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  • Writer's pictureEryn

Freshwater Snorkeling in the Rivers of Bonito, Brazil

Eryn snorkels through the clear water of a river whose bottom is covered by vibrant green and purple plants

This was my first snorkeling trip where the water was our tour guide. Its soft currents gently nudged us forward, making it effortless for us to move. From the moment we jumped in, the river instantly began to show us around its underwater world and we only needed to float peacefully to be amazed by the flourishing life!

The river's crystal clear waters made it all the better, giving us the illusion that we were swimming in an aquarium which offered a variety of environments. Sometimes we would drift above a smooth sandy bottom, and on other occasions, we would be floating above plants of purple and green, that elegantly swayed with the currents.

In addition, the river also boasts some incredible wildlife! With their orange tails and fins, the Brycon fish of these rivers were not difficult to spot. Displaying that clear streak of black across their sides, I thought it went very well with their light grey bodies. Tiny tetras that were about half the size of my finger lingered close to the lush marine plants, but whenever the shadow of a human passed overhead, they would dash under the cover of their home and disappear from sight. As skittish as they are, I still thought of their cuteness.

A school of brycon fish swim in crystal clear shallow waters of a river in Bonito, Brazil
A school of brycon fish swimming near the surface, their orange tails beautifully contrasting with the crystal clear water
A striped tetra swimming near the sand-covered bottom of the river nearby marine plants in Bonito, Brazil
A little striped tetra at the bottom of the river close to the safety of lush marine plants

We at times spotted the pacus, fish that were almost twice the size of my face. We saw a small school of them swimming in a perfect single-file line. I even caught a glimpse of a huge dorado, giving me quite a shock! With its large teeth, it rested in the shadows, just waiting for the perfect prey to fall into its trap!

Five black pacu fish swimming in a row in the clear water of a river in Bonito, Brazil

Humans are able to get very close to the underwater world, but yet we are still so far from it. We will never truly experience life under the surface, but at least we are able to catch a small glimpse of it and enjoy the elements that we can see.


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