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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Bight, Norman Island: Diving and snorkeling

With the provisioning completed on Saturday morning, we all enjoyed one last lunch together at The Pub before we said our goodbyes to Karen and Kerry at the ferry dock. It was a great time having them aboard! With our farewells said, Ron and I headed back to Equinox, moving her from the rolly and lumpy anchorage in Road Harbour to the more protected anchorage at The Bight at Norman Island. The winds have really made the Drake Channel a sloppy passageway and we're happy to be tucked in the lee here. Need I say the weather forecast is getting a bit monotonous? Every day it says the same thing:
THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT
FROM 11N TO 19N E WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS 8 TO 12 FT. ELSEWHERE NE TO E WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 8 TO 11 FT IN NE SWELL. ISOLATED SHOWERS S OF 17N.
So...we're not heading anywhere fast, but then again, we're not on a schedule, which is the beauty of cruising. Instead, Ron and I used our time to make a scuba dive out by The Indians, diving the site called “Deep Indian”, where we explored the black-coral bushes so prolific in this area. The abundance of juveniles and reef fish is lovely to see --- a result, we believe, of no lionfish in the area. (We’ve not seen one as of yet, and we’re delighted.) We have seen a lot of morays, lobsters and southern rays in addition to the juveniles. The taking of lobster and conch while on scuba is prohibited in the BVI, and it’s clear the lobster know this, as they are rather unconcerned with a diver’s presence. And, after seeing  the hundreds of empty conch shells littering the shorelines and reefs in the Bahamas, it’s a delight to see the many conch moving about on the sea floor here. Granted, they aren’t moving fast!
You can see quite a bit of marine life, even just snorkeling. The terrain is mostly sand and scrabbly rock covered with a profusion of hard corals, sea whips, sea fans, sponges, bluebell tunicates and soft corals. Ron saw a goldentail moray on our afternoon snorkel along the northern shoreline of the Bight, and I had fun watching a southern ray and several crabs in the shallows. In case you don't know what the heck a tunicate is, a tunicate is one of the most common marine invertebrates, but the least recognized. They can be solitary or grow in colonies, but basically they are small tubular animals with an intake siphon and an central outflow opening. I've found them in numerous small clusters here, ranging in color from pale lavender to a deep blue. Very pretty and delicate, they look like they are bits of blown glass. There's always something to see underwater! 
A photo of some bluebell tunicates, which grow in clusters.
They are commonly found here in the waters of the BVI.


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