Check it off the list:
Finally, after 3 turtle sightings since I got back (which I missed), I got the privilege of seeing one. It was a great fish day yesterday. The tide was way out so Rory and I were able to go out further than usual.
First we went to see the “good reef” which tends to be a good spot any day. We saw my friend the trunk fish, then a bigger 10 inch trunk fish (huge!) and the now familiar French Angel fish who also lives on the reef.
It was slightly hazy so the fish were bold. You could just make out outlines of schools of large fish that moved on just as you came into view. They were everywhere. Sensing that it was one of those days where the big guys were around, I veered off across the reefs to see if I could get sight of something great.
The turtle was just hanging out between a break in the reef and swam away as soon as I came across it. I followed it, but it they are fast little buggers! A few relaxed flicks of his flippers and he was way ahead of me, cutting through the strong current like it was no big deal as I struggled to keep up. As he swam away I noticed he only had one back flipper. Poor guy. I turned back around to swim over the reefs, content to check another item off my list.
Since the tide was so low there were waves breaking over a reef far out that Rory and I hadn’t swam to before. We assumed there was another “good reef” out there and went to check it out. Turns out it was quick raise from 6 or 8 feet deep to 2 feet. We rode the waves for a bit until the tide pulled out even farther and we began to imagine getting crashed down onto a piece of fire coral or black urchin (the ones that sting!). We moved on.
I was convinced that we were close to the wall. the water was beginning to change color to that eery dark blue and with every stroke I was sure that we’d come into view of that terminal edge. Realizing it wasn’t as close as I thought it was, Rory and I stopped for a moment to analyze the situation. The current was still pulling out and seems strong (like we were getting sucked over that 7,000 ft like a waterfall – which is not how tide works, I know, but I swear it was pulling harder than it was a few yards ago.) Practical sides kicking in, Rory and I decided that today was not the day for the long swim and headed back in.
The fun wasn’t over yet, as I swam over the “good reef” once more to see if the turtle had returned, Rory called me into shallow waters. I didn’t hear what he said, but I’ve learned to swim hard and fast when called and ask questions later, or you miss the good stuff. The cow fish, similar looking to the trunk fish, has also eluded me all these weeks. Rory has seen at least two. I’m telling you there is a conspiracy – everything gets out of the water when Jessica gets in. My luck seems to be turning though as Rory pointed one out and we watched it float in the current. Rory also pointed out that the cow fish only had one eye.
A one-eyed cow fish who’s days are numbered and green sea turtle with one foot. Neal gave us a disbelieving look when we told the story. There is a rule that if it doesn’t seem plausible and Neal didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.
But with two witnesses, it’s undeniable.
That was truly an unusual swim.
images from: http://www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/images/fish/angelfishes/french_angelfish_NJ_IMG_0057_web.JPG