Wow! WOW! WOW!! In case you didn’t get it, I’m impressed! Tuesday we headed to Smith’s Reef, a little up the bay from the Coral Gardens. It’s a much larger area, with several reefs, separated by sea grass. Smith’s Reef has to be one of the best places we have ever snorkeled, with more large fish here, than we’ve seen anywhere. The abundance of coral, healthy, thriving, and colorful is amazing for a shore dive. Sure, you can pay to get on a boat and head out to the ocean, and you’ll get impressive stuff, but there are very few places where you can just walk in fifteen feet off shore and see this!
We saw enormous grouper, porgys, huge dog snappers, margates, and the biggest schoolmasters we’ve ever seen. Even the wrasses were big, much bigger than we typically see. There were porcupine fish, lionfish, huge schools of barjacks, just tons of coneys in lots of colors. And coral – just vibrant and gorgeous, and so alive.
Over the seagrass we saw schools of yellowtail snapper, being escorted by dark black barjacks. There were lots of goatfish always with several kinds of dicks escorting them to scoop up anything the goatfish dug up. There were ceros scooting over the seagrass as we approached, one of the few nervous fish here. It’s been a strange thing seeing some fish just not care as we approached – when we’ve snorkeled in Aruba, we’re so used to them scooting off when we come around!
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it already, but it’s worth repeating – it’s cold getting into the water! Not used to the water being this cool. Once you are in, it’s fine, but wow – that initial shock is something! Still, it’s worth it because this is really some of the most remarkable underwater scenery we’ve ever seen.
There was a little fish, and I mean tiny, that hung around our face. Just one, one for Pam and one for me, and they swam with us the whole afternoon! Pretty funny. I’ve taken a picture of Pam with her little buddy, and I’ve added a big black arrow, because he’s so small, you might miss him!
You might want to check out the gallery for Providenciales. I’ve uploaded fourteen pictures for today, but have only referenced about half that many in the post here. There was just so much to see on Tuesday. A most remarkable day. It will deserve another look, and we’ll probably be heading there on Wednesday. Apparently, we didn’t even get to the main reef, just two of the minor reefs. We’re hoping to see some eagle rays.
In the early evening, we took a drive around and saw some of the other hotels. One of them, called the Somerset had the most amazing display of bougainvillea! Just went on and on, all around the hotel, up the driveway, around the back, around the pool – just awesome. We found a little “cultural center” where we picked up a couple of souvenirs, and a nice shirt.
We came back to our resort, had a nice dinner on the balcony while the sun came down. The resort’s restaurant, the Mango Reef, had some live music. It was a duo, with a guitar and a lovely songstress. So we ate our dinner, being serenaded, while the sun slowly set in another spectacular display of color!
We went to the Casablanca Casino, a small intimate place. About eighty slot machines, a couple of roulette wheels and four tables of blackjack, and a craps pit. It was nice, got lots of play for our money. Ended the night down about seventeen bucks, so can’t beat that since we got free drinks all night!