As obsessed as I am with boats, building them and being in them, it is pretty amazing to actually see what the bottom of boats get to look at. So off to Caribbean I went again with a snorkel, mask, fins and good friends.
A great deal of flying, flying, flying, followed by driving on the wrong side of the road, brought us to the Bunker Hill Hotel. Nice joint if you’ve got stay on St. Thomas.
Then off to build a fort in the forest on a neighboring island. Two gangs entwined–Prescott College buddies and the dory mafia. Along with progeny.
Check on the sea to make sure it’s still okay.
Re-introduce ourselves to the neighbors. Mr. Hermit Crab.
And search out an appropriate entry spot to the world below.
It’s less like a different world–more like a whole new universe. The rules are different down here. Lots of fellow aliens down here.
Our old friend the Parrotfish, who chews up coral and spits and poops white sand beaches. Keep up the good work.
Blue Tang school with Parrotfish.
Blue Tang and Bar Jack. I think. Do you know Jack?
The slow and sideways Filefish. They seem to have something wrong with their stabilizers.
Blimp-like Mr. Trunkfish always makes me smile, toodling along oblivious to everything.
A Hawksbill sea turtle with his Remora friend.
The Stingray. Some of these guys seem to be inspirations for space ships and aliens in movies.
Booby says yes.
A few sessions in outer inner space, then back to the beach to put the sun away.
Then back to work the next day. Sing: When an Eel reaches out. And he bites off your snout. That’s a Moray.
A Cowfish? Kind of like a cross between a Trunkfish and a Filefish, but with horns.
Ack! The dreaded invasive Lionfish, here to devour the ecosystem. We drop a floating marker by him and notify the Lionfish assassin as to its whereabouts.
A Pelican rests between sessions. What great fliers for such an awkward-looking fellow.
The most bizarre of all the bizarre residents: the very smart and very amorphous Octopus. They are kind of hypnotic. You just can’t stop watching it to see what weird thing it is going to do next.
A young Angelfish.
A grown up French Angelfish. We saw one the size of a serving platter.
The Queen Angelfish. She doesn’t like to hold still for a pose.
I don’t know why things keep swimming away from me. Would you?
Corals–Staghorn and Brain
And everyone’s favorite, the Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber (or Donkey Dung Sea Slug). What’s not to love?
The Sanddiver, pretending to be invisible, ready to explode at any moment.
Peacock Flounder, doing a far better job of being invisible, wiggling his eyestalks at me.
Some other divers were convinced this pink coral was part of an Octopus. It isn’t, but that’s not what this is a picture of. It’s another invisible Flounder.
Back to the beach. The daily grind.
And up in the morning to do it all again. It never ends.
This guy was right above my head when I surfaced.
Lori found the world’s largest Lobster. Dog-sized. Maybe even Great Dane-sized. Oh–there’s two of them. RJ even saw a third in there. But I’m not too good at taking pictures while diving upside-down into a deep, dark crevasse.
The West Indies Sea Egg. A great number of them have small rocks stuck to them. Firmly. Is this a game the Octopus plays with them? Or what?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Lunch time again.
Oh, Turtle. Oh, turtles…
You fly so effortlessly through your world.
Odd mollusks with the lovely name Flamingo Tongue.
Ack–RJ found another Lionfish.
Our friend Paul from many river trips invites us up to his place looking out to the West. Pretty okay view too, the only problem being a noticeable lack of Sand Fleas.
And another day down below.
A squad of Squid. A squadron? A squidron?
I might have to take that back about their fellow cephalopods, the Octopi, being the most bizarre of all creatures. The Squids give them a serious run for their money.
If the Trunkfish is like a blimp, Porcupinefish are like giant dirigibles.
The ever-sinister Barracuda. They say they don’t bite people, but they always appear ready to change their mind.
Do not, I repeat, do not, cross that line, or you’ll be kicked out of school.
A SVLF (Seriously Very Large Fish) known as a Permit. Two of them zoomed through.
The ever-so-elusive but oh-so-spectacular Spotted Drumfish.
A wacky little crab hiding under a Sea Urchin.
The very odd Trumpetfish. Sometimes brown, sometimes so blue you can’t see him in a school of Tang. Today he decided to be yellow. Why not?
Some weird thing.
And some really weird things–Yellowheaded Jarfish. They hover vertically above the sand, they go quickly backwards down into their hole when approached. Kinda hard to see in this picture. It’s hard to laugh that hard while snorkeling.
And the sun sets one more time.
And it’s time for me to fly off to another adventure. My pilot was kind enough to take me around scouting for new snorkeling spots. These look okay. I think they are Turks, or Caicos, or Bahamas. I’m not sure how to tell them apart. But they do look yummy.
Lots of worlds–underwater dunes and channels, islands, clouds and cloud shadows, and me in a shrieking, hurtling tube far above.