Thursday, December 9, 2010

From Swimming Pigs to Flying Squid!

It's been a busy couple of days since I've managed to write, with everything from the mundane to the unusual happening! Monday was our last day with Dan and Trish, and in the morning, Ron took them out on Grace Bay in Eclipse for one last scuba dive together. With the scuba gear aboard, it was a tad crowded with just three people in the boat, so I opted not to go out this trip. (It's not like I don't get to go diving whenever I choose, and Trish was eager to get another dive in before they had to go back to the chilly, wintery north.) So, I enjoyed a bit of quiet time doing laundry and general galley clean-up while they were out on the water. Dan stayed topside aboard Eclipse while Ron and Trish dove off a mooring near Litlte Water Cay. While they enjoyed the dive, seeing a couple of very large lobster in the depths, they both agreed the dive site wasn't of the caliber as those at French Cay or West Caicos. The diving was the highlight Monday, as we didn't do much beyond hitting Governor's Highway for a bit more souvenir shopping by Dan and Trish, and and the usual "pack and prep" for departure. Dan and Trish treated us to a lovely thank-you dinner at Hemingway's at The Sands Resort on Grace Bay that evening, which we all enjoyed tremendously. 

Tuesday was gray and cloudy -- clearly a boat maintenance day! Dan and Trish left mid-morning after a great breakfast out at the Gansevoort resort, then we returned to the boat to sort and stow the extra scuba gear, clean the lazarette bilge, change oil in the genset and do laundry. We used the gray day to our advantage!

Ron and I went out to dive this morning, and found that going out the cut was ... well, a bit intimidating. There were large waves across the cut: almost breaking, but not quite. Still, Ron maneuvered us through nicely and once we were through the cut, the seas were pretty flat and there were just swells -- while still somewhat high -- but spaced pretty far apart so it was a simple matter to zip along the the reefs to the dive sites. Unfortunately, when we got on a mooring and descended, the visibility in the water was barely 20'! It was like swimming in fog, as there was a tremendous amount of sand swirling around us in the surge -- even at 60'! Ugly! And, not really safe, since you really didn't want to get lost -- which would have been easy to do in the low visibility. So, we turned around and returned to the boat after only five minutes, it was that dismal. 

Ron guided us back in the reefs through the wider -- and calmer -- cut closer to Leeward Going Through and we made our way back to Turtle Cove along the shoreline of Grace Bay. On the way back, we startled a Caribbean reef squid swimming at the surface: it jumped clear out of the water and into the air, inking all over the dinghy in the process! I wouldn't have believed it a few weeks ago, but during just about every trip across the Caicos Bank to dive, we've seen squid startle and jump, going airborne for quite a distance, and sometimes leaving a trail of ink on the surface. The first time we saw one fly, we thought we were mistaken, but since then, we've seen several do it. Yes, flying squid! We just didn't expect to get marked with ink, though! 

Squid ink striping the dinghy
Another shot of the ink -- there was some on the front of the
pontoon as well. Ron was worried about it staining things.
After that adventure, we then focused on land and rode our bikes up and down the roads along Grace Bay, about 10 miles. We stopped and checked out the different resorts for their beachside restaurants and views, plus we meandered into a few shops in the SaltMills area. After a good two hours, we returned to Equinox for lunch then did a few more boat projects - refastening the pads on the  dinghy cradle with some 4200, more laundry, and attempted to get our iPod player to work in the salon. We thought it might be a setting issue -- perhaps it wasn't paired with the new Bose unit -- but it's an older Escient Fastball unit, which only needs a simple connection to work properly. After some troubleshooting, we think there's something wrong with the unit itself, as it won't complete its start-up procedure: just blinks red continuously, then shuts itself off a few seconds into the reset start-up. Oh well. One more thing to repair/replace!  We do have local radio though, which is rather fun to listen to in the meantime!

We wound down the day with a delightful dinner on the deck at Magnolia, a restaurant on the hillside overlooking Turtle Cove and Grace Bay. There were numerous entrees that appealed to us, which it made it difficult to choose! It means we will simply have to return another time to sample some of the other choices --- tough duty! It was a nice way to end the evening though, after such a full day. I have to wonder: after swimming pigs in the Bahamas, and flying squid in the Turks & Caicos, what will be next??

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