V and S
Fri 17 Apr 2009 18:21
Slipping silently into the gin clear water, I readjusted my mask and peered into the sea. It was slack tide, so the current was not a problem. Slack tide occurs for about an hour when the tide changes direction from outgoing to incoming and vice versa. The winds had shifted to the SW for the day, so the Exuma Sound (aka Atlantic Ocean) was unusually calm, with barely a swell. In normal winds, the seas beat ferociously against that shore. We were not alone. We'd invited nearby sailors, Karen and Mark, from "Sururra" along. On the way to the site, she admitted that she did not like to snorkel, and usually begged off. She was not sure why she'd joined us today. But when she jumped into the water, she exclaimed it was a beautiful reef. I was amazed, because reefs everywhere have suffered a big decline and we had not really seen a beautiful reef in a couple years. She was right. Huge formations of golden Leafy Singing Coral lifted their faces to the sun. Tan Elkhorn coral was growing. New shoots of white tipped Stag Horn Corals poked up. Surprisingly, even the round yellow and green brain corals were dotting the coral heads. Purple sea fans and other soft corals abounded. The coral seemed to be coming back to its lovely colors. A school of bright blue tangs swam by. I even spotted a few spiny black sea urchins hiding in the structure. Looking up across the reef, I saw teaming schools of all sorts of fish. Valt and Mark, spears in hand, dived to hunt the ledges for Nassau Grouper or Queen Triggerfish. They hoped to bag one or more for dinner. Again and again they went down, looked around, then resurfaced for air. It was a very graceful dance to watch. When my visit was done, I headed back to the dinghy, and was treated to the sight of a 2' long grey Angelfish. Even Karen said it was her best snorkel trip.