Mermaid Reef is no secret among locals and visitors alike.
It’s a small, protected reef just outside of Marsh Harbor (Abaco Islands, Bahamas) with lots of curious and social fish.
These fish are very accustomed to humans, and especially being fed by them. Like a stray dog on the street, they’ll sniff your pockets for food if you’ve got any in there. (Do fish sniff?)
I blame cheez-whiz.
Evidently it’s a common tool to entice them. I can’t say I agree with this method. I don’t trust a cheese that sprays from a can and especially that comes in flavors like “American” and “Bacon”. How does something taste American? And making cheese taste like bacon makes about as much sense as making a carrot taste like chicken.
My point, if you’re still reading, is that if it’s not normal for us to eat–and it’s not–we probably shouldn’t be feeding it to the fish.
We brought bread, which is probably still a jerk thing to do, since typically wild things shouldn’t be fed by humans, but “mom, everyone is doing it!” So we did.
Tie your boat up to one of the buoys, grab an underwater camera and enjoy. My sister wasn’t paying attention and a parrot fish actually nibbled her finger as she held a piece of bread. It was probably pissed when it discovered it wasn’t cheez-whiz but regardless, if it’s food and it’s out, they’re going for it. (My sister and her finger are fine.)
You’ll see yellowtail snapper, sargent majors, grouper, parrot fish, trigger fish, an abundance of colorful coral, and the list goes on.
The following site has a nice map indicating the exact location of the reef.