Day Six – Second Cruise on the Auriga II
Wednesday, November 24th , 1999

Today is our second and final diving day.  This time it looks like we may have some real competition as far as air consumption goes. A couple from another resort has joined our group.  Like us, they carry their own equipment and confidently and professionally set it up.  They, like us, are on the small side which means they have a natural advantage over your medium-to-large diver as far as air usage goes.

Our destinations today are two dive sites off Ranguana Caye. Ranguana Caye offers some real possibilities as a future vacation spot.  Like Laughingbird, it is a tiny patch of land well offshore.  It sports a sandy beach all around and a few palm trees and scrub.  Unlike the other caye, it has several small buildings that serve as a resort destination.  Like floatplane trips into the interior of Alaska, you can be dropped off on the island (with food) and left to your own devices for as long as you want.  A miniature Gilligan’s Island!

If it weren’t for the dive boats dropping off snorkelers all day it would be dead quiet and calm.  It must be an eerie feeling at night with nothing but black water all around you and the stars overhead.

We drop off our snorkelers and head for the first dive spot.  When we get there, the new folks are asked how much weight they want.  I forget what the guy wanted, but the woman asked for 20 lbs!  My jaw dropped since I carry 8 in tropical water and Judy carries 10.  This girl was rail thin and I couldn’t imagine what was holding her up even without additional weight.

In and down we go, following the divemaster as he leisurely find his way along.  Judy and I were taking pictures and admiring the scenery.  This dive set a new depth record for us as we briefly hit 70 ft. – no big deal, but we usually stay up where there is more light.  As the 40 minute magic moment came up the divemaster signaled for us to begin our ascent.  I looked around for the two other divers, but didn’t see them.  Our DM wasn’t concerned and when we surfaced we found them already on the boat.  This seemed unusual, but I assumed that one of them had equipment problems or something.

Back to Ranguana, more mystery meat and cookies for lunch, a nice loll in the sand and some snorkeling. This was the best snorkeling we have ever seen anywhere, and made us think seriously about staying in those little cabins for a day or two!  There were huge schools of fish of all sizes, as well as long beautiful coral heads at all depths. Then, back out for the second dive.

This time I tracked the other divers a bit more closely.  It appeared that the woman was fiddling with her BC constantly, inflating it and then letting air out.  She wasn’t using it up by breathing, but by constantly venting it overboard!  I was floored.  About 30 minutes into the dive she was out of air and up they went.  Judy and I stayed the full 40 minutes and once again surfaced with 1200 PSI in our tanks.  I was going to mention what I observed to the other couple, but the opportunity never presented itself.  Oh well, to each his or her own.  47 minutes underwater, maximum depth 73 ft, 60 ft visibility, 78 degrees.

Back on shore we treated ourselves to some killer frozen concoction in the bar and went back to our room to read and relax a bit..

Judy had read about Luba Hati on the net. Luba Hati, “The House of the Moon” in the local dialect, is a small, seven room resort on the Placencia Peninsula just up the road from Rum Point.  It was reputed to have the best food in the country which, of course, made it number one on our list of places to explore.  Luba Hati was not to disappoint.

As usual, we arrived before the dining room opened and dropped into the bar to kill a few minutes before the main event.  Sitting at the bar we found the owner Franco, a large jovial man.  We exchanged pleasantries and had a very enjoyable conversation.

This being Luba Hati “The House of the Moon”, and this being the night of the full moon, we were invited to join a ritual.  We climbed with Franco and his resident dogs to meet his wife on the third story observation deck, and observe the full moon rise over the warm tropical water, perfectly framed by the two wings of the inn, which was apparently built with just this in mind.  It was really quite spectacular and moving just to stand there quietly in the warm breeze and moonlight.

Dinner was superb, as promised.  Judy had a delectable sautéed chicken breast with a balsamic vinegar sauce, which, surprisingly, came with wonderful sautéed plantains (rather than potatoes or rice).  I, of course, had lobster, but what a lobster!  For one thing,  it was huge.  It was served in the shell, which was a bit unusual, but best of all it had been finished by poaching in a fish broth.  This not only added a wonderful flavor to the meat, but made it remarkably tender as well.  Bravo, Franco!