No, I’m not talking about the birds that dive into the water for food. Nor am I at the stage where I can say that I am a birder other than in the sense of I enjoy them and always keep an eye open to see what I can. Yesterday was a rare treat for me. We were on the way back from Key Largo and in looking out over a wide expanse of marsh grass (or whatever it actually is) I saw a flash of pink and realized that I was seeing a roseate spoonbill in flight. How I longed at that moment for a camera and some kind of stop action! I was able to at least relish it briefly and that brings me to the comparison of diving.
One of the fascinations with diving is that you don’t know what you might see while underwater. Oh sure, there are the “usual suspects”, yet every time you submerge, there is a chance that something extra special will swim by, perhaps languidly if you’re lucky or in such a flash that you hope you either captured it on camera or someone else saw it too. Here, those types of sightings are larger sharks, manta rays, dolphins underwater, very rarely a whale shark. Other creatures such as sea horses or certain types of fish can also be a “treat” that are never guaranteed. The way to compare is that diving in the Keys, you will see snappers, grunts, squirrels just as with birds you will see egrets of all sorts, doves, mockingbirds – all enjoyable yet routine. The other common thread of course is the region-specific species that you travel to go see. After all, you aren’t going to get a California Condor stopping into South Florida nor will you see a leafy sea dragon. Destination diving, like destination birding is about going to a place that is the native habitat of a specific species and then hoping that you actually get to see it/them. One of the reasons that we chose this part of Florida is because we are fortunate to have a wide variety of marine life and bird life to keep things interesting.