Shroud Cay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s where mounds of earth are artistically molded by Mother Nature – some decorated with mangroves communities and others by small palms and and low lying brush. Each a unique shape and framed with transparent turquoise water ways…the west side, meeting the Caribbean and the east, the Atlantic.
When we arrived we scooped up a mourning ball and tied up, sounded by rock mounds and beautiful beaches. At times we don’t even try to fight the drive to dive overboard immediately, and clean Tanda Malaika up first, and this was one of those times. One by one we grabbed our snorkel gear and dipped into the coolness of the Caribbean, washing away all fatigue and salt spray. I swam over to a distant beach after exploring coral heads swarming with life. Reef fish busily running their important errands dipping below sponges and through rock tunnels, emerging a few feet away from behind healthy yellow brain coral and purple fans. To me it looks like the organized chaos of a city traffic filled with busy highways and overpasses, yet to them it is life, survival and joy.
We finally all met back on the boat, grabbed an apple and a bottle of water to prepare for the next adventure and talked about our swim.
Emma: “We explored on land and found an abandoned well.”
Glade: “Yep. It was cool.”
Emma: “Jude, Mycah, Aidan and I jumped in and it was a bit tricky getting back out.”
Me: “You jumped into a well?!” (spoken in disbelief but really nothing surprises me anymore)
Glade: “It was the color of urine.”
Emma: “It didn’t smell like it though. But there was a lot of algae.”
Aidan: “I drank some water from it and it didn’t taste bad.”
Mycah: “We all told him he was going to get diarrhea!”
Chad: “I tasted it too, there was no salt taste to it.”
These guys really crack me up. There is always an adventure happening. It’s constant. I love it.
We loaded into the dinghy and pulled a tube behind with a couple creatures on it, and made our way over to one of the waterways leading inland – having no idea where we would end up. The different colors of water and the definite drastic change from hue to hue fascinated me. Pale blue bands suddenly change to deep blue, then turquoise to cobalt. It’s all so clear and looks cool and refreshing, but in reality it is warmer than the air in places.
Mangroves grew thick to the sides, their extensive root systems arching back and forth in and out of the water, then stretching far beneath the sand to find fresh water. Juvenile reef fish find safety living among the complex network of root and foliage while larger fish, rays, turtles and sharks swim freely up and down the canals.
The creatures loved taking turns being pulled behind us and periodically ditched the tube and dinghy to explore something of interest. Once in a while we had to step out and pull through a shallow spot. We didn’t realize we were entering the waterways during the ebbing of low tide.
We passed by a patch of ground exposed by the tide, which looked like the barren sands of the Kalahari. The creatures ran and played on it and found a few puddles to kick through. Aidan slipped down to his thighs in sinking sand.
Finally we found the Atlantic side. A brilliant turquoise greeted us with the dark deeper waters behind it, and a bright white sand bar made the gorgeous scene even more surreal. We tossed the anchor out and explored in awe.
Crisp, cool waves greeted us and a slight gentle breeze blew over our warm bodies. It was Heavenly. The creatures played in the surf while we all enjoyed our breathtaking surroundings.
Our journey back to the Caribbean side was a little more adventurous. The tide had receded more which meant more walking and pulling on our part. It was still so much fun though as we watched several baby black tipped reef sharks curiously swim around us. By the time we reached the end of the waterways, it was dinner time and we had all worked up quite an appetite.
We swam and cooled off while we made water, and then washed up and ate dinner. Marci made a delicious pan of lemon squares for dessert and as I fell asleep I felt myself floating down the waterways once again. A dream that will no doubt repeat itself many times in the years to come.