Emerald Bay (Indian Rock) with Fred and Spencer

On Saturday morning, as I was sitting on the back of Mandala, a 18' bayliner goes slowly by and I'm looking at the guy on it, and he's looking at me, and I'm thinking "that guy looks like Fred Grant", and then he slows, turns around and comes back and says "Pat? Pat Horton?", and wouldn't you know it, it IS Fred, and he's here with his son Spencer! Fred worked with me for many years at Intuit, and is one of the nicest and most knowlegable people in the business. He's now at H.R. Block, but that's another story ...

Anyways, we catch up on old times, and he says he's in for the weekend, that he brought the 50hp motorboat from the coast in 2-3 hours :-) and that he's here with another boat that is arriving Avalon later. But he's got to go back to White Cove, to meet them, so after this pleasant chat, we let him go, and make our plans to take the dinghy up to Emerald Bay, about two miles away, to go snorkeling.

An hour or two later, we're in our gear, getting in the dinghy just as Fred comes back by in the bayliner again. He say's that he's also going out to Emerald Bay with Spencer and would we like to join him? For sure! Instead of a half hour dinghy ride, we're there in 10 minutes, drop anchor, and spend an hour or so snorkeling and swimming. We had a great time snorkeling at Emerald Bay, and it was great seeing Fred.

He got us back to Mandala just as quickly as he had whisked us to Emerald Bay, and said "see ya" to rejoin his other friends, and we spent the rest of the day putzing around, took the dinghy in to shore, had a few drinks, checked out the band, and got a few items from the general store. We bar-b-qued on the boat that night and had a restful night's sleep again.

Mandala to Emerald Bay

On Sunday, we decided to fill the fuel tank (we were down to 1/4 tank) at Isthmus Harbor and move Mandala up to Emerald Bay where we had gone snorkeling the previous day. So we slipped our mooring, then waited about 45 minutes in line before we were able to take on fuel. It was crowded, and there were many dinghies in the water and other boats waiting. It was a little tricky leaving the fuel dock, but we got underway with no mishaps.

Emerald Bay is only about 2 miles from Isthmus Harbor. It's the site of a Boy Scout Camp. And Indian Rock.

We contacted the Harbor Patrol and they assigned us a slip, D12, on the back row, near the beach. As we wanted to go snorkeling, we looked around a bit and decided that another mooring, R12, right in front of Indian Rock would be better. After a few more calls to the Harbor Patrol guy, the message that came thru was, "pick any mooring you like, ask us, and if it's available, you can have it", so we moved Mandala up to the "front row".

Our location was great in that we could go snorkeling right off of Mandala without even deploying the dinghy. So, almost as soon as we got settled in, we went snorkeling around Indian Rock. The water was pretty clear ... 20-30ft visibility, and warm, 68-69 degrees, and we were able to spend an hour or so in the water without any discomfort. I brought some old hot dog buns for chum and we saw many fish of three or four species. The different kinds of kelp swaying in the swell were very pretty, as were the bright blue and purple urchins. Along with the usual Garibaldi and Bass, we saw some brightly colored tropical looking fishes as well.

As we were enjoying our Evening Cocktail, we didn't think tou much about it when a couple of small motor boats came up, rafted together, and started fishing. It started becoming unsettling when they started catching fish. Note that we had been seeing divers all day around the rock. For instance, a dive boat brought 40 or more scuba divers out earlier in the day, and the boy scout camp sent dozens of kayakers and snorkelers out here throughout the day. The general feeling was that it was a place to observe, not kill, the wildlife.

Then the people on the boat got rigged up and went spear fishing. And we were taken aback when the father started whooping with joy because he had managed to kill a 3 ft shark right in front of our boat. Clearly if 50 people a day were to come here and fish this little rock, there would soon be no fish left for the people to appreciate when diving and snorkeling. Mind you that there are also 100 or more boats moored in this bay, the focus of which is this single small rocky reef.

It was very sad to us.

We stayed two nights in Emerald Bay. The first night was very rolly, as the downside of being in the front row was that we were among the more exposed moorings in the bay. There were small 1-2 ft. swells, but they were quartering us on the bow, causing the boat to corkscrew on the mooring, all night long. At about 3:00 a.m., as the tide changed, Mandala rolled pretty good for a while, making sleep somewhat difficult.

The second morning I went snorkeling in the calm waters. We went for a cruise out of the bay, 3 miles off, to run the macerator, then came back and did some exploration with the dinghy and more snorkeling throughout the day.

Late in the day, we were again upset a little, when some teenages came by and started spear hunting. I watched them as they killed 3 fish - they would holler and show the fish above the water on their spear. But they didn't have a bag or anything to carry the fish in. In fact, they appeared to be killing the fish for fun :-(

When they got back on their little boat, I took the dinghy over and asked them how their fishing was and if they were gonna eat what they had caught and could I see their catch, and they couldn't even show me a fish, as they apparently were underneath the sunbathing girl laying in the rubber boat ... hmph. I hope/think they got the message, or at least a little bit of a guilty concience as I told them how many people a day come by and dive here for the beauty of it all and I bid them adieu (like "I hope you're leaving now").

We had come to have a protective feeling for this little spot of beauty.

Images of Emerald Bay