The unknown scares me. It was what triggered an injury on my toe back when I tried to snorkel in Samal Island. I was wearing a life vest but still felt nervous in the water… not only because I didn’t know how to swim back then, and I did not know what aquatic creatures I may encounter while snorkeling. What if there were sharks or snakes that may attack me? I have no clue (and still do not) what I should do when I encounter such creatures, and so when the life guard began shouting unintelligibly at us just as I was trying to make myself comfortable in the water, I had a panic attack and tried to swim back very nervously to the stairs back to the land. My foot hit some stone underwater in the process and only realized that I was injured when I saw the pool of blood under my big toe.
A year later…
I may still be afraid of unknown marine creatures that I may encounter underwater up to now, but I believe that I have made significant progress in building confidence in sea water. Though always anxious when I do it, I’ve recently been enjoying swimming on the surface of the sea water while enjoying the sight of life on the coral reefs below me… also known as snorkeling. 😆 I even actually saw a sea snake, or eel (not sure which one it is) during my first successful injury-free snorkeling at Anilao, Batangas. Good thing it was only lazying on the sand when I passed it. Otherwise, I might have panicked again. Lucky I saw it when I was just about to go back to the shore. If I had seen it at the start of my snorkeling session, I might have backed out right away. Yeah, yeah. I’m such a scaredy cat!
The comfort I now have in the water all started with swimming practice in a swimming pool near my home, and the snorkeling experiences that I’ve been gradually piling up over time. 🙂 I’m actually recently interested in naming the marine creatures that I see when I snorkel. I’ll try to name some in this blog entry!
My most recent snorkeling session was in Subic, specifically at Camayan Beach Resort, where fishes could be seen easily in the clear waters near the shore.
These were the sergeant fishes in Camayan Beach Resort, which I think are one of the most common types of fishes in Philippine reefs. They have black stripes that start from the top of their bodies, and ending just above their bellies. Many of them have a yellowish color on their top too.
I noticed that there were these larger than usual fishes that liked swimming by pair near the surface of the water. Of course I got a bit anxious about them 😆 They’re a bit big and swim right where we snorklers do!
A parrot fish swam right in front of me! Lucky I was shooting pictures/videos at that moment.
I’m not sure if the purple fish and its company are parrot fishes too. Help, anyone?
Speaking of parrot fishes, I’ve read somewhere that we should discourage consumption of parrot fishes. They help maintain coral reefs by feeding on the reefs’ algae.
I think snorkeling can be fun when you get to swim so close to fishes and are able to identify some of them. I should read more about common reef fishes in the Philippies for my next snorkeling adventures!
What else besides the unknown makes me panic while snorkeling? It’s when sea water gets into my snorkel, and usually into my throat! My snorkeling partner tells me I should just blow it out, but seawater gets in my throat and that makes me cough uncontrollably. I usually go back to the shore right away to calm down when that happens. 😆