We stayed put another day at Morgan’s, waiting out a strong south wind. Went ashore for a beach walk, which turned up some interesting driftwood and seashells, then went back to the bar for a Kalik (local beer). Ellen ordered conch salad, which, as she put it, “included the show” as we watched it being deftly prepared in the back of the fisherman’s boat. He even gave her the shell as a souvenir. We also got to chatting with a local man who turned out to be the supervisor for the shipping company whose barge was being loaded with cartons of grapefruit in the harbor … and ended up with a case (a CASE!) of grapefruit for $10.
|The view from our table, waiting for conch salad. Can you say "fresh"?|
Time to move on. We’re only 2 days travel from the Exumas, the central area of the Bahamas and the region we intend to spend the winter in. The only practical harbor for us on this trip, in this wind direction, was somewhat short of halfway, so we motor-sailed, knowing we’d have a longer day the second day. We were the only two boats anchored in a roomy cove. Just after sunset we had a brief heavy rainstorm. It was dark, it was warm, it was private, so we got naked on the foredeck and had a fresh water shower. We’d been warned that fresh water was expensive in the Exumas, as much as 50 cents per gallon, but I wonder if we’d been taking the water conservation thing a bit far? It was fun, though.
Much of the trip next day was over impossibly clear bottle-green water with hints of gold – another color I have no name for. We arrived at Allen’s Cay and set the hook at about 4 PM and I immediately changed into a swimsuit and jumped in. We’d arrived! And the water was perfect – clear, turquoise, and a delightful refreshing temperature after a long day. But oh! BIG surprise when Dan decided to go for a swim about an hour later – so much current picked up that he didn’t feel safe going more than a boat length. By sheer luck we’d arrived at slack water (the time when the tide reverses and the current is still). This could have been a problem if I’d jumped, unknowing, at maximum ebb or flood tide – the current probably wouldn’t have swept me away but it could have been quite a challenge. Note to self: Wonder if this is where the cliché “Look before you leap” came from?
There’s a cynical saying that cruising is just doing boat maintenance in exotic ports. The next day that was at least partly true as Dan swam around the boat cleaning algae from the water line while I opened every hatch and sprayed mold killer on the overhead in the main cabin and V-berth. The next few days were better, though, as we got in some snorkeling and a dinghy trip to a nearby beach inhabited by iguanas the size of a cat. I made tuna steaks for dinner covered with a salsa from one of the fresh grapefruit we’d gotten on Andros. There were a few more days filled with snorkeling, including one spot where Dan jumped in an saw two gray shapes glide quickly away. Remorae (“sharksuckers”) were grazing on our hull – does this mean our boat looks like a shark from below? We moved to a lovely, very protected marina on nearby Highbourne Cay to wait out big winds from the edge of the same storm that dumped almost 2 feet of snow on our friends back in Annapolis. But now the weather has calmed and we’re ready to move on; probably out of internet range for a week or two. Happy holidays, all!
|Shades of blue water on the east side of Highbourne Cay|
|Photographing the iguanas at Allen's Cay (photo by James Forsyth)|
(slightly modified from a blog post in the Annapolis Capital; originally posted 21 December 2009)