The speed of our boat slowed and in the distance I could make out the white water of waves breaking over the reef. A few boats seemed to be anchored just before that point and bobbing in the water between the boats were the telltale signs of snorkelers and divers, a pair of fins here and a water spout or two there. Though the water was choppier than I was used to while snorkeling, I was so excited at the prospect of another chance to visit with the abundant life under the sea. Our boat stopped, and then I looked directly into the turquoise water around the boat for the first time. It was instead gray and brown, and writhing in a way that’s unnatural for the ocean. When our guide told me to suit up and get ready to jump in, the look on my face must have needed no words because he laughed and so did the rest of my companions. “You want me to do what?” I asked. After a bit of back and forth, some chumming of the water and eventually, summoning whatever courage I possess, I jumped into the water. Classic case of fear being so out of touch with reality. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is an incredible place where four different zones allow you to interact and swim with docile nurse sharks, stingrays and all manner of colorful fish.