Every time I close my eyes now I feel like I’m floating over the reef and some new sea creature is swimming towards me, at which point I’ll try and spit out its scientific name with questionable pronunciation. It becomes gratifying when you can swim in the coral reefs of Jamaica and be familiar with whatever you’re seeing. The best part is, there’s always something new to see, or something else you’re looking for. Yesterday’s journey over the reef crest definitely epitomized that, and was by far the best exercise I’ve gotten in a long time. The anxiety of what we’d run into after going over the reef crest into the fore reef kept me kicking harder, until the point where I couldn’t help myself from diving down 15 feet and taking pictures of all form of life.
Swimming over the reef crest covered in brain coral with Aron.
The trip out to the forereef took longer than expected because each time we agreed to turn around, we found ourselves chasing a new species of fish or trailing a school of cuddlefish to get a good shot.
A damselfish playing tag with a four-eyed butterfly.
After losing track of how far we swam after crossing the reef crest, we came to realize that the tide dropped in our time exploring. We decided there was only one way back – sucking in our stomachs and floating along the 6 inches of water left over the reef. We quickly realized our mistake, as I couldn’t help but laugh seeing Aron sprawled over mounds of algae like a fish out of water, while gasping trying to hold myself up and avoid the fireworm right under me. Luckily the waves gave us a generous boost after our struggle to crawl over what would have been a great photo. After numerous bumps, scraping and salvaging whatever algae we could that we gathered for our collection tank, we were in clear water and preparing for the trek ahead of us. To lighten up the mood, we ran into gorgeous schools of French grunts and my ever-so-anticipated Christmas Tree Worm, which burrowed at my touch.
School of French grunts snacking on porites coral.
Where’s the presents (since this is a Christmas tree worm) ?
I’m hoping the next time we go out there, I will have found myself a nice pair of gloves, just in case.