As someone who is an ocean lover, I have an appreciation and fascination with the life that lies beneath the water’s surface. My first snorkeling experience took place at the age of 8 in the Grand Cayman islands. Terrifying at first, after a few minutes under the water, I fell in love with everything my eyes had never experienced before.
Fast forward, I am still in disbelief every time I explore a new reef. Explosions of color decorate the salt water habitats. From vividly colored fish to plants, everything you see is more intriguing than the last sight. There is also a sense of adrenaline that can be felt out in the open water due to the fact that you have to understand you are in the habitat of other creatures, and that must be respected.
This past weekend, I made a trip to Jupiter, which lies on the East Coast of Florida and is home to various coral reefs. While it often requires the use of a boat to experience coral reefs as they are usually far off shore, Coral Cove park contains a reef that begins immediately at the shore. This particular reef was full of life serving as a home to vibrant fish, nurse sharks and loggerhead turtles. My ultimate mission was to see a nurse shark in person. Before you think I’m completely insane for wanting to see a shark where I was swimming, it should be stated that Nurse Sharks are harmless to humans unless provoked. (to learn more about Nurse Sharks visit: National Geographic.)
The reef, layered with coral contained many crevices and cave like structures which are where the bottom feeding sharks tend to exist. About twenty minutes after entering the water, I saw the tail end of what I recognized to be a nurse shark sticking out of a crevice. Upon closer inspection from the top of the water, as to not encroach on the creatures space, It’s full body became clear in my sight. I had seen my first nurse shark. My only regret is forgetting to bring my GoPro to capture the moment. However, this allowed me to actively enjoy the experience and embrace the excitement of seeing such an incredible creature. My next adventure is Point of Rocks Beach on Siesta Key. Stay tuned...