It’s been an epic year for cool creatures — big and small — in our Big Bonairean Backyard.
There was the Manta at Jeff Davis (see previous blog post). There have been multiple sightings of gorgeous hawksbill turtles on the house reef to the north. Son Elias discovered octopus city at 1,000 Steps. I won’t even try to begin to describe the veritable flotilla of barracuda at Salt Pier in January. Everything culminated at the end of last week when Ben took a spill from his bike and, bleeding pretty profusely, descended from the ladder into the Caribbean to clean his wounds. He took a little longer than usual to clean out his mask, affix it to his face and spin over to snorkel around. But when he did, he discovered that a very large friend was investigating the “chum” in the water: a 6-foot long reef shark! The shark quickly realized that Ben was not prey and swam off, Ben followed closely behind and alarmed the whole neighborhood with shouts of “SHARK” in an effort to alert me so that I could jump in the water and see it. It departed too quickly and so, alas, I did not get to swim with the shark. But it was a pretty cool encounter for Ben.
For me, though, the most exciting find of the season happened in mid-January at Something Special when — after 11 years of searching — I espied a frogfish on my own.
Here is a picture of the little guy.
When we dive, I am the person peering intently in crevices and atop sponges (frogfish) and closely studying the octocorals (seahorses). A whale shark could sail right over me and there is a very good chance I would not even notice. The small and juvenile creatures are my thing. So finding the common — but extremely elusive — frogfish was the highlight of my 2021-22 winter of diving.