. Though it was cloudy earlier, the sky cleared quickly and the sun began beating down on our white skin. We did our best to stay lathered in sun block, but it didn't do much good, as we had to reapply it frequently. We cruised for what seemed to be about an hour and then dropped anchor. Jerry clearly explained all the rules about safe snorkeling and then we all jumped in and swam around. There wasn't much in the way of fish to see, and the coral was young and in recovery. Apparently the storms can be harsh and destroy it often. We swam for about 30 minutes and returned to the boat. It was now lunchtime, and each of us was served a plate of food. The three of us opted for the fish, which was wrapped in foil and served with some vegetables. Along with that was some rice and pasta salad. It was all quite good, especially when considering where we were.We then cruised further south to "Shark Ray Alley." The sharks and rays appeared almost on queue, ready for a snack. Several nurse sharks came right alongside making for a good photo op. We then donned our gear and went in to swim with them. Jerry joined us this time and brought along some chum (sardines). Along with the sharks and rays was a school of jack fish. There must have been a hundred of them, or so it seemed. At one point, Jerry dove down and picked up a large ray and brought it to the surface. We all got a chance to touch the slimy creature. They are certainly a strange animal. He then did the same thing with one of the sharks
. Its skin was more like sandpaper. It was nice that he got some of the creatures to stay put for a bit so we could get a better look/feel of them. At the next stop, there was a large grouper that apparently pulls up next to each arriving boat, hoping for a snack. Jerry didn't disappoint it. He held a sardine just out of the water and the grouper was fixated on it. This allowed for a close look and a great photo op. The fish would strike the food so fast that I couldn't keep the camera on it. Still, it was amazing to see its beady blue eyes and huge mouth up close.After that, the battery in my camera died. I was bummed since the last stop was out near the barrier reef where we could see green sea turtles. We saw several of them grazing on the sea grass on the bottom. Jerry then lead the group over to an outcrop of coral where he smacked his hands to together. Not long after, a green moray eel popped out. Talk about a creepy creature! He then spotted another much larger one. He tried his best to get it to come out of the rocks, but it wasn't interested in moving.We then started heading back under sail power. The reggae music was blasting and the rum punch began to flow. They also served some shrimp cerviche which they prepared onboard. It was the first time I had tried it. Must say that it was damn good. We came back a slightly different way than we went, passing through the Split from west to east. We snapped a photo and waved to the partiers as we passed. After saying goodbye to our "shipmates," we made the long, hot walk back to the room. I found Lisa in the air conditioned bedroom, reading a book. She apparently enjoyed her downtime, having a massage, lunch and some light reading. After a shower, I got going on my signature on-the-road meal: Spaghetti! I got it all together and let it simmer for a while while we enjoyed some rum drinks. We all ate at the table and everyone appeared to enjoy the meal. There was a notion that we would go out to a nearby reggae bar, but that notion faded as we were all rather tired after the long day. The ladies faded fast. Pat and I shared drinks while watching TV and Internet surfing. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
Started the day with coffee and stale frosted flakes (not the Kellog's variety). At least the coffee was good. We were told to arrive at the boat dock between 9:00 and 9:30. We showed up closer to 9:30 and were fitted for fins and masks. That took about 5 minutes, and then we waited along the shore with several other wanna-go-snorkelers. We watched the crews getting prepared for the outing, mainly loading up supplies for each of the three boats. After nearly an hour of waiting, a woman appeared and read off names for each boat assignment. Fortunately, we were on the smallest of the boats with only eight people altogether. Shortly after, a man named Jerry appeared and introduced himself as the captain of the yellow boat. We followed him down a pier and got in the small craft. The boat was about 20' or so, with a single mast and an outboard. There wasn't much in the way of amenities (no padding, etc.) but there was a rudimentary bathroom.We pulled out and made our way southward under both sail and motor power