Very surprisingly we were quite lively this morning! I was dreading
Si having another go at fitting the key into the watermaker pump and
my heart beat heavily in my chest as he cleared out the mattresses and
concertinaed his legs into the tiny working space. From the saloon
all was sounding very positive however as I cleaned through the
saloon, filled my spice jars and dug out the spare vegetable peeler
after somehow losing the original. Coffee was suggested soon but then
suddenly the language turned a little adult and I could hear water
spurting out from somewhere. With nothing I could do I decided to get
on and scrub the cooker top and while I was into yucky jobs I cleaned
the watermaker bilge while it was open. Joy of joys the next test ran
smoothly and oh so quietly and now it all seems ok again. I made Simon
espresso and topped his carrot cake with cream cheese and cinnamon to
celebrate. While Si took a cooling swim I fired up my laptop and
gasped again at the number of days that have passed since I wrote.
The mood was happy on Brindabella as the watermaker purred away
filling our tanks while my ‘Mr. Fixit’ cleared away his tools and put
our cabin back together. After an early lunch we decided to move on
and with Brindabella ready for action we dropped the buoy and set off
anti-clockwise around Norman Island to see where took our fancy to
stop tonight. It wasn’t exactly an epic voyage for just around the
corner from the bay mottled yellow rocky cliffs formed caves and day
buoys and dinghy buoys sat around what looked like a good spot to
snorkel. We picked up a buoy and donned the gear.
It never ceases to amaze me how every under water experience has
something different to offer. Today the water was deep but crystal
clear as we swam towards the caves. There were some very big reef
fish, the enormous multicoloured parrot fish the biggest I’ve seen
yet. The coral was fascinating with sea urchins tucked between and
little territorial wars going on between the tiny reef fish that
popped out of the crevices. A sudden chill swept over me as we neared
the caves with their cool water. What a feast for the eyes lie inside:
Rocks like jewels in a thousand bright and sparkling colours. Lurking
in a dark corner was a shoal of dull grey fish with huge eyes adapted
for the conditions and above rays of light shone through cracks in the
rocks out to sea. I felt a couple of nibbles on my legs; I guessed
something feeding on waterlogged dead flesh from my numerous insect
bites: Lovely! Heading towards another cave a hawksbill turtle popped
its head out from under a large rock and a shoal of pipe fish passed
us by just below the surface. Underneath us a hundred or so blue angel
type fish glided along in perfect formation. All the while the usual
multicoloured fish were everywhere; a delight in all directions. We
must get a more detailed book to identify them all.
The big cave was a little scary as it narrowed as it cut deeper and
deeper, darker and darker into land. In the darkness a snorkeler in
front of me ducked under the water and grabbed my ankle as he swam
past: Just when I was wondering what monsters may be lurking in the
depths too! I made a speedy exit back into light and warmth. I hadn’t
ever thought to take fish food to attract the fish and was rather glad
I hadn’t, when the feint outline of a man came into view absolutely
encased with beautiful feeding fishes. Unbeknown to me however we were
swimming past the dinghy buoy and someone was throwing food from
above. All of a sudden I too was completely surrounded by angel fish
and foot long yellowtail snappers that slithered all over me.
Warrhh!!! I shrieked, swallowing gallons of salty water: What a girly
girl! Luckily I was under the deck shower when Si spotted the only
really scary fish of the day. A dark shadow passed slowly off the
stern and I was glad to be out of the water.
It was such a lovely location we moved Brindabella a little further
down the bay for the night and after a nice pot of tea Si sprawled out
in the saloon to rest his eyes while I did a spot of blogging. I write
in the cockpit in total tranquillity with waves gently lapping onto
the shore behind us and birds calling from above. The US Virgin
Islands sit in front of me to the west, each island a different
monotone of grey with the sun burning behind. Below, Simon looks
gorgeous as he dreams: Am I not the luckiest of girls alive?
We had decided that after all the over indulgences of the last few
days we should have an alcohol free day today. We quickly changed that
to just one beer! As the sun sank behind the USVIs we sank our daily
ration then read until dinner. As we finished our meal I suddenly
became aware of our changed surroundings with 270° of total darkness.
Only the twinkling of distant lights on the islands broke the
continuous blackout. We turned off the oil lamp and poking our heads
out from under the bimini and were met by an amazing sight. Above, the
clear moonless skies were lit by a billion stars and below
phosphorescence from fish dotted all round the anchorage lit the sea.
Only the darkness of the hills defined the border between the two.
Light appeared in the water on the edge of the shore and we followed
the track of some night divers as they swam round the bay and back to
their dinghy where loud voices and flashing torches shattered the
peace. As they motored away our night time noises returned to breaking
waves and cicadas from the shore.