We went to some Spanish beaches in the Caba De Gata last summer (I am writing a book about the holiday called Turquoise Waters) and the snorkeling – especially at a beach called Cala enmedio – was astonishing. Snorkeling is truly an amazing thing. You can spend long hours watching the underwater world; swimming over rocks full of sea anemones and sea urchins, seeing the most brightly coloured fishes swim through the turquoise blueness. Here is a part about snorkelling from one of my stories inspired by the Spanish holiday:

”Parting the turquoise water with her hands, Maggie plunged her face in and looked through into an underwater world where radiant fish swam amid the different shades of blue. Her legs floated up behind her and she was swimming, swimming; swimming with the fishes. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something glinting like tinfoil, and turned in time to watch a shimmering silver shoal flurry past like liquid rushing through a sieve. The shoal swerved – every fish bending itself gracefully in the same instant like one body – and swam away into the blueness. Then a new fish that she had never seen before swum into sight. It was extremely colourful, ever changing colour in the different lights; now it was deep purple, now bright gold, now almost black. Four shimmering bright turquoise stripes were drawn across its body, and its face was patterned with wide turquoise rivers like a map. It also swum away, and Maggie continued with her journey through the water world. After a moment she decided to play a game; picking out one fish brighter in colour and more distinguished looking than the rest she began to follow it through the fields of Poseidon sea grass and between rocks. This one little fish she followed for nearly twenty minutes. As she swam over the rocks, she reached out to touch the streaming yellow and red sea anemones, and felt the tickling, sucking sensation on the tips of her fingers. She fingered also the strange underwater mosses and seaweeds that grew along the rocks, and the spines of dark red and black sea-urchins.”

Most of the paragraph is an accurate description of the snorkeling, with very little enhancing; in fact a few of the amazing things are not mentioned. I really saw the fish with a face like a map (its real is name an Ornate Wrasse), and the shoals of silver fish; and they did look like tinfoil. I also saw the anemones and urchins and played the game of following one fish through the rest.

Seal Beach

This adventure happened on a beach in Norfolk called Horsey Gap. We had hired a boat called the ‘Brink of Joy’, and sailed all about the Norfolk broads for a few days. Near the end of the trip we came on shore to spend a day at Horsey Gap. We had heard rumours that it was a good place for seals. As seals are not a rare animal we were not particularly excited; however when we reached the beach the site was amazing.

It was an ordinary beach –  very like Newborough the beach by the house we used to live in on Anglesey – surrounded by high dunes grown over with maram grass, with  gentle sloping sands and wide expanse of silver blue ocean and white capped waves. But along the beach, stretching as far as the eye could see – we thought at first they must be rocks – was a long line of seals. There must have been over a thousand of them; some were fighting, some mating; there were even seal cubs, slithering along the sand. It was like being inside a nature documentary. I have said seals were common; so many seal were not common at all. A lady photographing them stood on the bank. As she stood, a little seal cub slithered right up to the lady, and to me, who was standing by her. It was brown and grey speckled, and rather fat, with shiny black eyes. We had some work getting it back to the others. The only downside was the seal poo, which there was some quantity of. We spent hours watching the seals, and came home to the ‘Brink of Joy’ talking of nothing else.