Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wildlife of Brewer's Bay

The underwater camera allows pics from a new perspective!

St. Thomas, Part 2: (Yes, this is a long one.  We were here a long time!  Let's wrap this up so we can get moving...)

Our time at Brewer's Beach could be summed with TURTLES!  I could sit in the cockpit on any given day and count 6.  If I snorkel, I usually lose count at 10.  We even saw a humpback whale!  For The Captain, is was all about free water and the safari.  "Where should we go on the Safari today?"  We averaged a trip every other day, for a monthly total of $60--less than putting gas in a car.  We just added the $2-4 dollars to each errand.  Groceries--skip the cookie purchase, take the safari.  Laundry?  Go to The Washboard downtown and it will cost less than Crown Bay Marina if we take the Safari.

ALWAYS near our anchor chain.  Good job, buddy.

All the boats anchored along the beach LEFT!  So we repositioned. Closer to the dinghy dock/beach, better snorkeling, more sheltered, no rocks!  After a quick snorkel to verify our anchor set (much better), I left the pufferfish, a ray and a turtle on anchor watch (no lie. Can't make that stuff up!)

Panorama of Brewer's Beach
Thanks to cruiser happy hour aboard s/v SeaSparrow with Beagle Knot & Nauti Dog, we know the password at Bad Ass Coffee in Yacht Haven Grande is "mango" (and they were closed when we got there, so good thing we knew the password!).  Netflix me.

The very first photo with the new camera

More errands.  The Captain headed in to check on battery prices at the marina.  I braved the downtown cruise ship dock to buy an underwater camera ("No, I don't want the $300 one.  I want the $130 one!"  And cruise ship passengers, please put something on over your bathing suit before coming into town.  It's rude).  Upon returning & a quick lunch, we noticed our unattended neighbor was dragging (the wind is howling a steady 20-25 today.  Go Windy!).  We made a quick radio announcement then jumped in the dinghy.  Another boat knew how to get a hold of them on the phone (and confirmed there wasn't a key onboard).  I did a quick change to snorkel their anchor and confirmed deeper water but temporarily set with minimum scope.  As I returned to check our anchor, the owner's appeared, so I continued on and found the 4 resident turtles that live near our section of the beach.  I also found the ray, still on anchor watch--just missing the pic of him SITTING on the chain.   "I'm ON it, lady!"  Our resident pufferfish has eluded me for the last two days.  I'll find him!

Hello, DUDE!

Day #2 with the underwater camera!  After finding the 4 turtles that live close by, I went on a longer snorkel and lost count at 10 turtles and 10 rays (I was starting to think they were circling back but the turtles were really more interested in lunch--and the rays were more interested in getting away from me)!

The crap that can snag your anchor in Brewer's Bay (and I didn't make it all the way over to our last anchoring spot).  If you're chart plotter doesn't show the fiber optic cable--you should be looking for those tiny floating buoys that mark it coming off the beach

Pipe, but not the cable?

Wrapping your chain around this will be fun

Jury is still out on this one, but it was BIG.  8ftish

I'm winning at Scrabble and still had time for a sunset photo
Photos from around town. Our neighbors...

Public service announcement:  Our anchorage is dead calm, so I decided to work on treading water (sans snorkel gear).  I usually only last a few minutes with a flutter kick before I panic & grab a hold of something.  After some internet research on technique, I stayed in for an hour and for the first time ever, could float on my back!  You really can learn to do anything on the internet.  Sheldon Cooper would be proud.  I may be sore tomorrow...

Happy sunset!
Contemplating life & the sunrise with a cup of coffee and Amelia-Baby Bear

Laundry day!  Sun and breeze, do your magic...
I work up a sweat so it was followed by a jump in the water.  Yesterday, I completed 6 laps of the boat--200 yards (turns out I'm not a terrible swimmer when motivated.  We'll call that free-freestyle.  Kind of a backstroke doggie paddle).  Today was Noodling at Sea, or Staying Fit with Water Aerobics - Willie Haskins (basically, deep-water aerobics).  I did "cross country skiing" below the galley hatch while The Captain cooked Beef & Broccoli for lunch.  He even did dishes.  Win--win.  "Did you save any leftover rice?"  "Yeah, it's in the fridge."  "Got it."

One of the 7 tarpon...
(video) Life under our boat is all about the food chain.  The tiny fish live under out boat.  There must be 100's of thousands.  Small fish (6") arrive and eat the tiny fish.  Then the pelicans arrive.  This 4-foot tarpon is also clearly visible from deck (apparently what has been causing all the bigger splashes) and is currently eating the buffet under our boat.  Keep it down out there kids!  We're trying to take a nap!  THIS MORNING WE HAVE 7, yes SEVEN, large tarpon circling our boat!  And some medium fish have also arrived, that were quite territorial when I tried to clean the bottom of the boat yesterday--"Go away!  We're hiding under here!  Our spot!"  NOTE:  We also now have tiny fish in our toilet.  Well, that makes sense...

My elusive pufferfish is bashful, but always close to the boat.

Today, the water is so calm, we could see this turtle munching grass off the stern, so I waited for him to surface--RIGHT NEXT TO THE BOAT!  Love it here.  Never leaving..."TURTLE!"

Another cold front has reached us in the USVI.  (Dang it!  Don't get me wrong--I still jumped in for a swim yesterday). We knew when the winds switched SW it would get choppy because we're not protected from that direction, but it was already moving WNW as we went to bed.  I was awoken at 2:30 am by gusty winds (wind generator!  I should have made yogurt!), a pitching boat, waves slapping the bridge deck and the feel of our anchor chain jerking.  I can't sleep through that.  I go into the cockpit, expecting the winds have gone back west but they're NW and gusting.  A check of the chart plotter indicates we've either: stretched out our chain farther than we have since we've been here (The Captain), or the anchor has reset in the wind shift (First Mate).  Either way, we are closer to the swim beach but more importantly, our catamaran neighbor (who snuggled up while we were in town) is still over there.  The Captain is already back to sleep and Amelia the Princess also rolls over and goes back to sleep.  Goobers.  The good news is the unlocked guest network in the bay actually works at 2:30 am and I'm all caught up on the world.  We've settled down to simply a bouncy castle but I still can't sleep.

Our dolphins are back!  Steve from the Marine Science division confirmed they frequent the area.  It's been approximately 5 weeks since we last saw the two adults & two juveniles.   

Humpback whale sighting off the end of St. Thomas airport & Brewers Beach. Apparently took an hour long nap, then swam away!
There was speculation she may have actually had a calf!  Photos courtesy of the local paper

I dropped some sunglasses in the water.  Some nice, wrap-around cycling glasses that should have gone back to the RV.  We were headed into town.  They did a slow-motion skip down the back step and drifted on top of the water for a few seconds.  I could have jumped in.  I could have grabbed a boat hook but the wind swung us away, right then.  The Captain considered stripping and jumping in.  "Ahhhh, you can dive for them later".  Dang. 

I can barely scrape the bottom of our 3 ft keels, more or less dive the 8-10 ft of water we're anchored in.  I had hoped DH would retrieve them but his sinuses have been acting up.  The one afternoon I didn't feel like a swim, but in I go.  "Should we try a boat hook?"  No, it floats.  "What about the fishing line?"  You can try...  The current & wind kept moving me & the fishing line around.  I got konked on the head a few times by the dinghy--(this WAS his fault to begin with)!  I got the hook close a few times and was hoping to drag it across.  Instead, I finally got it on top of the sunglasses and contemplating my next move--the current gave the hook a jerk and they were off the bottom!  Quickly (but not too quickly), I reeled them in.  MUCH MORE SATISFYING than going to the mall for a new pair!  I'm pretty impressed with myself right now.  It's the little things in life, when you live on a boat.

Some of the best shell collecting since the Bahamas

"It's blowing a gale so let's get on a boat & go snorkeling!"  20 gust 30+.   We've never seen this tour boat before...2 failed attempts at anchoring & waved off of picking up the fiber optic mooring before they left. 

Note Cyril King airport 45 mph!
Our last evening in Brewer's will be happy hour on sv Encore.  Perfect end to a perfect anchorage.

No comments:

Post a Comment