It’s Not the Size that Counts
Some of the Smallest Creatures on Bay Islands Reefs are the Most Fascinating

July 24th, 2013

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp at Hole in the Wall, Roatan. (photo by Shawn Jackson)

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp at Hole in the Wall, Roatan. (photo by Shawn Jackson)

Most divers rate their underwater experiences based on whether they see any sharks, rays, morays, turtles and other so-called charismatic megafauna. While on the lookout for those “big ticket” items, they may miss some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures found on Bay Islands reefs that are literally swimming right under their noses.

Patience is not a virtue we normally associate with diving. We gear up, we jump in, we get back in the boat. In between we follow the leader through a predetermined course.

A good divemaster will not just point out the big stuff but peep into small creases and atop coral heads, within sponges, under rocks and behind grasses, fans, and overhangs to find some of the tiny creatures that live there that divers typically overlook. These include miniature shrimps, crabs, small fish and other creatures, often as minute as a fingernail.

If you slow down and take time to hover, you’ll probably be surprised at what you’ll find! Then as your dive mates regale each other with tales of turtles and rays, you can content yourself with having noticed all the beauty that they missed.

Shawn Jackson is a professional photographer and West End native who divides his time between the US (Indiana) and Roatan, where he does commercial photography and dives with Native Sons Dive Shop. His wife, Maggie, contributed to the text.

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