Trouble in Paradise, Paradise Island, that is! This requires a bit more explanation, however, that is water--sea water--overflowing from the bilge, above the floorboard, past Michael's ankles...into the battery compartment. About 9 inches! Thank goodness we did not stay at the resort for dinner And thank heavens Michael spent all last winter rewiring the entire boat so he could assess and fix quickly. Ahhh...
Whatever happens the rest of our visit to the Bahamas, I will always remember this first week as perfect!
After we were checked in, we had an early dinner and took off for the Berry Islands, about 85 nm from Cat Cay. (For estimating the amount of time a passage will take, we used 5.5 nm/hr, so about 15 hours for this one. The speed estimate is dependent on a number of variables—will we be under sail, motoring or, more likely motor-sailing? What is the wind speed and direction? Are currents with us or against us, with the wind or against it? Are we dealing with rough seas or calm waters?) Again, Michael and I took shifts (he 7-midnight, I midnight-4, he 4-arrival, about 9 am). Though we were tired, again, it was uneventful. And we enjoyed a beautiful sunset, too!
Whale Cay and not a soul in sight. No other boats, no people. And water that was even more impossibly clear and beautiful than we had seen in Cat Cay the day before! Two bottlenose dolphins greeted us as we arrived and there were enormous starfish everywhere! Oh, this is going to be FUN!
Michael went straight to sleep as soon as we anchored. Ally and I again hit the water! I broke out my mask and fins for the first time—Ally and Michael had checked out their gear while we were still in FL. Wow! There is a whole world under there! I still am not positive I want to know about it all, but I am going to give this snorkeling thing my best effort…will add the snorkel itself next. Gym today was swimming around the boat!
I practiced yoga on deck. Michael inflated the standup paddleboard and he and Ally both gave that a whirl. Camp Ward has moved to the Bahamas for the winter! I went for a kayak to explore the deserted beach. Have you ever been the first and only person to leave your footprints on the beach? What a tremendous feeling! And the quiet…it was almost uncomfortable it was so complete.
The next day we took the dinghy into the beach and explored on foot. There were several primitive roads, and even tire marks, but we saw no sign of anyone else the entire day. We walked one of the roads to get to the other side of the island, and were rewarded with the most amazing shelling we could have imagined! Ally and I were in heaven…as was Michael, who enjoyed a nap on the beach!
Time to break out all of the guide books the Beams (a local Mattapoisett family from s/v Helia, who went on a similar trip two years ago) were generous enough to lend to us! Starfish, Tulips, Queen or Pink Conchs, King Helmets, Sea Biscuits, Sand Dollars, Tritons, Cowries, Nerites, Top Shells, Cones, Olives, Clams, Whelks, Sea Urchins…oh my! And those are just the shells! Ally and I are learning the classification system (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species…King Phillip Came Over For Great Spaghetti, anyone??) and are planning to create our own personal field guide! We decided that if a shell is occupied, we would take a picture and let them be (unless we plan to have them for dinner!).
We took the dinghy around the island, checking out other beaches—all seemingly deserted, as well—along the way. We saw a plane land on the air strip we had seen on the chart. Later, when we rounded one point, we saw some sort of structure on the beach…and people! Ack…turn around! I am sure they did not want to see us any more than we wanted to see them J The following day we had a ‘traffic jam’ on the ‘road’—a jeep, a golf cart and the three of us! They stopped and we thought they might kick us off the island, as many of the islands here are privately owned. But they were delightful and were just on their way to see if there were any conch. We commented on what a delightful spot they had and they told us that there were only eight houses on the island, all Canadians. Not a bad thing they have going on! They went on their way, we went on ours and we never saw them again.
Ally has officially become Michael’s snorkeling buddy! They broke out the GoPro and started experimenting. I will spare you the raw footage and will post some video when we figure out how to edit! My hunter came home with three spiny lobsters!! We grilled the tails with butter and garlic…mmmmm!!
This week really was perfect, complete with a full moon the last night!
Michael to Ally: “Are you ready to go explore some more?” Ally: “I am ALWAYS ready to explore!” So when she takes off for parts unknown with some sailor or the Peace Corps or any other of a millions ways she will want to explore this world, remind us we created this traveling adventure-seeker…and we quite deserve it!