Snorkeling Dec 24

Today we did something unheard of in the Haas family. We. Skipped. Breakfast. More on that later.
For a little celebration- more like we just wanted to get out of the boat (boat fever) - we got a reservation on the snorkeling catamaran Quicksilver for 9:00 in the morning. Actually, we were almost late because mom and dad slept in. We had to get them up! And skip breakfast.
 Anyway, we quickly got our gear together and ran off to the other side of the marina. It was a 45 minute drive out to the reef, in which time we got the masks and snorkels set up, and tried to figure out how to work the special lifejackets. The water was all cloudy near shore, due to recent rough weather, but as we got farther out it became very clear. Like see the bottom and the little snail on the seaweed at 10 feet clear. Finally we got to the mooring ball and did a leap of faith off the boat. Well…. More like sat on the side and flopped in. Not important. 
The reef was very interesting, and had all sorts of coral and seaweed and fish. We took like 120 pictures. There were parrotfish- blue, green, yellow, orange…-, a kind of fish we later thought was a young barracuda. Those were the biggest i saw on the reef. There were little yellow and blue fish schools, and big schools of silvery fish, which you could swim through. There were stripy fish- can’t remember name- and these long skinny fish. Lots and lots of fish. 
The coral was also very awesome. There were large fan-like purple corals, and huge brain-like green coral. There was tree-like wavy coral, and lots more. You weren’t allowed to touch any of it, obviously, but it was tempting! You also couldn’t pick up, or take away, anything that you found there. Again, understandably. Still, it was still amazing to be able to swim though and by all these creatures and plants. Finally though, we had to head back to the boat. We had only 1 hour to snorkel. 
When we were at the ladder, I was trying to get my mask off, but it got stuck, so Dad was helping me. When I got it off… I dropped it. I tried to dive down and get it, but I couldn't see anything, and I quickly ran out of air- I didn't have time to take a big breath- so I couldn't get it. However, Dad- being the amazing dad he is- stayed back to dive down 600 feet to get it. But what I hadn't realized until I got out and on the boat was that my camera had somehow snapped off the band when I had dived down…  So dad came up with my mask, and had to go back down to get the camera. Now, 600 feet is a long way down. And it is really hard on the ears.. But dad is awesome, so he got it!! Why someone would ever invent a sinking underwater camera is beyond me. But it still worked! 
Now, just to make it clear, it wasn't actually 600 feet, more like 22. That is still deep though. But it’s one of those stories that double each time you tell it, if you know what I mean... So eventually we got up to 600.

Tonight for dinner- to celebrate Christmas Eve, apparently- we are having (its cooking as I’m writing this) yellowfin tuna, grouper, shrimp, and stone crab claws. Which we, um, found at the reef, and wrestled with it before finally taking them down... And smuggled back … and no one noticed the very strong fishy smell on the way back… Or, if you want to be boring, you can say we bought it at the local fish store. Your choice. 

The yellowfin we dipped lightly in a mixture of oil and lime juice, rolled it in sesame seeds, then seared.
 The grouper was again dipped lightly in oil, then sprinkled with blackening seasoning, then barbequed.
The shrimp was skewered and beaten and bashed and… um, skewered and barbequed. 
I am doing it this way because I like the enter key.
And finally, the crab was just cracked open and eaten with a dip. Also with the diner was a side of rice and fruit salsa, consisting of mango, pineapple, onion, and pepper.
Not sure what we are having for dessert, as that has not come yet. Probably something chocolate due to the number of chocoholics on this vessel.
So, this is Merry Christmas Eve!! Or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time. Perhaps I should say Happy Holidays!