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COKI BEACH SCUBA DIVING

We caught an open air bus and headed to Coki Beach. The cost to get there was $14/pp since there were 3 of us.

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We checked in with the dive center and met our instructor, Trisket, as in the crackers just add cheese (he said). That's one dive instructors name I will probably never forget now. Trisket was super nice and super funny. I loved his personality and he made everything a great experience.

Now Coki does things a little different than the other dive shops we've used in the past. They have you register with PADI and listen to video's and read instructions about diving. Then you take your test online and then submit your health questionnaire to them. Everything is ready to go when you arrive.

We headed down to the beach after getting fitted with our fins where he would quickly go over a few instructions (required no matter how many times we have done this course but it was super fast) and then we suited up.

The hubby asks me if I planned on trying to walk out into the water with my tank on and by golly yes I was! After proving to myself on our Grand Cayman vacation, not once but twice, that I could carry it into the water (although it was a ladder), I was definitely going to give it a shot this time around too.

Then it was time to head out to do our skills. Trisket had told us that the water had been rough and we would need to swim out a ways and then go down a rope to about 10' of water to do our skills. Now this made me nervous because our very first dive with them in 2016 there was a VERY strong current that day and it was SO hard to make it around the bend...to the point that the hubby actually gave up that day and was pulled back to the beach. Although I had made it that day (with Kendra, Kolin and family) I'm in a different situation with my leg now and wondered if it was going to be hard on me. Trisket assured me it would be fine and the current wasn't too bad. He was also taking another person along with him to help out until we started the actual dive. So off we went.

Thoughts swirled around in my head about what to do. Should I do the one skill? Should I be an overachiever like Sakari and do it all and get it over with? I figured I'd let her have the spotlight and do them one by one.

Then we were off...(you all know it's going to be a picture overload with my scuba pictures now right??)

We came across a Red Stripped Goatfish immediately.

Then some Christmas Tree worms. They are so pretty and come in multiple colors.

Some beautiful purple sponges

I love the baby blue sponges you'll see when diving. They are so pretty and rather large.

The water would be a little stirred up during this dive, so the pictures aren't as clear as some of my dive pictures in the past. But, I did what I could.

Then I came across a couple of Flamingo Tongue Snails sitting on a sea fan.

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Aww, this parrot fish smiled at me as I went by. 😄

A Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish off in the distance hiding out.

Another Parrot Fish going by.

A Blue Bell Tunicate (which are actually purple and there's usually a lot here at Coki, including the snorkeling area).

Hubby was equipped with the GoPro, me a camera and Sakari a camera.

A rather large orange colored sea sponge. There were a bunch of these and some were very very large.

Now I don't really consider St Thomas some of the best scuba diving that I've done (I much rather go to Roatan, which has had some of the best I've ever seen each time) but it was bursting with color...even on this day that was off and on clouds and stirred up water. At least we were diving and I was happy with that and we could mark it on our books.

At first I thought this yellow and white fluffy thing was a caterpillar (fire worm), but it wasn't. It was just flowing in the water back and forth.

We did come across just a few pieces of dead (or dying) coral along the way. I'm not sure if it just didn't make it after the dreadful two hurricanes that hit St Thomas back in 2017 or what.

We would come across a couple different Lizard Fish today. I would get the pictures from a distance and Sakari, being the excellent photographer and fish whisperer she is, would get the close up pictures. 😄

Lizard fish can grow up to 2 feet long and they resemble a lizard because of the shape of their head and pointed snout. They have a mouth full of sharp teeth and also a tongue. Most are found in shallow water and usually lie partly submerged in the sand to protect themselves from predators. They live around 7-9 years and there are around 57 species of lizardfish.

I took this picture as we started the trail to the waterfalls. It said waterfall #7. Hmmm, ok. I guess we weren't doing 12 of them after all, which was a little disappointing. Maybe more of them had dried up as time went on. Safety first.

Look at all these babies! I have no idea what they are. I can identify most fish, but babies=nope.

A dark purple Feather Duster Worm with more baby fish surrounding it and also a Feather Duster that had made its home inside of an orange sponge.

Sakari waved me down and pointed off in the distance:

There were a bunch of Tarpon swimming by. If you ever go to Coral World next door, there are TONS of these under the dock (which can be viewed if you go down into the observation tower there OR if you do the SeaTrek walk as well).

Trisket had found a goody for us and handed it to Sakari.

It was an Arrow Crab. They are so cute with their odd looking bodies, skinny legs and blue pincher claws.

Can you spot all the clear Gobies on the sand? They blend in and they are always hard to spot due to their color and size.

There are different stages of the Blue Headed Wrasse (just like the parrot fish). Normally we see the ones with the blue head and yellow body. However, we seen a few of these at this stage (initial phase).

Then I spotted a Smooth Trunkfish fluttering around in the water. They swim so cute. They will hover in the water with their little fins flapping and then will spin 180 degrees around super quick like it's nothing.

Off in the distance there was a Scrawled Cowfish. I had to zoom in on the picture, so it's a horrid picture for sure.

FIREWORM crawling on the branches. They have a terrible sting.

Now it's hard to see (in the following picture) because of the color of the fish and the background but...out of the corner of my eye I spotted 2 rather large(r) puffer fish swimming together. Now we see these Sharp Nose Puffer fish everywhere we snorkel in the Caribbean...however...they are usually very small. These had to be the biggest I had ever seen before. They were maybe around 9" long. Now I know that's not really "big", but for me, it's the biggest I've seen of them before. I was truly amazed and hung out for awhile taking pictures. Trisket said "Oh yea, they get really big". I don't know, maybe this puffer isn't actually a sharp nose puffer, but it sure looked like it.