Barefoot Island is one of the many atolls in the Cook Islands, a protectorate of New Zealand located just west of French Polynesia. It is part of the island group named Aitutaki. If you enlarge this photo, you can see a windsurfer and his kite-like sail in the distance.
Sunlight illuminates the yellow tails in this delightful setting for snorkeling.
The leopard patterned back of a moray eel was visible at close range looking down through a hole in the coral reef. My husband, David, took this photo and the other underwater photos. No, we did not get close to the side hole opening of the reef to try to get a close up photo of the moray eel's head and mouth. This top view was as close as we wanted to be. David's father almost lost two fingers to the mouth of a moray eel swimming off Waikaki Beach in Hawaii.
In many places the coral reef is very close to the ocean surface, as you can see in this photo. Coral grows best in warm, clear water, with lots of sunlight. Visitors need to be careful to swim over the reef, but not to touch it and not to stand on coral.
It is hard to decide which is more colorful: purple coral or yellow fish.
This close up of a hermit crab was taken by our very good friend, Jim Lowman. We travelled together to Polynesia and the Cook Islands. Jim's artwork can be seen on his website, LeafdogArt.com. Jim is a talented printmaker as well as photographer.
This close-up, underwater view of a sea cucumber walking was also taken by Jim. Here is a link that will take you directly to the title page of the the gallery of his photos on his Leaf Dog Art website. It is well worth a look.
This is the inside of a iridescent clam under water. The clam was about the size of a rugby ball.
This is an even closer view of the colors and patterns on the inside of an iridescent clam. Dave was so close that the clam closed up after he took this photo and he could feel on his face the rush of the water forced out of the inside of the clam. He said it was like being spit on by a clam.