Friday, August 14, 2009

What to Look for in the Pacific Ocean

So by now you may have heeded our advice and gotten yourself a snorkel, mask and set of fins and are about to embark on your first snorkeling experience. But wait now, do you know what you are going to look for while you're in the ocean?

This begins a series that I will be writing on various oceans and what you can find within them. Let's start with the Pacific Ocean...

Naturally, if you are in Tahiti, the crystal clear water speaks for itself. In such places, the fish are brighter than any highlighter you have ever seen, and the coral is quite literally swarming with so much wildlife it looks more like kids around an ice cream truck. Really, being in waters that tropical is dreamlike. But unfortunately for West Coasters, few have the means to scoot off to Tahiti to do some snorkeling. What many of them don't know is that the Southern California Coast offers plenty of snorkeling adventures.

Using Laguna Beach as an example -- one can find the bright orange Garibaldi fish (the official fish of California), eels, octopus, calico bass, tree fish, bat stars and purple sea urchins. The hot snorkeling spot in Laguna by far is Shaw's Cover. You can find all of the above there.

La Jolla Cove near San Diego also offers amazing snorkeling adventures. It provides snorkelers the ability to navigate through beautiful kelp forests and hang with rays, more Garibaldi and sometimes seals and harmless varieties of sharks.

Up and down the coast, but much harder to spot than many other varieties of fish is the black sea bass. Once in a while snorkelers and divers come across them and are blown away by their mass...sometimes weighing in at more than 150 pounds. Their massiveness may inspire you to swim away as fast as possible, but there is nothing to be afraid of, they are as harmless as any creature can be. These giants are considered endangered species, so please don't get any wild ideas that involve spear fishing or trying to take one home as a pet.

Now some will scoff at the next thing that I am going to mention, but try to use your imagination. Not far from Laguna at a place called Pirate Bay, Disneyland has a pirate named Captain Jack. I've seen him and admired his boldness...and sometimes envision myself as Captain Anthony aboard the Black Swirl...on my way to Catalina to unearth the biggest booty ever discovered. Wow, I just let that one get away from me just a little :-)

Anyway, whether or not you find treasure or any of the creatures I mentioned, enjoy yourself in the water. It's hard not to. What feels better than being weightless as you sway with the gentle currents and peer down at the last frontier on our beautiful planet -is knowing that you are a guest in what is truly a miracle, our beautiful ocean...

Anthony- Intern, Blogger, Spanish Speaker, and Action Figure A C Walters Intercoastal Corporation