Wednesday morning up bright and early as we are going diving again. As we are getting ourselves ready the travelling baker came by so breakfast and lunch question resolved – fresh croissants and baguette to take with us on the boat. Really nice thing about sitting at anchor – never sure what the next boat boy is going to bring you!!!
The dive boat came and picked us up from Morphie and again it was only Ed (from New Jersey) diving with us today – along with Jessie and Miranda the divematers. First dive of the day was to the Boulders, a deeper dive at 30 metres with interesting topography with large boulders, vibrant soft corals, some gorgonian fans and loads of nooks and crevices for things to hide in, behind and under. I particularly like the multi-level aspects of this type of dive site. Again there were loads and loads of beautifully coloured little fish around – of all shapes and types – but sadly no big critters. Starting to wonder whether they never get a chance to grow into big specimens as the locals rely on fishing for much of their diet? Anyway….had an interesting mooch around…and came across a very large greenback turtle sleeping in a cave. Peered back at us for a little while until he decided we were no threat and then he closed his eyes again…. A real treat. There was also a small nurse shark under another shelf but he managed to sneak further back into the gloom so neither Richard or I actually saw him. Oh well never mind. 50 minutes later and it was time to surface.
The second dive was to Devil’s Table – a shallow dive at only 8 metres – and is just really loads of sea grass with the odd bit of reef scattered around and more sea urchins in one place than I’ve ever seen before…. We had to be careful not to kick up the bottom here as it just kills the visibility for everyone else – and because much of it is just sea grass and mud / sand we can actually kneel on the bottom and stay really still if we find something interesting and want to spend time studying it… Well – we had an amazing dive. Small critters were on the menu and we were luckily enough to see two frogfish – one pink and one orange….looking like spongy coral rocky things rather than fish with their weird colouring, their rough texture, their spiky bits on the top of their heads and their webbed feet… Oh yes – they are pretty ugly too!!!! What a treat – couldn’t believe it.
We have never seen these before and they are amazing things to watch. Really happy about this – then to top it all we came across a beautiful little browny-grey seahorse gripping onto a bit of tube coral with his tail – and Ed found an octopus lurking in a hole. I found a large caterpillar type creature with loads of legs and a hairy back – maybe a nudibranch variant? – we also found the smallest spiny lobster I’ve ever seen hiding under a rock! On top of all that we also came across a scorpion fish and a iridescent coloured flatfish lurking on a rocky outcrop. Jessie was lion fish hunting again and killed three but you could tell he was really uncomfortable when it came to the baby one just sitting there hovering around….but it had to go. Sad this – never thought I would end up diving when fish were being targeted and killed – as it goes against everything a diver learns when training. We ended up spending 75 minutes on the bottom and only gave up because it was time rather than because we had no air. Certainly a dive to remember for a long long time……
While cleaning off all our gear disaster struck…. I clumsily managed to drop my mask. Well – anyone who knows me knows I’m completely useless without glasses and my mask is a prescription one. And yes, the frame cracked. Damn…..but at least the lenses are intact. Looking at it closely it is only the bridge on the nose and the rest remains unblemished – so I use clear silicone mastic to fix the break and leave it to set…. Late afternoon we met the dive crew at the Whaleboner bar for sundowners. On the way we did a bit of international rescue too as Pnut – our fruit and veg boat delivery boy – had broken something on his outboard. So we towed him ashore. He was very grateful… and tried to pay us in mangos for our help!!!
The Whaleboner’s entrance from the dinghy dock is too large whale ribs and the surface of the bar itself is made out of another one while the bar stools are made out of vertebra bones. Really interesting place!!! Had a really fun evening with Jessie, Boutan (not sure on spelling – sorry), Miranda, Ed and his non-diving wife Ellen. We were also joined by another British couple who are doing their diving qualifications with Dive Bequia this week. Enjoyed another beautiful Bequia sunset and after sundowners we headed off to the Fig Tree to take advantage of their internet again.
Thursday was boat jobs day….My pink job was housework down below and blue job was Richard scraping off the growth on the hull again which had grown vigorously whilst in the marina in St Lucia. I did cheat a little by using the VHF to get Daffodil to come and collect my washing rather than waste fresh water doing it all by hand – well that’s my excuse anyway!!! We were also waiting for Winfield to come by – he does wood finishes on boats and comes recommended in the cruising guide. Morphie has always had Cetol on her teak rather than varnish as it was easier to manage in a charter fleet. But the last coat done before we took her from charter was a rough job and we have had stuff peeling off ever since – particularly under the rail. As a result – everywhere we go – we have had offers to get the wood varnished ‘for a good price’. This wasn’t on our list of priorities yet as we had vague plans to do it later this year. But Winfield was insistent that he would give us a good price – and would include our companionway, our drinks holders and our cockpit table in the price. Oh well – let’s see. Well – the price he gave us was less than half of the amount we know for sure another cruiser paid for theirs in St Lucia and we have loads more to do…. Really was an offer we couldn’t pass on…. So we’re going for it which means we’ll be staying here in Bequia for at least another week or so. Agreed for him to start on Friday – so here’s a few ‘before’ photos….
Thursday night we met Ed and Ellen and went to the Frangipani for their Caribbean night with steel band and a BBQ. Had a really nice evening in their company and so to bed. Was careful on the alcohol intake as we are diving in the morning again….
Friday morning comes and Winfield turns up as planned – he is going to get all the old Cetol off today…. We sort out our gear and my mask looks good and solid – let’s hope it holds. Dive boat comes alongside and off we go. We are heading off to the north of the island – Long Point – to do a dive off the ledge at a site which hasn’t been dived for two years by the dive shop, and certainly not by the divemasters who have only been working here for three months. We really enjoyed the fast boat ride to the site and the scenery so close to the rocky shore…
The sea is pretty rough today so looks like entry – backward roll off the side – needs to be carefully timed to avoid getting bashed on the head by the boat coming back down on the swell. All kitted up – all go in simultaneously – and we start to descend immediately…. Almost straight away my mask flooded, but wasn’t worried as it did appear to clear and I was hoping that the pressure as we went deeper would keep the mask together. But it didn’t…. Oh no… we are in about three knots of current pulling us along and down and I’m completely blind – I can’t see anybody or anything (let alone my instruments) and am trying desperately to kick up as I don’t want to hit rocks either… Richard realises I need help and kicks up against the current to help me and we decide to abort. As I need to be led (literally by the hand) Jessie is coming with us, and quickly we are doing our three minute safety stop and surfacing – into a whirlpool of currents / tides and big swells. We all get back on board safely and it takes me a while to calm down – bit shaky – and my eyes are completely red raw and oozing from the exposure to the sea. But although the ‘dive from hell’ as Richard has coined it, it did prove that the buddy system worked well and we just have to mark it up to experience!!! After a surface interval driving to another site Richard went in for his second dive of the day buddying up with Ed – while I had to sit it out. But I didn’t mind having a lie down on the boat and taking a breather. But I was a bit nervous as this was Richard’s first ever dive without me and I wondered how he would fare. But of course he was fine – let’s face it he almost 100 dives logged now – but it was still nice to see him surface.
After diving we paid up as we are not sure if we are going to do any more and said hi to Charlie the dive shop parrot. When we got back on board it was great to see that Winfield had managed to get some of the wood back to it’s natural state and was working away hard….
Friday afternoon we had invited Ed and Ellen on board as it was their last day before they flew home on Saturday. Had a really nice time bobbing in style on our floating chairs and drank far too much rum… Was fun….. Marvelled at the Golden Hind wooden boat that anchored behind us whilst enjoying the sunset and we let Ed drive the dinghy back to the dock to drop them off….with arrangements to go to dinner later.
Later on we went to the Fig Tree for ‘Fish Friday’ where Pnut – who is also known as the travelling chef – was cooking… Ed tried the curried conch whilst Ellen and Richard went for the tuna. I bailed and had Creole beef stew! There was also entertainment in the form of Chris from Troubadour who was playing and singing. Interestingly we have been following their blog for a while but this is the first time we have actually met them! Really good time had by all – and thanks so much to Ed and Ellen for picking up the tab at dinner. Wasn’t necessary….. Time to say goodbye – safe journey home.
Saturday morning had to be up early as Winfield is coming today to do the sanding and sealing. So we left him to it and went shopping for some boat bits – still trying to find some particular stainless steel screws, buy something to properly fix my mask with until I can get a new one ordered, and to try the second place to get one of our gas tanks filled…. Whilst we were out wandering we came across a really scary road and an unusual takeaway eaterie…… Also saw a rasta man treating two puppy dogs really cruelly when washing them down in the sea – but in the area we were in with people watching, didn’t feel able to take him to task. Tears welling….and Richard made me leave quickly feeling really sad.
When we came back on board Winfield was working in the cockpit, along with his employee Hanky, so we went down below, opened the hatches, turned on the fans, and read and dozed….. Some areas are now sanded and sealed……. Had a quiet night on board once they had left….
Bye for now.