On our 18th Anniversary, Jer and I rented a double kayak to paddle out to Whistling Cay for a day of kayaking and snorkeling in Francis Bay. I had high hopes that I would have an up close encounter with a sea turtle.
The waters surrounding Whistling Cay were very rough due to numerous wakes from boats going back and forth through Fungi Passage. I was knocked into a patch of elkhorn coral while snorkeling off Whistling Cay. After that I was concerned about harming the coral, so we got back into our boat and kayaked to an isolated patch of beach off of Francis Bay to try snorkeling again in a more peaceful setting.
In Francis Bay we were rewarded with plenty of sea turtle sightings. The sea turtles in the pictures here- were seen while kayaking back to Little Maho to return our rental kayak. From the kayak, we tried to paddle close enough for Jer to get pictures of the turtles coming up for air. Sea turtles come up for air before submerging back into the water, holding their breath underwater for long periods of time. The highlight of my day was actually snorkeling next to a 300lb plus sea turtle for about ten minutes from the little point in Francis Bay we snorkeled off of. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of my underwater encounter, but I will never forget it.
While snorkeling I saw blue tangs, juvenile angelfish and a host of other interesting fish. Jer even pointed out a Caribbean lobster. It was a strange creature, without any claws and didn’t look like any lobster I have ever seen. Just when I was thinking of going back on shore to return to the kayak, I flipped around and saw a huge sea turtle about 10 feet behind me. The turtle swam slowly through a small rocky cove that hugged the beach and I followed swiming parallel to it about six feet away. I was able to swim next to the turtle for about ten minutes, before a group of other snorkelers discovered my reptile companion. Leaving them to swim with the beautiful turtle, I headed back to the beach more than happy.