To Fall In Love with Turtles / Да се влюбиш в костенурка

For the first time in our lives we felt complete and unconditional love towards these ancient wise creatures, the sea turtles. The feeling is inexplicable. To swim next to them, to bond with them, to watch them eat seagrass slowly and methodically, to touch them… It’s magical. And I couldn’t stop mumbling through my snorkel „I love you, I love you, I love you!“

Tobago Cays, St Vincent and The Grenadines

Photos by Ivo and Mira

За първи път изпитахме подобно чуство на тотална любов към тези достолепни, мъдри същества- морските костенурки. Необяснимо е. Да плуваш с костенурки, да ги наблюдаваш как  пасат водорасли бавно и методично, да ги докосваш… Магия. И не спирах да повтарям през шнорхела си „Обичам ви, обичам ви, обичам ви!“

Mira with a hawksbill sea turtle

Mira with a hawksbill sea turtle

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Maya touching a turtle

Maya touching a turtle

Sea turtle coming out for breath. Anchorage at Tobago Cays

Sea turtle coming out for air. Anchorage at Tobago Cays

Ivo with a sea turtle

Ivo with a sea turtle

Hawksbill  Turtle

Hawksbill Turtle

 

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Champagne Reef

Ivo at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Ivo at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Not far from the biggest city and capital of Dominica, Roseau, there is a place called Champagne Reef. It became our very favorite snorkeling spot.

Mira at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Mira at Champagne Reef, Dominica

We sail from the Portsmouth anchorage to Roseau and drop anchor in Roseau harbor which is so deep we are just a few feet from the houses, almost on shore. We are the only boat at anchor in the bay; everyone else is on mooring balls, paying per night. Ivo and Maya dive to makes sure the anchor is holding well and we are ready to explore.
The city is nice with a big farmers’ market and lots of old buildings, shops and restaurants. We have lunch at a local fast-food joint together with our Aussi friends Mel and Caryn: fried and spicy chicken and beef patties, and we are ready for some champagne for desert.

En route to Champagne Reef

En route to Champagne Reef

With Mel and Caryn s/v Passages and Tina and Mark s/v Rainbow, we pile up on a local bus and for a couple of EC$ we get to a small dive shop near the beach. The spot everyone is talking about.

Maya and Mira, Champagne Reef, Dominica

Maya and Mira, Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef is a famous diving and snorkeling destination unique in the entire Caribbean region.

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

A submarine volcanic activity near the shores creates beautiful hissing hot bubbles between the corals and the rocks of the reefs in deliciously clear water.

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Small fishes of all colors, seahorses, spotted sea snakes, and schools of squid swim around the bubbles. It must be DisneyWorld for them! It’s beautiful.

Champagne Reef, Dminic

Champagne Reef, Dminica

The water here is shallow and warmer due to the geothermal gases escaping the earth’s crust. We enjoy it as much as the fishes, maybe even more.

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef, Dominica

The bubbles tickle us as we snorkel above them and bump into our goggles. We can also hear them underwater. The reef sounds and looks exactly like champagne and we are as happy and excited as drunk people underwater.

Mel and Caryn at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Mel and Caryn at Champagne Reef, Dominica

At some point Ivo gives instructions to the rest of us to get out and wait for him on the beach. Why, we want to know, is he kicking us out of the champagne? Well, because he is taking off his swim shorts to use them as gloves and protect his hands from a giant spiky lobster while chasing it around the reef butt naked. I am tempted to go back in the water and surprise Ivo with the GoPro…

Ivo ???!!!

Ivo ???!!!

The lobster escapes.

 

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

 

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Thunderball Grotto Images

Ivo

Ivo

Staniel Cay is a small island, about 1 square mile, in the center of the Exumas island chain with a settlement of about 80 permanent residents. It offers the basic needs locals, cruisers and tourists might need. There is a school, a church, library, post office, three small retail stores and two bars and restaurants, as well as various small and secluded beaches. It became one of our favorite places in the Bahamas.

We stop here for a while because a friend, Joey, told us to go check it out and jump in the Thunderball cave nearby. Turns out, the Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave, is a big deal, it is on the cover of our Cruising Guide and if you Google it you will find out that it is the most exciting snorkeling destinations in the Bahamas and that one of the James Bond movies was filmed here in 1983, Never Say Never Again.

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We jump in as we would never say never to an adventure like this one! It is truly amazing, an unforgettable experience (one can feel Sean Connery’s presence everywhere in the underwater cave).

Maya

Maya

The cave is beneath a small hollow island just next to Staniel Cay, a dark chamber carved by the sea under the rock.

Inside the grotto

Inside the grotto

We go at high tide, even though everyone recommends to go at low tide, and so we have to dive to access the grotto through one of three small passages between the boulders (at low tide the passages are exposed and you don’t have to dive).

Viktor

Viktor

We are welcomed by hundreds of fishes who are not at all afraid of us, as they know very well that here they are protected by law.The Fish doesn’t think because the Fish knows, everything.

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 Inside the grotto, the high ceiling above the pool of crystal clear water is pierced by holes and sunlight sends illuminated beams, like spotlights, beautiful underwater. I suppose, one can climb the hill from outside all the way to the top and jump in the pool of the cave from the big hole in the center. Joey, is that what you meant when you said „jump in the cave“? We were considering it, but we didn’t do it…

Mira

Mira

We all loved the experience, especially Maya who has become a snorkeling addict and Viktor who had fun filming with the small underwater camera. The pictures, not the best quality, are stills from the film.

Maya

Maya

 

Viktor

Viktor (smoking seaweed)

 

Ivo

Ivo

 

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Arizona Dream- This Is A Film (lyrics)

This is a film about a man and a fish
This is a film about dramatic relationship between man and fish
The man stands between life and death
The man thinks
The horse thinks
The sheep thinks
The cow thinks
The dog thinks
The fish doesn’t think
The fish is mute, expressionless
The fish doesn’t think because the fish knows everything
The fish knows everything

 

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