EVER SWUM IN AN AQUARIUM? WELL, NOW'S YOUR CHANCE! Just a few metres off the beach, Coconut Court Beach Hotel has a small lagoon with 18 reef balls providing a sanctuary for fish. A myriad of tiny fishes - and some big ones too - swim in and out of the structures which have been part of the hotel’s underwater architect since 2000. They were installed just inside the breakwater by James and Mark Blades, members of the family which runs the south coast hotel. Too fast for the camera The tiny French angelfish, with its yellow stripes against a black body was camera shy and one of a kind, although it swam with a shoal of silvery jacks. Unlike the inquisitive red fish with its big eyes. It was very interested in the tiny hand held camera. Blue tang and silver jacks moved around in shoals. Others sought the safety and privacy inside the reef balls, occasionally glancing out to see what all the fuss was about. The beautiful Sergeant Major with his tell-tale stripes was fairly common and easily identifiable. And there was a large parrotfish which escaped the camera, moving too fast and unwilling to pose, but darting in and out of the reef balls and the breakwater. You may also see spotted eagle rays and turtles, especially the critically-endangered Hawksbill, for which Barbados has become famous. There are some that still need to be identified… Just who is that red fellow with the bulging eyes? Conservation in action Fortunately there was no sign in the Coconut Court reef balls of the lionfish, the foreign predator which lunches on the reef fish of Barbados. Despite its poisonous spines, it has become a tasty snack on the island, so watch out for it at local restaurants. While it’s a chance for guests to get off the sun lounger and explore the sea, the reef balls serve a greater purpose. Reef fish in Barbados are under threat so this is a great chance to see conservation in action. So next time you visit Coconut Court Beach Hotel, don’t forget your mask and snorkel!
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