Cudjoe Key, Florida
Before I tell you about yesterday, I should probably clarify yesterdays blog post. Sherry felt bad about the poor shark we caught and released with a hook in his mouth. We did too Sherry, but we like to think it may have taught him a good lesson and he will be more careful next time about what he bites! :) Not everyone would have released him. Al didn’t try to catch a shark, and was shocked when he did (despite the title of the blog). We had hoped for some yellowtail snapper for dinner, and the shark was an accident. He was fun to catch, but we certainly didn’t try to catch him. The hook Al used was very small and are supposed to rust and dissolve quickly, so I’m sure he will live and grow up to be a big shark. The hook will be more of an annoyance to him than anything else.
The seas had calmed down enough for us to get back out to the reef, but just barely. It wasn’t exactly a smooth ride out and and by the time we got there,I was a bit seasick. I popped a few of my natural ginger pills and felt a little better, but I wasn’t too enthusiastic about snorkeling at first.
We wanted to go back out to buoy #36 because it’s in 7-8 feet of water and we saw so many different types of fish there the last time.
As usual, the water started to turn blue and clear as we approached the reef. I wish my pictures would capture what my eyes see. It’s gorgeous!
Fortunately for us, there wasn’t another boat on buoy 36, so we hooked right up.
The water was clear and gorgeous even though it was a bit choppy. We saw several black spotted eagle rays near the boat, but unfortunately didn’t see any while we were in the water.
As I waited for my stomach to settle, Al went snorkeling.
I sent the Intova video camera down with Al and you can see in the next photo that’s he is intent on filming some yellowtail.
I helped him out by throwing some fish food into the water. He didn’t know I was going to do that, and was a little surprised.
The yellowtail seemed to appear out of nowhere. I saw a much larger fish along with the yellowtail. It turned out to be a big jack.
Al got a picture of it. You can see he’s a lot bigger than the other fish.
The splashing on the surface in the next picture is the feeding frenzy.
After the surprise visit from the jack, he popped his head up to tell me what kind of fish it was.
He forgot to turn the video off so he got a photo of me in the boat.
Mr. Barracuda was still there and acts as your tour guide the entire time you’re there. He was also there the last time.
He just cruises along with you. Sometimes beside you, sometimes just underneath. He’s always there! He watches you, and you watch him. He’s beautiful.
I finally decided to jump in and see the action. The water was 82 degrees, so it’s almost warm enough for me. :)
Mr. Barracuda met me at the ladder and proceeded to split his time between me and Al.
This time, he wasn’t the only cuda on the reef. At one point I saw 6 barracuda nearby and later on I found the big daddy of the family.
The other barracuda were only 3-4 feet long, but the big one must have been a 6 footer. Not only was he long, but he has a massive girth. He was a bit intimidating.
I was more cautious with the big one and was careful not to accidently float too close to him.
This is him,I think, but since I was further away, it’s hard to see how big he was.
This part of the reef is just teeming with life and you never know what you’ll see. Al saw a big shark and we saw another big shark from the boat as we were leaving.
There were dozens of multi colored parrotfish. I tried to get a picture of one “smiling” but they were busy feeding.
The next pictures are of a juvenile queen angelfish trying to get a much larger parrotfish away from her home.
My little camera does a decent job, but since I’m snorkeling, I’m too far away from the fish to get better shots. The color doesn’t come through like I actually see. I really need to put a tank on and get up close and personal.. I can’t see a thing through the viewfinder, so I just aim the camera and hope for the best. When I download the video, I pause and take a “snapshot” when I get something I like. Maybe next year I will have a better camera.
You never know what you’ll see next!
There is no shortage of opportunities to photograph the barracuda.
We had a wonderful day, but it will be our last time until next year.
Today, we start preparations for our journey north. We had hoped to leave tomorrow, but we don’t think we can get everything ready by tomorrow. We will probably leave Friday, just in time for 20-25 mph winds.