This morning started with a 6:22 am dive of the Coral Gardens (Airplane). Much, much warmer this time around. Nothing quite like a little bit of sleep.
The dive deck actually opened at 6 am, so we caught Wayne a little off guard in updating his dive log and his photos. The garden eels were out in force this morning, but I was unable to find any more pipefish. We had spotted a Cosmocampus albirostris (aka the whitenose pipefish) the day before at the airplane (two of them actually), but they did not deign to join us this morning. Instead we had many barracuda and baby jacks, along with much larger jacks hanging out at the mooring lines.
It was good to see the life swarming around us. Jeff tagged along with us because he was hunting lion fish (they are an invasive species that is wiping out much of the indigenous fish population). He speared the sucker, but it bounced off his head, and the lion fish disappeared unscathed. Perhaps next time.
Matt continued his positive pufferfish streak - spiny porcupine fish seem to be his specialty!!!
Dive two, our final dive of the trip, was the Aquarium. It is known for having a lot of life, and it didn’t disappoint.
We saw a juvenile gray angelfish, a turtle, a trio of spiny pufferfish, a number of barracuda (to include a six footer at the end of the dive), a pair of squid, and a lone spotted eel wedged in the coral head. I really wanted to stretch out the dive, but we only made it 70 minutes (and the crew really wanted us out in sixty). We did our safety stop on the hang line of the Cuan Law, and got quite the ride going back and forth in the current. Overall, very enjoyable diving, a fantastic vessel, remarkable crew and good company this dive trip.
Following the dive, we went to Spring Bay Beach and enjoyed a barbecue hosted by our crew. Brats, BBQ chicken, and all sorts of other goodies abounded, plus Red Strip beer, ginger ale, water, and Pepsis. It was White Rock ginger ale, made in NY, so a throwback to my youth. The water was beautiful, but the sand on the beach was VERY hot!! And I think my torts professor would have been amused by the warning disclaimer below:
From there, we took a taxi to The Baths, the most photographed location in the BVI. It was quite lovely, but I had dumped my shoes earlier on the trail, and Wayne did the gentlemanly thing, volunteering to rescue them. It took a little bit, but I waited for him at the Poor Man’s Beach Bar, and got ready to order up some margaritas. Jodi had a spill right at the outset of our excursion, but made it gamely through. Jodi is not only a bringer of good luck (see the Palau trip blogs), but also of good spirit and cheer. Always, always a pleasure to travel with her and Matt.
Dive recovery occurred during the afternoon and evening. I don’t think our gear has ever been any drier on a trip home.
Dinner was festive, one of our fellow passengers donned the uniform (he was majorly crushing on Maddie) and served us dinner with the rest of the crew, and he and his brother helped to raise the Cuan Law’s sails for the last time of our trip. Sigh. We are headed back to Tortola, where we will berth for the night before taking off for Houston.