The water was twenty shades of blue, from the bright, shimmering turquoise where it lay just a couple feet above the shiny white sand, to the blustery teal which wrapped its coolness around the descending depths filled with dark sea grasses and coral masses.
The islands nearby had postcard white sandy beaches with coves that were separated by rugged coral cliffs and wild palms. It was simply surreal.
But we were there, and we were hunting for starfish. The captain told us to “look, look!” and we started looking, although we weren’t exactly sure what we were looking for.
We all knew it was starfish. But for me, all the starfish I’ve seen are slender white stars pointing narrowly and stretching out in all directions. This was very different.
Colin yelled out, he thought he spotted something. The captain slowed down and cut off the engines, while Colin threw on his snorkel gear and hopped over the side of the boat and into the ocean.
He free dove down in about 15 feet of water, and came up with a beautiful, bright red starfish. He climbed into the boat to share.
The top of the starfish had an ornate and intricate reddish burgundy and gold pattern, almost like a colorful spider’s web, that stretched out to all of its thick, pointed fingers.
When we looked under the starfish, it was light beige and had lots of rough crevices. We took turns holding it and looking at it.
Within less than 5 minutes, we gently set it back upon a wave in the ocean.
It floated on top of the wave for a little while. The captain explained that is was normal, that it is somewhat hollow, and its body would slowly take the time to fill back in with water and descend.
And then it would sink gently back to the ocean’s bottom.
We said our goodbye’s as it started to move lower into the ocean, sped up the engines and continued our journey.
It was fun and exciting, what a treat. We now realized that a lot of the dark and murky splotches that we saw on the ocean’s floor as the boat sped by, might actually be living creatures like this one.
It was a great start to our Exuma 4cs tour.