Snorkeling in the Aquarium (with Video!)

Over the weekend, Beau and I took advantage of the beautiful summer day and headed out for a day of play on the water. We enjoyed a long boat ride up the chain of islands, exploring along the way and cooling off in the sea.

(For a bird’s eye view of the chain of islands, and the spectacular shades of blue and aqua that we were cruising through in our boat, check out this older post with lots of aerial photos.)

During our exploration, one spot was rife with sea turtles, sharks and other sea creatures, so we got into the water to check it out more closely. Unfortunately for all of you, I don’t have any pictures from this spot. I was too busy avoiding (successfully) getting stung by the schools of thimbles that were pervading the water! These tiny jellyfish-like critters, in the shape of a sewing thimble, come out in the summer. Sometimes they sting, sometimes they don’t. They stay mostly on the surface, so I was either swimming hard to stay down without a weight belt (I’m a floater!) or relaxing back in the boat – especially as the sharks became more curious.

But never fear, I trotted out the trusty camera at our next stop in the middle of a national park area of the sea. Among other things, the “park” designation means that a no-fishing, no-taking policy applies to everything in its area. As a result, fish and other sea creatures are plentiful. It serves as a wonderful breeding ground and makes for fabulous snorkeling.

These pictures are from the part of the park locally known as the “Aquarium.” The Aquarium boasts tons of fish and coral in our pristine water of the Exumas. (And no thimbles that day!)

Almost always, the first fish to greet us in the Aquarium are little Sergeant Majors.

As soon as we jumped in the water, these little guys swarmed around us in a frantic cloud of brightly striped color. They are about 4-5 inches long and, obviously, are not afraid to swim up and blow kisses at the camera.

Sergeant Major kisses.

On the floor of the Aquarium – about 20-30 feet deep – and along the sides are plentiful coral, sea fans, sea grass and other wildlife.

A beautiful underwater world. See where the sunlight filters down?

Another school of Sergeant Majors (and Yellowtail Snapper).

Another commonly seen (and hunted) fish in our area is the Grouper. This one in the Aquarium was particularly friendly. He must’ve known that he was safe from becoming our dinner in the protected park!

Grouper in the middle.

Another grouper in a different area, along with Triggerfish, Sergeant Majors and Yellowtail Snapper.

As a seasoned free-diver, my beau can hold his breath and swim effortlessly in deep waters for seemingly forever. Without his spear and the thrill of the hunt in this protected park area, it was pure playtime for him.

Checking out something on the sea floor.

Looking under the rock, probably staring down a lobster or two.

Upside down again.

Now so far into a hole that you just see his blue flippers!

Our friends, Americans who are longtime residents of the Bahamas, enjoyed the exploration, too.

Queen of the Sergeant Majors.

Fish Whisperer?

Now, for my favorite part . . . a video treat! This brief underwater video clip features my beau and a kajillion Sergeant Marjors swimming around him. The video has a sped-up feel to it, but it is not edited or altered. The fish are swimming at their actual pace. However, it IS a faster pace than their usual – they are in a frenzy over the cracker that Beau brought with him and just crumbled into the water. You may notice Mr. Grouper swimming through at a more leisurely pace. The video is mostly silent except for the crackling sound of all the little fish – that is actually what it sounds like under there!

What a wonderful day! I definitely enjoyed a Better Life kind of weekend, and I hope you did, too!

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