Recently, Eric got the radar integrated with our navigation equipment. In the decade before we cruised Mexico, many people sailed through there without a GPS, only charts and various aids to help them determine where they are. We went to Mexico with a GPS, plotting positions on a paper chart, and a radar to be sure we didn’t hit anything solid. This time on Makai, we have a display a little smaller than an iPad that overlays the electronic charts with radar and AIS data. The AIS, Automatic Identification System, transmits our position and vessel information, and also receives the same information from other vessels. The AIS is required on most commercial vessels, especially the larger ones, and is also a favorite of private boaters. We saw a private ‘mega’ yacht that had AIS on their yacht as well as their shore boat.
On New Year’s Day, we went up to a Marine Park to do a bit of snorkeling and diving. I found some great information on Jason de Caires Taylor’s website, I’m assuming he was the artist or at least instrumental in the project. Apparently there was so much reef devastation after Hurricane Ivan, that they needed a plan to rebuild the reefs. Statues were sunk in this park to attract the tourists and to leave the other reefs time to rebuild themselves. To protect the park, mooring balls were set and anchoring is prohibited. When we arrived we found that the moorings were very hard to come buy. There were only 2 white moorings for private boats, and about 4 red moorings designated for snorkel/dive charters. Well, as you might expect the 2 white moorings were taken. After much consideration, we decided to use a red one. Also, the mooring is in 10 feet of water and very close to a very shallow reef. This whole situation was quite stressful.
Never the less, we put the gear together and got ready. Since this was our first dive, we had to find all the gear. The descriptions of the location of the statues wasn’t exactly clear either. I was under the impression they were around the corner in 25 feet of water. This is pretty shallow, but can get cold, so we put on wet suits.
Since the sisters were just snorkeling, zip zap zup, they were in. Genny reported that the sculptures were just right out in front of the boat, yippee, we didn’t have to search for them.
I was concerned that we didn’t have enough dive weights to get us down, but we had plenty. Also, when I looked at my depth gauge, it was only 15 feet and we were plenty warm, could have gone without a wetsuit.
The kids posed for all kinds of photos. Unfortunately, because I was so worried about making the dive quick, we didn’t see all the statues listed on Jason’s website. We did see a long silver fish with black spots that the kids thought was a barracuda, now that I looked it up on google, I think they were right. We also saw the normal reef fish, some iridescent blue, parrot fish, and cuttlefish (which are new to me).
After a short 30 minute dive, Roy and I went back so Eric could go out for a swim and see the sculptures as well. On the way back to St. George’s we saw this gorgeous rainbow. The rest of the evening was very relaxing. We’ve been reading from a book about land animals, so we switched to the book about sea creatures. For quite a long time I read to the kids while they cut up old clothes and sewed accessories for Genny’s stuffed dog and Eric laid on the floor with Topaz napping.
Next we’re sailing up to Carriacou which is still part of Grenada. It’s a small island with sandy beaches, clear water and great snorkeling reefs. After about a week, we’ll continue on to Martinique.