Marine life….

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I love marine life. For the most part I’ve encountered curious and friendly creatures down below – even when diving with sharks. The one sea creatures that is always ornery though, regardless of where in the world I dive, is the Barracuda. They always act like they have a chip on their shoulder and give you a look that says they’ll bite you if they have half a chance. Most of the time when we are in the water around reefs, barracuda are lurking and follow us wherever we go. Danny and I were on a reef and I decided to fish while snorkeling. I placed a small silverside on the hook and snorkeled to where I could see some good sized fish about 20ft below, and dropped the line right in the middle of them. From out of no where, an entire squadron of yellowtail snappers stormed the bait, and I ended up with one of them on the hook. It was only about 4 or 5 inches long, so I snorkeled over a little deeper to try catch a bigger fish with my live bait, and a 4ft barracuda rushed in, ate my snapper and my hook, and cut my line! I reprimanded him through my snorkel, telling him to voetsak, which is a South African’s way of saying ‘get out of here’, but he was coming back for more. Danny, being the good protective husband that he is, grabbed his Hawaiian sling and came to my rescue, and sent the spear flying through the water at the barracuda. He zigged when the spear zagged, then turned around and came toward Danny with a ‘what the heck was that for???’ look in his eyes. He stared right at Danny as if to challenge him, and as he reloaded the sling to shoot again the barracuda stayed just the right distance away to keep himself out of reach. We finally got back in the anchored dinghy to head back home, and just as we did, the barracuda circled the dinghy right at the surface just like a shark would! What a cranky guy!!!

Today we found an underwater cave and explored it for a while, then took the dinghy over to a beach the creatures have been frequenting. As Danny and I lay in the coolness of the water we were mauled by some friendly stingrays. Up on the beach is a shack where fresh conch ceviche is served, and the stingrays hang out for handouts, and when they saw us they assumed that we had food for them. They kept approaching our hands and rubbing themselves on them to check.

One of them nestled itself between Danny and I, right on top of our feet…

They stayed with us the whole time we were in the water, only swimming off once we walked up on to the beach.

Sometimes they surfaced and splashed around right against us, asking quite sincerely for something good to eat.

We took our jib down and delivered it to a little Haitian man in town to mend the 12” tear. During the process of folding it up on deck, Jude fell through an open hatch and got pretty bruised up, and while eating dinner I broke a tooth! She’s resting up on pain meds and I look like a hillbilly, but it’s ok, because we are living our dream even with bruises and missing teeth!

Danny seems to have really impressed the gentleman he’s flown the last couple of times, because he wants him back again! He will be leaving us again on Sunday, this time heading to Barcelona. When he leaves the creatures and I will sail over to Long Island, Bahamas, get the boat hauled out and embark on our first sanding and painting the bottom, job. We are excited to do it. We’ll also get the sail drive seal fixed. In the mean time our days will continue to be filled with school work, chores and boat projects and more time with the marine life.

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