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The Barracuda

Beach vacations mean snorkeling for me.  In Turks, there is a great snorkeling reef right off the beach just a 10 minute stroll from our hotel.  Just a pretty day, a pair of flippers, and some harmless fish…that’s what I told my daughter.  Here are her thoughts about that days snorkeling…

One day on vacation Mom and I were snorkeling around a reef when Mom became distracted by a fish and swam after it…way away from everyone else in the group.
This is what’s usually labeled a “bad idea.” She pointed at some
larger fish in the distance, trying to show me how excited she was to
see something bigger than the little ones around the reef. They were
long and thin and shiny, and when the light hit them at the right
angle, I could swear I saw a pointy-toothed underbite on them. “Mom!”
I said, pulling us both above the water. “I think those are
She wasn’t too keen on taking pictures after that.
We swam back towards the reef, dismayed at how far we’d strayed.

We stopped about halfway to catch our breath.  We emerged to make sure we
both had all 10 fingers and toes, still, and when we submerged again,
we saw a BARRACUDA. Right in front of us, maybe a few yards away. It
was close enough for me to count the brown spots on it if I’d dared.
We slowly changed our angle to go around it…so did the barracuda.
Now I was scared. Now I feared for my life in a way I’d never
experienced before.

Mom dragged me to the surface (but not before
trying to take a picture of the fish–glad to know you have your
priorities straight), at which point I told her that her shiny silver
camera could be mistaken for a small and delicious fish and might very
well get us KILLED, and then I panicked even more, and then we slowly
submerged again to check the status of our little friend. He was gone.
Not behind us, nor below us, nor anywhere in sight. We made sure of
this and then swam to shore like the Kraken was chasing us, and were
never so grateful to see dry land before in our lives.

We survived our barracuda encounter!Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as stressful or
dangerous as, say, “Jaws,” but it was still pretty exciting. And,
okay, perhaps we found out later that barracudas hardly ever attack
people and only the really blind ones mistake cameras for food, but it
still got my blood pumping and my life flashing before my eyes.
In case anyone’s wondering, I didn’t go back out to snorkel at that
reef the next day.


Here are some of the less stressful photos from flippering around the reef.


These were the ambassadors of the sea.  They would just let you swim with them- pure magic to float along with a school of fish.

The parrot fish filed restraining orders against us (perhaps that is why that barracuda was herding us away…). I loved to follow these guys.  Their rainbow colors were mesmerizing (and even though the water was perfectly still, shallow, and full of sunlight it still doesn’t do them justice).   I would just float along listening to them crunching on the reef- they eat a lot.

There is still time to join me on my virtual vacation.  You can read all the details (it is pretty easy- vacations should be relaxing and restful) including the giveaway goodies here.



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  • Cynthia June 9, 2012, 8:58 am

    HA HA HA!! Only the really blind ones….LOL!! That’s awesome!!! LOVE the photos! Thanks for taking us along on vacation with you! =D

  • NatashaMay June 9, 2012, 9:12 am

    Lol! That was exciting to read. 🙂 We were taken snorkeling in Egypt and they had a barracuda spot where the guides fed them so they showed up for tourists. But if one was chasing me wow! I would probably break the world record in swimming. :))

  • Cowgirl Red June 9, 2012, 10:11 am

    I’m really enjoying this vacation with you! Terah

  • Rinda June 9, 2012, 10:40 am

    Great story today – thanks for sharing it. But now I have that song stuck in my head . . . “Barracuda”by Heart!

  • AJ June 9, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Hi Carolyn, I’m so glad you both survived and your daughter wrote about it so well. I can’t get my husband to snorkel any more after he had a similar ‘near death’ experience (well that’s how he describes it) off Tobago. I think we only had ourselves to blame, should have known better than to go out in a boat run by a group of very stoned rastafarians! I would recount the sorry tale but I don’t want to put people off. Look, just enjoy the beautiful fish folks, all is good on this virtual vacation, and those fish are REALLY pretty 🙂
    Big love
    AJ 🙂

  • Rita McGregor June 9, 2012, 10:42 pm

    Now that would give me pause! Beautiful shots. 🙂

  • FranT June 11, 2012, 7:09 am

    these photos are awesome, love this color blue!