Scuba diving was an incredible experience. At first I was a scared. Going beneath the water was intimidating. The ocean is big, deep, and full of mystery. Nevertheless, I wasn’t about to give up such a special opportunity in the crystal clear waters of Bocas del Toro. I wasn’t able to take a camera, but I did make sure to write down everything I saw. Here are pictures that I found of the incredible aquatic life beneath the waves in Bocas.
The first beautiful fish I saw was the the Regal Blue Tang (aka Dori, for those you you who are Finding Nemo fans). I could hardly believe I was seeing Dori in real life. I felt like I was swimming in an aquarium.
A little ways into my first dive we saw a school of 6 Caribbean Reef Squid swimming near us. They only grow to about 8 inches in length. Interestingly, these squids are semelparous, which means that the females die immediately after laying their first, and only, batch of eggs.
We also saw tons of Damsel Fish, especially near the ship wreck we dove at. It is also a common aquarium fish.
The lobster was so much bigger than I expected. They can grow to be 15 pounds! These guys, the spiny lobster, also have no claws… hmmm.
My favorite fish was this little guy. He is a puffer fish. They are just so slow, cute, small and innocent looking. I don’t know why I was so infatuated by them, but they are the coolest little fish. While they appear very innocent, puffer fish are actually the second most poisonous animal in the world, after the golden poison frog. Certain internal organs are highly toxic, yet their meat is a delicacy. Personally, I wouldn’t risk trying it. If prepared incorrectly, the meat is lethal.
Moorish Idol Yellow Tang Cleaner Shrimp
The Stoplight Parrot fish was one of the most colorful and vibrant fish we saw. These fish, like many others, change sex throughout their lifetime. On the right is a Nassau Grouper, one of the few large fish I saw. They can grow to be 2 feet long.
The scariest animal I saw (besides the swarm of moon jelly fish we saw while we were out of the water… thank goodness), was this awesome Black-spotted Moray Eel. He looked just like this picture. His head was sticking out from some coral and it looked like he was hissing at me with his mouth open. I know eels don’t hiss, but it was still enough to make me want to get a good look and then keep swimming!
The last night we were they we saw a group of 8 eagle rays swim past our hostel, just a few feet from the end of the deck. During the day I saw a whiptail sting ray. The hostel owner said the family of eagle rays visits every night. Even if I saw them daily I don’t think they could ever lose their allure.
Eagle Ray Whiptail Stingray