Jeff's Reef

North Shore, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

June 11, 1988

This remarkable collection of bright orange sponges was in the shallow water of Jeff's Reef. Probably not more than 20 or 30 feet down. We are continuing on a dive which began with a shore entry on the north coast of Cayman Brac.

Mark covered a lot more territory than I did, poking under coral on the bottom and just zipping around. Still he managed to use less air than I did. I just got so cranked up with the beauty of everything, that I must have been hyperventilating.

There were lots of strange fish to be seen. From the tiny squirrelfish among the new coral growth at left to the large tiger grouper hanging out on the bottom underneath a coral ledge.

Mark explored every tunnel and crevice in the extensive reef while I sort of hung out in my reverie of watching the amazing variety of life. Carrying a camera tends to focus you in on the beauty of things.

A very nearly perfect brain coral got my head to spinning about how long it took to form such a beautiful geometrical pattern. Maybe hundreds of years? Anyway, a long time to have survived without severe storm damage or some other mishap to spoil the pattern.

Mark heads downward to examine a trumpetfish. While some fish like the butterfly fish seemed to be continually on the move, the trumpetfish seemed to be content to just hang around some soft coral. They would position themselves at an angle so that they looked like a branch of the coral.

A remarkable collection of five foureye butterfly fish hanging around the same piece of coral. There may be some profound reason for this grouping - I had never seen a grouping of butterfly fish before.

The soft corals added to the lushness of the environment. While we focused mostly upon the fish and other wildlife, there was great beauty in just the variety of coral.

I spent several minutes just watching these five foureye butterfly fish do their little dance around this small brain coral.

When we climbed clumsily into the water with our scuba tanks from the beach, we had no idea of the richness and variety of life that awaited us. Once under the water, the clumsy equipment was forgotten, except that it gave us the freedom to just glide over Jeff's Reef.

On to Eagle Ray Roundup

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