Majestic


En route to the Ragged Islands, we had unobstructed west-facing views again and were treated to a brilliant green flash at sunset.  The weather is finally settling and making for some care free days both in and out of the water.  




Nature is doing its best to entertain us with bright planets Venus and Mercury setting each night.  






The sunsets aren’t so bad either!


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Majestic white-tailed tropic birds have returned to court in the air and roost in the rocks.  Their squawking brings me out to watch each morning as they dip and dive overhead.  Couples touch tails in the air to show interest and sometimes get interrupted by competing males.




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Songbirds are often found flitting around the brush and I encountered a prairie warbler near the ruins of an old house on the hill.  It’s the first time I’ve seen this distinctive bird that appears to be wearing spectacles.  






A female yellow-rumped warbler was also perched nearby, with the slightest hint of yellow on her cap as well.







These ruins were not accessible due to thick brush in years past, but hurricane Irma has now cleared the way for a closer exploration.  This old house overlooked the salt pond on Raccoon Cay.  The construction and walls of these structures are made of the limestone “iron rock” and conch shells and must have taken quite an effort to build.







Thousands of butterflies are still enjoying the new blooms of bay cedar and beach succulents.  The Miami blue’s and Bartram’s scrub hairstreaks are still the predominate local species, with an occasional fritillary or Great southern white.



  











I read that the hairstreaks on the hind wings are wiggled to fool prey into thinking that this is their head so that they will simply rip off the tail wing if attacked.  


I’m assuming that this strategy worked for this butterfly.  










In fact, now that I look closely, it seems as though the eye-spots on the Miami blue might serve the same purpose.








The calm days bring good fishing and eating.  Our diet has consisted of a LOT of sushi lately, in addition to grilled fish, fish tacos and fish chowder.  The cero mackerel and mutton snapper were perfect for sushi.










The underwater scenery has been just as interesting.  I found a unique green/brown coloration of a rosy blenny, complete with a yellow anal fin.  







Mark chased a pair of spadefish towards me for a photo op.  When I floated still underwater they would circle around and come back to take a closer look.










A few other usual suspects and colorful fish were photogenic.  












We are taking in all we can of these amazing Bahama blue waters that will be so hard for us to leave when the time comes.




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© M&M 2016