As I finished the second “load”, our forward water tank ran out of water. That is the one that we fill with the water maker. Now we have 50 gallons of water and hopefully our generator will run to make water. We could either start the generator right now and run it for 2-3 hours while we finished laundry, or go play. We compromised and finished two more loads of laundry and waited to make water, realizing that we’d have to be frugal if we couldn’t make water.
We left about 1:30 in the dinghy. The dinghy motor has not been running smoothly. It wants to die, but will start again. We spent a little time making sure it would run before leaving, but not confident that the issue had been resolved. We went north along 2 islands to find what was called the Sea Aquarium/Coral Garden. The guide books said it wasn’t to be missed if you were in the area. By about 2:00, we found the mooring ball to tie our dinghy to in front of a small island. As soon as you were in the water, you felt like you were in an aquarium. There were fish of all kinds swimming with you. And since this is a park where there is no fishing allowed, they weren’t afraid of us. There were also all kinds of coral that they were swimming amongst. We decided to snorkel around the island since it was relatively small. As soon as we were to the south of the island, we could feel a current pushing us around to the other side. Both of us thought “that may be tough to swim against to get back to the boat”. On the other side of the island, we were able to get out of the current and enjoy the snorkeling. There were fish, but not like on the other side. We did see a big barracuda about 5 ft long. Dave made sure I moved the stones on my ring to the inside so as not to attract him. When we got to the north end of the island, we tried to swim against the current and turned around. We figured the way we came would be shorter. But that was also too hard to swim against. Dave thought he would climb up and over the island to get to the dinghy and then come get me. But the rock was real rough limestone and he couldn’t get himself up on the overhanging ridge. So we went back to the south side, hung on to the limestone and pulled ourselves around the island, kicking our fins the whole way. Dave made it there first and coached me as to when I could let go and swim to the dinghy. And he threw a rope to me as I got closer. Now that was an adventure! I wasn’t ready to get in the boat right away, but I hung on to the rope so I wouldn’t go far. i guess our other option would have been to wait for the tide to change about 5:00 and flow in the opposite direction.
|You'd never know what was under the surface, or that there was a strong current|
Then we headed back towards our anchorage to snorkel another area that had caves you could swim into. It is best to swim those at low tide so you don’t have to go under water to enter them. Low tide was about 5:30-6:00 and it was about 3:00. We stopped at the mooring balls for this area and could see the entrance to one of the caves. So we decided to stay. We snorkeled into a cave that opened up once you were inside. It even had an opening to the sky. It was probably about 30 feet diameter. We snorkeled along the island looking for a second opening. The second cave was about 50 ft in diameter. We could swim in, stand and look around, then swim out. Outside of the caves, we saw all kinds of fish and coral. I saw a couple of the largest queen angel fish that I have ever seen, my favorite. They had to be 2 ft long . I also saw french angel and grey angel fish. And there was every species that I have seen in other dives in Cozumel or Florida. But no lion fish! Yeah! We saw lots of schools of fish. One must have had over 100 fish together. We saw a huge lobster and one shark. Dave saw a turtle surface after he was in the dingy, but I didn’t see him under water. Just as we were leaving, 2 boats showed up to snorkel at low tide. So we were glad we started early and had the place to ourselves.
Back at the boat, I snorkeled the area around our boat. I checked the anchor and looked for conch. But no such luck. Mostly grass and sand below the boat. By the time I got out of the water, I was feeling pretty salty, like I was soaking in brine being prepared to be roasted.
Dave tried adjusting the idle on our dinghy Mercury motor. We have had a Mercury before and he had to find a hidden screw and adjust that because of the same problem. So he will hunt further another day. Dave started the grill for chicken and I brought in the laundry. There were lots of flies in the cockpit, so we couldn’t enjoy eating outdoors or watch the sunset. We were able to run the generator and make water. So we are all set to head north to Nassau. It will take us two days on the water with anchoring one night.