February fun

February turns out to be a social month in the Ragged Islands.  More boats arrive to enjoy the pristine waters and we’ve connected with many old and new friends.  Beach-time, birthdays and bonfires have all been quite memorable.

Leslie always has something entertaining up her sleeve and challenged everyone to a conch horn blowing contest…

Dave has a new drone (I just noticed it hovering in the video above) and got some amazing shots of Reach and a even video under sail (THX!!).  We’ve been so thrilled with the performance of our sails and new adjustable vang ~ it is soooo cool to see her in action.

The weather has finally started to moderate, which means more water-time for all.  I’ve taken tons of underwater photos and am struggling to keep on top of them.  There was at least one new discovery that was very exciting.  

Leslie located a spotted sea hare on a rock wall and it was still there when we went back to try and find it.  

This time, three of them were there!  We watched them circle for a while, squealing at each other through our masks, until they ended up head-to-rear in a cozy pile.  We had no idea what they were doing until we saw a sea hare copulation mound in our Reef Creature ID book.  It turns out that sea hares are hermaphroditic and this is how they mate in groups!

We also discovered a [shy] juvenile coney grouper that was an uncommon golden variation.  

Not knowing what it was at first, I could tell it was in the bass family.  

It caught both of our attention with such a rich gold color, bright blue spots and black dots on its lips.

On this dive I came across the world’s tiniest brittle star on a piece of encrusting tunicate.  It was on the move and surprisingly speedy.  It was a challenge holding my hands still in the water for a clear photo.

A beautiful, three foot loggerhead turtle lived in our anchorage and came to visit each of our boats in the evenings as it grazed on grass.  She must weigh several hundred pounds.

Having my underwater camera handy, I stood on the stern steps dunking the camera underwater and took a few photos when she was lingering under Reach.  It wasn’t until later that I saw she had an encounter with our boat-remora that had also been hanging under Reach for a few days…  I suppose she was circling back to Reach in an attempt to trade the remora back to a bigger target.

© M&M 2016