Monday, March 24, 2014

The Calm & The Crazy

Today was a day of two extremes. We awoke to calm, still waters like we've encountered rarely down here in the winter months. The breeze barely picked up all day so were happy to stay put at Diamond Cay and not try to sail anywhere.

Calm: First order of the morning was a snorkel along the edge of the bay. Of course because I didn't take my camera we encountered more varied fish than before as well as a large turtle feeding on the grass and accompanied by two large fish that alternated between making the turtle look formidably large as it swam along and then went to work on cleaning its shell whenever it stopped to eat. We had snorkeled quite away around the bay when we were encircled by a huge school of small silvery fish. Every way you looked, all you could see was the flow of the fish surrounding us, like a river.

Crazy: Suddenly though, the fish started churning back and forth more frantically and looking through the movement I spied a good sized shark. It was dark and menacing and needless to say that was the end of the snorkeling for me so we made our way back to Mowzer, with another view of our friendly turtle on the return trip. Apparently Cane Garden Bay had a number of sharks in it last week. This was the first time I've seen one in the water and while it scared the crap out of me (well almost) and it appeared huge when I saw it in the haze of the water, I'll try to be very realistic and say it was most likely about 4' long.

No picture of the shark but when we got back to Mowzer, this guy was hanging out - the biggest barracuda I've ever seen.

Calm: We moved Mowzer over a bit in the anchorage to a nice quiet spot with a good view to the reef that protects this bay from the swell that roles in from the north. I guess this makes it a good fishing spot and we watched this fellow playing out his line.

Crazy: Well, apparently it is Yacht Week. This is an event that basically creates a huge flotilla of captained party boats that are rented out by the "room" and then move en masse to the various party and hangout spots around the islands for the week. We hadn't run into any of them yet but our first encounter was at The Bubbly Pool on Jost this morning. In hind-sight, this was a break-away group on their own who were actually very nice, a group of guys mostly in the U.S. services and some of the girls were nurses. Their captain said the best part was that they all knew how to listen to him, guess that goes with the training. Needless to say, the party was the goal and I can't be more thankful that CYOA doesn't participate in the rental of the boats.

I think the birds were enjoying the human antics.
More Crazy: Sitting calmly at anchor about 5:15 in the afternoon we noticed a large 50' catamaran motoring very quickly towards the sand bar that runs across the back of the mooring ball area in the bay. Waiting for him to throw the engines hideously into reverse or to quickly try to turn at the back of the bay we held our breath as he ran the boat solidly aground. Luckily he went aground in sand and not the coral fringing the bay and the powerful engines reversed him off the bar, but we can only imagine the damage done to the sea grass that we had watched the turtles munching on earlier in the day. As I said above, glad that our boat is not rented out to these guys. Within about 15 minutes, at least 20 boats had pulled up to the concrete pier, rafted up or anchored close, all with at least 10 people on board partying hard. Obviously our quiet little sojourn was over.

Diamond Cay anchorage - moments before there had been just a handful of boats in the bay.
Back to Calm: Just round the corner with the sunlight starting to fade over the hills of Jost, we resettled our anchor in the lee of Sandy Spit. Along with four other boats we will enjoy the light winds, starry sky and the knowledge that the party boats are safely tied up to the dock at Foxy's Taboo for the night.

Ahhhhh, breathe in The Calm.
By the way, tomorrow we are heading back to St. John and we most likely will be off the grid for the remainder of the week. I'll post updates once we're back online.


No comments:

Post a Comment