It is difficult to point to the five most beautiful fish in the waters around Grand Cayman, as the teeming Caribbean boasts hundreds of breathtakingly colorful, exotic sea creatures. What you see on any snorkeling or diving excursion usually is predicated primarily on where and how deep you venture. Nonetheless, from small to large, there are a myriad of fish that could be considered among the most beautiful in the world.
Spotted Eagle Ray
Conceivably no sea creature is more elegant or exotic looking than the spotted eagle ray, but perhaps since they are extremely easily spooked by humans, they are also among the most difficult to experience. However, if you do, you will never forget it. These royal fish usually travel in groups and are dark with white spots on their body. They typically measure about 10 feet in width, eight feet in length, and they sport a long, narrow tail that extends another eight feet from the back of their body.
Caribbean Reef Squid
For sheer beauty, perhaps no Cayman-area fish outdoes the Caribbean reef squid. These color-changing creatures are like a living rainbow as they pass by in large schools, lighting up the waters. These fascinating fish also boast one of the most complex sets of communication signals of any sea creatures known to humans.
For something completely different, keep an eye on the coral reef as you pass by the ocean floor for a tiny, white marine snail with yellow-and-black markings that camouflage it well. Typically an inch long in size, these sea beauties are easy to spot and usually in male-female pairs munching on their favorite foods of gorgonians and sea fans. Do not, however, assume these harmless-looking creatures are, in fact, without bite, as they actually are poisonous and show their toxicity via the bright colors on their shell.
Look just about anywhere and you will see multitudes of sea turtles. Consequently, it is no wonder that Christopher Columbus originally named Grand Cayman Island “Las Tortugas,” for “the turtles” he saw everywhere. Today, you will see primarily Hawksbill turtles, which are among the smaller sea turtles, typically growing to about three feet in length and weighing about 180 pounds.
Caribbean Reef Sharks
You may not want to run into these characters, but you very well could in the waters of Grand Cayman. These predators usually hunt in small groups, but luckily, they prefer marine fish than human flesh.
You will likely see many more than five beautiful fish in the Grand Cayman waters. Enjoy them all, and remember to treat them and the fragile coral with great respect.