A fortunate fluke of nature is that corals love to grow within 1-2 feet of the water surface, to cultivate as much of the sun’s UV as possible. In the Tuamotu lagoons there are many such “shallows” where we can float just above the coral reef, with schools of fish darting below, and the details of the coral ecosystem at arm’s length.
We wait for the high tide (so there’s enough water to float above the reef!) and then take the LamborDinghy to the reef pass to search for shallows. Some of the most beautiful examples of these areas are near reef passes, where the colors are accentuated into impossible neon-turquoises, thanks to the contrasting transition from cobalt blue deep water to aquamarine shallow water.
Even just staring at the water surface itself, is transfixing — it reminds me of the special effects in the movie Terminator, where the molten liquid is able to take any shape. The needle fish, blacktip reef sharks, parrot fish, goat fish, and Kelly (in her easy-to-spot red Lycra) float along together, and two hours go by in a flash.