The Bahamas is all about the shallows, the reefs that are just off the beaches. You can literally go snorkeling 10 feet from the beach. The first time I saw the shallows around Paradise Island, I was fascinated by what seemed like dark splotches marring the lighter turquoise of the water. Turns out, those darker patches are coral. And. It’s. Everywhere.
Fun fact: the Bahamas are islands made of calcium carbonate, the same stuff that makes coral reefs. Basically, the Bahamas is made of living rock that’s constantly growing. What’s really fascinating is that this living rock needs plenty of iron in order to build, which it gets…from the Sahara desert. Dust storms lift iron rich dust from the Sahara across the Atlantic to the Caribbean where it falls and is greedily absorbed by the reefs (including the old one on which the Bahamas sits).
Between swimming in the warm water, lounging on the beach, and reading (I know it’s cliché, but oh so enjoyable), I snorkeled. I didn’t know while I was swimming all the life that surrounded me until I put on a pair of goggles and looked. I don’t know if this is a commentary on the obliviousness on my part—or on the human race in general—but I was more than happy to have my eyes opened to the beauty around me, the beauty that’s not as easy to see but just as magnificent.
Unfortunately I don’t have a waterproof camera, so I couldn’t take pictures of the marine life, but here are some of the fish I met:
- The Blue Tang – Yes, I met Dory. A whole school was just swimming swimming swimming around. I followed them. Like a creeper.
- Sergeant Major
- Yellowtail Snapper
- A bunch that I can’t identify.
Moral of the story: Go snorkeling; it’s possibly one of the easiest places in the world to do so. Also, read on the beach.