Waste management is something we're always mindful of out here. We don't have garbage disposals, we lack a "garage" to store full garbage bags, and it can sometimes be a while before we get to an island where we can throw things away. As such, one way we limit the size (and stench) of our garbage is by throwing almost all organic matter overboard where it gets washed out to sea and back into the ecosystem.
So, imagine our surprise when this guy swam up from under our boat as we tossed over our food scraps the other day. We've seen plenty of fish (and even a couple small sharks) swim up and dine on our leftovers, but this guy was unlike anything we'd seen before. We had no idea what the heck he was. He measured about two feet long, had what looked like some sort of flat panel on his head and swam kind of like a shark. We were stumped. Turns out, he's a remora.
I knew about remoras but for some reason in my imagination they were always very small so this guy's two foot length threw me off. They're actually pretty interesting fish and have made a habit out of lazily dining on the scraps of others. The flat piece on top of their head is actually a suction which they use to attach themselves to larger ocean dwelling creatures (like whales, sharks, rays, and - as we learned - even boats). The relationship between the remora and 'host' is largely one sided with the remora benefitting tremendously from their adopted vessel by hitching rides, getting protection and, of course, eating their leftovers. As nothing is gained or lost for the host, they simply ignore the remoras and let them be.
Perhaps they can be called the "Fido's" of the sea? They seem to like table scraps just as much!