As has become my custom, I awoke with the rising of the sun. The wind was calm overnight. Before going to bed last evening, I went out on deck and could see the bottom, 20 feet below, quite clearly under the light of the full moon. A calm night and a calm morning meant one thing – Snorkeling Sandy Cay Reef. High tide was scheduled to arrive just before 9 a.m., so we boarded Dalí around 8:15 to head the 1.5 miles north to Sandy Cay. After our 24+ mile round trip ride into Marsh Harbour yesterday, this was a breeze.
We had the place to ourselves. We tied up to a mooring ball toward the north end of the reef. There was very little current, and there was a gentle two-foot roll coming off the Atlantic. Cindy decided to stay behind in Dalí to keep an eye on me while I snorkeled. It was absolutely wonderful. The water was comfortable and clear. I spent about 45 minutes or so slowly moving along the reef. There were no shark sightings or barracuda sightings today (which is okay). I did see a few things I’d not seen before. I saw a large school of Stoplight Parrotfish. Now, I had seen a few here and there, but on this trip I saw hundreds all swimming together. It was quite spectacular. I also saw, not one, but two Hawksbill Sea Turtles. I hovered above one for several minutes watching him swim around beneath me. I also saw a Triggerfish (for the first time that I recall). Then, as I was swimming back to Dalí, the largest Spotted Eagle Ray I’ve seen swam beneath me. Size is always difficult to judge, but I do not think that I am exaggerating to say that his wing span was 6-7 feet and his long whip-like tale was 8 feet long or more. It was wonderful! Unfortunately, my GoPro camera was splashed with salt water (of course, without its waterproof casing) a few days ago and is now inoperable. So, I was unable to take any pictures of my snorkeling expedition. I will probably not replace the camera until I return to the states.
Since I can’t provide my own pictures, here are a few found on the web:
Just before 11, we decided to take a dinghy ride into Little Harbour, the southernmost shelter before leaving the Abacos and heading out into the Atlantic. The harbor is almost completely enclosed and protected from virtually all sides. It is famous for being the place where eccentric runaway Smith College professor, Randolph Johnston, escaped to back in the 1950s. He, his wife, and his three sons left Northampton, Massachusetts on their schooner Langosta to escape the din of civilization in pursuit of living free and with a devotion to art. In true Swiss Family Robinson style, the Johnston family initially lived in caves and thatched huts. Eventually, he constructed a foundry for his work. Randolph, who is famous for his bronze sculptures, died in his late 80s in 1992. Today, much of Little Harbour remains in the hands of his three sons. Pete is the only one who maintains a high profile. He runs a gallery devoted to his father’s works, as well as his own.
We motored through the light chop on Dalí, through some light rain showers, and into Little Harbour, one of the most pretty and picturesque little places you could imagine. After tying Dalí to the dock, we walked up the sandy road and stopped in the gallery and museum to look at some of Randolph’s and Pete’s work and read a little about the history of Randolph Johnston. The gallery has numerous sculpted works in bronze for sale, mostly of aquatic creatures fashioned by Pete. We then walked up behind Pete’s Pub for a quick trip to the Atlantic beach. We had heard there was a lot of sea glass there, but found none. What we did find, however, was another beautiful seaside vista. Upon returning from the beach, we ordered lunch at the pub (I had very good blackened grouper) and sampled the local drink, the Lethal Blaster. It wasn’t lethal, but it was a blast. After lunch, we jumped back into Dalí, and made our way through the chop back to Beatitude for the rest of the day. We pulled out the acrylics and painted for a while. We had dinner. We watched a movie. We read. We endured the first rainy and blustery afternoon we’ve had for the past 3 weeks. It didn’t rain hard, but it was steady for a while. The calm winds of the last day or so gave way to some stronger winds that stirred up the waves, jostling Beatitude around for the evening and overnight.