4th to 6th June 2022
On the way over, Arthur and Theo did the dishes and tidied up, so that we had more time to snorkel when we arrived. That proved to be a good decision. Within half an hour Charlotte and Arthur were swimming with an Eagle Ray. Soon after, we went to see the colorful and lively coral reef on the edge of a 30m drop off. Hector and a parent (we swapped) spent some time on the beach, mostly digging or pushing the paddleboard around in the shallows. Theo mostly snorkeled – he’s really enjoying the clear water and large number of fish species to identify. Arthur, after a chat with the caretaker Edison, went off collecting conch and then fishing on his paddleboard, showing some excellent balance skills. He caught a jack, after paddling far enough out to sea that I wandered towards the dinghy in case he needed rescue. (He didn’t.)
Shortly after that, it was “our island” for a few hours as the owner and caretaker motored off to take some supplies to help prevent further erosion at the Silk Cays nearby. They asked us to take care of the place. Sure, our own private island, why not?
Nice spot. The reef to the West of the island is in pretty bad shape – lots of dead and dying coral. But the North-East corner, just out from the shaded drinking spots in the shallows, is fairly spectacular, especially along the drop-off. The beach is beautiful, and the island itself has plenty of coconut trees, beaches, and is regularly cleaned of the detritus that washes up on every beach around here.
But we were reminded the next morning (again) that guard dogs are not pet dogs. Most of the time Edison was either with the dog or left him chained so that we could have the run of the place, but not that morning. After a friendly hello, the dog decided Hector (who was bitten by a dog a few months ago, so was probably a little nervous with him) wasn’t allowed on the island, and then chased him and Charlotte into the water, whilst Arthur and Theo climbed high out of the dog’s reach “Not fun” is British understatement. We explored elsewhere instead of sticking around Rendezvous, as we didn’t see Edison again that day.
That decision worked out for the best, as the snorkeling off the South-West of North Long Coco (half a mile away) was exquisite. That’s a thriving coral reef, you can see the younger coral (brain, elkhorn, fan) growing, spectacular colors, huge variety of fish, etc. etc. amazing. We also explored one of the sand bars to the East by dinghy, collected a few conch and enjoyed yet more beautiful coral on the edge of dark blue deeper waters. Hector had a little nap resting on the side of the dinghy, I joined him for a bit. Rather lovely.
With a little practice under her belt, Charlotte is starting to get the hang of preparing the conch. The trick is finding the right ‘whorl’ in the shell to smash through with a hammer and chisel (which differs for different varieties of conch), before cutting away the ligament attaching the muscle to the shell, so that the conch itself can be shaken out. After that, it’s not too bad. Which is a good job, as Theo and Arthur love both collecting and eating conch.
We even had internet out here, thanks to the antenna attached to our router. Not quite reliable enough for video calls, unfortunately, but good enough for day to day working.