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Turtle

Esther & Neil Symons

Milagro
Morgan/Catalina 45
September 26th, 2016

After a blustery and overcast Valentine’s Day,  the weather cleared and the wind is down a bit.  We decided to snorkel on a reef about ½ mile dingy ride from the anchorage.  The reef is somewhat protected, but there are still ‘curlers’ on the outside.  We swim on the inside but there is still quite a surge.  We kick along not fighting it, holding on when it’s pushing against us and making way when it sucks us along.

There are fish here: blue-green parrots; little yellow butterflies; long nosed trumpets, schools of 50 – 100 blue tangs.  A blue grey trigger fish circles.  A vertical diamond with top and bottom fin working in opposite directions, watching with one big eye.

The coral here is unique.  Several acres of coral heads rising up from the white sand bottom 20 feet down to within a few feet of the surface.  They are all shapes, from slab-sided green mushrooms that look like some gnome’s house; intricate patterned brain coral, and others with lots of irregular shapes.  There are lots of soft corals too: lacy blue fan coral 4 feet across; leafless bushes of brown and green, and the ones that look like ostrich feathers in light mauve.  The coral, the fish, the sand and us all moving with the swell.

Then we see the turtle.  He’s about 2 feet across at the shoulders and about 3 feet head to tail.  He swims underneath us a few feet off the bottom.  We keep up easily.  He pokes in under a coral head, pushing sand with his feet, trying to get at something.  We watch as the minutes tick by.  He pulls out something that looks like sea weed and eats it on the sand.  Slowly, he rises for a breath.  We hang back not wanting to disturb him.  His nose breaks the surface for only a second or two and then he’s down again.  He’s in no hurry and we swim along.  His back is yellow green and has some moss on it.  Again he comes up with his back to us.  We are closer now.  A puff and then he turns and his head is about a foot from my mask.  Who is most surprised?  Not him, he just sinks a couple of feet and swims under us.  Now he’s had enough.  Down he goes into the deeper water and slowly disappears into the blue haze.

You never know what you’ll see when you go for a swim.

Another day, another adventure!

Photo credit: CC BY SA 3.o Unported

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