The spectacular natural phenomenon that is known as a “fish tornado” may sound like an impending disaster, but this amazing gathering of fish is completely harmless. As schools of fish gather together to create a cyclone shape, swimming around and around, they begin their courting rituals. In this underwater version of a cyclone, high-speed winds are replaced with schools of fish to form a dazzling and fascinating site that few divers ever get the chance to witness.
While this may sound like a complete work of fiction, scientist and scuba diver Octavio Aburto caught the phenomenon on camera after spending years trying to capture the right conditions.
Captured in 2012, the marvelous video seen below showcases the natural wonder and absolute awe that is felt in such a grand event. This massive tornado of tuna was formed during courtship at Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico, according to Aburto. It may be difficult to believe your eyes, but this video is not altered or enhanced; this magic really does happen under the sea.
This whirling vortex may not sweep divers off their feet, but if you are lucky enough to witness it, you may be immobilized with awe. While this type of gathering is not uncommon in courtship rituals, a fish tornado is not always seen in this magnitude.
Contact your local PADI Dive Shop to learn more about spectacular fish tornadoes and to find an area near you where you may be able to catch a glimpse of this rare sighting during your next dive.