That. Was. AWESOME.
Last time we tried snorkeling, I was given a wetsuit that was too big and ended up shivering out and sitting on the boat for the last 45 minutes… which happened to be when the manatees came out.
I was determined to do better this time. My wetsuit was slightly small. It was a warmer day and slightly warmer water.
It happened to be a slightly windy day, creating waves 2-3 feet high. The ride out was choppy - a bell attached next to the captain detached, barely missing MsBoyink’s head. The reef, however, created a bit of a barrier, cutting off most of the waves.
After getting geared up, we “jumped in” (more of a half slide, half controlled fall). The first thing I thought upon hitting the water was “Blech. That’s right. I forgot how disgusting saltwater is.” After a few minutes of paddling around, I stuck my face in and took that first frantic breath. Once I had assured myself the snorkel did indeed allow me to breathe, I focused on the water.
What a bunch of fish. The first fish I saw was a few feet long barracuda. Then a little swordfish - only about six inches long - swarm right in front of me. A couple minute swim got me to the corral reef. Hundreds of fish of any color you could imagine, swimming everywhere, barely scared by the humans above.
I must’ve swam a couple miles, just gazing at the fish and plants. All good things must end, however, and, after breaking for water and returning out for a couple minutes, I realized I was exhausted, and let the wind push me back to the boat. I returned only a couple minutes before it was time to return, anyway, so I didn’t miss much. With everybody back on the boat, it was just a slightly chilly ride back.
I enjoyed that way more than I did swimming with the manatees. That was probably on my top-5 experiences list - still behind surfing.