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3217 JFK Blvd.
N.L.R., AR 72116

9307 Treasure Hill
Little Rock, AR

mantastrip1 mantastrip2 mantastrip3 Manta Ray - Flower Gardens, Gulf of Mexico 2000 dutchwestindies From Arkansas to the Dutch West Indies 2007 miscstrip1 Misc strip 2 All images Copyright 2009 Michael Tierney


Swimming in liquid topaz

Dive Log 2: The British West Indies
Bequi: Moon Hole & Devil's Table -- 1995

In October 1995, I was finally back on ocean waves.

In the year and a half since my last cruise, I'd gotten re-certified as a scuba diver and bought my dive equipment, including a Sea & Sea Marine camera for underwater photography. I'd done some lake and river diving, but after experiencing the clarity of salt water seas, fresh water was a big disappointment. Diving in the ocean is like swimming through liquid topaz. It'll spoil you.

For this cruise, I got away from the big cruise lines, where basically you're just trapped in a hotel and can only see the water from many floors above. An even bigger dislike was how you spent half your time sailing there, and the other half sailing back, with only hours at your destination.

For this trip I chose the Windjammer cruise line, and flew by BIWI (British West Indies airline) down to my port of embarkation in Granada, not far from South America.


If the name Granada sounds familiar, it should. During the days of Ronald Reagan's presidency, this is the place about which President Reagan went on the news and basically said; "This morning the Cuban military forcibly took control of another island. But don't worry. We've already taken care of the problem."

The taxi driver made a couple of loops around the town square, pointing out a statue erected in honor of the Marines who gave their lives to liberate this former British colony. Even though a decade had passed since that event, the islanders were still saying "Thank You" to Americans!.


Having breezed through customs at the port authority, it was on to a 120 foot sailing boat named the Yankee Clipper. As we set sail, I was given the opportunity to steer. I don't think they'd ever let you do that on one of the big liners!

Yankee ClipperSailing from Granada

Not only was the food better here than on the big lines, it was great to be right on the water. But, the rooms are smaller. I'd booked what was classified as a 'Captain's Cabin' on deck, normally reserved for two, and thought they'd sent me to the wrong room. The bathroom was so small that I had to turn sideways just to brush my teeth and spit in the sink.

And this wasn't an ordinary cruise. This was the Windjammer's annual singles-only cruise. They promised balanced booking, and they delivered: 38 women and 26 guys. I thought the balance was perfect!

Yankee Clipper 2

That first night they sailed to the other end of the Granada island chain, and would then slowly work their way slowly back over the coming week.

The first stop was Bequi, a tiny island accessable only by shallow draft boats.

Bequi: Moon Hole

Moon Hole 1 Moon Hole 2 Moon Hole 3

The first dive off Bequi was a site known as the Moon Hole. It was a 40 minute dive that reached a depth of 80 feet. Visibility was good, but not great. There were lots of fish.

Anyone who tells you that snorkling at a tourist resort compares to scuba diving either doesn't know what they're talking about, or they work at a resort and they're lying to you!

Bequi: The Devil's Table

Devils Table 1 Devils Table 2 Devils Table 3Devils Table 4

The second dive of the day was on The Devil's Table.

It was a 90 foot dive with a 45 minute bottom time. There was also a sailboat wreck at the bottom. I swam through it, but the pictures didn't turn out that great.

Michael on the Devils Table

I gave my camera to another diver for this picture. Yep, that was my new gear.

It was a great start to the cruise, and the next day would lead to more adventure, but there was still fun to be had on Bequi.

That night we all hit the island's night club. At first, it was just us from the boat and when I asked one young lady to dance, five stood up. Worked for me. It wasn't long before the islanders phoned all their friends about a passle of single America women being at the bar and, like a scene out of Mama Mia!, the place was soon swamped.

The high point of the night for me was meeting the young Canadian lady in charge of the activities for the Yankee Clipper's sister ship, that sailed along a similar course. She was a beauty, and gave me what I can only term as a 'Concussion Kiss.' I've had a whole bunch of sports related concussions, and it's true that the more concussions you get, the easier they are to have. All I remembered was her grabbing my head with both hands, and a look in her eyes like a wild animal (she had been at sea for the better part of a year).

The next thing I remembered was dancing with her on the floor, and wondering where all the other passangers had gone. I'd missed the dingy back to the boat. But no problem. Since she worked for the cruise line, she knew the frequency for the Yankee Clipper and called them with a taxi driver's radio. As she stood on the dock, her sun dress flowing in the moonlight, the dingy driver commented; "She looks like a scene out of a movie."

That was a fact.

Leaving Bequi

This picture was taken immediately after I'd stepped back onto the ship, and right into another party. I'm the one in the center back, still looking a little dazed... but happy.


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