#8: "They're SO beautiful!"

We swam with dolphins today.

Photo credit: Lionel Galway

Now, no disrespect to all the other amazing fish and corals and other reef animals we've had the privilege to see (I have a shout out to some awesome fish below) but I'd sound like a bumbling idiot if I tried to explain how amazing it was to be so close to them. But I'll try anyway ...

They were curious, swimming under and around us, and when they were bored with us, which was long before we would have been bored with them, they just took off.

You could hear all the clicking sounds they make to communicate with each other. Maybe they were commenting on how incredibly clumsy we were in the water. I felt like such an awkward doofous next to them.

Photo credit: Lionel Galway

Sherrie was beside herself, and is now enduring the jokes we've been making about her technique of holding her hands behind her back to "look more like them." We can joke all we want, but the dolphins did come the closest to Sherrie.

Photo credit: Lionel Galway

Before anyone gets alarmed by our swim with the dolphins I would like to make a few short statements:

1. We were not looking for dolphins. We noticed them playing on the wake behind our boat, so we stopped and jumped off the back of the boat.

2. We were not chasing the dolphins. Not even Michael Phelps can chase these animals down. You cannot chase a dolphin in a mask, snorkel and fins. Compared to dolphins, we stink at swimming.

3. If they were feeling threatened by us, they would have been long gone before I even had my face down in the water.

4. These are the kinds of experiences that make anyone appreciate these animals more, and want to protect them and their environment.

And that shout out to the fish ... We now have two white spotted file fish. Don and Russ caught the male with the color blocking first, but since these fish bond with their mate we had to catch the female in order to be able to keep them. On our second dive we found the female. Here they are together:

I know it seems odd that we were able to catch them both, but on two separate dives. How do we know we got the right one?

These fish don't travel far within the reef, and we didn't see any other of these species in the area we were. So it was a good find, and lucky that we caught the female on the second dive. If we hadn't we would have had to put the male back. When I was taking this picture the male was being very shy at first, but then kept getting closer and closer to my legs. When it got close enough for me to see his teeth I decided I had enough pictures. I don't know if he was going to bite me, but I think I'd bite me if I were a fish, especially if I was defending my territory and my mate.

I know Deb said something in an earlier blog about a possible Barracuda feeding. What Deb and I are now learning is that the Barracuda are picky eaters, and can go weeks without food. Sooooo ... we'll keep you posted on that. Tomorrow we're planning a night dive so I may not get around to a post. I needed to say that mostly so that my mother doesn't start worrying about my safety when she sees I haven't posted anything for the day.


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