Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meg arrives and lifes a beach...

Last Tuesday we moved back around to Jolly Harbour to wait for Meg, Sims mum to arrive on Wednesday. We re-fueled and filled our water tanks in preparation and cleaned and scrubbed the boat. Even the flies that were driving us to distraction seemed to have abated for the grand arrival. By Wednesday afternoon we were ready to go and pick Meg up. First we had to walk to the post office (where Bushman sells his homemade rum) to buy some stamps. The sun was blaring down and the walk hot and exhausting, by the time we arrived at the post office we looked like we had passed through a shower of rain. Two busses later through the winding countryside past chattel houses and open fields, through the grubby but colourful capital of St Johns and past more buildings and fields with winding roads to the airport, we arrived to meet Sims mum. Meg came bounding out of the airport far more sprightly then you would imagine after a 10hr journey. Back on the boat we caught up on each others lives then the following day after a spot of provisioning we moved around to Five Islands Bay again for a walk on the beach littered with more shells where Meg and I found a couple of special ones and a swim in the sea.

The days have been hot and muggy with barely a trace of wind but by Friday we were ready to move on so we heaved anchor and hoisted the sails with just a zephyr of breeze we inched our way slowly out of the bay. As we cleared land the sails finally filled and we were cruising along, albeit in the wrong direction! The sky was blue and cloudless, the breeze steady. It was a lovely sail and for once I didn’t mind the tacking and enjoyed being out for the ride. That afternoon we pulled into Falmouth Harbour on the south coast. Turtles that like to feed on the grassy seabed popped up for air and said hello. We took the dinghy to Pigeon Beach and had a lovely swim and snorkel in the clear water around the headland with Sergeant Majors and Butterfly fish minding their own business around us.

Saturday morning the sails were hoisted again, this time we were heading to Green Island on the east coast. Being away from the mainland the small island has nothing on it but green shrub, sandy beaches and tropical sea birds. It’s the perfect place to chill out and have some lazy days swimming in the sea. It would be that is, if there weren’t thousands of jellyfish swimming around the boat and waters around us. The disappointment is huge as the cooling relief of the sea is taken away from us. Meg and I swelter on board while Sim has kindly gone over to help a French charter boat whose water maker is on the blink. He comes back an hour or so later with a bottle of champagne in hand in lieu of a thank you and we dash off to the beach to find a bit of sea that’s not swarming with jellyfish to get some rest bite from the day’s heat.

Sunday morning we went for a dinghy exploration into the neighboring Tenpound Bay. As Sim navigated our way through the reef the water turned from deep blue into an array of aquamarines sparkling and shimmering in the suns light. The first sandy bay we arrived at was picture perfect and the essence of the caribbean with two tall palm trees standing like the leaning tower of Pisa in the middle of the small sandy beach. Two picnic tables had been put in for that perfect lunch time spot. Shrubby green plants covered the low rocky island and century plants with their wide leaves, tall stems and bright yellow flowers dotted the scrubby outcrop. But it is not what was above the water that makes this place special. Below the surface of the sea, small coral gardens open up with grooved brain coral and elkhorn coral playing home to multihued fish scurrying about in the crystal clear water. Much of the damaged coral is now showing signs of revival with fair sized lobsters lurking beneath the coral shelves. Banded damsel fish, squirrel fish, sergeant majors and fairy bassets add splashes of colour to the underwater world. It takes something special to make a bay stand out from all the others; how lucky we were to have this one to ourselves. Now if only the jellyfish would go away!

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