Sailing, Snorkeling, and Sharks

I’m really enjoying my time here on Kwaj.

Two weeks ago I saw several sea turtles and a large ray on a dive. Last weekend I dove my first wreck, a Japanese ship that was sunk during the first American invasion during WWII. Like my first storm chase, the first scuba dive was enough to get me hooked on diving, and each subsequent dive leaves me hungry for more.

I also went sailing for the first time last weekend. We didn’t have much wind, so even with the engine helping out, it was slow going. However, I had a lot of fun and look forward to more sailing.

We sailed up to Gugeegue, which is an island on the east reef (north of Ebeye and just south of Bigej, where I went snorkeling last month). Once there I went snorkeling around a few large coral heads and saw, much to my delight, half a dozen whitetip reef sharks!

Following are some photos from the day.

Looking up at the main sail, shortly after leaving Kwaj. I know very little about sailboats, but the folks who own the boat let us help raise the sails and drive.

That’s Bill Glynn, the boat owner, preparing to raise the jib.

Our sailboat was called the Down East Trader. The sailboat pictured here is (I think) the Panacea.

This is Gugeegue, looking northeast (Bigej is the island on the far left). And yes, while my little underwater camera isn’t the best, the water really is that turquoise!

Ailise, a new school teacher, took this photo for me. That’s Gugeegue in the background, looking southeast. Josh, the other staff meteorologist, is down there in the shadows.

We anchored just offshore and then a few of us went snorkeling and saw…


The sharks were around 4 feet long, and somewhat shy for the most part. A couple of them were a little more curious though, and swam rather close to me. If I’d been on scuba I could have got even closer (the water here was probably about 15 to 20 feet deep). I thought that I would be more nervous seeing sharks in the wild for the first time, even after hearing most sharks are shy and non-aggressive if you aren’t bleeding, so I was a bit surprised to find that I was actually quite excited. 🙂

Here’s a view of the main coral head we spent most of our time around. If only I had a good camera and dive lights to show the colors better in these photos. The many colorful fish I’ve seen fascinate me, and sometimes I neglect to pay much attention to the coral. This coral head really grabbed my attention though. It looked like so many flowers all blooming.

The Down East Trader, with Joy, Bill’s wife, standing up at the front. I think that’s Bill in the water on the right.

Here I’m attempting to photograph a beautiful regal angelfish. The fish wasn’t cooperating very well for one thing, though, and most of my shots are looking down from almost directly over it. Again, if I were on scuba….

A masked bannerfish.

A whitecheek surgeonfish.

A chevroned butterflyfish.

A lemonpeel angelfish (these seemed to be especially camera shy, but finally I got one).

Another one of my ever present friends, lurking about. A couple of the sharks just rested on the sea floor for a while until another shark or fish would swim past and disturb them.

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4 Responses to Sailing, Snorkeling, and Sharks

  1. Debbie says:

    Thank you for posting your pictures. My husband and I lived on Gugeegue from 2006-2008. I worked for RMI teaching English at the high school on Gugeegue. It was a wonderful experience and I get quite homesick. I am hoping to return for avisit. So appreciated seeing your photos. Thank you. Debbie

    • Rebekah says:

      You’re very welcome, thanks for visiting my little blog! That’s so cool that you worked at the high school on Gugeegue. I haven’t set foot on the island itself, but enjoy the waters around there!

  2. Pingback: Bigej, A Kwaj Getaway | Just Down The Jet Stream

  3. Chris Busch says:

    Hey, its Chris Busch from back on Kwaj all those years ago. Was sowing someone at work Kwaj and came across your website. So just saying hi. Thought maybe i would see a pic of me that you took. lol.

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