"" Writer's Wanderings: "Marine Cha-ching"

Thursday, July 06, 2017

"Marine Cha-ching"

One of the exciting things about scuba diving is that you never know what you are going to find. It is a landscape and community that is constantly changing. I often laugh when someone comes back from a dive and says they didn't see anything. There is always something to see. It just may not be what you were looking for. My general comment is that the only reason you didn't see anything was because of all the fish in the way.

Like anything else you sometimes don't notice the obvious. In the Caymans there are tons of fish all brightly colored or patterned and all sizes. They even have different personalities. The groupers always look grumpy, the tarpons nonchalant, the parrot fish forever happy-go-lucky and that's just a few to mention among the thousands of others.

On a few of our dives we saw some new things that we hadn't seen before. Our grandson pointed out to me a disk sticking out of the sandy bottom in one place. When I waved my hand over the top of it to scatter the sand, we discovered the first sand dollar I'd ever seen when diving. I've seen lots on shore but never under the water and never one this size. It had to be at least 8 inches in diameter and that's adjusting for the fact that everything looks larger underwater.

When we bragged about our find, the dive master wanted to know if it was alive or dead. We looked at each other and shrugged. Were there little tentacles sticking out? he asked. Nope and it was very white in color. Dead, he said. We didn't care. It was still a great find.

Later we would see a nurse shark swimming freely. Usually they are snugly tucked in under a rock or ledge. I wondered if he'd been disturbed by the divers in the area.

Of course marine life also includes the corals, sea fans, sponges and tons of other little creatures that are found in the crooks and crevices--like an arrowhead crab that gets its name from its arrow shaped body and actually looks like a daddy-long-legs spider. It was hiding in a little spot between some rocks.

But the sand dollar was unusual. Something that can't be spent but can certainly be saved in the memory banks forever.

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