Saturday, January 17th -- Little Bay Day Mooring
The plan today was to take advantage of the snorkeling in the Little Bay section of Anguilla's Marine Park so we only had a short trip from our Crocus Bay anchorage. Breakfast was leisurely. Everyone was glad to get their caffeinated beverage at breakfast, thanks to Hubby's early morning schedule. Hubby reported seeing a small reef shark swimming around under the boat but he was the only one who saw it. We ate papaya with a squeeze of lime juice instead of oranges and grapefruit, but otherwise breakfast was very much the same as it had been all week -- delicious, nutritious and satisfying.
While cleaning up breakfast we noticed the fridge was not working (AGAIN???) but this time it was because the boat's house battery charge had dropped below 12.9V -- the lowest end of its safe range. Drat! We had to listen to the motor running for at least an hour before we could leave. It wasn't too difficult to occupy our time for an hour, using the downtime to wash down the deck, read and research a little more about the area. Finally at 11:00 we pulled up anchor and motored over to Little Bay, then piled into the dinghy and headed for the small sandy beach. Being first to arrive, we had our pick of convenient boulders to which to secure the dinghy. On each side of the beach the cliff face came all the way down to the water level, creating some interesting under-cliff hiding places to explore. There wasn't a lot of coral or a wide variety of fish but we did see a brown squid. In several spots the water was noticeably cooler and a little refracted, leading us to suspect some fresh water was entering the bay at these spots. Several times a local shuttle boat dropped off other visitors with a promise to return for them later.
The long snorkel had given us an appetite. We had planned to motor to Road Bay while eating lunch but we were so relaxed we just enjoyed lunch first in this lovely quiet spot. By afternoon, Road Bay was hopping with a Saturday Community Festival, which included a kiddie sailing regatta and live music on the beach. The point of returning to Road Bay was to drop off a bag of garbage (no charge), clear out of Anguilla Customs in advance of tomorrow's departure, and take advantage of the free beach showers. Hubby and I decided to skip the showers and stayed on the boat to enjoy the music coming from the beach. The captain had all six passports and the boat documents with him. He had completed the clearance process faster than the garbage detail could return. The shower plan was foiled by the Festival -- the water to the public bathrooms and showers was shut off today.
It was 16:00 by the time we motored back to our night anchor at Crocus Bay. If we wanted to get an afternoon snorkel in we had to hurry. I swam to shore and along it to the east end of the bay. The previous rock falls from the cliffs created an interesting underwater topology and some habitat for fish. The sandy area where the pelicans were fishing had zero visibility. It was a little scary swimming out deeper and past that area when rocks, coral or sea urchins had to be within an arm's length to see them. And just where was that reef shark? Around the rocks on the eastern side of the bay we found the best collection of hard and soft corals of the trip so far. Even our non-snorkeler enjoyed the view while floating at the surface. We stayed until we started losing the light at about 17:00.
My first fresh water shower of the trip felt good and the water was even warm. This was our reward for being so water-conscientious until this point of the trip. Water Tank 1 was still 1/2 full. Dinner was quick to prepare: 3-bean chili with leftover roast, 3 large quesadillas, 3 plantains and an avocado/radicchio salad. Everyone asked for licorice tea again tonight. After some chart planning, the captain briefed us on tomorrow's course to Ile Fourchue, one of St. Bart's Marine Park areas.
While our two girlfriends were reading in the galley they noticed that the water pump was starting very frequently and without any water being run in the galley or heads. It was good that they brought it to everyone's attention. When Hubby checked the instruments they indicated that Water Tank #1 was almost empty. Since it had been at least half full earlier we started questioning where the water could be running to make the pump come on. One of the girls reminded us that when we had used the stern shower earlier its 'on' button had been a little sticky. Hubby checked and indeed found that the entire shower head was partially unscrewed inside its holder and was leaking water into the bilge. The girls had saved us from going to bed with the water pump running all night. Fortunately we had been using water so carefully until now that we still had another full tank to fall back on, or we would have had to take time to go back to Oyster Pond for a refill.
By 22:00 we were all in bed.