Saturday, December 19, 2015

Under the Sea

What lies beneath those beautiful blue Caribbean waters, just offshore from the warm white sand beaches?  Much, as it turns out, for those willing to venture beyond the sunbathers and the tropical drinks, to venture under the sea.

Cruising through the Caribbean Islands is an adventure every soul should have at least once in their lifetime. Breathing in deeply the clean ocean kissed breezes will restore your spirit, if only for a brief respite from this weary world. But there is an appeal much deeper for those who depart ship and shore. Much deeper. Well, at least a dozen feet or so. So put on your fins, grab your snorkel and let's go!

We started our morning like any back home: grab a cup of hot, black coffee, the newspaper, and discuss what the day had in store for us. Today's conversation took place not in our living room as we readied ourselves for our workdays, but on the veranda of our rented flat in Turks and Caicos. Yes, it would still be a work day as we helped prepare for the commencement exercises of a university with which we are affiliated, but perhaps there was time to take in a morning swim. Perhaps. If we timed it just right.
So quickly grabbing our gear, we headed to a spot off Grace Bay known as Bight and without hesitation, dove right in. Growing up in Hawaii, snorkeling was almost second nature to L, but even spoiled by those beautiful waters, there were pleasant surprises in store this morning. 

Armed with a waterproof camera and with an hour of free time, we swam away from the shore toward a small reef. This is part of a larger system of reefs which protect the bay and the island chain.

We were prepared to see the variety of coral and small fishes that met our gaze as we floated near the surface of the warm waters of the bay, but were struck by the clarity of the water which allowed us to see what we estimated to be more than five fathoms below the surface.

We dove and floated and explored, discovering small schools of tiny silver fish and bigger blue fish. There were purple corals, and purple fish; yellow corals and schools of bright yellow fish.

It was serene and beautiful. Simple, but beautiful and easy to lose track of time.  But the day was warming and we knew we should be jumping out and getting ready for the day. Just five more minutes. Five more minutes...

Then, right below us, casually swimming below us, was a sea turtle. No hurry, no fear, just swimming right up close to nibble a little breakfast and see who had come to visit his neighborhood. We were in awe of the grace and curiosity of this beautiful creature.

And a bit jealous how the turtle seemed to take in the environment so naturally unlike us with fins, mask and snorkel.

Puffer fish, and then whatever this creature looking at me and heading out our direction meant it was time to go home.

The debate of was it an eel or something more sinister, if anything could be more sinister than a lurking eel ready to take a bite of nosy humans.

J concluded that it was merely another fish, while L contended that the creature which gave her such a start was clearly an eel - whatever it was will remain a mystery since it ducked down into the reef not to be seen again.

Swimming in the water with such clarity that sightseeing the undersea world was as easy as stepping onto the warm sands of the Bight. A good start to what would be a very busy day but the thoughts and images of what we saw gave us the determination to carry on with much more mundane duties for the remainder of the day.

Of course, there was always tomorrow and the next - why only work when visiting the Turks and Caicos? There is too much to see and so little time - so we made every hour count.

Sleep? We'd rather explore and sleep later - take advantage of the now! No one knows how many sunsets we are granted. Not a philosophical discussion just reality.

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