Saturday, January 23, 2010

My first day of legit Australian snorkeling

Today after dolphin research was done I decided to stay in Byron and snorkle around. Oh, and speaking of research, today we saw two small sharks from the lighthouse! I was so excited. They looked either like spiny dogsharks, or some form of sandshark, most definitely harmless, and too small to really do anything.

Mark and Jared decided to drive up as well. Since both of them were born and raised here in Australia, I just assumed they would know how to snorkel, right? Wrong. Mark had only snorkeling once before in some nasty lake. Jared decided to go to the pub instead. So it was just me and Mark, which meant I got to teach Mark how to snorkel. It was pretty fun. I had my pair of flippers, and he didn't have a pair, so I let him use mine, which meant I got to swim twice as hard. I love it (I really did).

We walked about twenty minutes along the beach until we got to a more sheltered area with smaller and less waves, seeing as it was a pretty windy day. Because of the wind, pretty sure that every blue bottle in Byron Bay was washing towards shore. So what doest that equal? The top of my left foot getting stung like crazy. We were walking right along the waves because it was hot, and we could see all the blue bottles, so we were just jumping over them. I jumped over on, and landed right as another one washed up. Ironically, 2 minutes before that I had said to Mark "I wonder what it feels like to actually get stung by one of those, I'm just curious". Thank you instant karma. And it hurts just as bad as everyone says.

After about an hour of just sticking close to shore, and seeing only a few goatfish, I made Mark swim out to a reef with me. When we got there, I was automatically in heaven. Right there was a school of squid, just waiting to welcome me it seemed. They were pretty shy, so I only swam with them for a few minutes. I then just saw several damsel fish, a few angelfish, a school or some whitefish, and just some random other small reef fish. Then the real treat happened. I saw a peice of seaweed, and then did a double take. This was no peace of seaweed, it was a leafy sea dragon. I nearly had a seizure! They are so beautiful, and not very common, not to mention they are pretty easy to overlook. When I looked up to grab Mark, and looked back down, my sea dragon was gone, but I still felt insanely lucky for seeing him even for just a moment. It was incredible.

It was a wonderful day to spend snorkeling, a bit windy, but still worth it.