A very Merry Christmas to you all from Josie, Jon, myself and the rest of the marine team here at Gili Lankanfushi! The marine creatures must have known today was a special day as a lucky Christmas snorkeler and myself were treated to an incredible trip this morning! Luckily we had a camera and are able to share our festive snorkel with you!
Our lucky streak started as the storm that was forecast dissipated over night, leaving us with blue skies, calm seas, and bit of a breeze.. perfect for jetting out to a local snorkel spot on our speedboat “Rainbow Runner”. Upon jumping, we were greeted with 40m of visibility over a reef teeming with fish of every imaginable colour. Steaks of light from the sun made the multi coloured reef fish glow like jewels, their colours exacerbated by the male fishes’ ability to brighten their colours during this season to attract the females. We spotted various parrotfish and surgeonfish species exhibiting interesting courtship behaviour. Equally as exciting as the perfect conditions, we were lucky enough to have some bizarre encounters!
This beautiful Crowned Jellyfish (Cephea cephea) was pulsing along the reef edge, its tentacles being snacked on by juvenile Red Snapper (Lutjanus bohar).
A short free dive revealed the biggest Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) I have ever seen! This old girl was fast asleep, with her head buried under a rock- best to leave her be. Just before we got back onto the boat, we spotted a baby Tawny Nurse Shark (Nebrius ferrugineus) lazily swimming over the coral with a Bluefin Travelly (Caranx melampygus) bigger than her in tow. The Travellys often follow shark species in the hopes of picking up some easy prey.
Last but not least, just after exiting the water, a lone Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.) gave a show in front of our boat! If only we had stayed in the water a minute longer… But not bad for a Christmas snorkel trip!