S/V Delilah

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

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Octopus's Garden

Wednesday, February 7
Falmouth Harbor, Antigua

Well, the weekend went by so fast, as we were catching up with friends, and then some new friends arrived, and then we had to have our propane refilled, and then our starting battery stopped holding a charge (no big deal when you're in a port with several chandleries from which to choose), and then we got an invitation to go diving with some cruisers who have EXTRA equipment to share (!!!). Thus the day or two we planned to stay in Falmouth Harbor has turned into a week.

We hadn't expected to enjoy ourselves so much in the bustling harbor. But as long as I can swim off the boat without wondering what else might be floating in the water besides me and Delilah, I am content to stay almost anywhere, and Dean loves a little bit of civilization along with his blue skies and clean water. On top of that, Jake and Marnie of Avalanche (who sail to the Caribbean from RI every fall and back again in the spring) had suggested that, if they caught up with us here in Antigua, they'd take us to one of their favorite dive sites.

Though Jake was disappointed with the visibility report he got yesterday--a mere 50 feet because of the weekend's high winds--we all donned our gear for a fairly shallow and uncomplicated dive at the Pillars of Hercules along the south coast of Antigua. I was glad we were doing an easy dive, as I have not been scuba diving on for several years (the cost of renting equipment is prohibitive, and snorkeling has always seemed simpler and faster). I was nervous before the dive, hoping I wouldn't have problems clearing my ears, maintaining buoyancy, putting my equipment together, clearing my mask underwater, fitting into a stranger's BC, and all the little adjustments that make diving comfortable. But everything worked perfectly, and I found myself facing Dean on the bottom of the ocean, comfortable, happy, and ready to see some fish.

Jake and Marnie have done this dive a number of times, so they lead the way past an old anchor encrusted with coral, a spotted eel, countless fish, and some beautiful coral structures I had not seen before while snorkeling. My favorite part of the dive, however, was looking up to the water's surface and watching the waves crash along the steep coastline beside us. The only downside, of course, is that I don't know that I'll ever see the point of donning a thick, restrictive wetsuit with hood and gloves in order to swim around in the murk of New England's frigid waters (48 degrees below the thermocline, as opposed to 79 degrees here).

We're off tomorrow (9 Feb) for about a week of sailing/anchoring in places where there is no internet. Imagine!


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