The last few days have embodied everything that is “spring”. Our morning weather routine has evolved from listening then scrambling and scouring over the charts for the next place to hide from the bad weather to listening then scrambling and scouring over the charts for the best places to dive in the good weather. A very welcome change in routine. Instead of sweatshirts, the tank tops are out. A couple of boats even broke out the sun shade awnings. The winds have abated and we even think the water even feels warmer, though there is still plenty of room for improvement here.
I’ll have to say I think we made the most of the new, nice weather. We are back at Lee Stocking (the place with the abandoned research lab). Within minutes of anchoring we were out in the dinghy and diving with our friend Craig who was already here and had a few prime lobster hunting spots scoped out. With the calm winds we were able to hit some of the outside coral heads in the more “ocean-y” parts. That was only the beginning, the next several days we dove until we couldn’t feel our fingertips or barley sling ourselves into the dinghy. It was everything we were craving. We saw some of the healthiest reefs of our trip including several patches of large Elkhorn coral that were a beautiful apricot color. I can’t tell you how many times we exclaimed “gorgeous!”. Then our friends Ben and Lisa surprised us by pulling into the anchorage too after their quick little jaunt down to kiss the very tip of the Jumento cays. With three dinghies we were able to cover even more territory and found even more beautiful spots. To be honest the fishing isn’t easy here, you have to put in a good search, but there is still dinner to be found; conch, lobster, fish, and even crab! Remember the big spider crab we found several weeks ago? Well, Keith found another one way up inside a coral head when he was getting a lobster. He brought it out and we cooked it up in my largest pot. Just like we read, it tasted exactly like Alaskan King Crab! I have a new favorite seafood. While the days were filled with playing, the nights were filled with one spectacular sunset dinner and drinks get-together after another rotating through each others boats.
The grand finale to our week of spring was Keith’s Birthday. The day was warm and we had mirror calm, crystal clear seas and we shared the day with our friends exploring and collecting dinner. The sea even gift-wrapped up a fish for him; he found a Mutton Snapper caught inside an old trap, pretty easy picking. Grouper season just reopened, so grouper it was for dinner though. And lobster. And homemade chocolate cake. Keith received a cedar plug lure and a bottle of wasabi soy marinade so the challenge to catch a tuna is on! We thought we were going to be celebrating his birthday in the islands for the past two years now, it finally happened. It was definitely one to remember. Tomorrow we will probably all head our separate ways, at least for a little while. It was a fun few days to share together. Or, maybe it was fun because we shared them together.