Several months ago, I spent some time on a catamaran in Cartagena, Colombia. The captain, his friend and I sailed out to San Bernardo overnight and dropped anchor in front of a small island covered with palm trees and surrounded by the clearest blue water I’d ever seen.
After making lunch, we selected a random spot to try spearfishing. We saw loads and loads of colorful reef fish and swam around for over an hour, but had no luck finding anything worth spearing.
Later that day we made our way over to Casa en el Agua, the notorious floating hostel (It’s not actually floating, but because it’s built up in the middle of water, it looks like it is). There, we met a local who agreed to take us spearfishing for snapper in the mangroves - at night. We returned to the catamaran and waited for the last light from the sun to fade away. The sky and water became pitch black, and there was no moon in sight. We met up with the guide and set out for the mangroves.
As we rode in the dark, the stars lit our way. There were billions of them. You could even see the milky way. The water glowed too, as bioluminescence floated on the surface. We maneuvered our way through the narrow waterways in between the mangrove bushes. Our guide directed us to a spot where we should find snapper. We hopped into the water and swam along the mangroves with our eyes peeled, in search of the fish. No dice. We all climbed back inside the dingy and went to the second fishing spot. Still nothing.
As we dropped into the water at our third location, the moon slowly began to rise over the island. It was massive, bright and full, a magical sight I will never forget. Swimming around one last time, we finally saw a large snapper. I loaded my pole spear and shot at it. I stunned the fish, but it easily shimmied off the spear, so I loaded up and shot it again. Unfortunately, the spear was too small to hold the fish. Being wounded but not dead, the fish quickly swam away. We all reluctantly climbed back into the dingy, a little disappointed and hungry, and made our way back to the catamaran. The moon was completely full in the sky now and shown so bright you could no longer see the stars. I looked up, closed my eyes and smiled. While it was technically an unsuccessful night, it was an experience I will never forget!