Thursday, May 1, 2014
The diving changed yet again today. Mickey, the presenter from the other night, suggested diving Texas. The dive site is near West Bay, and perhaps a twenty minute boat ride or more, so we planned a two tank dive and completed our surface interval in West Bay. It was rough again this morning, though it’s all relative. Compared to many places, it really wasn’t, but in a small boat, we bounced through some rolling swells and caught some spray.
In addition to the three of us, Vanessa and Keith, the dive masters Dani, Carla, and Eva, a couple from Australia joined us. They rented a house for six months, and unfortunately got burgurlarized the second day! The Australian couple along with Vanessa and Keith dove with Dani and Carla, while the three of us went with Eva.
I feel like I’m starting to sound repetitive! On this dive, we were expecting a current and there wasn’t one. Expecting one is about the only thing different I can say. Otherwise, we found a variety of marine life, many thanks to Cat, including but not limited to jacks, grouper, a spotted drum, a lionfish, gobies, a spotted eel, a midnight parrotfish that was huge, lobsters (they are a dime a dozen here), french angelfish, butterflyfish, ocean triggerfish, trunkfish, a trumpetfish, a harlequin bass, and more. It was quite a good dive!
On our next dive, Deep Sea Quest, we spotted a free swimming moray eel and the egg case holding baby conch. The site, usually home to a lovely sandy bottom, today was a murky mess. We started out the dive with very poor visibility, perhaps because a storm was brewing?!? As we swam along the reef, however, the visibility cleared, though the water wasn’t quite as pristine as our previous dives. That’s nature, and the luck of the draw sometimes. As I mentioned above, however, it didn’t stop us from seeing neat things. It was my first time to see a case of baby conch! And I certainly wouldn’t have known to open the spiral looking plant to find little shells clinging to the inside without Eva showing us. Very cool!!
In addition, we also found more gobies, shrimp, a lizardfish, a trunkfish eating from the sand, rock beauties, indigo hamlets, grey angelfish, a filefish, and a barracuda to name a few. Our last day of diving is tomorrow, so I hope we are blessed with the tranquil and clear waters we were spoiled with our first few days! I should point out even in the “rough seas”, the visibility (with the exception of the one area on this site) was still better than many places I’ve been. The diving and the dive shop, Octopus Dive School, have been wonderful.
No sooner did we pull into the dock, did it begin to rain! It was a perfect day for Cat and Danielle to get massages. I chilled back in the room while the storm passed through. I had planned to go into town and try snorkeling near Sundowners, a popular watering hole, but with rain looming I opted for our beach and another snorkel. I could look at the seahorse everyday…they are so rare. While the seahorse did not disappoint, the octopus had found a new home and the litter of lobsters were cut in half. But not to worry, the scorpionfish hadn’t strayed far and the two lionfish were still looming. In addition, a large sea anemone, that a lobster used for cover, had pulled back into its orange tube and the lobster was exposed. It was cool looking! Feather dusters, christmas tree worms, and shrimp peppered the area, while permits did a fly by or perhaps a swim by. An intermediate french angelfish posed for a photo (how nice). And finally, I found a clam, the biggest arrow crab I’ve ever seen, and another juvenile pudding wife…what treat!
I must have been out there longer than I thought. Cat had already headed upstairs to start dinner. Cat cut up the butternut squash, red peppers, and zucchini, and Danielle peeled the husks off the corn. We thought our biggest challenge would be finding tinfoil for the corn, but the greater challenge getting the oven to light. No luck! So the roasted butternut squash made a trip to the microwave. The oven-cooked corn went into two small pots of boiling water. We used the lid to the rusted big pot for a cover. And the four chicken filets, zucchini, and red bell pepper squeezed on the 18 by 6 inch griddle. Dinner, with a lot of smoke, was done. And if I do say so myself, it was good! Honestly, I think it’s the butter. I’ve never cooked chicken on the griddle or in the pan that good twice in a row or maybe ever.
Live music played down at the hotel restaurant. I could hear it in the room which was perfect for me. Clean and in lounge wear, I wasn’t up for getting dressed and adding bug spray, but Danielle and Cat enjoyed a more personal experience. I’m saving up for the next two nights out on the town. ETB