First Snorkel

One of the reasons we picked Barcelo Maya was because it had excellent beaches and snorkeling right off the resort.  We practiced snorkeling in the pool with the kids at home and brought our own snorkel gear.
It was one of my favorite memories of the trip!  The kids were awed by the beauty underwater.
 Hank and Kaitlin were nervous at first so we had them in life jackets and held their hands until they became more comfortable.  It can be startling to see a giant fish swim near you.
 They would squeeze us with excitement as tropical fish swam by.  Then I spotted a turtle!
 We all raced to swim with Crush Dude!!
 They are so beautiful and graceful in the water.
 He was very tame and probably wondering where the food was that he usually gets from humans.
 He stuck around awhile before realizing we had nothing to offer him and then he bugged out to the deep.
 By then Hank was feeling pretty confident and took of his life vest so he could dive down and explore.  :)
 He loved it and was hoping the turtle would come back so he could try to swim with him.
 Our cautious Kaitlin decided it would be safer to keep the life jacket on but thought maybe the next time she might try it without.
 I had to laugh when I saw her, she looked like the Predator.
 We had Hank put his vest on so he could swim without being right next to Max or me.  The two little ones stayed near us where I could hardly keep track of Hailey and Karlie.
 I had to keep telling them to not go so far!  I think we have some mermaids.
 Seeing the turtle was my favorite but we saw many beautiful fish and bright coral as well. 
We saw French Grunts and Blue-Striped Grunts, Blue Tangs, a Sergent Major fish, and a Chub fish.
Unfortunately it was a little stormy while we were visiting so we only had one really clear day to snorkel.  One morning Max and I went out alone to test the waters and it was very rough.  If you are the only one's out there and it is raining, it is probably not the best time to snorkel.  However, we saw two types of sting rays!  I had never seen one.  It was a little disconcerting to see how well they hide in the sand and how close they are on the beach.  Karlie came running out of the surf one day saying she had stepped on something slimy and she was completely freaked out.  I knew then that she most likely had stepped on a ray!  Yikes!  
The Southern Sting Ray was very close to the beach.  While we followed the beautiful Spotted Eagle Ray out further into the reef.  We are such Finding Nemo fans that we were tickled pink to see the official "Mr. Ray" from Nemo!
Snorkeling with he kids was one of the highlights of our trip.  They all can't wait to do it again.  They will have to wait until we visit Hawaii for our Family 50.

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