I roll over, luxuriating in sleeping in until 6:15 a.m. We arrived at the anchorage late last night and we aren’t planning on going anywhere today.
But curiosity to see this spot overpowers the desire to sleep and the first big decision of the day is made, I pop up through the hatch. It’s yet another gorgeous spot, a dozen sailboats bobbing at anchor, tucked into a perfect semicircular bay. Golden sand, turquoise water, gently waving palm trees and the ever-present casuarina trees smudging the horizon with their soft fronds. Peeking through the trees is the giant red ball of sun. Colin is watching the sunrise from the cockpit. Our eyes meet and we grin insanely at each other for this is the life we’ve dreamed of. Sometimes we have to stop and pinch ourselves, it’s hard to believe it’s real and we’re here on our first long cruise in the Bahamas.
The next big decision of the day has to be faced, morning tea or a swim? He opts for coffee, I opt for a swim. We anchored in the dark and I want to dive on the anchor, not because I’m worried about it but because I can. Because it’s March, 27 degrees, the water is only 9 feet deep and I can see the bottom. With a holler I cannonball in. Heads start to pop up on other boats. Colin passes me my snorkel and flippers.
“There’s fish! Wow! Fish, right here!” I scream choking on saltwater. “I’m in an aquarium!” All I need is a neon plastic pirate’s chest and I’d be right at home in a 5 gallon tank. Swimming in large schools of pretty coloured fish only 10 feet away from my home is still a novelty that boggles my mind. Parrot fish, sergeant majors and blue tangs are only a few of the species I recognize.
I follow our anchor rode and find our anchor securely buried in white sand, narrowly missing a large coral head. Small fish nibble on the coral and larger fish nibble on the small fish. A tug on my flipper sends me spinning to face Colin peering at me with big eyes. He grabs my hand and points down. A manta ray is right below me, hovering against the sand. Hand in hand we float like a large piece of driftwood towards Forbidden Planet, our CS 27. As we surface a snorkel pops up beside me.
“Hi there, good fish this morning?” the snorkel asks. “I just saw a great cowfish and there’s a school of parrot fish underneath Wind Dancer over there.”
As we chat about the fish, splashes can be heard at regular intervals. A flotilla of snorkels silently move towards us. Soon there’s a large group of us hovering together discussing the usual boaters chat of anchorages, weather, fish, life. The water laps at our shoulders as we lazily spin and circle around, treading water, introducing ourselves. A bell breaks the murmur of conversation as a head on a large ketch leans over the stern.
“I’ve made coffee for everyone and there’s muffins in the oven.”
“Judy is so proud of our new propane oven she has to show it off to anyone who’ll look,” pipes one of the snorkels.
We move in unison towards the ketch, the sun warming our backs, the smell of coffee pulling us through the water.
A happy school of cruiser fish.