We had a lot of time in St Kitts, so we got pretty familiar with the reefs around the three anchorages we stayed in. The most impressive reefs are in Shitten Bay, so that’s where most of these were taken, but there are some pictures from White House and Ballast bays mixed in as well. The thumbnails in the galleries are often cut off, so if you’re reading this on a laptop, you can see the whole picture if you click on it.
You’re probably just reading the blog to see pictures of Jazz, so let’s start with her. 🙂
There were lots of turtles. We most often saw them from our boat, surfacing to breath and cast a gimlet eye at us, but occasionally we would find one under water, munching on seagrass or skulking under a coral head. Inevitably, they would swim away when they noticed us watching.
Also from the marine megafauna department, there were a couple of rays that seemed to call the area home. Occasionally spotted from the boat as well, as these guys can jump several feet out of the water. They, too, are habitual skulkers.
And of course, we saw lots of coral. We saw plenty of damage, but not very much bleaching, which was a nice change from some previous islands.
Where there is coral, inevitably there be fishes. Pufferfish are probably over-represented here, and parrotfish under-represented, because the latter are super skittish about being close enough to the camera to come out well. You’ll have to trust me that they come in all kinds of fun colors.
A couple of species get special mention. First, clown nudibranches, which are all over the place and are just so darn cute.
These flat guys do an amazing impression of a magic eye. Also they have weird eyes.
And I loved this trumpetfish pretending to be a mooring line. Nice try, buddy!
There were also some squid around. Sometimes they joined the “cleanup crew” eating the things I scraped off the boat bottom. One time, one of them pretended to be part of our anchor chain.
We saw a fair number of sea cucumbers, which are super gross looking.
There were a number of lobsters, though all pretty small.
Actually big fish were pretty rare in general – we think the local fishermen are picking these reefs over pretty thoroughly. We saw people snorkeling with spear guns pretty much daily, and several boats of fishermen passed through the anchorages checking their traps.
Speaking of local things: Shitten Bay has a lot of mooring balls. But the quality of the ground tackle varies dramatically. There are maybe 10 balls on the side we stayed on, and only 2 seemed trustworthy; several of the others looked like they were literally just discarded truck parts with a line tied to them. (One was always occupied by a charter boat, whose occupants were unable to return it due to the quarantine. Rough life, stuck on that Lagoon 520…)
Not that the mooring matters all that much – there’s so little wind in Shitten Bay that you mostly just float around randomly.
A couple other random highlights: these sand-dwelling eels, which shrink into the ground if you get too close, and this field of mushroom-like things growing out in the grass.
And finally, Starfish. We got the tip-off to swim in the north part of White House Bay, where we wouldn’t normally have bothered going since there is no coral there. But it turns out to be full of starfish, in all kinds of colors. A couple of them were six-legged, which was neat.