Day 81, Day 1: Textbook Snorkeling Day
Date: Friday, January 6, 2006
Weather: More Beautiful
Latitude: N 12 degrees 37.94 minutes
Longitude: W 61 degrees 21.39 minutes
Location: Anchored Behind Horseshoe Reef, Tobago Cays, The Grenadines

We spent our morning cleaning house (yes, you do still have to do that once in a while) and researching our next ports of call. After an early lunch, we set out in the dinghy for the reef. We have this perfect little white sand beach right in front of us and as we rode out toward the reef, the colors were spectacular. I have no words to describe the almost neon green water we could see just before the reef and the shades of darker blue and white-capped breaking waves beyond. We found the pass that takes you outside the reed into the ocean, but it looked a little rough out there and there were no other dinghies on the outside. We decided to tie to one of the dinghy mooring balls on the inside and check things out before going to the outside. The water was as clear as it can be and although the inside of the reef is shallow and pretty well worn, the fish are spectacular. We wove in between coral heads and sandy paths. We recently bought a book called, “The Nature of the Islands: Plants and Animals of the Eastern Caribbean” and today we saw almost every coral and fish featured in the coral reef section of the book. We saw elkhorn coral, sea fans, finger coral, and brain coral. We saw yellow and lilac-colored tube sponges. And we saw lots of blueheaded wrasse, yellow damselfish, squirrelfish with their big eyes, goatfish with there funny little goatees, stoplight parrotfish (females only), beautiful redbanded parrotfish, smooth trunkfish, and one lone trumpetfish. Then there was the school of at least a hundred blue tangs that we swam into dividing their school in half. We ended up snorkeling to the outer edge of the pass through which we could have taken the dinghy, and decided that we had seen such a spectacular show that we didn’t need to risk taking the dinghy outside. Later in the day, we did a sundowner snorkel in another location, and this time we swam with thousands of tiny, tiny blue fish, hundreds of yellow French grunts, a few blue tang and ocean surgeons, lots of sergeant majors, and Mark spotted a lone sand diver. All in all, it was truly a textbook day of snorkeling—a very good day. And that reminds me. Martha’s boat is back. I guess she can’t get enough of a good thing either!

We could stay here for days, but we are going to push on tomorrow morning to Union Island. There is a reef there with some snorkeling possibilities and promises of wonderful hiking trails and even a bike path. We will do some land exploring this weekend and depending on the weather, we will either head to the northern coast of Venezuela and the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao early next week, or if the weather is not right for that 400 mile passage (about 4 days and nights, maybe less), we will spend time in Grenada and Carriacou and then go when we have a weather window. We know we are moving way too quickly through these beautiful islands, but we will be back here. The Pacific awaits us and we don’t want to cut our time there short. So on we go.

Day 82, Year 1: Clifton, Union Island, The Grenadines
Day 80, Year 1: Tobago Cays, The Grenadines