7 Eagle Rays

22 Jan

Well, I know I missed yesterday, but I was on the boat all day, so I didn’t get a chance to blog. Yesterday was absolutely awesome though, both the morning and the afternoon trips.

First of all, both groups were great. Everyone seemed to get along really well, lots of joking, laughing and talking on the boat. We had Brad and Paula (from Minnesota); they just arrived yesterday for 5 days of diving. Then there was Erin, Stefano and Nick (from Canada and Milwaukee… I believe); they were just finishing up their last day of three days of diving. Then there was Skip (I can’t remember where Skip was from, but I do remember he was super nice and great diver). He hadn’t dived for 2 years and just decided to come in and see us one day as he walked by, we talked him into diving 🙂 and he sure was grateful we did.

We headed out to Tintamarre, moored up at Japanese Garden and did a drift dive there. The Vis was great, we were greeted by a Caribbean Reef Shark after about 10 minutes, and apparently while we were looking at this shark there was another baby shark in the other direction. I didn’t see it, I think that we need to give our divers tank bangers as well as the other equipment so that they can get my attention when they see something cool. There was also a visit from a Turtle, an Octopus spotting, and loads of beautiful coral and interesting geological features.

Then we headed over to Basse Espagnole. This has to be my favorite dive site in Saint Martin. The reef is the healthiest that I have ever seen in the Caribbean and it just never surprises me. Basse Espagnole is in such good condition because it is rare that anyone is able to dive it. If the waves are too big here, then they break over the reef making it impossible to dive. I would say that we get to dive this site about 15 – 20 times a year, so not a lot really. Oh… but when we can… it is amazing!

The Nature Reserve recently put a new mooring in, so it took me a minute or two to get my bearings as I wasn’t sure where exactly on the reef we were going to drop into. I used my handy compass though and found the exact spot that I was looking for; a large canyon with amazing red and orange sponge coral covering almost everything and lots (I mean lots) of lobsters. What was also really beautiful was this ball of silver fingerlings that would all move as one, forming this ever changing cloud of shimmering, shiny baby fish. There is also a large portion of the reef that has endangered Elkhorn Coral on it, so that is always heartening to see.

The divers were super happy as we came up, as you can imagine, and for Erin, Stefano and Nick they said that we had saved the best for last! Skip was also really excited, as he hadn’t dived for 2 years, so it great to get wet again!

So, that was the morning! In the afternoon we had 4 snorkelers and one diver, Ron. We went out to Creole Rock and Turtle Reef, both were really good, but today Creole Rock took the prize. The Vis was great, the water calm, clear and full of life. I snorkeled all the way around the rock with my four snorkelers and we were rewarded by seeing 4 eagle rays, all majestically swimming together about 15 feet below us. We followed them for about 5 minutes as they circled around, and then all of a sudden another group of 3 eagle rays showed up. So there were seven, count them… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven Eagle Rays all together! It was amazing!

The divers saw them as well, and apparently they stayed with the divers for quite a long time. Normally Eagle Rays hang around a lot longer when you are just snorkeling, as the divers with all our bubbles scare them away. We also saw an Octopus in about 3 feet of water. It always amazes me to see Octopods while snorkeling as the light is so fantastic between 0 -5 ft, so you get a real sense of their changing colors.

All in all it was a great day. I didn’t get out of the office until 6:30 PM though. I had so much fun on the boat, that I didn’t get a chance to answer any emails during the day, so apologies to those who didn’t get a speedy reply.

Chris is back tonight though, so with two of us back on the job, one of us will always be answering right away. Our goal is to get back to you all within 24 hours or less!

I will ask Chris to blog about his Rebreather experience in England and what his future plans are. I know one thing he is going to mention, and that is the cold!! BRRRRRRR! Luckily we don’t have to deal with that in the sunny Caribbean! He is flight right now and gets home tonight.

OK, over 800 words in this blog I think that this is enough, thanks for reading!

Over and out!!

(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )

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