|tea party on the stern|
|Pitons at sunrise|
Our favorite island group was the Grenadines and the best of the best, we'd all agree, was Tobago Cays. Tobago Cays is the cruising dream everyone has prior to going cruising. The water is crystal clear and from under the boat to the horizon you can see a dozen scintillating shades of blue that just beg you to jump in. The Cays are a marine park and there were a dozen other boats, but even the company of charter boats practically anchoring on top of us couldn't take away from the experience of being there. The Cays are protected by two reefs; Worlds End on the outer side and smaller Horseshoe Reef in closer to the small islands. We dove Horseshoe and were surprised to see such a healthy reef. Schools of small and pelagic fish swarmed around us, while below was a complex reef system with high biodiversity in coral, reef fish and other reef phylum. There was a sea turtle reserve within the park and we saw many of the gentle reptiles swimming around the anchorage. In the dinghy one of the boys would often suddenly jump overboard after spotting one and try to swim with them. Another highlight was a low lying island that was the site of the island Johnny Depp was left on in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course we had to re-enact several of the scenes with swords, pistols, other pirate swag and bottles of rum. Not all cruising boats carry all the appropriate props, but of course we do.
After a year away from the water and then a few weeks getting used to the water again, I can finally say Ana is a strong swimmer and has figured out snorkeling successfully. It has literally happened in the last two weeks and it is so fun to see her getting comfortable swimming; doing somersaults, diving down under the surface and jumping off the boat. And, in the last few days she has graduated from "goggling", as she calls it to legitimately snorkeling and now swims along with me, grabbing my arm every time she sees something new. It is really fun to see all my kids so independent really loving the water now! They could spend hours under the surface and are continuously rewarded with new sights, whether it is a reef shark, octopus, new fish or new creature, they all love exploring the underwater world. And, as a bonus, they can't fight underwater, so we spend a lot of time down below the waterline!