SCUBA,  Wild Travel

My TOP FIVE SCUBA Wildlife Moments

lemon shark Jupiter FL
Underwater Photography by Maria Sage-Umana



whale shark1. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Researching whale sharks an hour off the coast Cancun near the island of Isla Mujeres for one of the best weeks of my life. I was in between two 20′ whale sharks and three 10′ manta rays when my fin strap broke! I was worried I was going to get knocked and die by a whale shark tail!! I made it back to the boat (not pretty but safely) and swear to this day whale sharks are my spirit animal. These magical animals seem to turn up unexpectidly wherever I am. No complaints here 🙂 


diver and sea turtle

2. Belize, Mexico

Diving off the coast of Ambergris Key, I saw a huge 300 lb loggerhead turtle. Instead of swimming away from me, I was excited when he swam toward me, stopped right in front of me, and stared at me for what seemed like minutes. He turned away and swam back towards me 2-3 more times before the other scuba divers in our group saw me and headed over in my direction a and he got spooked and swam away. 




shark dive jupiter3. Jupiter, Florida

I finally felt experienced enough to participate in a shark dive that I had heard about for 7 years – but did not have the guts to do. Thanks to the movie “Jaws”! When I finally worked up the courage to do so – this day will forever be a highlight of my diving experience.  BONUS, it also ticked a big “bucket list item” for me. I saw my first glimpse of a hammerhead shark!!! I bought a hammerhead shark necklace off ETSY to commerate this experience 🙂 


octopus4. Playas Del Coco, Costa Rica

I was sooooo excited to get back on the boat to tell everyone about the octopus “smack-down” fight I witnessed underwater!!! So incredibly rare – especially during the daytime!!!! When I exuberantly climbed up the ladder, excited to tell my story – the other group of divers were talking about the pilot whales that bumped into them on their safety stop! SERIOUSLY?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME – who gets whales at a 15′, 3 minute  saftey stop. No one (including me) was interested in hearing my octopus story after that. It felt like someone stole a Christmas present from me 🙁 


seahorse curacao5. Curacao, Dutch Antillies 

I am completely in love with Curacao. So much so, that I called my husband to tell him if he wanted me to come home he was going to have to come get me. The island is off the coast of Venezuela and has a dry, desert like climate that reminds me of Phoenix Arizona. So, I was already feeling at home (I lived in Phoenix for 15 years) but then I saw the reefs and my eyes popped out of my head. They are just gushing with life, in the clearest, bluest water I have ever seen. It took my breath away every dive. It was in Curacao I saw my first seahorse. I was expecting a tiny little thing but this guy was the size of my hand! It was magical, and I’ve been wanting to return since I left. Maybe this time the boat captain will say yes when I ask him for a job again 😉 Also had the best night dive of my life – but stay tuned for new post with all those details! 



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