S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Big Major's Spot

25 January
N 24 degrees 10.995 minutes
W 076 degrees 27.496 minutes

We left Warderick Wells with heavy hearts. The place is just magnificent.

We could snorkel over coral a few hundred feet from our mooring, and we saw all kinds of colorful fish, including a few large spotted eagle rays, a three-foot Nassau grouper, various jacks and tuna, triggerfish, angelfish, parrotfish, and an enormous spiny lobster. We then dinghied to another spot with lots of beautiful coral formations and saw still more fish we couldn't identify.

That night, at a bonfire on the beach (with free punch supplied by the dive boat that came in that evening), we spoke with a resident (who's lived and volunteered at the park for the past 3 years) about the problems the park has with poachers. Basically, the wardens have to catch poachers in the act; they have to see people fishing and find fish on board. Naturally, when the poachers spot the wardens, they simply dump the fish over and deny everything.

But we have a date to keep, and a front was preparing to move through, so we left, and stopping at lunchtime at Soldier's Cay to see something called the seaquarium. We anchored Delilah off the island and took Digby over. I had my snorkeling gear on before Jill and went in. I was immediately surrounded by colorful reef fish next to a wall of coral. Serious Jacque Cousteau moment. They were all around, within inches of my mask. I couldn't help but to hit fish with my swim fins because they swam so close. It was breathtaking.

And then I saw the shark.

6 feet long. 10 feet below me and about 30 feet away. Jill was not yet in the water, so I lifted my head out and said, simply, "shark." My heart was racing. Admittedly, it was a nurse shark, but when one's biological instincts take over, there's not much one can do. I watched it slowly swim into the distance.

Just south of the seaquarium we left the park's boundaries, and we had our fishing rods ready to deploy. We lost our most reliable lure to something big enough to snap our 80 lb. test line. Using our other line, we caught a blue jack for dinner. It produced just enough food for two. I've heard that many people won't eat jacks, but we thought it was delicious.

The big draw here in Staniel Cay, aside from a grocery store the size of a smalll shed, is Thunderball Cave, famous for its appearance in...guess which movie. You can snorkel into the cave when the tide is right, and the water color is supposed to be maginficent.

Jan. 26 addendum
We are just back from snorkeling at Thunderball. Now we will have to rent the movie to see where we were according to James Bond.

It was amazing inside the cave, which has a few skylights to keep it bright. On the floor of the cave the coral is flourescent orange, and the smaller fish flock around as they are used to humans. Dean's favorite fish so far is a small (2 inch) black fish with bright blue polka dots. Mine is the triggerfish. We will need to buy a fish and coral guide so we will know what we are seeing, I think.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope-all-is-well. we are at meg and ralph's house with more hi-tech gadgets than one could imagine. saw many photos of aruba - quite nice. hilton barbados is open again - care to go? turks is great idea. fender needs to. tell me when iand i will book it and buy mixers. pm etienne.

6:47 PM  

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