Plunging into the sea looking for wild creatures can often feel like looking for a needle in a hay stack. After all, they are free to roam, and in the vastness of the sea it seems unlikely they would want to be anywhere near humans.
But, there are places in the world that you can visit wildlife and know they will be somewhere in the area. Although never guaranteed, but highly likely.
The most important thing to think about is whether the creatures in question are being harassed by humans, or don’t mind us being there.
More and more companies that offer wildlife experiences are now aware of this issue and have guidelines they work to, minimising the stress and intrusion into their habitat. I try my best to pick companies with this kind of policy.
One of these companies offers snorkelling along the coast of Tenerife with the chance of seeing fish, dolphins and a favourite of mine, Turtles. Green turtles to be exact.
We headed out on kayaks to the diving/snorkelling spot and kitted up in our snorkel gear. The location was very near a gull colony so there were lots of calls across the rocky faces, noisy but a fitting scene. Red crabs also scuttled across the rocks if you got to near to them.
Leaving the kayak I quickly adjusted my snorkel and looked down to the sea bed. A rocky plateau spread out as far a I could see and amazingly within a few minutes two green turtles swam under us about 30 feet below. I really wasn’t expecting to see one quite so quickly.
We watched them swimming about and they had clearly noticed us but didn’t seem bothered by us. One swam up right in front of me and took a gulp of air before heading down again. Such a lovely encounter with such an amazing creature.
Turtles are so nimble under water and at times can have quite the turn of speed. Seeing a turtle up close also makes you realise how complex their shells are. Just an all round interesting and fun creature to be around. Saltwater lapping over my ears, the sway of the waves and the noises from fish in the background all add to a memorable experience.
Its not often in our modern lives that we go into another creature’s world, on their terms. I find it uplifting and the connection to the wild creature strong. If you feel strongly about a creature you will most likely stand up and protect it. So its a no brainer to get more people out there. But the balance has to be right between visiting their world and not harassing them.