18 March, 2016

Wednesday morning didn’t come quick enough.  I was excited about getting some lobsters, and had a lot of stuff to do before we could go. Low tide was at around 10h00.  That meant that our bikes, which had been idle for a while, needed to be unpacked, chains and derailleurs lubed, tires aired up, and luggage racks re-installed, then dropped to the dinghy for their ½ mile ride to the dock.  Snorkel gear needed to be unstowed, and packed in to carryable packages.  Peanut butter toast, and we were on our way by 08h30.  Due to the early low tide, we decided to head to the spot that was only a mile or so from the boat.  Since “everyone” knew about this spot, we figured that we’d maybe only get a bug or two.  After we got the bikes loaded with gear, Suz decided that mine looked like a vehicle out of “Mad Max”, with our spears sticking out over the front tire.  The road out to the beach was a challenge.  The island is comprised of rock, and any unpaved roads (and this is most of them) are surfaced with large sharp rocks, and are deeply rutted, with washed out sand in any depressions.  We had a nice swim, but that was about it.  Figured that the place was “lobstered out”.  We stashed our bikes behind Tyrone’s house, and hotfooted it back to the Girl, as the Georgetown gang had organized a beach cleanup outing for 13h00. 15 or 20 of us made a nice dent in cleaning up a 2-mile stretch of beach on the windward side.  Through our stay this year in the Exumas, we had become very familiar with items from the ill-fated “El Faro”, the freighter that went down with all hands during Hurricane Joaquin in October.  Among other flotsam, we picked up numerous syringes, jars of mayonnaise, yogurt, Axe bodywash, plastic tubes of M&M’s, and roll-on deodorant.  Many of the aerosol cans were nearly decomposed by rust, and there was virtually no glass-just PLASTIC!  It certainly makes you think twice about buying products packaged in this stuff.  There must be a better way.  Back to the boat for a quick wash up, and to shore for the “Closing Ceremonies” at Sou’ Side bar and Grill.  Busy day, so it was an early night for me and the Boss.

Thursday, St. Paddy’s day and we’re on a bug hunt again.  This time, we’re off to David’s secret spot on the windward side of the island opposite McCann settlement.  It’s about a 5 kilometer ride, but since it’s only 0900, the temperature is conducive.  On the way down, we can hear the feral goats in the underbrush next to the road, the kid’s plaintive cries sound so human, it’s eerie.  Once off the main road (and I use this term loosely), we’re confronted with a washed-out two track littered with 3” in diameter, sharp rocks and eroded gashes up to a foot deep which climbs up, angles down to a brackish pond, then climbs back up as it meanders the ¾ of a mile to end on a cliff overlooking the coral reef below.  After taking a few moments to admire the view, we unload the bikes and stash them in the undergrowth.  Next, we’ve got a half mile hike over the razor-sharp coral rocks out to the beach.  This stuff is mucho serious.  One fall, and you’re gonna end up with a cut to the bone.  We’re not really visualizing ourselves being treated for an injury in a third world country, so the going is slow.  Once down to the beach, we’re treated to a mile of desolate sand, and blue, light blue, sorta blue, green, aqua water.  (I think that the Bahamians must have as many words for the water color here as the Inuit have for snow.  The variations never fail to take your breath away).  Not a soul in sight, and no sounds indicating the presence of other humans.  Full of anticipation, we pull on our diveskins, snorkels, and fins and embark on our small game hunt on to the uncharted reef.  Two hours later, as the tide starts coming back in, we’re thinking that we pretty much suck at this lobstering thing.  There were tons of good “hidey holes” among the coral heads and rocks strewn around the bottom, but did we see a single lobster?  Nein!  The best we could do was a 4’ barracuda that followed us the whole time that we were in the water. On the way home, we stopped at the Hillside Market, as the “Mail Boat” had come in the day before, and fresh vegetables would be on the shelf.  Only problem was that when we got to the checkout, Suz didn’t have any money, and she thought that I should have some.  By the time we brought the bikes back to the boat by dinghy, and I returned to the store to pay for our stuff, she had the Girl ready to go.  The rest of the Georgetown crew had pretty much departed while we were gone.  We took the ride up to Calabash Bay on the northwest end of Long Island laying atop the pilothouse roof, catching some rays, with the autopilot remote in hand.  The anchorage there was reported to be affected by a fair bit of ocean swell, but in settled weather like we were finally experiencing, we figured that it’d be fine for an overnight.  Well……...It was pretty rolly.  We didn’t bother to take the dinghy down, and opted for sundowners on the back porch, as we planned a morning departure for Conception Island.  We were so excited about having scored fresh fruit and veggies, that we took full advantage.  Suz whipped up some slushies on this, the 50th anniversary of their invention. (‘cept hers were made with papaya, banana, coconut cream, rum, ice, and of course, soy milk and protein powder to keep things healthy).  We love our Vitamix.  For dinner, it was salad topped with, you guessed it, grilled Mahi.

We were out of the anchorage by 09h00.  Since we would be crossing deep water on our way to Conception, the rods were out, and the hooks baited.  We’d been doing so well fishing, that we figured that all it took was to wet a line.  In spite of the Admiral doing the fish dance and chanting her soon to be patented fish call, we came up with a giant goose egg for our 2 ½ hour efforts.  We’re now entering through the reef to the anchorage on the northwest end of the island.  The Bight is ringed by a shallow, rocky coral reef to the north, and a mile of pure, sandy beach to the east, and rocks to the south.  There are only 6 other boats here, and it looks like a great place to hang for a few days.


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