07 Jan – Darn Damselfish

In the morning, we had some free time to snorkel and collect species, so my snorkel buddies and I stayed over by the mangroves. I kept running into young adult Threespot Damselfish, which I quickly learned I really really don’t like. They’re territorial fish that come swimming towards divers, and everywhere I looked, there would be at least one just staring at me and getting closer. These fish aren’t threatening (the most they would do is nip), but I just don’t like having a fish so close up in my face. I guess these damselfish succeeded in defending their territory, though, because every time I saw one out of the corner of my eye, I swam in the opposite direction to avoid eye contact with them.

that side eye…

Deep within the mangroves are little nooks and crannies you can barely get into, and as I was exploring, I noticed a plastic bottle at the back of one. I swam to go grab it and held onto it for some twenty minutes until I found another one and grabbed it, too.

ocean clean-up!

After our quick snorkel break, the certified divers set out for Eco Reef for their checkout dive to demonstrate some basic skills. Setting up the BCD was slightly different than how I learned when getting certified (apparently there’s a “Jamaican way” of storing the alternate air source”), so it took me a few tries and asking Snow questions to get it set up. One thing remained the same between gearing up in Hawaii and in Jamaica, though — I couldn’t lift the set-up gear off the ground myself, so I had Jeff hold it up for me as I put the straps over my shoulders. Once we all had our gear set up, we headed over to the boat to set out for the dive site supposedly 45 minutes away (it ended up being a ten minute ride). At the dive site, we got in and performed skills like flooding and clearing masks, replacing regulators, sharing air, and neutral buoyancy. I didn’t bring my camera with me because we were diving so deep, so I sadly wasn’t able to take any photos of the amazing organisms we saw. At sixty feet, it was the deepest we could dive down to, and it was absolutely incredible having the freedom to swim around wherever.

Until next time,
Elderberry Erin 🙂

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