Swimming with Sharks and Other Snorkeling Tales of the Caribbean

DSC00889I love the gigantic redwoods and the monster waves at Mavericks, but the rich coral gardens located under the sea…I honestly don’t know if anything in the world can compare to their impressive beauty.  I think that Dr. Seuss must have been an avid snorkeler.  When I’m swimming around coral gardens, I always think of his stories and the wild, colorful characters he created and imagine that he took some of his inspiration from the coral reefs found in our planet’s tropical regions.

Like I mentioned in the last post, I was able to go snorkeling all 3 days that I was in Panama.  And fortunately, the weather held out for us and the sun even popped out a few times, making the water even that much more clear!

In the Bocas del Toro archipelago, there are 10 main islands and over 200 smaller islands.  There are also indigenous communities, one of which I visited on my first trip there.

We saw a vast array of fish swimming around us all three days, some small, some quite large…like the nursing shark that swam past me on our second day.  I was the only one in the water and I couldn’t decide if I should take the photo or get the heck out of the water.  But as you can see…I got the photo.  I would later find out that it’s rare for this type of shark to attack humans but of course, when you’re actually in the water and there’s no access to google, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution (so do as I say, not as I do!).

Nursing shark

The other guests were snorkeling pros and taught me about the types of coral and fish we were seeing. I loved the two types of parrot fish, the sea fan and the angel fish.  And I appreciated learning about the fire coral – not exactly a coral but if you touch it, it will sting and cause you great pain.  While I always try to avoid touching coral because it’s a living organism and touching can harm it, now I have even more of a reason to avoid it!

My favorite snorkeling spot in Bocas del Toro is Cayo Coral.  Stunning coral and fish exist there.  And because we’re in the low season, it was really only me and the two other guests for the most part!  We also went to a few other places that were interesting and different but really, I would have been happy if we had just stayed at Cayo Coral for all three days.  There was one location that we dropped in at that was much deeper than the other more shallow locations and it gave us a view of much larger fish and gigantic coral specimens.

There wasn’t much current in the Cay’s which is nice as you don’t really have to worry about being pushed into a reef and can instead just float/swim around at your leisure.  Since I don’t wear fins (or a snorkel for that matter), I was working extra hard to avoid scratching my feet along the reefs and was using my yoga breath to dive down a lot more than normal but it was worth it for the photos and videos I was able to get.  Visit my Facebook page to watch the video!

Snorkeling in the Caribbean is a truly awesome experience…highly recommend it for an underwater travel adventure!

Enjoy the slideshow…

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Pura vida…Chrissy