08 April 2008 | Tahtit
"The swim to the reef."
I most prefer swimming with my husband Ted but this week he is in the Fl Keys looking after business affairs. My new swim partner is Berkey. He is about 8'6" and usually likes to windsurf. Berkey is a good friend and follows me like a dog on a leash he is my false protection. So lets go swimming in Tahiti you myself and Berkey.
Jumping in the water is cool and refreshing as it is very hot and humid the sun blazes on your skin making swimming extremely inviting. The water is a deep heavenly blue as Gabriella is anchored in about 50 feet of water. When you swim through this deep the sunlight reflects into a star of light bursting to your eyes through your mask. It can be disorientating because all you see is endless blue and a star of light burning. I sometimes think of heaven as I have read in Revelations 4:6" Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. "That is what I think on this part of the swim. Sometimes eyes will appear from a puffer fish ascending from the deep. Soon the water changes and you see a new color with more light and many dark shadows. You are seeing the sharp sand bank rising with sea cucumbers crawling on the ocean sand floor. These sea cucumbers come in various sizes, color, and texture much different than the ones I see in Florida. I often wondered what this snake like sand formation on the sea floor was, well now I know, as I have seen the source. Yes next to a sea cucumber. If you are brave to pick up a sea cucumber like Trevor is, another excretion appears especially if you squeeze it, is a sticky white string of multiple strands that fan, out similar to children's silly string that you buy in the toy department. Trevor says it is the best glue as it is most difficult to get off your hands and arms you will often see these strands on the coral also. This creature's color varies. Many are black others greenish and most interesting is a taupe with a frost of snow and spots of snowflake looking dots and smooth in texture you fell like touching it. I did it was hard to my sense of touch my eyes were deceived. The dark ones usually are bumpy and more textured somewhat on the ugly side often wearing a lace like skirt or thorns formations all over. I even saw one that must have rolled in the sand as he was covered in shells! Sometimes you will see them curled up under a coral head or snuggled around a sea plant looking like a dog sleeping contently on a porch on a lazy sunny afternoon. Now the size that is another story some are huge compared to my arm just as long and width compared to my leg. Not all are that humongous some are just regular Florida size like you find at the grocer in the produce section. Can you believe al the character sea cucumbers have? I never thought about them so much as here in Tahiti.
Lets move on to the fish they really are much more attractive. First off their color is the most noticeable feature. Pearl Blue, Vibrant Blue both light and dark ,Cadmium Yellow ,Orange and Red. Black fish, stripped fish ,angel shaped fish . Fish with long trumpet noses and snake like bodies similar but different to our reef fish in the Keys. Today I saw three beautiful Lion fish fanned out in all their glory a speculator sight. Yesterday a school of several hundred yellow and black stripped fish moved by like a flock of birds in perfect harmony. My favorite are the black fish looking up at you from the coral with big brown eyes staring like a shy puppy full of love giving you a glimpse and darting away to hide. Other fish blend in with the sand and you can hardly notice that they are there, Gods perfect camouflage. I have not seen any game fish that you would hunt and spear or any lobster. The reef here is full of small Tropicals a viewing pleasure.
One day Ted and I saw snakes looking into the quarter size holes in the sandy ocean floor surely looking for food. Today I saw claws coming out of the holes. A crab I assume the snake was looking for. No not true, later today I saw a shrimp like creature with double claw pinchers retreat back into the hole. The more you look the more you see mysteries unfold before your eyes.
Eels are different than snakes. I saw one moray eel lurking with his bigger than big head protruding out thinking he is hidden in the coral crevice called home and can't scare me with his enormous size and down the way his neighbor friend not quite as large with big teeth hanging out and eyes watching my every move!
The coral gardens turn into mountains, enchanted forests where you feel like you are trespassing as the beauty is pure and then there is the grave yards which show the past all of which are glowing in a beauty of their own. Some corals sparkle as it looks covered in gold and other coral looks like fresh snow on a flower garden all changing in texture, smooth to sharp points like antlers of a rein deer ,round like cabbage in a garden, or tree like , large and small, all are unique to its own self. Shells are tucked away hiding in crevices others actually embedded in the body of the coral. A living vision. Shells digging their natural selves into the sand while others have been kidnapped by crabs using the shell as a house. My favorite the clams partial open showing green , blue, tan or a purple being, living, breathing, moving. A mystery unveiled to my eyes one I have pondered for years. "What do shells look like when they are alive?" So many answers, once just a carcass now seen it is natural life.
On my final note it is comforting to put one hand on Berkey my windsurfing board and swim feeling hand in hand sharing the beauty of the reef.
Thank you God as this is a gift. This time. This life. May a day never go by that my heart cannot feel grateful. Life it is good . It is a gift. Only one can add the breath that brings life.