After the last few days of hard work, I consider yesterday a gift. Following a great breakfast with our friends on Alternate Latitude, we cast off from the Compass Point dock in search of cleaner water. The wind outside the protected cove was almost nonexistent, as were the waves. With our planned destination on the east end of St. John, we were just fine with this, happy to not be bashing as we motored along the southern coastline.
When we arrived at Salt Pond Bay, a beautiful little cove with a crescent-shaped beach, we had our choice of the park mooring balls. There were no other boats present, nor would any arrive later on in the day. We selected a ball closest to the reef and after a quick lunch, dove in to the almost transparent water. Neither Rebecca, Michael or I had any idea what we would soon see.
The three of us made our way along the reef area, admiring the coral and the colorful fish. At one point we split up a bit with me up in the lead. I stopped to wait for Rebecca to catch up but noted that she wasn’t moving. Eventually I swam back to find out what the hold up was. When I arrived, I could immediately see… Rebecca had spotted a shark!
For the last couple of months I have been actively looking for a shark. I’ve even joked with certain charter guests that the first person to see a shark will win a prize. People say that they see them all the time. Well, perhaps in the Bahamas they do, or when SCUBA diving, but not snorkeling around here. The small nurse shark we had located was seemingly taking a nap. We hovered over him, diving down several times to snap closer photos. Spotting that shark was a big thing for me and I was very happy.
Shortly after that, we decided to head back to the boat, leaving the shark to enjoy his nap in solitude. Only moments later we were stopped in our tracks by a second fantastic find: two beautiful spotted eagle rays. This was yet another first for us. Michael later shared that he has seen eagle rays while SCUBA diving but always from a distance. Rebecca and I have seen them too but only from the surface of the boat, not while we’ve been in the water. This time, we had not one but two of these amazing creatures gliding by us. As you can imagine, all three of us started frantically snapping pics. The rays seemed to care little about our activity. They just cruised on by like fighter jets in formation.
I was getting a bit tired by then so after the rays left us, we continued making our way back to One Love, only to be interrupted a third time by a sea turtle. Now, seeing a turtle up close while snorkeling is always a cool experience but after seeing a shark, and two beautiful eagle rays, it almost seemed anticlimactic. That said, it was like the perfect finish to what I later called a snorkeling trifecta. As I wrote at the beginning, this was a perfect gift. I’ll take it as a reward for all of our hard labor.