We headed back south along yesterday's track with the wind at our backs for a short distance before turning due east and setting a course for Moho Cay, a few miles off. There were several times when we slowed to ease our way cautiously through much shallower water where coral banks approached the surface.
The weather was improved considerably over yesterday's, the seas and winds both diminished to comfortable levels, with mostly sunny skies. We dropped the sails as we neared Hatchett Cay, swinging around to approach it from the south, and easily picked up the mooring ball on the sheltered southeast side of the island.
A red concrete pathway meandered off both to the right and left. We turned left and strolled along past coconut palms, hibiscus, plumeria, and other bright blooming flowers. Passing several other cottages at the edge of the water, we came to an elevated deck under the palms, with a bar at its edge. A workman was on hands and knees, varnishing the weathered hardwood. He informed us that neither the bar nor the restaurant was open, and that they were getting ready for the start of the season. On October 17th they planned to reopen the bar and small restaurant, and the cottages should be ready for guests the following week. I realized that the dates coincided with the projected end of the hurricane season.
We continued our walk, winding around the windward side of the cay, where wind-whipped waves surged across the shallow waters to splash mini-surf along the beaches. A total of perhaps ten minutes walking brought us around the entire circumference of the island and back to the pier where the dinghy was tied. We climbed on and made out way back to the catamaran to report our findings.
Sheila, Mary Ann, and Jane all wanted to go see the coral formations near shore so the three of them, John, and I loaded masks, fins, and snorkeling gear into the inflatable dinghy, and we motored the hundred and fifty yards to the end of the dock on the lee side of the cay.
The soft corals looked almost like brown velveteen many branched plants, and on close examination revealed that the fuzzy appearance was the presence of thousands of individual coral polyps all living together as a growing, living colony.