Tuesday, April 20, 2010

St. John (Day 3)

This is a view of Chocolate Hole as seen from our patio. If you click to see an expanded version, you may be able to pick out the large iguana in the cactus at the lower left. We had never been to Chocolate Hole before, so we thought we'd take a look since it's within a short walk from the villa.

Of course, we drove since we were carrying all our snorkeling stuff with us. As always we're early risers so we got rock star parking. Unfortunately, Chocolate Hole was rocky, full of boats, and just didn't look very impressive. So we hopped back in the jeep and drove off to another bay we wanted to try. Another nice benefit of being somewhere we have been before, we knew the island well enough to - at a moment's notice - completely change our plans.

Instead, we went to Hawksnest Bay. This was much better! The bay was surrounded by steep hills/mountains full of thick undergrowth and palm trees. Very jungly looking and beautiful. The beach was small, but we were still ahead of the herds so we had no 'people issues'.

Hawksnest Bay had great snorkeling but, oddly, it wasn't because of the fish. There were plenty of the usual fish to see, of course, but what I liked best was the assortment of coral. A complete forest of it covered the bottom about 100 - 200 feet from shore in maybe eight feet of water (or less depending on how high the coral reached). I saw a carpet of I believe elkhorn corals stretching in a swath before me. They were yellow-green and a bit brighter than the picture here (which I pulled of the internet). Literally like a hundred of them, each about three to four feet across with green and purple sea fans in between and finger corals and grooved brain corals scattered around. It was like flying over a garden. While there were plenty of fish, I also saw a lot of crevices, nooks, and crannies. Unfortunately, I couldn't see anything hiding in them. I always take a second to look at crevices, nooks, and crannies because some really exotic stuff usually hides there: eels, groupers, and once - in the Turks and Caicos Islands - I even saw a nurse shark sleeping under some coral!

We were done snorkeling by about 10:30, so we headed back to Andante for tanning, pool time, lunch, hammock siesta, more tanning, more pool, dinner, cards, reading, and bed. During the day, there were iguana hunts and I was whistling at a brown bird which sorta seemed weirded out by me. The wildest thing was that, on the way back up the rocky road to Andante, we saw a big iguana - at least three feet long - race across the road. It's freaky to see them move so quickly because, usually, you see them sitting like bumps on a log when they sun themselves. But they can really move when they put their minds to it!

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