Saturday, February 7

Steve: Finally, things are going our way. Despite an ominous forecast this morning and winds that were blowing as hard as ever, all of a sudden the wind simply died. We had started with a swim and snorkel on Rocky Islets, which was pretty but not as good as the other reefs we'd seen. Next was an island called "South Direction", which was primarily another attempt to hide from the winds. We did enjoy a snorkel/spear fishing trip (which would not have met with Paula's approval, but since she's not here…) where the three of us served as spotters for Pete who chased Coral Trout and Sweetlips with his hand spear. Although he narrowly missed a large "Football Trout" that we helped find, he did successfully spear a Sweetlips and a "Stripey", both of which he quickly placed in the Rubber Duck to avoid attracting sharks.

As we finished our snorkel and fish hunt, Pete noticed that the Ruben Jane wasn't rocking nearly as much. That meant that the winds had gone down, and we quickly made plans to head to an area called "High Rock". Pete had told us that High Rock contains some of the best snorkeling and fishing anywhere, and had been hoping to get us there since our trip began.

On our way, we trolled off the back of the Ruben Jane and successfully landed three mackerels, including a "Spanish Mackerel" that David caught. That's dinner! We then went to High Rock and did an absolutely wonderful snorkel. We've never seen so many fish before, and the coral is absolutely spectacular. It was also fun to snorkel right along the drop-off, which heads straight down to a depth of 60 feet. Looking down, we could see all kinds of large fish lurking in the depths. In the shallows next to High Rock, we saw several types of plate coral, many in beautiful shades of blue, white and yellow. Fantastic!

Finally, we took another try at bottom fishing. Pete found us a spot where we basically all got bites as soon as our bait hit bottom. The trick is knowing when to try to set the hook - many times we were too early, and sometimes we were too late. We all caught several small tropical fish, but not the elusive Coral Trout that we had hoped for. Steph came through for all of us, successfully landing a nice trout that we'd enjoy along with our Spanish Mackeral for dinner.

We decided to make the 45 minute trip north to Lizard Island where we knew we'd be assured of a calm anchorage tonight. Tomorrow, if the winds remain calm, we'll head back to the High Rock area for some more snorkeling and fishing before heading further south where we hope to snorkel around a huge shipwreck.

Dinner was absolutely fantastic. Steph perfectly prepared the Spanish Mackeral and the Coral Trout. Both were wonderful, although the trout remains my personal favorite. It literally starts to melt as soon as it hits your tongue.

The change in weather has significantly boosted everyone's spirits. This experience is so wonderful, and all we needed was a little sunshine and calmer seas to get a taste.












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