I’ll share one more post about our recent trip to Sodwana Bay. It’s a major destination for scuba diving and deep sea fishing. Guidebooks emphasize these two activities so much you’d almost think not to bother going for anything else! But we can highly recommend it for other fun too.
A sign at the park entrance alerted visitors that a particular reef was closed to diving because of nesting Ragged-Tooth sharks. We’ve read up on sharks and know how inappropriately demonized they are. Still, to see this announcement reminded me how content I am to stick with the completely safe activities, like snorkeling.
So you can imagine my surprise when Elsa Ruth nearly leaped out of the tidal pool where we were having a calm snorkel. I came up as she threw off her mask and grabbed me, “Mom, get out! I just saw a Devil Firefish!” I wouldn’t know the fish she was referring to from any other, but I was quite certain there could not be anything dangerous in these tiny pools where people of all ages explored daily at low tide. The look in her eyes was enough to tell me this was not the time to try to reason with her however.
I was surprised how much she knew about this fish emphasizing several times, “Mom, it’s spines are HIGHLY venomous!” And, you must admit its name does give one pause. I was still skeptical however and I knew I needed to see what she had spotted so I could try to identify it too. I submerged and sure enough, alongside an overhang and within arms’ reach, was this very beautiful fish.
Who knew that casual reading of a library book on South African ocean life had made such an impression? While I don’t imagine we would have reached out to touch it anyway, I am so grateful that Elsa Ruth knew enough to keep us safe. We also saw this eel lurking in the shadows under another overhang.
After these sightings we were a little reluctant about snorkeling again! However, after talking with a few divers we determined we were safe as long as we kept our distance. We didn’t see either of these again but Simon did spot this character camouflaged against the bottom.
Each evening we delighted in watching geckos scramble around our walls and ceiling. With minimal screens or other barriers on windows and doors, there is plenty that makes it inside. In this instance, two geckos competed in a long drama stalking a moth and we cheered like devoted fans when one was finally successful.
We won’t soon forget the powerful surf perfect for body surfing and boogie boarding. Both kids became much more confident with the waves and learned when to retreat, jump up, or dive through them – you’d almost think they weren’t from the center of North America!