...at last!! After the tumultous past couple of weeks, it felt absolutely glorious to have a day to do exactly what we pleased! We started out by taking a "coffee cruise" in the new tender, which was a real treat. Skies were blue, temps were warm (75 degrees) and it was a lovely morning! We cruised the canals behind Old Bahama Bay before taking the boat out on the ocean and letting her run for a bit!
Captain Ron at the helm
View of the canals during our coffee cruise
Once we returned to Equinox, we rigged up the tender to make it ready for diving. It's really set up quite nicely! Ron had tank racks added as part of the commissioning, and they're great, holding up to 4 tanks on each side. The aft baitwell is deep enough to hold all the fins, masks, dive lights and extra dive gear, keeping it all contained and out of the way. (Plus, it gets all the dive gear off the back deck of Equinox, so there's more room there, too!) The back seats fold down and lie flat, providing easy access in and out of the water, and there is storage under the seats forward. The small day head below the center console is a great place to store dry clothing and towels, and there is a cooler mounted under the center seat for water and Gatorade and beer post-dive. And, the high flared bow keeps everything dry underway. Great boat!!
The tender rigged and ready for diving
Ron and I made a dive north of West End, zipping up to the area we call Dog's Head Reef. We checked out the operation of the windlass -- dropped the anchor right where we wanted it to go, and afterwards.....what a treat not to have to haul up the anchor hand over hand!! We had an easy relaxed dive, although the visibility wasn't fabulous. Saw at least 6 lionfish of all sizes --- I so want to get rid of them, knowing that they are a non-native, invasive species that compete with lobster in the food chain!! I only saw 4 lobster in comparison, too. Otherwise, the reef there was filled with life: lots of juvenile fish of all kinds, amongst huge angelfish, (Queen and French), squirrelfish, blue tangs, groupers, hinds, grunts, butterflyfish and damselfish. Also saw a large southern ray --- one we've seen before, with a short, stubby tail.
After the dive, we rinsed off the gear using the fresh water system we have on board (a real luxury!), showered ourselves, and then relaxed on the boat in the sunshine. Ally is going to love the space for sunbathing post-dives, as well as the iPod hook-up for the stereo! It's a fabulous dive platform, truly! We are so lucky, and so appreciative!!