Barracuda are one of the toughest-looking fish in the sea. Whenever I see one, it takes me back to a little snorkeling adventure we took at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park when I was about twelve years-old.
The swells quite large and I was one of the only people on the boat who didn't get sick. While everybody else was rocking up and down on the boat, I jumped into the water for a snorkel.
A barracuda that was nearly as long as me caught my attention and I started following it. We swam for a few minutes pretty quickly and rounded a huge piece of coral. Just as we made it around the bend, we came upon a half a dozen or so barracuda. Most were smaller than the big guy I was following and I had a moment when I thought it was pretty cool to see his family.
Just then, a really big swell came through and I dropped straight down toward the family of fish. At the bottom of the swell, I could have reached out and touched them. It seemed like an eternity before the other side of the swell came through and I was lifted back up to a more comfortable distance. At that point, I had a little freak-out moment and popped my head out of the water to see how far I had swum. Our boat was about 200 yards away, which felt like miles. I began swimming as fast as I could to get back to our boat.
When I was halfway there, I realized the boat I was swimming to was a giant catamaran and our group definitely did not set sail on a catamaran. I looked around again and realized I was swimming to the wrong boat, in the wrong direction. Our boat seemed to be a little dot on the horizon. I had this sudden fear that our boat might leave without me so I swam the distance as fast as I could. When I arrived at the boat, nobody even realized I had wandered off. I didn't say a word. I just climbed back into the boat with a very deep appreciation and respect for the vastness of the ocean.
This photograph was captured with a Sony a6300.