Tuesday, 19 April
After two days of hot weather and no breeze the wind picked up overnight. I slept well until about six. Sunrise is around 5:15 and it starts getting bright about thirty minutes before then. The morning was even a little cloudy. Meet Nicole then coffee and a lighter breakfast than usual for me.
We altered our “plan” at breakfast. One of the big attractions of the Coral Beach Dive Center is that there are no boats to catch, two reefs, a couple of manmade structures, and beach entry. The dive center is open eight to five. You can make arrangements for earlier or later dives if you would like. You just walk in to the dive center and they bring you a tank. Our original plan was to dive the south reef. The south reef is a little further away and catches more of the wind. The north reef is more sheltered from the usual wind direction. Plans are very easy to change.
We decided to go to the garage which is a popular manmade structure near the north reef. It attracts a lot of fish and shrimp. While prepping in the dive center Nicole pointed out that there were fewer divers on the roster and some were out on a dive boat. On the way out to the garage I saw a Blue Spotted Stingray, my first ray of this trip. We spent most of our time at the garage. Plentiful small fish are under the structure. I watched a Lionfish that looked like it was hunting on top of the structure. The tiny fish retreated into nooks and crannies when it approached.
On the way back we followed the north reef. Among the fish there were Parrotfish and a Longnosed Butterflyfish. During our exit there were some six inch fish with barbs digging in the sand. An excellent dive overall. After the dive we commented that going to the garage this morning was the right thing to do with less divers here since it is such a popular spot. On earlier dives we always had other divers there. Today we had it to ourselves.
The winds are gusting up to 30 miles per hour and there are whitecaps even in the bay so we decided no afternoon dive. After a hot shower and a little relaxation we met for our noon coffee. It was shawarmas for lunch. This is meat cut into strips with some vegetables wrapped in bread similar to a tortilla. They are very tasty. Nicole used the excuse that it was too windy for a game of pool so it was back to the chessboard. Finally, I won a chess game. I did lose the second game but coming out even seemed like a win after losing two games yesterday.
I am sure there is no sympathy from those back home but the temperature has dropped to 80 today and with the strong winds it is a little cool. Dinner tonight included one of my favorites, liver. As usual spiced a little differently but wonderful.
The wind continues tonight so tomorrow’s plan is to have breakfast and see what the weather is like and how we feel to decide what is next. There are plenty of options. Before we leave more time on the south reef, moray eels, seahorses? I do think looking for the seahorses will be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. People are seeing a lone seahorse in a vast area of seagrass and the seahorse is well camouflaged.
Neil Young – “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”