Brian A. Hopkins does Costa Rica
From the capital city of San Jose to the Pacific Coast
(and beneath Mother, Mother Ocean's waves), to the rainforests, cloud forests,
and beyond, these are my adventures in Costa Rica. All photos shot by me, Betty,
various obliging Costa Ricans, or our fellow adventurers from
Water Divers OKC. The shot above is me on the stern of our dive
boat, doing the "I'm the king of the world!" bit (from Titanic).
Our primary reason for venturing to Costa Rica was diving in the Golfo de
Papagayo, but we also explored the rain forests around the Arenal Volcano,
rafted the Sarapiqui River, and drove through the cloud forests and over the
Continental Divide. While at the Golfo de Papagayo, we stayed at the
Costa Smeralda, a beautiful hotel terraced into the hills overlooking
Culebra Bay. Our only complaint about the hotel was the intermittent
shuttle service, which often made for a lot of very strenuous walking up and
down steep hills to get from our room to the restaurant, lobby, etc. My
calves will never be the same. Above is a shot of Betty and me on the dive boat
heading out our first morning -- me with hair and beard cut short for my
underwater adventures. Though Costa Rica doesn't have the
beautiful corals of some place like Cozumel, it draws its share of divers who
are attracted to the large schools of fish that congregate in the Pacific and
the many large species that can be found: sharks like the hammerhead, bulls,
and white tips, as well as whale sharks; rays like the manta, devil, and
spotted eagle; etc. We dove eight different locations in four days, in
good and bad visibility, against gentle surges and horrendous,
cling-to-the-rocks-for-dear-life currents designed for far more experienced
divers than Betty and me, in water that was never cooler than 80 degrees F (with the
exception of a couple thermoclines we found below 70-80 feet). It was an
Dive services were provided by
Safaris of Costa Rica, located at Playa Hermosa. I highly recommend
them. Tell Earl (the owner) that I sent you and be sure to request
Debbie and Kiki as dive guides. On the walk from the dive shop to the
beach, be sure and say "Hola!" to the big iguana that hangs out
there. A beer in the little store across the street from the dive shop will cost you $6.50, so be sure and bring your own (to be consumed after
your dive, of course). Pictured above are some of the divers with us: (l
to r) Zach, Diving Safaris dive master Debbie (a Canadian who fell in love
with Costa Rica and decided to stay and work there), Shane, Steve, and Robert.
Our first dive was at Cabezo de Mono (Monkey Head) Island -- you can
see why it is named that by looking at the shape of the island -- just outside
Culebra Bay in the Papagayo Gulf. My computer logged a max depth of 51
ft and 81 degree F water temp. Visibility was a decent 50 feet or
so. This was a beautiful spot. As we circled the island, we were
rocked to and fro by a gentle surge. After my initial "Oh my God,
look at all these thousands and thousands of fish!" I started poking
around. Snuggled up tight under one spot in the reef I found a sleeping
nurse shark, 4 or 5 feet long, the color of a cinnamon-skinned Latina girl. I could have reached up under the rocks and grabbed
the shark's pectoral
fin; that's how close it was.
Crevices in the reef held green, zebra, and spotted moray eels. They watched me carefully, mouthing dire,
silent warnings, then slithering into their lairs when I extended a tentative
hand. You can see one squirming away through the rocks in the picture
above. (All underwater shots were made with a cheap, disposable camera,
so please excuse the relatively poor quality. A good underwater camera
is on my list of equipment to purchase before my next underwater
adventure. Also, regardless of their placement in this journal, all the
underwater shots were actually taken on our last dive, at the Meadows, the
only dive that was shallow enough for the camera. Rated for 17 ft, the
camera functioned without leaking down to 41.)
I saw needlefish and trumpetfish, though it was a couple more
dives before I learned to tell the difference. (That's a needlefish in
the photo above, approximately 3 ft long.) A school of spotted eagle
rays, a dozen or more, passed just at the edge of my visible range, their
wings flapping in eerie silence, ghosts in the haunting blue gloom.
soon learned to spot the expertly camouflaged scorpionfish that other, more
experienced divers initially pointed out to me, flashing the hand symbol for
this poison-spined ambush predator. Can you spot the one in the photo
above? You really had to watch where you
put your hands because there were so many scorpionfish. There were starfish (our guide
pulled one from the reef and placed it in Betty's hands, making her day -- her
eyes were the size of silver dollars behind her mask), jacks, red snappers, groupers,
guineafowl puffers, and oodles and oodles of spotted porcupinefish.
liked the porcupinefish's big melancholy eyes. When they stared at me,
they looked like they had one hell of a sad story to tell, if only I could
understand their language. I would tweak their tails as they turned to
swim away, trying to add a little excitement to their day.
Our second dive was at a spot called Virador, also just outside Culebra Bay. 47 ft, 80
degrees F. These first two dives were essentially checkout dives, the
guides' way of making sure us Okies weren't a bunch of screwups. We were
warned that if we missed a safety stop, we'd have to sit out the very next
dive, and if we did it twice, we would no longer be able to dive from their
My main memory of the Virador dive is hanging out with this huge
school of grunts, all silver and striped in blue and yellow. I
drifted in among them, just one of the guys. The school was so thick,
that once inside, all I could see was fish -- a million little eyes watching
me, wondering what I was up to, why I wasn't striped same as them, what I was
doing blowing all those bubbles. It was so totally cool to be
there. We also saw two white tip reef sharks,
at least 8 feet long. One lay on the bottom in a sandy canyon between
the rocks and the other circled menacingly. Betty and I were right
behind our guide when he gave the hand single for shark and began creeping
slowly over the rocks so as not to scare them away. I eased up beside
him, and with Betty hiding behind me, we watched the sharks from a distance of
no more than six feet. It's an interesting mix of fear and fascination
being that close to a large shark. Even as the adrenaline starts
flooding your veins, you wish the shark would come closer -- and you're worried
he'll decide you're not cool enough to hang out with and swim away.
Second day, first dive, the Catalina Islands at the southern end of the
Gulf, an hour and a half boat ride. Dolphins chased the boat, leaping in
our wake and sometimes surfing the bow wave, and from
the foredeck, you'd occasionally see schools of rays and jacks pass under the
Betty catches some Z's on the way out there...
...while I wait impatiently to get back in the water. We changed boats this day, to one that didn't have a nice
transom to step off of. This was our boat for the remainder of the week,
basically a fishing boat. To get in the water, we had to do the famous
Jacques Cousteau back roll off the side and into the water, something Betty
and I had never done before (same for some of the other divers in our
group). It was a bit unnerving at first, but after that first roll we
Me and one of the other OKC divers, Chris, between dives.
Pictured above is Betty tooling through the deep blue. Catalina Island was a great
dive, 70 feet, 83 degree F water, good vis. We had a strong current for
this dive, but it was totally cool because we were flying with the current,
swooping down through absolutely gorgeous canyons. In one we surprised a
beautiful spotted eagle ray, 5 or 6 feet across, which stirred from the sandy
bottom and flapped away and down a wall into the indigo of deeper water.
There were more white tips here, each bigger than the sofa in my living room,
resting on the sandy bottoms of the canyons. By the time we'd spot them,
the current would have already swept us over or past them. Each time the
current swept me toward one, I wanted to
hold up a sign that read, "Excuse me, Mr Shark. I am honestly not
rushing up on you like this on purpose. Please don't take offense and bite
me." Here in the deeper water, we encountered some chilly
thermoclines. Where the current brought colder water up from the depths to
merge with the warm water, everything would go freaky for a moment or two.
It was like we were suddenly swimming through a clear cooking oil. It made
you wonder if there was something wrong with your vision.
Our second dive of the day was at a place they called Fantasma, just north
of the Catalinas. The current here was absolutely wretched and for some
inexplicable reason our dive guide chose to swim against it.
"Swim" is an inappropriate verb in this case, as what we really did
was hand-over-hand it across the rocks on the bottom of the ocean. It
was like rock climbing, horizontally. The experienced divers dubbed it a
"flag dive," meaning you spent your time clinging to something and
fluttering in the current like a flag flapping in the wind. Many claimed
it to be one of their worst dives ever, including one guy with over 4,000
dives logged, who has dived everywhere in the world. Our equipment took
a beating from the jagged rocks of the reef. My dive gloves, virtually
brand new, now have holes in the fingertips. My fins are all banged
up. It was necessary to descend down the anchor line, since there was no
way for the group to stay together in a free fall to the bottom. Just pulling
yourself down the line in that current was a chore, and I was gnashing my
teeth as I watched my tank pressure dropping during the friggin' descent,
cherished air being wasted short of the ocean floor. I wasn't so distracted, however, that I didn't notice the
totally cool cloud of jellyfish through which we descended to the
bottom. There were thousands of them, little guys that could fit in the
palm of my hand, tentacleless and transparent, undulating balls of jelly shot
with neon blue striations. At the bottom, visibility was a miserable 15-20 feet at
best, often less.
At 71 feet beneath the surface, I lost Betty. I had pulled my way
down the side of a big rock to check out a huge moray hiding under an overhang. When I worked my way back up
the rock, Betty was no longer near me. I looked back and saw her holding
hands with the dive master (Debbie -- pictured with Betty above) bringing up
the rear of the group, the two of them struggling against the current
together. They were just at the limit of my visibility. Looking
forward, I could only just barely make out the flippers of the diver ahead of me. I knew if I hesitated, I would lose sight of him,
which would mean all three of us in the back would be lost. Reasoning
that I should keep him in sight, while they kept me in sight, I broke the
cardinal rule and abandoned my dive buddy. I thought she would be fine
with Debbie. What I didn't know was that someone else had fallen behind
the two of them and become lost. Debbie sent Betty on ahead by herself
and went back after the missing diver. I traveled maybe another ten
feet, looked back, and there was absolutely no one behind me. Just over
the next rock there was a sheltered canyon where everyone was trying to
regroup. When I arrived alone, Steve and Allen (two of the Blue Water
instructors that had taught Betty and me to dive) saw that I was alone, and
when I signaled that I had lost Betty, they went back after her, signaling
that I should wait with the group. Betty did good. She was totally lost,
but she didn't panic. We'd all been told that if we became separated, we
were to search for the others for one minute, and if we didn't find anyone, we
were to make our way to the surface. Betty was getting ready to head
topside when Steve and Allen found her. Just as well she didn't have to surface
on her own in that spot, though, as the current and surges were so bad that
the safety stop was a difficult one to make. When we finally did come
up, we were a million miles from the dive boat. When we returned to the
dive shop, our group raised hell about the dive master who had led the dive
and asked that he not work our boat again. We never should have been
working against that current. Either the site should have been scrapped
for another one or we should have been traveling with the current. It was
a scary thing, losing Betty for a few minutes, and I decided then and there
not to separate from my dive buddy again, regardless of the circumstances.
Pictured above is Allen, owner of Bluewater Divers OKC. He's a lot of
fun to hang out with, rides his motorcycle way too fast, and is a great dive
instructor. He and I are planning to parachute together soon.
Third day, first dive, was Bat Island at the extreme north end of the gulf,
another hour and a half boat ride from the dive shop. Our boat actually
blew a water pump on the run out there, but, amazingly, the boat captain was
able to fix it in about 30 mins. We all felt for him, down in the hold
with that hot engine. This is the dive where we were supposed to see
large and aggressive bull sharks. We were told that the boat would back
into a wall, where we would descend quickly as a group to a sandy cul-de-sac
against the wall. The sharks would then come check us out while we sat
on the bottom trying to look like something that doesn't taste good. We were told to
keep our hands in against our chests and smile a lot. Once the sharks
had checked us out, they'd ignore us from then on and we'd be able to scuba at
leisure. Unfortunately, except for a very large ghost or two in the
gloom, really just passing shadows, I never saw a bull shark -- very
disappointing! This was my deepest dive; my computer logged 99
feet. Had I been paying attention, I would have dropped another foot
just to make it an even 100. Of course, because it was our deepest dive,
it was also our shortest: 33 minutes. I want gills. Running out of
air and having to come back up just plain sucks.
The most memorable part
of this dive -- for me, anyway -- was actually the safety stop. At 20
feet, waiting three minutes to off-gas some of the nitrogen in our bodies, we
were circled by this enormous cloud of jacks. Each fish was about 24
inches long, silver and yellow and blue, and there were literally thousands of
them. That's me pictured above.
Back on the dive boat, we were joined by dolphins and devil rays that would
leap 20 feet from the water to turn head-over-tail somersaults. Totally
cool; I had no idea rays did that. I wish I could have gotten a picture
of them, but a digital camera just isn't fast enough. By the time you
spot one and line up the camera, you've only got a fraction of a second to get
the shot before the ray splashes back into the water -- and most digital
cameras take a second or two to process the shot. We were all hoping to
spot a whale shark out here in the open water, but even though the dive crew
had spotted a mother and baby just the week before, we never saw one. We
all kept mask, fins, and snorkels handy, though, just in case, hoping for the
opportunity to swim with one. As with the mantas, hammerheads, and --
for the most part -- bull sharks, we had no luck on this trip. I really
wanted to see a manta, as the locals claim to see ones with wing spans of 20
feet or more all the time. We did our surface interval (off-gassing
period between dives) in this absolutely gorgeous little bay with shallow,
crystal-clear turquoise water. There's some legend about the bay,
something to do with a baby that was sacrificed to appease a hurricane or
something (I only caught a little bit of the story that was told by one of our
dive crew). Entering the bay, there's a statue of the Virgin Mary on a
hill, commemorating the legend (see photo above). Anyway, it was a
totally cool spot. Rather than sit on the boat, after I ate my share of
fresh pineapple and cookies, I grabbed my mask, snorkel, and fins, and jumped
in the water, where I spent an hour or so chasing fish and picking things up
off the bottom to show Betty. There were huge conch shells on the
bottom, but all of them were empty (local fishermen, I believe). I
wanted to bring one home, but we were told that we wouldn't be allowed back
through customs with them (and they did search our bags leaving the
country). I fed the fish here a cookie. And, sadly, I found a
I brought up a rather large (and rare) piece of coral to show Betty, and
she discovered that it had a little passenger onboard. He was cute
enough to warrant a photo.
Second dive of day three was at a place called Black Rock.
That's it in the photo behind me, really nothing more than a pinnacle of
igneous rock protruding from the sea. The
incredible thing about this dive is that there were moray eels everywhere.
I doubt I'll ever see so many in one location again. All different
kinds: green, gray, spotted, zebra, and jewel morays. There were big ones: six
feet long, bigger around than my thigh. And little ten inch long babies
that I wanted to catch and stuff in the pocket of my BC to bring home with
me. I touched several of them. Betty says one tried to kiss her
when she accidentally stuck her face too close.
We dove to 73 feet in
water that was a glorious 85 degrees F, with visibility at about 50
feet. I paid more attention to the small things on this dive, pulling in
close to the rocks to examine little wrasses and gobies, barberfish and
Moorish idols (there's a Moorish idol featured in the new Disney movie, Finding
Nemo, which I just saw today -- a wonderful film!) and numerous types of angelfish. That's me and Debbie in
the photo above, and it appears she's point something out to me. I found a baby
scorpionfish disguised as a rock. And sea cucumbers that looked like
turds on the bottom of the ocean. Parrotfish were nibbling the rocks and
coral here. If you held your breath and listened, you could hear them
Last day of diving -- so sad to see "scubah time" coming to an
end! -- was at two locations called Sorpresa (Surprise) and Los Meros (the
Meadows), the latter actually in Culebra Bay. Surprise took us to 88
feet and included schooling spotted eagle rays. The Meadows was a nice
long, shallow dive. My computer logged a max depth of just 41 ft,
shallow enough that I was able to stay underwater for an hour. When it
came time to surface, the dive master directed Betty and me to the anchor line
to make our safety stop. When we got there, we discovered Dana, who was
waiting to surface. I wondered why she hadn't ascended the line for her
stop, but when I checked my gauges I discovered that we'd already traveled up the reef to a
depth of just 20 ft. Had I realized we'd ascended to that depth, I'd
have spent more time on the bottom -- as it was, I came out with over 600 psi
in my tank, wasted air and lost underwater time, dammit! After having
told the dive master we were going up, though, I thought we'd get in trouble
for not doing so. But we could have tooled around at the top of the
reef, essentially doing our safety stop there at the 20 ft mark, for another
ten minutes or so. Next time I'll pay more attention to my depth
gauge. Featured in the photo above: (l to r) Steve, Betty, Chris, and
The Meadows was a cool dive. There were tons of morays and
scorpionfish and schools of striped grunts (in which I disguised my land-based
self once again). Debbie was an expert at finding nudibranches
(essentially a sea snail wearing a Tournament of Roses Day parade float on its back) in the
rocks. They're absolutely beautiful, brilliantly colored, ranging in size from about the size
of your fingernail to four or five inches long -- a quick search on Google
will take you to websites with lots of pictures of them if you're
curious. We found a baby stingray hidden in the sand (see if you can
spot him in the photo above), an octopus wedged
firmly in a crevice where we couldn't get hold of him to take him out for a
good look, and all manner of sea critters. One of the divers found a sea
horse (Betty and I missed it). It was a wonderful, easy dive to wrap up
Back at the hotel that night, Steve and I took mask, fins, snorkels, and
lights down to the beach. The sand was covered with hermit crabs, all
shuffling along to destinations unknown, each carrying a coveted shell on its
back. In the water, we snorkeled about in the pitch black, surprising
sleeping puffers and porcupinefish with our lights. You could dive down,
scoop them up off the bottom, and hold them in the palm of your hand.
They'd blink their sorrowful eyes dreamily and purse their fishy lips in
little slumbering snores. I chased a stingray with my light for the longest
time, occasionally looking behind me into the pitch black water, wondering if
there might be something back there chasing me as well. Though I have a
good underwater light, its beam doesn't extend more than 10-15 feet in dark
water. Eventually, we retreated from the sea, as we were getting stung
by some sort of unseen jellyfish or plankton. We climbed the hill back
to our hotel, found the pool completely empty (this was about 11 p.m.) and
dove in to wash off our gear and ourselves.
Later, in the room, I packed away my gear. Diving for this trip was
sadly at an end. But there were more adventures ahead.
From the Guanacaste Coast and the Golfo de Papagayo, we
journeyed inland to stay at the
Resort at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. Arenal is an active
volcano. The gray streaks you can see down the sides of the volcano in
the picture above are lava tubes, each flowing with molten lava (you just
can't see the glow in the daytime). At night, the volcano would grumble
and burp, and brilliant orange-red lava would go spilling down the
sides. Through my binoculars (Bushnell 10 x 50), I could watch molten
boulders tumbling down the sides, fragmenting as they rolled, scattering in
brilliant school bus-size sparks like the spray from an arc-welder. The
patio off our hotel room had a phenomenal, unobstructed view of this spectacle
every night, though the volcano was often obscured by evening clouds and rain
showers. I got out of bed at 3 or 4 a.m. both nights we stayed there,
just to watch the volcano after the skies had cleared.
Here's a shot of Arenal at night, which gives you some idea of
the nightly spectacle. (I didn't take this photo -- I nabbed it from a
Costa Rican website. My digital didn't have the zoom capability.)
Tabacon is known for its hot springs, a terraced series of
pools naturally heated by the Arenal volcano, secluded away in the most
gorgeous tropical garden you've ever seen.. Here I am standing on a
bridge over one of the pools. We didn't have nearly enough time to relax
in these springs, basically only spending one evening there. (We would
have had two evenings, but Betty wanted to go into town and shop the
second night. Argh!) The pools varied by temperature, some much
hotter than my hot tub at home, some specifically designed for cooling
down. At the lowest level, there's a gorgeous pool containing a
bar. Pina coladas were about $5.00 each, and it was cool to sit in the
water at the bar and sip our drinks.
While at the Tabacon resort, we explored the rain forest
canopy. Here's Betty getting harnessed up...
...and me on a zip line through the jungle.
Here's both of us with one of the guides.
And here's yours truly rappelling down from the canopy.
This was a fairly short and overpriced canopy tour. If you decide to do
one yourself, my advice would be to look for one other than the one located at
Everyone knows I'm a critter person. I had a mental list
of Costa Rican critters I wanted to find while in country. While a
number of them eluded me, I did manage to locate and get close to quite a
few. Above is a howler monkey, part of a troop of about 20 monkeys that
our bus driver spotted off the side of the road in a guanacaste tree.
Another one of the troop, just hanging out doing monkey
A toucan (think Fruit Loops). I actually got good at
spotting these guys flying from tree top to tree top in the rain forest.
Their silhouette is pretty distinctive, what with that big beak thrust out in
front of them. This one was actually caged in a walk-in enclosure at one of
the places we ate one day. I never got close enough to the wild ones to
snap a photo. Also saw tons of black vultures and turkey vultures -- they would
sit in great flocks, wings extended to dry them from the afternoon showers
(vultures have no protective oil in their feathers) -- several species of
herons, hummingbirds, a gorgeous masked falcon (the exact name of which
escapes me at the moment), several species of kingfishers, and other
birds. We also spotted a black panther, but again he was gone so fast
that it was impossible to get a photo.
This gecko shared our room with us. His little suction
toes would carry him across the ceiling so fast that it was impossible to
While white water rafting, we found this poison dart
frog. Pop him in a blender with a milkshake for someone you're not too
fond of and ... bye bye. They're okay to handle as long as you don't
have any cuts on your hands and you don't stick your fingers in your eye or
Also while rafting, we located two sloths in branches
overhanging the river. I know he's hard to see, but he's there in the
middle, hanging upside down by arms and legs. Look closely and you can
make out his face. It took our river guides to spot these fellows --
there's absolutely no way I'd have ever seen them. Our guides say that
the sloth only comes down from his tree once a week to go to the bathroom.
At this river, I spotted a small crocodile (which submerged as
soon as he saw me and was never seen again) and a Basilisk Lizard, which
leaped up and ran all the way across the river, moving so fast it damn near
broke the sound barrier -- no way I could get a picture of it. They're
commonly known as Jesus Christ lizards because of their water-walking
ability. You can see the locals in the picture above doing their laundry
on the river bank. Housing in the Costa Rican countryside ranged from
what you see above, clapboard houses with tin roofs, to nicer homes like the
one featured below.
The crime rate in Costa Rica is evidently very low. The
front doors of most homes were standing wide open at all hours of the
day. Many homes didn't even have front doors.
White water rafting the Sarapiqui River was a blast.
Here's Betty and me. That's our river guide in the background. He
was pretty cool, even if he did fall out of the boat at one point. Our
trip downriver was filmed by guys in kayaks, so I'll eventually be getting a
VHS tape of the whole wild ride. It's the most fun you'll ever have
being bossed around by some guy you never met before.
After rafting, we took a cab into the town of La Fortuna (a
ten mile ride for a mere $4) so that Betty could do some shopping before we had to
leave for the airport in the morning. Later we reconnected with the rest
of our group for dinner at an open-air steak place called El Novillo (the
calf), where $10 bought one of the best fillet mignons I've ever eaten.
We sat and ate while Arenal grumbled above us, spewing lava down her
slopes. When the show became really spectacular, the restaurant owner
would kill the lights so we could all see better. Sitting in the cooling
mist of a tropical evening, watching Mother Nature put on her grand show, I
knew the Costa Ricans had chosen their national slogan carefully. Pura
vida. Pure life. To do anything less than get out and
experience it is a pure crime.
The next morning, our bus took us up into the cloud forest
(above the rain forest, where everything is permanently obscured in the heavy
100% humidity of the clouds) and down the other side of the Continental Divide
into the Caribbean lowlands and back into the airport at San Jose. It was time to go
home. That's it until my next big adventure. I can't recommend
Costa Rica highly enough. The people were friendly, gracious, extremely
hard-working, and always helpful. I was amazed at the national pride
expressed by every native I talked to. They are genuinely proud of their
country, of its 97% literacy rate, of the fact that they have no military,
no income tax, and very little crime, and they are especially proud of their
country's natural treasures, having more natural parks and protected lands
than any other country in the world. Everyone I talked to knew so much
more about their local flora and fauna than any American would ever know about
the area in which he/she lived. Next life, I think I want to be born Costa
Before you move on, however, here are some additional photos
shot by our diving friends:
An excellent shot of the Arenal volcano with lava
spilling down the side in broad daylight. Must have
been a heavy flow day for the old girl.
A gorgeous King Angelfish. We saw quite a few of these
in the 12 inch range.
Another one. Better lighting in this pic, so his
colors come across more clearly.
Depth robs you of color as the water filters out certain wavelengths, so a
strong flash on the camera is essential for decent pics.
Betty and myownself tooling through the canyons
of the deep blue. Love those Atomic Split Fins!
A school of Barberfish, each about 8 inches long.
This is either a Hawkfish or a Cabrilla -- I ain't 100%
certain. Body coloring looks more like the former,
but the tail looks like the latter. Any ichthyologists out there
that feel like emailing and clearing up the mystery?
This is definitely a Mexican Hogfish, of the female
persuasion (the males look entirely different). They
grow to about 30 inches, but I don't think this one was more'n a foot long.
A spotted moray eel.
More spots. This time on a Spotted Puffer.
A Blunthead Triggerfish.
Mr Scary Himself, a whitetip reef shark, maybe eight feet
Another one sleeping on the bottom. Be wary, wary
Betty and me hovering at 20 feet beneath the surface for our
three minute safety stop. I've got my dive computer in my hand,
monitoring my depth and watching it count down the time.
My friends, the grunts. (There's also a pretty little
striped fella in the lower
right-hand corner -- looks like a Sergeant Major.)
More of 'em. If they had Internet cafes on the bottom
of the Pacific,
I know these guys would be emailing me.