Under The Waves – Marine Life Of The Caribbean
Whether you are happy snorkeling at the water’s surface or take it to the next level with SCUBA diving, there is so much to see underwater in the Caribbean.
For years, I was a happy snorkeler. I was happy swimming along the surface, looking down and seeing all the beautiful coral and fish. I would occasionally dive down maybe 10 feet but never deeper. Then I decided to join Charlie and give SCUBA a try. That took everything to a whole new level.
Regardless of whether I was skimming the surface and swimming above the coral reef or swimming 50 – 70 feet below the surface, there is no shortage of fantastic life to see.
I have been asked many times why I decided to take up SCUBA. It’s a question that many divers get from those who have not tried diving. While I can go into the long story of Charlie diving and me snorkeling, I’ll spare you from that and show you in pictures.
The Blue Tang starts its life as a bright yellow fish, and as it matures that it turns to a beautiful vibrant shade of blue. You can see in this shot that this one still has some of it’s yellow in the tail, which indicates it’s still a bit of a juvenile.
Coral reefs all over the globe are slowly dying, thanks to pollution and body products. Many of the body products such as lotions, sunblock, etc., have harmful chemicals in them that wash off into the ocean. For example, for every 10,000 people playing in the waves, about 8 pounds of mineral particles wash into the beach each day. That may seem relatively small, but these minerals catalyze the production of hydrogen peroxide, a well-known bleaching agent, at a concentration high enough to harm coastal marine organisms.
When you see coral that is pure white, that means it has died. Coral is a living organism that, when healthy, is truly beautiful and plays a vital role in the marine ecosystem.
Be sure and use reef-safe sunblock products to help the reefs thrive.
These little Sergeant Major fish are so friendly. Just standing in the water, they congregate around you. When snorkeling, they will follow along for the ride. It’s like swimming in an aquarium, the coolest thing ever!
The French Angelfish starts it’s life black with solid yellow stripes, and as it matures, it’s as if the lines stretch out and create a beautiful yellow pattern. There are many fish that start their lives with one color pattern and end up completely different at maturity.
The Spotted Trunkfish is a bit square! No, really, it’s shape is almost square, which makes it one of the more unusual fish on the reef. This is one time it’s hip to be square.
The Queen Angelfish gets its name from the “crown” above its eyes. It’s a beautiful fish with colors that look like they are glowing. The vibrant, almost electric blue and bright yellow of the Queen Angelfish make it easy to spot underwater.
The Parrott fish gets its name from the parrot-like coloring. They feed on coral by biting small pieces off with their sharp teeth. If you listen, you can hear them feeding underwater. It’s so amazing to be able to watch marine life in their natural habitat.
We can never get enough of seeing turtles. They are so graceful in the water and just glide along as if we are not even there. Of course, we never touch the marine life; we just admire and photograph. Touching marine life can not only cause them harm, but it is also illegal in many countries, which makes it not only bad for marine life but can even land you in jail.
Many turtle species are on the endangered list due to the desire of people wanting to eat their meat and buy their shells. It is illegal in many countries to purchase any products that are made from turtles, but it still happens. They are such a gentle, graceful creature that we, as humans, need to do more to protect them from extinction.
There you have it! Whether you decide to float at the surface or dive below, there is so much beauty in the waters of the Caribbean. Next time you’re at the beach, regardless of where it is, take the time to look down in the water and take it all in.