Friday, November 9, 2012

Adventures In Belize - Day Four

Sunday, October 14, 2012
     A day much like Saturday, our second day at Hatchett Cay. Waking up as the first light began to brighten the glass hatch and ports of our cabin, I got up and climbed out on deck to watch the sun rise out of the sea at 5:45. It is delightful to be reminded just how pleasant just sitting and observing the evolution of the day can be.
    I noticed one of the Hatchett Cay workers sitting quietly in the dock house, watching the sunrise as I was. Pelicans appeared from wherever pelicans spend their nights, and began to patrol the shallow waters close to the cay, looking for breakfast. The clouds displayed an evolving minimalist symphony of colors, shapes, and movement. They changed from dark shapes rimmed with silver, the highest cumulonimbus tops first turning pink, then peach, and then at least fifty shades of gray and white as the sun climbed higher.
    A finch with bright yellow feathers on each side of its tail flip-tipped its wings and stopped for a moment's rest on the jib sheet before flitting off again. A few dozen little silver fish, each no more than two inches long leaped out of the water and plunged back in again simultaneously, their bright sides flashing in the early morning sunlight. A few minutes later I saw them leap again, this time synchronous with the leap of a three foot long barracuda in hungry pursuit.
     All six of the group scrambled into the dinghy after breakfast for a trip back to the cay. Donning swim fins, masks and snorkels, we all floated again above the graceful sea fans, coral, and multitudes of fish for an hour, and then walked around the tiny island. 
     This time we stopped on the invitation of the manager to climb stairs three stories to a lookout tower on the top of the main building, where we had a beautiful 360 degree view of Hatchett Cay and other cays scattered in the distance.
    After lunch back on board Jane and I motored over to the dock for one more dive session before coming back to spend the night at the same mooring. Late in the evening (which means about eight o'clock when cruising!) the cloudy sky cleared, and Jane, Sheila, Mary Ann and I went out of the forward deck to look for stars and constellations.
      The Big Dipper was too low to see, but Cassiopeia was high in the sky, pointing the general direction to the North Star that hovered, just barely visible only sixteen degrees above the horizon. Cygnus had its wings spread across the Milky Way, which arced high overhead horizon to horizon. As we looked at Jupiter high in the western sky a meteor flashed briefly orange against the blue-black sky.

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