The Elkhorn Reef

February 15.

Just to the left outside the frame of this photo the water looks golden from the shore. That is the elkhorn reef.

Dear Reader, I owe you an apology. Due to indecision and a tight rein on money I have managed to fail in our mission to share with you in words and photos our adventures on the water. A simple purchase before we left the states could have prevented my negligence. It is too late for this season, but I promise absolutely next year I will buy an underwater camera.

Here in the Bahamas we have snorkeled a few reefs and have swam with many amazingly brightly colored fish, but I have never seen anything as majestic as an elkhorn reef. Unfortunately, I only have my totally inadequate words with which to share the astonishing beauty of this underwater wonderland.

On the sound side of Lee Stocking Island, just a short distance from Tulip Beach (at 23°46.97 lat, 76°05.95 lon), under the crystal clear water are what look like golden elk horns stacked like the branches of a Christmas tree rising from the sea bed 10 feet down to just a few feet below the surface of the water. As I drifted towards the reef, with the sun breaking through the clouds outstretched arms of the coral shimmered with an unearthly glow. Drawing closer to the elk horn, I feared running into its luminous arms and swam away over the low lying sea plants and a few colorful commuting fish, only to find another patch of the elk horn drawing me towards it and through the reef. Eventually the awe and wonder could no longer keep me warm and my chilled skin forced me back to the surface and the beach, leaving the obscure beauty of the elkhorn to fish and the wonders of the sea.

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