Manta Ray Bay Reef Life

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Steve and I secured ADAGIO to a mooring in Luncheon Bay on the north shore of Hook Island and launched our dinghy ALLEGRO. We tied our dinghy to a public dinghy mooring in the next bay to the east, Manta Ray Bay. Steve erected the bimini top for shade, and I slipped into the water. I was immediately surrounded by curious fish who had been waiting under the boat for me — sergeant majors, blue fish with yellow tails, colorful wrasses and more. They followed me as I snorkeled towards the fringing reefs between the mooring and the shore.

The coral was spectacular, with large “fields” of blue staghorn coral, enormous brain corals, more than 3 meters tall, plate corals that were several meters across, rising in circular layers towards the sun. Many colorful soft corals were flowing in the currents. I swam with my underwater camera out in front of me, ready to snap a shot at a mili-second’s notice, before the fish turned tail.

The vistas were wonderful collections of corals of every size, shape and color — pinks, purples, yellows, golds, orange, white, blue, violet, lavender, red, and everything in between. The fish joined the spectacle, the most colorful being the wrasses and parrot fish, plus butterfly fish and angelfish. A boat full of tourists arrived to snorkel, and began sprinkling brown bread in the water. Suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of fish of all kinds, but best of all was a very large Humphead Wrasse (about a meter in length). The wrasse just coasted through the crowd, leisurely and unafraid, but not aggressive or begging, just cruising around and around.

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