The afternoon turns out to include another fabulous snorkeling trip. We join the crew of Tesla and 4 other boat tenders for a trip to Hawksnest Cay. We load up our gear and head southeast across the shallows following our local guide until we reach a spot between Anderson and Sheep Cays where we turn north into a narrow inlet. The water gets even shallower, new mangrove shoots litter our path and we gingerly weave through them until we are in a narrow path through the mangroves barely wide enough to accomodate the tender. We push aside branches as we move at a snail’s pace through the shallows flanked by mangroves. Time seems to stand still as we tediously make turn after turn. We are wondering how long this will take, it seems like we’ve been doing an African Queen trip for hours when we finally break out into the open and see the ocean. Everyone anchors their tenders in different locations to go snorkel. Kev takes us a bit further to the entrance of the inlet where we anchor the tender on a sandbar, gear up, and go see what lurks beneath.
At first the area seems featureless; white sand bottom, visibility not the best due to current stirring up the sand but not too bad. We wonder if the tedious trip to this spot was going to be worth it. Suddenly, beneath us, we see spotted rays gracefully flapping by in a triangular formation. This group circles the area and we enjoy seeing them pass by 2-3 times. I manage to get a brief GoPro movie of them.
We continue to explore the rocky shoreline of Hawksnest but other than a Lionfish and a few Sargent Majors we see little else. Time was soon up as we needed to get back through the mangrove jungle before the tide turned and stranded us there. So we re-board the tender and get underway; a couple of sea turtles pass by before we once again enter the narrow path leading us back . We wind our way back to the west side of the island and turn north for the marina. We agree the arduous trip had been worth it for the rays alone. But, the day was young, so we decided to run over to the airplane wreck once more in hopes visibility had improved.
We again gear up, drop over the side, and immediately we see literally thousands of fish circling the wreck of a DC3. Apparently this plane crashed in 1983 carrying 135kg of marijuana and killing its two Dominican occupants. It is now an incredible habitat for marine life. It was eerie; the port engine is resting on the bottom with a prop still visible, the starboard engine is still attached to the wing and is covered with sea life. A shark is sleeping under the port wing; we decide not to disturb it. Again, I capture a brief GoPro movie.
What a day! Both dive sights were great and even poling through the swamp was fun. It is late afternoon so we head back to the marina. Kev and Anna join us on Tivoli for a lovely dinner and we all call it a day by 8:30. Large days can wear a person out.