by Cacique Grace Fowler We made our way down the mooring line slowly, hand over hand, until we reached the sea floor fifty-five feet below. Curious fish swam at a safe distance as we explored the reef. Spend just two minutes hovering at over one spot, and you will see hundreds of different fish and reef plants. Colorful sea fans and anemones waving in the current. Bold purple, red, and yellow fish. Cleaner shrimp courageously standing inside a grouper’s mouth and thousands of tiny minnows swimming in unison. Frilly anemones that close themselves in a split second when touched and coral polyps reaching out to collect particles. Reefs are a never-ending I Spy book, no matter how much time you spend, there is always more to discover.

Calmly, we followed each other through a rock tunnel in the middle of the reef, using our new scuba skills to navigate the tight space. After exploring the reef and a quick lesson on underwater break dancing, we ascended towards the sunny surface. A remora darted playfully around our hands as we tried to catch it. The slender fish followed us all the way to the surface, where we continued our game of cat and mouse. After a few more minutes of swimming and a brief spotting of a nurse shark, we hopped on the boat and headed back to theIslandSchoolas fully fledged and certified divers!