Sunday, February 3, 2013

Swimming with Stingrays

Good afternoon Chia!

Yes! We both are doing very well with the blog posts! Perhaps it is because the summer's extended light has allowed us to do more things in a day that are blog worthy! I definitely know that for me, summer has allowed me to pursue the things I love outside of my working hours. Winter is hard, as I can't really do the things I want to do in dark and when its too cold.

As such, because yesterday (and today!) the weather has been P-E-R-F-E-C-T, I've been unable to resist the ocean. Yesterday morning I went out for a run to try out my new Vibram Five Finger shoes (as part of my barefoot experiment).

The Vibram Five Finger's Bikila shoe

It was great to finally have the soles of my feet protected from the harsh roads, little stones and twigs that I usually encounter on my route. However, the muscles in my calves and my feet have been a little sore from these runs, so it will be a while before I can give you my conclusion on this barefoot running technique. I'll keep you posted.

Anyways, on my run I checked out the water to see if it was good enough to snorkel. The first thing that I noticed was that the ocean blue was a lot darker than when I went snorkeling on Monday.

The water looks darker yea?

I wasn't enjoying the lovely weather alone!

I was a little unsure about the water as I had not snorkeled in it when it was this blue. From my observation, I noted that the swell was bigger than the swell on Monday (see my post about Monday's snorkel here), but it was still pretty flat. So I rang Kev to give him my assessment of the water conditions. He initially declined my invitation (as he probably heard the hesitation in my voice), but after our luck on Monday and hearing that I was going to give snorkeling a go anyways, he changed his mind and said that he would come too.

When I got in, I instantly realised why the water was bluer. It was because the tide was high and as such, instead of having to walk over the reef, I was able to swim over them! Also, because it was high tide, as soon as dived in, there were fish everywhere! My pleasure immediately removed all my initial fears of snorkeling alone, and I just lost myself in exploration!

Another Red Lipped Morwong

A huge school of tiny fish

More Red Lipped Morwong

As I snorkel more and more, I have started to remember the rock formations, learn more about the water currents and the underwater environment here. It's almost like learning the streets and directions of a new city! As this area is not monitored, and a lot of the times, there isn't any other people around, I have been super vigilant when venturing out alone as I know that there isn't anyone around to help me if something does happen.

I noted that on the Monday snorkel, there were areas where I wanted to swim to, but because I was still getting comfortable with my new surroundings, I did not dare to swim into that unknown area. I psychologically psyched myself out (it didn't help that the man that I had spoken to mentioned something was swimming around and that I started thinking about sharks!).

I've also realised that I prefer the water when the tide is high. Because when it was as low as on the Monday snorkel, the waves would push me into the reef and as such, I was a lot more cautious around the reef and stayed away from swimming over them.  With the high tide, I noted that I was free to swim over the reef and the waves (though bigger) were not as rough; as they did not push you into the reef, but merely rolled over them.

When Kev arrived, he swam up to me while I was busy snorkeling and caught me unawares. Luckily, he came when he did because through the cloudy waters, I saw a dark figure lurking towards us. I then started making noises through my snorkel to get Kev's attention to have a look at this:


After this experience I was buzzing with excitement!  Especially because Kev saw it this time! I was a little sad that the water was murky (not to mention I needed to get more shampoo for my goggles as they were fogging up!). We both swam after the Stingray, but it soon disappeared into the reef.

We then continued to snorkel some more.

Lots of fish!

Pretty purple coral!

Pretty sea anemone spotted by Kev.

Kev doing a 'Superman' pose.

Messing around!

Kev and I started to get tired, so we started to swim back to shore, when out of nowhere this fella swam up to us!

This guy was HUGE! His head was round and prominent. Gracefully flapping his 'wings', it swam up to us without a care before swimming off into the deeper water! Both Kev and I gasped "WOW" through our snorkels!

After that, we decided to go back in.

Here are some close up shots Kev took:

Abalone galore!

More sea anemone.

Back on land - please ignore my mask indent. It remained there for a few hours!

Our exploration gear!

I just can't stop gushing about my experiences at my beach. It's such a wonderful place and just around the corner! Being able to walk here and see the things that we have seen this week just leaves me buzzing and on a high for the rest of the day! I just want to keep on exploring and seeing who else lives here! Speaking to some of the other beach goers that I've come across, apparently some octopi live here too! Also, I see cuttlefish cuttle washed up on the beach so I assume there are some cuttlefish here too! Hopefully one day we will be able to see them!

Also, I think I get so excited because the things we see are completely unplanned, and I know that it is not every day that you will get the perfect mix of sun, swell and wind to give you great snorkeling conditions, PLUS the rare opportunity to see various marine life.

And now, I let out a long sigh. Back to work again...

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