Thursday, March 29, 2012

SNUBA at De Palm Island (part 2)

 A day in DePalm-adise with SNUBA (pt. 2)
And the adventure begins!
Coral, coral everywhere!
We begin our wet adventure by following a rope out past the reef. The current today is pretty rough, but it gets easier to control my kicking as the reef slopes downward and we’re not doggy paddling on top of the water anymore. This isn’t new territory for me, as I have my PADI Advanced Open Water diving certification, but this time around I don’t have the heavy and restrictive gear that scuba diving requires of you.  

The Blue Parrotfish showing off his chomps
Effortlessly gliding under the water, I spot my first unordinary fish, the Blue Parrotfish. I say “unordinary” because the so-called parrotfish have unusual mouths – their teeth are coalesced into parrot-like beaks that are used to scrape algae from the coral. 

Nemo’s friends aren’t spotted anywhere in Aruba but at De Palm Island, as it is home to the Blue Parrotfish cove, so naturally they own the surrounding water. Luckily, I don’t have bread in my hand because these fellows are quite the friendly bunch and aren’t afraid to get in your bubble, both personally and oxygen-ally. 

Rainbow Parrotfish

To the right I spot a few of its sisters – the Rainbow Parrotfish. Given its name for a reason, colors of all sorts dot, stripe, and streak across its body. A shade of green you’d only find in a limited edition Crayola Crayon box, like Jungle Green, cloaks the gills of the belly and sides before it meets the goldfish orange colored face and fins. The Queen Angel Fish graces me with her fluorescent-like purple and yellow presence, and while wearing her black and white polka-dot bikini, the Trunk Fish coasts along the white, sandy bottom along the community of brain and mushroom coral. 

Queen Angelfish
Trunk Fish
The water seems to thicken the further out we go, but it’s actually from the depths that the Sun rays can’t get to, so the water darkens as does everything else around. Unaware of what may be lurking out into the deep, I’m sure to follow rule #3 at all costs (not to mention rule #1 and #2 which would clearly have to come first before worrying about the third). It’s an easy swim, as the current drifts me from side to side along the bottom. After 30 minutes of exploring the marine life off the coast of De Palm Island, I hear RJ clinking on his tank as he motions us that it is time to head back. 

It's no wonder I had so many mask marks

Without realizing it, we are at the same rope that guided us out. Slimy from the aged seaweed, I try to grip onto the straw rope, but my hand slips right off from the gooeyness. As if the waves are picking on me, I feel that I’m being pushed and pulled by the current once we get closer to the pier we left at. The suctioning of the snorkel mask indents lines around my face leaving my forehead looking like that of a Neanderthal, lovely. Beauty marks aside, I prepare for my next day in DePalm-adise where I will be experiencing the island yet again by sea, except this time I’ll be on a catamaran. Join me next week for part one of the cruise! 

Max all geared up!
*Interested in doing this with your little ones? You’re in luck! This past weekend De Palm Island launched SNUBA Doo® that allows for 4-7 year olds to participate in a unique underwater experience. The specialized gear for kids is designed so that they wear floatation devices while breathing through a 2nd stage regulator with a mouth piece that fits accordingly. The 10-foot long air line that is connected to a raft that allows for children to stay on top of the water at a close distance while family members SNUBA below them with a certified guide supervising everyone on the tour all times. 

Like father, like son
Getting ready to go under

Max,Dad, and Eveline!
Eveline :)
RJ Johnson III oversees the activity on De Palm Island, and he feels that by incorporating smaller kids, more people will have a chance to be exposed to the wonders of Aruba’s waters. Max and his sister Eveline were the first chicklets to test out SNUBA Doo®. Hesitant at first, the two little ones quickly found themselves eager to take snorkeling to the next level and submerge themselves into the sea. SNUBA and SNUBA Doo® is offered exclusively at De Palm Island six days a week (except Sundays).

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