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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BVI 2017: Day 2 - Norman Island to Cooper Island

We got up at 6:00am, made coffee, checked the engines, and headed out to the Indians, enjoying the sun rise and solitude as we were the first boat to arrive. The biggest problem with arriving at the BVIs during spring break is that the solitude is soon gone. By 7:30am, all the mooring buoys were taken, but we had the prime spot! Soon, we were in the water exploring the area.

In the past, we'd always opted to do 2 dives at the Indians, but the current warning from the chart briefing was to arrive at Cooper island before 12:00pm to be assured of getting a mooring ball, so we opted to do just one dive. Xiaoqin was still feeling ill, so I would get to dive and then take Bowen for a snorkel after the dive.

While many complain that the dives in the BVIs are shallow, I don't mind. In shallow waters you get better light, and that makes for better photography. The dive in the Indians for me felt like I'd never left diving. The BCD Arturo had rented for me felt perfect, with weight pockets so I didn't need a belt, and 8 pounds of weight felt very comfortable. The swim through was no problem, and holding a 15' depth for a 3 minute safety stop didn't result in me bobbing up and down.

Upon returning to the Kokomo III from the dive, we talked Bowen into a wet suit and got him into the water with his mask and snorkel on. As Arturo instructed the day before, I refused to give him any towing, and made him swim to the reefs by himself. As expected, he wasn't at all uncomfortable in the water, and in fact, swam all the way around the Indians navigating the shallows with ease and making it onto the swimming ladder by himself. In fact, he even took off his own fins and threw them onto the boat! He would improve from day to day at a dramatic rate for the rest of the trip.

We motor'd up wind to Cooper Island, arriving just half an hour short of the 12:00pm deadline. Sure enough, there were only one or two mooring balls left and we grabbed one directly from the dinghy dock for air tank refills. We had lunch, then dropped off an air tank refill for the Cooper Island dive center. After digestion, we loaded 3 dive sets onto the dinghy. John was filling sick and had started to throw up, indicating that he had contracted Boen's Nolo virus. Xiaoqin was similarly out of sorts, so it was just Arturo, me, and Mark diving Cistern point.

Cistern point was a great location for wildlife. We spotted a lobster (rare sighting during the day), and a turtle. It was a long enough dive that I started feeling cold towards the end, and we all ended the dive with well over 1000psi in the tanks, indicating the being cold was the limiting factor, not running out of air.

Upon the return, we delivered air tanks back to the dive center for another round of refills, and picked up the previously filled dive tanks. Bowen refused to do more snorkeling despite having seen the turtle, but agreed to go ashore with mommy for ice cream. Arturo started feeling a bit ill, so we checked the weather forecast to plan the next day. The original plan was to dive the wreck of the Rhone, but with everyone feelling so ill and North swell conditions being in effect, we decided it would be better to do the Baths the next day and then come back to Peter Island to do the Rhone the day after.

Sunset was pretty as usual. It was muted because so many folks were sick that we didn't really cook very much as not enough people felt like eating. We retired early to try to rest up for another 6:00am start the next day.


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