Jamaica Snorkeling Memories

by Chris

Many years ago I lived, for a short while, in a house called Blue Water.

It is in Culloden, near Whitehouse, and was originally the Blue Water Fishing Club.

Living right on the sea, with a small beach, a reef very close to shore, and a rocky coastline I decided to try my hand at snorkeling.

Swimming and snorkeling around the coast of Jamaica one sees lots of small multi-colored fish, sometimes sting rays, and even eels.

If you snorkel on reefs that are further out, particularly on the outer side of the reef, you can come across sharks and barracuda.

But in my cosy little corner, twenty or so yards off-shore, nearly all the fish I saw were small, colorful, and darted away from me as soon as they saw me.

So to my surprise one day I was approaching some rocks very close in to shore when I spotted three sleek looking much larger fish just sitting there looking at me no more than 6 ft away.

They were probably only about two to three foot long.

But that's big when the biggest thing you have seen in the water for months is six inches long.

And when they are obviously not frightened of you, ain't running away, and saying this is my territory, you begin to ponder your dilemma.

My instincts suggested that I should stop, not panic, make no sudden movements to alarm my new found friends, and certainly get no closer.

So I just floated, and my brain raced frantically trying to think what I could be looking at.

They definitely weren't sharks.

Slowly I began to realize that they were probably Barracuda, and everything I had heard about Barracuda suggested that I could be in mortal danger, particularly if I frightened my new found friends by making any sudden movements. Or if they were hungry.

So we sat and looked at each other for about 5 minutes, before I slowly started to dog paddle backwards until I finally collided with the shore.

Of course the human being is inquisitive and foolhardy.

So the next day what did I do? I went back to visit my new found friends, and sure enough there they were waiting for me, about 5 1/2 ft away this time.

After spending 15 minutes with them we parted company, in much the same way as the day before.

The next day of course, I just knew that they were anxiously awaiting my visit, and this time I had the audacity to get within 5 ft. They still just looked at me.

After a while common sense prevailed over stupidity, and I told them a final "Goodbye", because I knew I would not be visiting for a fourth day.

That's probably why I am still here today.

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Blue Water Fishing Club
by: "Seen Better Days"

I recall the Blue Water Fishing Club, run by Dr. Fred Bailey and his wife Olga, and the two boats - "The Virginia" and "The Pat".

An Irishman, Captain Holroyd Smith captained "The Virginia", and a Jamaican, Percy captained "The Pat".

Many years later, after the Blue Water fishing club closed, we found that Captain Percy still had "The Pat", and was operating it from Belmont.

My friends and myself had many very enjoyable days deep-sea fishing aboard these two boats.

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