It is a short drive from Kilifi to the rustic Vipingo Ridge Beach Bar, which has a sparkling-white beach on its fringes for a morning of snorkelling.

It is a postcard-perfect snapshot of the sea — a calm sheet of beautiful blue shades and the cleanest, whitest beach with barely a soul on it.

It is surreal and overwhelming. A few strokes from the beachyou’ll be floating above coral, sea grasses, anemones, and polyps of different shapes, sizes, and colours and within this underwater world, shoals of the most colourful fish waft through secret passageways that only they know. It is simply mesmerising.

Under the water are fish of every colour under the rainbow — the Moorish idol fish with its trailing fin is the logo of the association.

Tiny lime-coloured fish and electric blue fingerlings swim this way and that, plate-sized clown fish and parrot fish nibble on the corals.

They have a symbiotic relationship: they eat the debris off the coral and keep them clean. Fat sea cucumber-like sausages lie still on the seabed. Inconspicuous as they look, the sea would be dead without them, for they forage the ocean floors and suck away the debris.

Star-fish and spiky urchins are cradled in the coral. And then my heart skips a beat.

Paradise so close to the shoreline.

Coral fish are better admired in the ocean than in an aquarium or a home tank.

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