Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Quiet Day

It was an overcast, gray start to the day today, so we just relaxed and didn't rush around this morning. Ron and I had a leisurely time; he made omelets for the two of us and we just lounged a bit, watching the news and savoring our coffee before we tried the pry the girls out of bed. It's pretty amazing how much time teens can spend asleep! But then again, it is vacation!

Ron treated the girls to omelets once they were up, before inspecting the A/C seawater pump again...and found that there is still a bit of a trickle seeping out of the face plate, probably from where the bolt hole needs to be re-tapped. After some debate about the efficacy of replacing the pump, we decided to hold off, as we might be smarter to do it when we have additional assistance at the boat yard in Marsh Harbor. Since we already plan to get the tender hauled out there for its 20-hour service, one more item can be added to the punch list without any angst.

In the early afternoon, we loaded up the tender and headed out for a dive. Conditions were definitely calmer than they have been of late; light northerly winds and seas only 2' - 3' at most inside the reef. Nice! It was too bad that it was still so cloudy and overcast, for a bit of sunshine would have been welcome.

Nevertheless, we had a great dive! We anchored neatly in the sand by the reef, having replaced the cheap, broken anchor with the better Fortress anchor from our dinghy, and we all descended along the anchor line to check its hold, which was good. Off we went, through the cut in the reef and down to the deeper section at 45'. Kayleigh did fabulously, especially since there was a lot going on! There were a couple of large grouper that followed us about, clearly begging for food, almost like puppies, and came quite close to all of us, clearly unafraid. Plus there were sharks about as soon as we descended, there was one, and then as we came through the reef, there were a pair of sharks that slipped off to the south, and out of our range of visibility. It's always neat to see sharks, even if you only see them for a moment before they swim away!

Kayleigh had a tiny bit of trouble equalizing her ears initially, so we just swam along the reef at a shallower depth until she felt she could descend without issue. No rush, no fuss...and she did fine thereafter. The grouper followed us throughout the dive, and under one prominent ledge, Ally also spotted a large nurse shark amidst the ledges at the bottom. It too slipped away, unhappy with our clattering bubbles and noise. Unfortunately, the current was beginning to pick up, so we stayed behind a long section of reef where we could maneuver without too much difficulty, before retracing our way back to the boat. As we came back into the shallower waters, we spotted yet another shark! Fun!!

After cleaning the tender and refilling the tanks, we had a quiet night aboard with no real dinner; we all just nibbled on all the plentiful leftovers from the holiday meal yesterday. We spent part of the evening plotting courses, checking tide charts and discussing the timing for departure tomorrow, as we hope to head around Whale Cay and south to Great Guana Cay for the Sunday pig roast at Nipper's. This section of the Abacos is fairly tricky; there is a shallow sand bank that extends across the Sea of Abaco from Treasure Cay towards Whale Cay, and depths are only 3'-4'. Equinox draws nearly 6', so we must pass outside Whale Cay to proceed south from Green Turtle. The other tricky thing is that Whale Cay Channel is is fairly shallow (~12') and when ocean swells come in from the northeast, there can be breaking waves across the channel. This condition is known as a rage sea condition, and can be present during days of light winds in the Abacos, due to storms in the far east Atlantic. Thus, it's always necessary to approach this passage with extreme caution! We will see if conditions are appropriate for going around Whale Cay, and if they to Great Guana Cay we will go! Not sure where we'll drop anchor (Baker's Bay or farther south along Great Guana) or if there will be internet access where we'll be, so it might be a day or two before the next post! Nevertheless....always an adventure!

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