the park the outside temperature was 30ºF (-1ºC), but the water in the pool was a constant 72ºF (22ºC). Armed with swimsuit and camera I entered the pool. Instantly I was swarmed by minnows (I’ll identify them later; I’m thinking of conducting a contest related to these fish). It soon became apparent to me that the pool wasn’t a habitat conducive to Gambusia; none were present.
After paddling and wading around photographing my feet and numerous minnows, I gave up and walked the very, very long walk to the bathhouse, shivering all the way. The things we do for science…
Tim Gray says
Mr. Charles, show the photos. Balmorhea Park is a wonderful place, the swimming pool is a fish heads Paradise. Would love to see some images from under the surface also.