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Been There, Snorkeled That

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Security at Staniel Cay airport—wish it could be like this everywhere in the world!

After about a week’s absence, we’re back.  This post is coming to you courtesy of my blog account, but the work has been produced by a young trio you have not met yet.  For the past week we have expanded our crew from a reasonable four to a very unreasonable eight.  Yet we have done well together and truly enjoyed our time.  Below is the outcome of a strong desire on the part of this extended family to participate in our blog.  Enjoy!!!

Hi!  It’s Marley and Evyn.  Our cousins came aboard to spend a week with us the day after Christmas.  One of our cousins, Astrid, has been nagging us to post on our blog with us.  So we finally, after four days, said yes!  This is our post about our snorkeling trips while aboard MarVyn.

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Cousin time!

We have had so much fun over the course of the last five days.  So far we have gone on six major snorkeling trips.  One underwater plane wreck and five coral reefs called Thunderball Grotto, Pipe Creek, Compass Cay, The Sea Aquarium, and Rocky Dundas.

Thunderball Grotto

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Inside the grotto it’s like swiss cheese!

We arrived by dinghy.  Marley jumped out first in order to set the anchor.  The rest of the family quickly emptied into the crystal clear water.  Initially we saw just large rocks and few fish, but as we ducked under a ledge we entered a whole new world.  The cave was barren and open at the top, but the fish were numerous.  They accosted us as if used to a breadcrumb buffet, but we had come empty handed.  We swam under another ledge on the other side of the cave and it opened up to a world of gorgeous coral.  After exploring the ocean-side coral we reentered the cave, passed back out to the boat, and found some more coral before getting into the dinghy.  On the dinghy ride back, we were sitting in the front and got splashed by a lot of salt water.  (That’s what you get for having eight people in a dinghy! Erin’s edit.)  What an amazing way to start our visit!

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Ocean side entry/exit at the grotto. Heavy current, good coral, lots of fish!
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Looking up from the bottom of the grotto. Sergeant-majors everywhere!

Pipe Creek

This spot is special to us because it’s where Erin caught our first lobster.  It made for a very yummy appetizer that night.  One thing Marley created was something called lazy river.  If there is enough current we jump off the bow of the boat and drift between the hulls and under the boat.

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Beach time after drift snorkel in Pipe Creek

As soon as we reach the stern we snag a drift line and pull ourselves in, and up and over the boat we run for another turn.  Bubba got his fishing line stuck in a sea fan!  It was funny because Key had to go untangle it from the poor sea fan.  Another first of the trip occurred here.  We did an incredible drift snorkel over large coral heads swarmed by a colorful flurry of fins and tails.  (We are finding as we write this that Pipe Creek left a bigger impression on our parents than on us.  It seems they loved the place!  Guess you’ll have to stay tuned for Erin’s next blog…)

Compass Cay 

Marley and I (Astrid) jumped into the water and swam around to check if the anchor was set.  We saw that there were two giant starfish!  They were red and had little orange like feelers.  It was so cool!

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Anchorage near Compass Cay was stunning

Later in the day, Key and Evyn said that there was a big barracuda that tried to eat Key’s flipper!  When it was time for Key and Evyn to come in for lunch they waved goodbye and named him Fred the Flipper Eater!  All around, I thought that it was a great smelly barracuda.

The Sea Aquarium 

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Again, the sergeant-majors attack!
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Fish hiding at The Aquarium

When we finally unpiled from the dinghy, we were met with turquoise waters and shimmering reef fish of all shapes and sizes.  It was like a bustling village, fish darting to and fro and in and out of rocks and holes in the coral!  The sergeant-majors swarmed us like a swarm of bees.  As we rounded the corner we saw the most beautiful coral.  It was pink, yellow, orange, red, green, and purple!  Fans and branches adorned colorful rocks.  As we made our way around the small but gorgeous island, we saw coral of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  It was so much fun!  We hated to leave but we had another destination in mind…a nearby sunken plane.

Submerged Plane 

After our sea aquarium visit, we went on another snorkeling trip to an underwater plane wreck.  Actually we stopped there on our way back to MarVyn from the aquarium.  We all jumped in excitedly, expecting an awesome snorkel through a plane.  What we actually saw was a not-so-amazing-but-ok plane half-buried in the sand.

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Kinda freaky, huh?

What really drew our attention was the tremendous coral reef.  Fish everywhere!  Sea fans waving their spiny arms all around!  Seargent majors in our faces!  It was gorgeous.  We saw Christmas Tree worms, yellow tube sponge, lobed and even mountainous star coral!  As beautiful as it was we did eventually all get cold and we returned home.  We all had fun and, overall, I think we all had a great time!

Rocky Dundas 

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Cool helmet-like brain coral formation

We arrived in a magical world of coral that led across all the sides of the island.  It was huge so we didn’t get to explore all of it but what we had come for was an amazing journey into a cave.  As we floated into the small mouth of the cave we peeked our heads through and saw a rather small cave with an open top.  We got up onto the rock ledge that eventually turned into sand as we walked further into the dim cave light.  Earlier in our boat trip we had seen these prehistoric looking animals called chiton.  They were all around the cave at Rocky Dundas.

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Ingrid, Key, Astrid, Bubba, each with a unique personality as seen here

We took a few family portraits, and Key found a tree snail that sadly had fallen from one of the trees above.  We named it Bob and buried it.  Then we took the waves out of the cave mouth.  We explored a little more of the underwater coral world before Astrid got cold and we left by dinghy!  Before Astrid got cold we saw a gigantic lobster that was about the size of a big lap dog!  It would have served as a whole meal!  But sadly we were in the Exuma Land and Sea Park restriction zone so we just waved and named it George.  What an amazing trip!

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Entry/exit of Rocky Dundas cave
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Funky sponge!
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Family time

 

14 thoughts on “Been There, Snorkeled That”

  1. Hi from your neighborhood. Kevin and Nancy say hello and that we wish we could be doing a trip like yours. Looks like so much fun. Love your blog. Miss you and wish you a safe trip.
    Love,
    Kevin and Nancy.

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    1. So good to hear from you! We hope you two and the rest of the hood a very happy new year. Things are going well here. Lots of fun and good family time together. Much love to you both!

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  2. I love this post! It sounds like your snorkeling adventures were marvelous and beautiful. Is Key going to post about his fishing experiences? You cousins have had some great times together, but this must have been the best…for now, at least! Something tells me there will be another cousins trip, maybe during warmer weather.

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  3. Such great times you are having! Love the snorkeling trip stories. The photo of the opening at Rocky Dundas cave is so interesting. Looks a little like an orca (no tail and a little imagination).
    Hi from all us Stantons!
    Ed

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    1. Hi Stantons! So good to hear from you. We are well. Just arrived in Georgetown in the rain. So many interesting things we’ve seen and done, and it’s good to be able to share them! Hope you’re all well!

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  4. Astrid read this to Nora and her family while she was staying with them last week. I’ll see if she wants to comment. She doesn’t have an email yet but I’ll show her how to comment using mine.

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