“All good deeds towards nature are rewarded, ” I like to say. It never fails. I pickup some garbage underwater or right an upturned coral, and the next thing I know nature is rewarding me with a really cool underwater moment. As I was slowly drifting along the reef today, I came across some fishing line entangled throughout the reef. The first thought that goes through my head when I see this is the number of sea creatures, primarily sea turtles, who I often find entangled in this mess. So I reach for my trusty fishing line snipers and begin to start collecting the fishing line.
At just the exact moment that I finish, I raise my head to see this tiny female loggerhead sea turtle slowly swimming directly for me. Should I raise my camera and risk scaring her? I don’t. Plus, I always prefer to experience these encounters without a camera blocking my view. She comes in within arms reach and pauses to stare me in the eyes for a few seconds before turning and slowly swimming away. Once again my saying holds true.
I thought that was the end of it. Mother ocean had done her part, but being the generous lady that she is I got to experience a lot more. I came across one of the most prolific cleaning stations I have ever seen. Over two dozen neon gobies, numerous shrimps, and even a beautiful juvenile drum were busy cleaning a friendly green moray. I sat and watched for a while as the moray shook his body from time to time, appearing to be tickled beyond control. Eventually a photograph was in order, and the friendly green moray allowed me to approach to about an inch from its face for a few photographs.
Without a doubt the greatest reward for me was the thought that no sea creature would come to harm from this fishing line I collected. Having the 60ft+ of visibility, a very light north current, and 80 degrees of warm water (by this native Floridian’s standard), and tons of marine life to observe was a nice extra treat.
Next time you’re out among nature, whether underwater or above, don’t forget to do your good deed. I promise the reward will be well worth it!