In the morning the bugs were not as bad as the previous night and soon the sun was up chasing them down into the sand.
Just how fantastic the water colors are is hard to relate and the pictures really don't do it justice as many of them are clouded by salt and water droplets on the lens.
After breakfast the group once again split up into two parts. One went north and paddled out into the cut to see if there was any action on the ocean side. The other group let the east wind blow them over the 5 miles to the Brigantine Bank islands. We headed for what I thought was Gold Ring Cay, but as we got much closer, could see that it was the end of Cooks Cay. The colors of the water over the shallow sand banks was truly spectacular. Starfish and rays lay on the bottom, perfectly visible in the insanely clear water.
After a brief stop on the end of Cooks Cay and a very short trip into the nearly filled in Mangrove pond on the west end ( I saw a barracuda cruising in the mangroves), we struck out for the channel on the north side of Gold Ring Cay. Slipping into the lee on the west side of the key, we paddled down to another mangrove bay where we found a good entrance. We paddled into the little bay, scarring up two turtles. they sped away at an impressive rate, hugging the bank of the narrow channel. We saw a number of birds in the pond, herons of some type, one with a crest. On the outside of the pond we stopped to go snorkeling in the shallow waters there. I went out to the little rock just to the south while Susan Mary and Steve snorkeled in close to the shore. I circled the little rock and saw a number of medium sized fish around some coral heads, which I blasted with my spear - the rocks not the fish. Apparently my spear fishing aim has gotten a little rusty over the last 30 years.
I returned to the shore to hear a lot of excitement about a scorpion that Steve had found in his pants while changing out of his swim suit after snorkeling. Susan wanted to take a picture but Mary wouldn't drop the towel she was holding for Steve. What fun is that?
While they were preparing to paddle on, I went around the corner to a small beach in the channel between Gold Ring Cay and New Cay. The current was just turning and the paddle was easy. The beach on the far shore was gorgeous but looked steep and not very far above the high tide line. Apparently a strong current flows between the two cays as the bottom was covered by tumps and was about 4 meters deep.
After the others joined me from the other side of the point we continued around the north end of New Cay. There we crossed a wide bay of very shallow water over pure white sand. Clearly this all went dry at low a water. In the crook of the bay was a beach where the trade wind had piled the sand up into a 3 meter dune. The beach looked wide enough to camp on but since we didn't want to get caught at low water trying to get away from the beach we continued on. Around the corner we saw 11 kayaks headed for us. It was the Outward Bound group that we knew were headed out this way. In about a half mile farther, we located a beach smaller beach with a little more water out front and enough real estate to squeeze our tents on. Soon the other part of our group located our tents on the beach and we were one group again.
On to Day 7 ..............
I put my tent up on a small clearing on top of the dune at the end of the beach. It had a great view over the water. After getting my tent up and gear stowed in the tent I decided to kick off my sandals that were once again grinding on my sore ankles. I kicked one sandal off then the other and stepped off into the sand. Unfortunately that very first step was right on a sharp stick buried in the sand. I drove it a 1/4 inch into the bottom of my foot. With a few choice words I sat down and pulled the stick out of my foot. Out comes the medical kit and after 30 minutes I had some antiseptic on, sprayed it with liquid bandage, put on a plastic bandage, done the same with my ankle sores and wrapped everything up in duct tape to try to keep it all on.