The sky has a strange green cast here and I am in heaven. Green because there is an enormous bank of water less than 10 feet deep that reflects it’s turquoise cast on the bottom of the clouds. Heaven because that water is as clear as gin and that makes me about as happy as I get.
The site really should be the third or fourth wonder of the world. About 60 miles by 50 miles and an average of 6 feet deep, it is an extraordinary vision in the tropical Atlantic sun, especially when contrasted to the impossibly deep ocean that surrounds it in cobalt-blue.
Our first stop in the Turks and Caicos, we dropped the anchor in 12 feet of water, drifted back on seventy feet of chain and had more than 6,000 feet of water underneath us. I jumped off the front of the boat, with mask and fins on, to check the anchor. And then I swam to look over the Edge. The Abyss. It was dark and had black-hole gravity so intense I was both terrified and dangerously drawn toward it. I took a deep breath and dove to sand and swam to it’s edge and peered down. Then another 10 feet, then ten more and another ten or so ‘til I was about forty feet deep and it was appalling how attracted I was to this frightening definition of terror. I almost willing to succumb to it’s pull and continue to swim further and further down until the air in my cells was compressed so tightly I would begin to sink, slowly at first then faster and faster until even if I wanted to swim back to the surface, now hundreds of feet above me, I would not be able to break my fall.
Of course I didn’t, but I kinda wanted to see what it would have been like.
And while sitting there, in about 40 feet of water, resisting the urge, I saw great schools of silvery fish swimming along the cliff-edge and some swift pelagic shimmers presumably there to see how the reef life lived.
The next day we sailed from the East end of the glorious bank to the western-edge. It was a four-hour sail of eight to ten knots with less than three feet under our rudders. Mostly sandy, we had to keep a constant watch to avoid myriad coral heads that threatened to break the surface if not other more costly or fleshy things.
Now we are under way to the great Bahamas – Rum Cay first – to snorkel, dive, play on the powdery white sands and maybe look for a stretch of beach that someone wants to sell to us.