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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.


26 Comments

  1. Wonderful. Even just the pictures are wonderful.

    I never spotted anything like that on the equator in Kenya. Mind you, I don’t swim! 🙂

    Mike

  2. Very nice.
    We saw our second nurse shark in water lemon bay on the shore side..it is truly a one of a kind experience…

    But all three in one dive….awesome

    Fred

  3. AWESOME shots!!!

  4. I have heard of SCUBA, and and have heard of SNUBA- but SBUBA is a new one to me! 🙂
    Love the Eagle Rays- what a nice gift.

  5. IN Cozumel we call that the trifecta! If we see them all in one dive it is a very special day. Cozumel is full of these animals but it is so rare to see them all in the same 50 min dive! Congrats! Even more special in the BVI because they are less common!

  6. AWESOME DAY MIKE AND REBECCA!!!!!

  7. I spotted a 15-foot mako snorkling off Maui (near Molokini Crater); both cool , and not at all cool. Like a one-on-one grizzly encounter I had in Montana. In both cases I’d wandered into prime feeding areas. Nature is different on TV than up-close.

    A 15-foot mako took a bite out of a surfer a few miles away the next day. Just a nibble.

    Not that any of that put me off diving. But I do look over my shoulder in certain places.

  8. Sounds like a great day Mike! We haven’t seen many Eagle Rays recently, but did film them years ago in the Bahamas… they are very regal and one came right over on top of me!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeqjCQpDsFk

    • Wow! Great footage, Paul!

      Hey everyone, click the Distant Shores ad in the right hand column here. They are big supporters of ZTC and their videos rock!

  9. Wonder how tough it would be to get SCUBA -integrated onto One Love? That’s my plan when I charter one day, have diving lessons onboard! I know you guys aren’t divers YET, but it could be a profitable and fun, albeit more risky(insurance issues, maybe) proposition!

    Here’s a shark vid I took in Roatan, just for you, Mike! They were close enough to touch(I didn’t!).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiNwIF4gFwE

    • Our first charter guests brought gear, rented tanks and dove off the back of the boat. That said, most people are likely better served by having a local dive company pick them up and take them to a site. The best dive sites are not necessarily ideal for the cat, especially if not everyone on board is diving. My 2 cents.

  10. Cool. Your post showed up just after I had seen a show on National Geo Channel about Cocos Island. It’s about 500km west of Costa Rica in the Pacific. They had shown similar animals. I think It’s cool that ya’ll saw them over on the Caribbean/Atlantic side of the world. And just off the back of your boat, not some big A expedition!

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