O'Brien's Cay

Fri 2 Apr 2010 13:55
24:19.55 N
76:33.35 W

The Underwater Aquarium near O'Brien's Cay was one of the best snorkel spots yet. 15 foot clear deep water, a wall of coral and sea fans and sponges, all populated by hundreds of fish, large and small. Schools of large pompano swam by. A scrawled tilefish idled by. Countless sergeant-majors. Angelfish and parrotfish. A very large grouper.

Getting there was a challenge, though. We had anchored on a sandbar across a 100-foot channel from the dive spot. We first tried to swim across the channel, and were swept sideways away from the goal by several hundred feet. Eventually we got ourselves into the lee of the small rock that hosts the dive spot, and the current lessened enough for us to snorkel the back of the rock. But each time we tried to go around to the front of the rock, where the main dive attraction is, the current pushed us back. So we swam back across the channel, got our dinghy, and rowed over. This worked much better. We tied up to a mooring ball near the front side of the rock, and dove from the boat. This is the first time we've attempted to dive off the boat and then re-enter the boat from the water, and I'm glad it all worked.

After our dive, Sea Fever was high and dry on a large sand flat amidst gorgeous turquoise water. It recalled our Cape Cod trips where we let the boat ground on the huge sandflat by Long Point. The girls romped and played on the flat for a couple of hours until dinner time. We marveled at our perfect beach spot. Apparently, it's considered a perfect beach spot by many. Throughout the afternoon, several zodiacs full of families from large motor yachts came by to play on the beach. There Sea Fever was, sitting right in the middle of it all. We had a pleasant chat with a woman from Dallas on an 82-foot yacht whose boat is like a family vacation home, hosting group after group of friends.

We forgot to mention in our prior entry that when we were anchored at Cambridge Cay, just as night fell, Rosie and Isabel were up on the cabintop playing with shells--sorting them, identifying them--and Rosie saw some strange waves making a V pushing along near the boat. Then a single dorsal fin rose out of the dark water and cruised by before going back down. The girls were excited and a bit spooked by the sight.

The girls are doing schoolwork right now (9:30 AM). We're going to dive the Underwater Aquarium again today around slack high water at 11:00, then move on to Warderick Wells.

Our goal is to arive in Miami around April 15. We have less than two weeks left. We're anxious to fit in as much as we can before we leave, but also to leave ample time for waiting out bad weather. Each day we plot out our return route and calculate the days necessary. It's a bittersweet feeling. There is much we miss about home, and much we will miss when we leave here.

One of the things we appreciate about home is space and privacy (not to mention running water, and a freezer with ice cream in it). On the other hand, living all together in such close quarters, even with its challenges, has been a wonderful experience. The girls would love to see the interior of one of the 80- to 100-foot mega yachts we've seen. But we wouldn't trade our little Sea Fever for one of those, or our scruffy experiences for theirs. While we're brown from too much sun (despite constant application of sunscreen) and wearing salt-stained clothes and while we're brushing our teeth in the cockpit and cooking on a campstove on the cockpit floor, we still wouldn't want a well-ensconsed, staffed, mansion-like, home high above the water. We love the intimacy with the beach that Sea Fever offers us.