Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Big Blue

Come with me 
below the sea.
Twenty-two scenes from sea to see.

Snorkeling with stingrays - all ray, no sting.
These rays are friendly and curious about people. Because of daily excursions from the motus, they are habituated to humans, especially humans with huge eyes and strange tubes coming from their mouths. 

Blacktip reef sharks were also in the area. They enjoy an easy meal when fed by the tour boat captains. I would be sure to stay on my tour boat captain's good side. 

 Blacktip reef sharks typically grow to about 5 feet. 

 That's my length.

Is it their rows of teeth that make them seem so much bigger?

Perhaps these pictures make me seem brave. The truth is blacktip reef sharks are usually quite shy of humans. If you ever have the chance to snorkel or scuba dive in reef shark territory, take it. You will be awed by their prehistoric and enduring beauty. 

Before leaving the area, I dove underwater one last time to say a silent thank you for their presence. I wished them well, then boarded the boat to the coral gardens.

Kimi is in this picture somewhere. She dove into the water with bread and was quickly swarmed by hungry scissortail sergeants.

Eye to eye with the sarge.

Diving for a closer look at the fish.

The biggest blue beckoned 
from beyond the reef. 

Lemon sharks are rumored to lurk in these waters.
Lemon sharks typically attain lengths of 8-10 feet.

"Get in," said our guide. 
"You can see them better from the water."

Sure, why not? 

A lemon shark soon appeared with a hook in its mouth. 
Motai, our guide, tried to get closer for a look.

Unfortunately, nothing could be done. The fish swam away as soon as he approached.

Sharks will be sharks. This one likely followed a fishing boat and got caught on a hook when trying to steal the boat's catch. 

I hesitated mentioning the hook because I didn't want this post to end on a sad note. However, it's a part of the story. I don't blame the fishermen. They were only doing their job, but it's a reminder of the thread from which we're all sewn. An invisible thread connecting us all.