This is a quick little story and video to share with you the most amazing snorkeling experience I have ever had.
While snorkeling in Curaçao, I was absolutely awestruck when a huge school of fish, known as a bait ball, came out of nowhere, surrounded me, and then shot back out to sea. It happened in less than 25 seconds but it gave me a natural high I’ve never experienced in my life!
At the time, I was traveling solo in Curaçao after a recent and difficult breakup. I was finally feeling like myself again, like I had made all the right decisions, and that my time in Curaçao was already proving that I am my best self when I trust my instincts.
That’s when the Caribbean sea sent me this gift.
Snorkeling Playa Jeremi
The bait ball swooped in while I was snorkeling around Playa Jeremi. Playa Jeremi is one of the last beaches I explored for snorkeling.
I visited previously to watch the sunset with my Canadian friends, Jen and Ashley.
But this was a few days later after I got an extra 2 days added onto my trip due to bad weather in New York..
At the time, the beach was fairly busy with tourists and locals. This is one of the free, natural beaches with no services (like restaurant and chairs for rent). But it is one of the diving and snorkeling launch points for various small tour companies in the north-western part of the island.
Naturally, I swam away from the beach to get away from all the people. Thanks to my tour with Captain Goodlife I knew the best snorkeling was out from the little tucked away cove beach and along the shoreline.
I started my way along the rocky wall to the right first. I explored for maybe a half hour. There was some great reef, underwater rock formations, and lots of fish to see.
Eventually, I turned back. At first I thought maybe I would just head back to the beach. But I decided, “Eh, I’m here. Why not go across the cove and to the left along the coast for a bit.”
As I was making my way across the cove, the beach to my left and open sea to my right, that is when the bait ball came.
Bait Ball of Fish
Bait balls typically form out in the ocean when a predator is in the area. Schools of fish will start to swim in a very tightly packed ball formation. Bait balls can be H-U-G-E. In the open ocean, some species of fish, like sardines, can form bait balls between 10 and 20 meters wide (about 33-66 feet).
I don’t know exactly how big this bait ball was. It was large enough to begin recording part of the way into the experience and still capture 15 seconds on video. The ball was packed tightly enough that I could feel the water swoosh around me!
My guess is that this bait ball was escaping a pretty large predator not too far off shore. The ball came darting in formation into the cove for further protection.
That’s where it suddenly found little ol’ me, just snorkeling along.
The experience literally took the breath out of me. It felt like I was in a windtunnel - the fish pushing the water around me.
You can hear my authentic, totally unfiltered reaction to the bait ball. It’s kind of funny to listen to myself now, but it’s also an example of what my truest, purest form of sheer joy and awe sounds like.
Check it out in the video below!
I am still in awe over this bait ball surrounding me at Playa Lagun. I tend to be a very rational person, but sometimes it’s fun to think this was a kind of sign from the Earth that I was on the right track.
Maybe it was simply “right place, right time” or maybe it was the ocean responding to me—giving me this special experience as if to say “trust yourself and you will receive good things in return.”
Either way, this bait ball surrounding me was a moment I will never forget!