As much time as we spent in Grenada last hurricane season, we still have so much yet to see and do. We decided to get an early start before flying back to California, so we moored at Sandy Island, Carriacou. We were there before, but I never snorkeled. Eric and Debbie on Indigo told us that there were more fish there than they had seen anywhere else in the Caribbean. They were right! There were hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of fish hanging around the reefs at Sandy Island. What an amazing snorkeling experience.
No, our underwater camera is not the best. We are working on that. I have picture envy from some of our friends with better underwater cameras! We are ordering one to take back to Grenada with us. If anyone has any good suggestions, we’d love to hear them. Anyway, Sandy Island was one of my best snorkeling experiences.
The fish were beautiful and some absolutely glowed when the sun shone through the water.
I also just snorkeled in my bikini. Unheard of! I usually wear a shorty for snorkeling and a full wetsuit for diving because I get chilled so quickly. Either the water was wonderfully warm or I was so enchanted that I forgot all about being cold.
I also saw a sea snake (or spotted eel?), which almost escaped my picture.
Anyone know what these are? I was surrounded by a school of them, literally surrounded, and these guys were fairly sizable. I’m telling you, it was a surreal experience. We will definitely return to Sandy Island when we get back to the boat.
Yep, I’ll be back!
After Sandy Island, we moored at St George’s near the Underwater Sculpture Park. I can’t believe we never stopped here before! We always rushed right by to go straight to Hartman Bay and Secret Harbour. As slow as our lives are now, I still feel we rush too much. The sculpture park is pretty cool.
Coral is starting to grow on the statues. I don’t know if they will be recognizable in 10 years, but I’m all for anything that will help out the coral.
This guy photo bombed my shot of the sculpture. Oh well, he improved it!
The poor mermaid had a sea urchin on her face.
There were quite a few fish there as well, like these bigeye yellow snapper. Next time we come here I want to break out the Brownie hookah system and dive on it. I can’t free dive while snorkeling, as I just bob right back up to the top.
Dave can, though, as you can see in the picture at the top of the page where he was checking out the praying child. He’d been practicing diving for lobster.
Having only a couple of fun days in Grenada before preparing the boat to leave, we spent them wisely. First, we shared a fun evening with Greg from Mile High Dream, Francois and Vanessa on Why Knot IV, and Eric and Debbie on Indigo along with their guests who all returned to their respective homes for the summer. It was a happy reunion, but also a sad farewell as these friends are unlikely to return to Grenada before we start our next journey west to the ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao). THAT is the hardest part of cruising!
Next, we wanted to squeeze in a hash on the only Saturday we had available. I’m glad it wasn’t a really difficult one, because it was our first hash in 6 months!
The hash was held in St David past Grenada Marine, where we stored our boat during our India trip last year.
The coastline was rugged but beautiful. I love that every hash is in a different location so that we can see new area of Grenada each time.
Our friends Al and Brenda on Haven invited us along on a sea turtle watch. We didn’t really know what it was other than sea turtles nesting, but we were excited to go. How often can you see that? We’ve had the opportunity to watch green and hawksbill sea turtles around the boat and swim with them, but never saw them nesting before. It wasn’t until we arrived that we learned we were going to see leatherback turtles nesting. Leatherbacks! The big grandaddies of all sea turtles! Woohoo!
There is one beach 750 meters long that the leatherbacks nest on in the northeast corner of the island. They are protected and only nest in a few places in the world. What an opportunity! In a short presentation before going to the beach, they informed us about dangerous common practices by beach goers. Sandcastles, holes dug, and debris on the beach lead to injury or fatalities to adult or hatchling turtles. Light pollution confuses the turtles and may cause them to become disoriented, predated on, or dehydrated before finding the water. Have you sat in your car in a beach parking lot with the headlights on or left a sandcastle behind? If you don’t know if the beach you are visiting has sea turtles nesting, please remove all obstacles and turn off your lights just in case.
Speaking of lights out, we could only watch with red headlamps, so we could not take very good pictures. This is the back end of the leatherback. She was 5’7″ long and 3’11” wide! We were guessing her to weigh around 600 pounds.
Leatherbacks do not have the octagonal sectioned shells like the other sea turtles. The shells are black and rubbery or “leathery” with lengthwise seems. The females are smaller than the males and this one was a good sized female. Males can get up to nearly the size of a VW bus! In fact, Francois and Vanessa passed one once while sailing and they thought it was a capsized boat.
The researchers have the turtles’ routine down to a science. The turtle comes ashore and scouts out a good nesting spot. Then she digs a hole for approximately 25 minutes. She stops when her flippers can no longer scoop up sand. Then she goes into a trance for about 25 minutes while she lays her eggs. She is extremely vulnerable during this stage as she will not move until she is done. Then she spends about 45 minutes burying her eggs using one third of her body weight to tamp down the sand and disguise her nesting location.
Once she has chosen a site and committed herself to digging the hole, then we were allowed to come watch. We stood in a semi circle behind her with only our red headlamps to see. When the hole was nearly ready, a researcher took his position behind her to await the eggs.
He held his hand beneath her and caught the eggs as they fell. They came 3-4 at a time and the shells were soft. He counted 101 fertilized (or yolk) eggs and 11 nonfertilized (or nonyolk) eggs. There was a big size difference between the two. The yolk eggs came first and were about the size of tennis balls. The nonyolk eggs came last and were the size of ping pong balls. They believe the purpose of nonyolk eggs is to cushion the yolk eggs when she buries them and applies pressure.
Dave tried to capture it in video. While she was in the trance, we were allowed to lightly touch her shell and take a look at her face. Her eyes seemed rolled back in her head and her motion was mechanical… you know, like those dinosaurs in the theme parks? She didn’t seem real.
As she finished up, we moved back behind her and watched as she refilled the hole and applied pressure with her back flippers. When the hole was filled, she moved around and flipped sand behind her. That area of the beach was left smooth and her tracks were perfectly covered. But she didn’t stop there. She covered a good area of the beach digging holes and lamely refilling them and kind of covered her tracks, leaving that part of the beach looking disturbed. Then she made her way to the water only to come back up the beach again to leave a false trail. So incredible! Yes, I love Grenada!