In the days following my PADI class, I snorkeled a bit, and did a couple fun dives on the boat while Jason was getting his certification.

Our hotel was right on the beachfront — May Had beach — and I was surprised to discover how close the coral is to the shore. Floating above coral and plants with one to two feet of clearance at low tide, and there was an incredible abundance of life, right off the beach. I spotted adult Harlequin Sweetlips, some of the prettiest local fish. Lots of other plants and animals were visible right in the shallows. A few jellyfish floated by, making the reef less appealing, and I swam back toward sand.

Hovering over the sand, I saw a fascinating underwater partnership. A three inch long fish camouflaged with sandy markings was guarding a small hole in the sand. Upon closer inspection, the hole also contained a small shrimp — two to three inches long. The shrimp was excavating sand from the hole. Perhaps the fish guards the shrimp, and the shrimp creates a home for the fish. Drifting along, I saw dozens of such scenarios. Each fish/shrimp partnership had its own hole, and they were about a yard apart from each other. Further down the shore, I saw a hole guarded by a slightly different variety of fish — two slightly larger, lime colored fish with red speckles, and of course a shrimp further inside.