Bay of the Jesus fish

Today was to become a very busy day. Lifting a 44 foot catamaran on the beach using the tides might not take much muscle power, but it takes a lot of preparation.

Dave had chosen a stunningly beautiful bay for this project that I later started to call: “The Bay of the Jesus fish”, for reasons you will soon understand.

Beaching a 44 foot catamaran

The morning of this project had begun extremely early, at five o’clock in the morning. From our anchorage point, we turned the ship with the bow towards the beach. In our path, we let an anchor off the stern to pull us back out once the job was done, while the bow was attached in the bushes behind the beach. Once the ship was secured and held in position, we had to secure the keels and rudders from below. The keels were fairly easy and could be kept from sinking in the sand by four wooden planks per hull. The finer rudders however, needed a somewhat more delicate construction. It took Claudia and me about an hour to get the hoists into place. Eventually we managed, the hoists looked great and our chests swell of pride.

A reef teeming of life

Once finished and a quick lunch in, work continued with a paint job on the port propeller that needed some anti fouling. A propeller with barnacles all over it, doesn’t quite do the job, other than express feeding the barnacles. Anyhow, it was a job quickly accomplished, which made time for a snorkel tour in the bay.

And what a bay it was. The shore was lined with a rich, sloping reef filled with all kinds of corals. The fishes were dancing above and below their branches, playing hide and seek. Some snacking plankton in the waters above, yet others lurking on the bottom to prey upon the unwary. A coral reef as it should be, not perfect, but possibly as pristine as it gets in our polluted and ocean acidified times.

Periophthalmus

The Jesus Fish

But the highlight of the bay, we had already discovered the day before in the tidal pool of a stand of mangroves to our right. In the sandy curves and clear waters of this tiny stream and in between the roots of mangroves lives a fish that walks on water, or simply, the Jesus fish. So I took up my camera and crouched below the roots, fighting myriads of mosquitoes and sandflies to get a shot of them. Turns out, the Jesus Fish was just as popular with the flies as I was (take a close look on the eye!).

How these fish walk on water has not become quite clear to me, but it seemed to be a mix of jumping by flipping their tail fin and walking using their pectoral fins. Once scared, they rather criss-crossed over the surface than going in a straight line. In any case, a very peculiar fish.

Since the boat was already up and out of the water, we spent the rest of the afternoon scrubbing the hulls from the outside. Before we pulled out and ended the day once more with a nice, cold beer on deck of our sheltering “Soggy Paws”.

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