I eased myself from the steps into the sea and I was immediately treated to the sight of blue Tangs, tarpon, sargent majors and dozens of gently waving yellow sea fans. The water enveloped me in its gentle warmth. This is my paradise! This is my place of worship. From that point on I lost all track of time. The sky was clear, the visibility was great and there was no where else I needed or wanted to be.
Some people spend their Sundays on the beach. Some people wouldn’t consider missing church. If I’d stayed in Canada, I might be a hiker or cross country ski in the winter. Here, I show my appreciation for what the Universe provides by going underwater.
Eden Rock is my favourite place to snorkel from shore. We find a parking spot, take our gear and go straight to the Marine Park entrance adjacent to the Paradise Grill. It has to be one of the easiest entry points anywhere. There are steps into the water! I put the Sea Drops into my mask and rub it around, then rinse it in the sea. I don’t have to worry about getting sand in the mask. I don’t have to find a smooth spot on the ironshore to enter. I don’t have to balance while I get my fins on. The entry is smooth concrete. The biggest problem is that it gets hot in the sun. We put our flip flops onto the ironshore beside the sidewalk and tuck the Sea Drops under our towel.
It was the perfect day to snorkel. The sky was blue and the sea was calm. There was hardly anyone downtown in George Town.
The blue Tangs were not the vivid blue that we often see, but a paler shade, almost lavender. The Stoplight parrot fish were huge. At one point my husband mimed playing a trumpet, then pointed to a spot a few feet away. After a moment I saw it, camouflaged against the coral, a trumpet fish.
We swam lazily, almost drifting around, among the juvenile chubbs and French Angel fish. We hovered over the tunnels in the reef, watching the tarpon below. We spotted a triggerfish, a needlefish, and several squirrel fish. There were purple and yellow sea sponges, finger coral, pencil coral, brain coral and purple sea rods.
Sometimes we see divers below, their bubbles rising to meet us as we share the beauty of the reef on separate levels. Every visit to Eden Rock is different. Today, we saw no divers and no reef squid, but we also saw no thunder clouds threatening. We had all day, if we wanted, to explore as far as we ever have. There was no one near us!
We were heading slowly into shore when my husband stopped and turned to get my attention. In the distance, between us and the shore, was a shark. It was no threat to us. It was swimming in the other direction, away from our entry point, parallel to the shore, but even from a distance we could see that it was huge! We later identified it as a lemon shark.
We continued our leisurely return to the shore, stopping to study the tarpon in the shade of the mini-trampoline and to admire the sea fans once again. When we finally climbed the steps to where we’d entered, which is also the easiest exit ever, we felt as if we’d finally done full justice to the Eden Rock snorkel.