A whisper from the woods

What Do You See Around You?

Sep 25, 2023

Article and images by Jennifer Troyan


Last month I went snorkeling at Grand Bahama Island at a beautiful spot called Deadman’s Reef at Paradise Cove (don’t let the name scare you – it’s a magical place). The big draw for me was the chance to swim with sea turtles. It certainly did not disappoint! I encountered a few along my journey in the water.

What excites me are the unexpected surprises and connections I see and feel. Also, the thoughts that come to me when I’m in water or out in nature. I think of the animals’ lives and wonder what they are thinking. Sometimes you can see if they are happy, living their best life, or if they are fearful or struggling. I think we can all see this, from one creature to another.

The water was crystal clear, and the snorkel started in shallow water, maybe 3 feet so when you walk into the water from the shore, you are immediately in turtle territory. They love eating sea grass and since that’s where it grows, that’s where the turtles are. This is where my observations kick in. They are gliding peacefully in the water and seem to be fine with us swimming around with them. Our snorkel guide talked about not touching the turtles or stepping on the sea grass because it is protected. Also, not to touch anything really, including the reefs. I love this because we are guests in their house. Yes, we all share the ocean, but we do not live in the water, we just frequent it or at least visit when we can.

Back to the observations, I spotted some plant life I had never seen. I came across these little guys, I don’t know what they are, yet they looked like tiny trees to me.

Like a tiny forest growing on the ocean floor.

Then I saw these little ones swaying in the water and they resembled other things I have seen in nature while hiking, such as seagrass or cattails, mushrooms, flowers, and grass. The sea plants create oxygen in the water just like our trees and plants do above water. Do you see the similarities?

I recommend slowing down and observing everything around you because there are hidden gems everywhere. I wish for you to keep your sense of wonder and see what’s around. Maybe if you look on the ground, you’ll find a bird feather or a neat bug or a small creature you have never seen before. Also, look up, and listen to the birds’ songs if you can. Watch them for a little while, and see how they depend on trees and the environment just as we do.

Back to the ocean, just linger and spend some time floating or going slowly through the water so you can take it all in. Wonders abound!

To some of you readers you may find it terrifying to be in the water so maybe this isn’t the thing for you. Try something else. There are opportunities to observe wildlife for everyone. Once I was walking in Downtown Miami (a big city in Florida, USA) and saw a dove that had made a nest right on the sidewalk in the middle of this busy city! My friends walked right past it. Of course, I asked them to stop for a second, to look too. 😊 I sent her a silent hello and a wish for a good life and may her babies be safe and protected. Such a precarious place to make a nest. It shows how industrious we can be.

What would you miss if you didn’t pay attention to the little things? As William Shakespeare said, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

I invite you to share in the comments section below something neat you came across that was unexpected.


Please share this. Thank you!


  1. Debora Winick

    Loved the story, tree life underwater!

  2. maria ChahMaria Chah

    Sweet like a child in wonderland… this article reminds me of my natural childhood curiosity. Willing to even stop and say hello to any living creature I came across. Love the photos too 🙂

  3. Jennifer Troyan

    Thank you Debbie & Maria. Glad you liked the article. <3

    • Tom Goetz

      Wonderful story I want to go swim with turtles there also now planning my trip thank you so much for posting ❤

  4. Andrea

    Love the pics and glad you had such a wonderful time!!

    Great article and loved learning about the reefs too.

    The pictures remind me of ‘Crush’ from Finding Nemo … maybe he was still searching… lol

  5. Linda Farley

    Thank you Jen for a wonderful story

  6. Amy Smith

    Beautiful and so well-said!

  7. Nancy

    great article . my sea turtle is Mona and she lives between S.Carolina and Miami!!!

    It is the small things that bring me pleasure when taken the time to look at them.

    Trees are one of my favorite things to look at as they are all shapes and sizes! They continue to surprise me the way they root and grow- just like us!
    Thanks Jennifer for the smile

  8. Karen

    I love your descriptions, really puts it into perspective. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations with the world.

  9. Liz Rydin

    Jen, your words paint such a beautiful picture of the sea world adventure that surrounded you. I felt like I was experiencing this journey right along side you. What a great reminder to look around and see nature in all its glory and beauty. Take time to stop and smell the roses!

  10. Jennifer Troyan

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and am so glad you enjoyed the story. <3

  11. Deb B

    Thank you Jen, for illustrating that we can observe nature all around us no matter where we are in this world. I do believe that Shakespeare is right–that we are all kin and being in nature helps us see it. If we would all live as guests, not just in the turtles’ habitat but on our mother earth as well, the world would be a much better place!


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