Before coming to Jamaica, I made sure to get scuba certified so that I could participate in all of the dives. I had already heard about the diving experiences of my friends who took this course the previous year, but I was still not prepared for just how incredible diving would be. On our second dive, we went to the M-1 reef site outside of the reef crest and dove down around 50 feet. I do not have a lot of diving experience, so I was nervous about going down so deep. However, when I saw the array of different organisms on the sea floor, I was so amazed that I completely forgot about how worried I was. The corals, sponges, and fish that we saw while diving were very different from the ones that we could see while snorkeling. One sponge was neon green! Going diving in Jamaica was so different compared to what I had done for my diving certification back in the United States. It was such an incredible experience, and I had so much fun drifting peacefully above the reef and admiring the vividly-colored fish that swam by.
It was such a bizarre-looking fish that I had to just stop and appreciate it for a good few minutes. There was no way that I could have seen that fish while snorkeling up at the surface, and I am so glad that those weeks of frantically studying for my scuba certification are paying off!
Another tip that my friends gave me was to go night snorkeling as much as possible. Different animals come out on the reef during night than the ones that we usually see during the day. Night snorkeling is also quite different because you cannot see anything other than the area where your flashlight is facing. Many sharp sea urchins come out at night, and it is easy to kick one accidentally. Despite all the dangers, it was definitely worth it to go out snorkeling at night.
We are only a few days into our trip, and I have already seen so many interesting corals and reef fish. I can’t wait for what we are going to find next!