We've been having a phenomenal stretch of weather for the past week. We're into our favorite cruising routine now; it doesn't get any better than this. In the morning, we have coffee, get the weather, listen to the cruiser's net on the radio, do a little cleaning, make water and charge our batteries and maybe make some dessert, start some bread or make a snack. We usually get out diving, snorkeling or fishing around 10, come back for lunch and then head out again for more of it. I do seem to notice that I'm not as springy as I used to be- I feel like a zombie at night after all that diving. Must be middle age. In the evening, Jon often cleans his catch while I spiff things up and plan dinner. At the end of the day, we have to soak our camera, dive computers and spear so they don't get damaged by the salt water. I've been trying lots of new seafood recipes along with new and interesting ways to have cabbage- since that's about what we're down to for fresh vegetables these days. I've got a few token other vegetables but it is getting a little thin. Won't be long before we'll be into cans. We've got plenty of other stuff though and in general, we eat really well.
For scuba diving, the wall is right along the other side of the thin island we're anchored behind. We just dinghy out the cut and around the tip to anchor in about 30 feet of pure white sand. It would be better if there were moorings here but remember what I said about the park not really functioning like a park?? Once we descend, it's a short swim to the edge of the drop-off and the start of the wall. It reminds me of a ski slope since the sand is so white and sloping. We'd never seen a school of big Nassau Grouper before but there's one here! And yesterday we saw 2 humongous Nassau's too- about 4 feet long which is the max size according to our fish book. There's an off season on Nassau's from something like December to March, so we can never spear any. Plus you can't spear scuba diving so this all may help them to get really big.
The snorkeling has been great here. There are zillions of patch reefs all over the inside of the atoll. Once we dinghy about a mile North, we're outside the park boundary and it's OK to fish. It isn't like there's spearable fish everywhere, but we've had pretty good luck finding a few things each time and I've enjoyed looking for new things that I haven't seen before. Yesterday, I saw a stinging cauliflower for the first time. It is a huge, lavender jellyfish with extremely long tentacles with all this cauliflower looking stuff underneath it and I'm not even sure what purpose it serves. If you got stung by that, it would be serious. That's why I'm so thankful for our wetsuits and I even wear a hood, primarily for warmth, but it also protects from sun and stings. Belizean fisherman hunt these patch reefs too. We can see them in the distance and feel sure that if we come to a reef that they've just been on, there will be nothing left to spear!
We've been having trouble keeping up with our power needs. There seems to be a problem with the generator's regulator. Or maybe it's a bad battery cable or something else. Even though our batteries are low, the regulator keeps cutting back the alternator's output prematurely. Fortunately, there are a lot of cruisers who can give valuable advice to help us troubleshoot and if we need something shipped, it's possible we may be able to have it brought over from the States by someone who's coming to visit another cruiser for a vacation. Even though we're careful with power, we do need a lot more of it than we used to since we've added more electronics and pumps. The more you have, the more you need- that pretty much goes for everything I guess. At any rate, we will need to think about a different wind generator that actually puts out some amps and the same goes for the solar panels. We didn't want to spend the money in New England to have a new stern rail and arch made for mounted solar panels and a permanent wind generator (very expensive), but we may do this once we get to Cartegena. We have friends that just had some stainless work done there and it seems pretty nice. The wind generator we have is primarily a towable one which in that mode, would make a good amount of power. But when anchored, we're still short on harnessing "free" power.
Anyway, we're not exactly in a hurry to leave here, but I figure we'll start thinking about leaving in the next few days. Maybe when we run out of cabbage!