T and C Day 6: Shopping, Chalk Sound and More Snorkeling

Day 6 arrived to somewhat cloudy/stormy weather again.  We had the car until 5pm, so we decided to do some shopping, and then visit Chalk Sound which is a national park.

We got our normal early jump on the day.   Out of bed and eating breakfast at 10!   We got over to the shopping area around noon.  Our shopping list wasn’t too long, I wanted to buy a snorkel set and Heather was looking for beach wear.  We found a cool little group of shops with a good dive store and several gift shops.  There was a square in the middle of the plaza dedicated to pirates.  Heather had me get in the stockade, and as soon as I am locked up I look over and she’s hitting on some dude!  Amazing how girls always go for the rebel types.

The shopping center also had an interactive map of the islands.  Much cooler than the one I posted in a previous blog.  I’m pointing out where we are on the map.  The whole crescent curve facing to the north is Grace Bay.

After our shopping, we headed on out to the southwest part of the island.  There is a restaurant there called Las Brisas that looks out on Chalk Sound.  Chalk Sound is a large bay created by a thin peninsula.  The water in the bay is quite shallow and the bay has a large number of small islands.  They say there is an island for every day in the year.  There is also a lot of, you guessed it, chalk in the area.  So the shallow water with the chalk gives it this cool aqua blue translucent color.  Reading that this was a national park made me pretty curious to see it, so fortunately Heather was willing for us to go.  We drove on over and found the restaurant, which is part of a couple of villas.  Here was our view from our table:

For lunch, we ordered nachos to start.  Heather was pretty excited about this as she was craving Mexican food and a change from all of the fish.  She had a salad and soup for her meal and I had conch ceviche.  The best thing was the kiwi smoothie I had.  First time I had seen that on a menu and it was good.  Plus it matched my green shirt.  The first rule of fashion is always select the smoothie that best matches your outfit.

After lunch we drove on out to the end of the peninsula to try and get a better view of the sound, but there weren’t really very many good access points.  A lot of newer nice homes have been built along both sides of the peninsula.  I was a little less impressed by the “national park” after figuring this out.  Tough to enjoy what you can’t see.  Still though, was happy to have checked it out and was able to snap one decent picture.

From there we checked out the beach at Sapodilla Bay.  This is ranked as a top attraction given how far out you can walk on the shallow beach.  It’s a little tough to get to as you drive down a rocky dirt road.  Reminded me of a logging road in Montana.  Once we got there, we thought it was pretty, but not comparable to Grace Bay.  So we headed on back, with a pitstop at the grocery store, and got back around 4:30.

From there I was anxious to try out my new snorkel gear, so walked about 15 minutes south on the beach to Bight Reef.  This is a reef that is basically right at the shore and they have setup a rope path that you follow to tour it.  It lived up to the bill, not so much for the reef, but for all of the different types of fish around it.  I had bought a camera and snapped some pictures, but unfortunately those won’t be available for a while.  Does anyone make a waterproof digital camera?  Probably the coolest fishes were the large parrot fish (I think) that chomp on the reef.  You can hear the crunching as they take bites out of it.  After swimming around for a while I decided to head back to our hotel.  My new mask was giving me some trouble with being too big and leaking (bummer!), plus no one was out snorkeling at the reef, so I thought maybe they all new something I didn’t.

I walked back up the beach, past the Beaches resort again, which is massive and packed with people and kids, and back to our much less crowded one.  I got back in the water and decided I’d try and find the stingray I had seen the other day.  Well I was probably only about 25 or 30 feet out from shore when this huge school of small white fish came around me.  It was the same ones we had seen a couple of days prior.  I swam next to them and snapped a picture, and as soon as that happened they shot off.  I wasn’t sure if it was the click of my camera or something more sinister.   Well sure enough, as I’m looking around, here comes a 3 or 4 foot barracuda swimming by along the edge of the school.  Those things just look mean.  I followed him for a ways but then lost him.  The school kept coming by me so I would actually swim right through them which is an interesting experience.  Then I saw what had to be the same stingray again.  It had the same similar looking fish hanging out right above him.  He actually started swimming towards me and then he swam literally about two feet from this couple that were in the water throwing a ball between them.  I came out of the water and looked at them.  They were probably thinking what is this guy doing snorkeling around us.  They were in about 4 or 5 feet of water, 25 feet out from shore, and literally had no idea that they were surrounded by a school of fish, with a barracuda attacking the school, and about to step on a stingray!  Pretty funny, makes me wonder how often we’re oblivious to fish around us when we’re in the ocean.  I was swimming through the school of fish again when all of sudden they all took off again and sure enough, here came the barracuda again, this time very close to me.  I swam next to him and got what I think was a pretty good picture.  We’ll see how it looks when it develops!

Well this was enough adventure for me so I headed back to the room where Heather had been napping.  We wrapped up our evening with dinner in our suite, and we watched the movie, “The King’s Speech”.  I definitely liked it a lot and just asked Heather what she thought and got an “eeehhh” which means not so much.  Colin Firth is very good, and as always, I just thoroughly enjoyed Geoffrey Rush.  I was not aware of the historical circumstances that led to George the 6th becoming king (Colin Firth’s character).  His older brother became king before him, but abdicated the throne so that he could marry a twice divorced lady from Baltimore!  So the question is whether that is complete idiocy, or whether a moving example of giving everything for the sake of love?  The movie portrays it in the former light, but probably could be redone as easily to show it as a love story.  Not sure where the true answer lies, but I do know I’d abdicate my throne to marry Heather.  I think I’ll end today’s post on that high (or low note).  See you next time!

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