This is the life, I think, as I sit back on the cushioned seat of the Moorings yacht – my home while exploring the British Virgin Islands – sated from a lunch of sautéed garlic shrimp on salad and crusty French bread. We’re moored for the afternoon, one of only four other boats bobbing off the blinding white, palm-studded circle of sand imaginatively named Sandy Spit, not far from Jost Van Dyke.
A dark triangular shadow gliding underwater catches my eye. A stingray! I snag a shrimp off the platter, slip on my snorkel gear and dip into the clear water, hoping to entice the ray, but it’s gone. Then I spot a cluster of tiny squid, three to four inches in length, hanging beneath the boat. I count 40 of them. I’ve never seen so many. I try to entice them with the shrimp, but still no interest. So I leave them behind to snorkel the pristine patch reef a few hundred yards away. There, a flash flood of blue tangs washes past and the electric-blue dots of the damselfish sparkle across the coral. When I return to my boat I find that the squid have multiplied by a factor of at least ten; they’ve now scattered along the entire length of the hull – an incredible sight.