13 February 2011 | Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Beth / hot yesterday, cool today
After spending Friday morning in Governor’s Harbour picking up another load of water (from the tap at the fish fry stand), saying our goodbyes to Theresa and Andrew, and doing a little shopping for T-shirts and groceries, Liam, Jim and I set sail for Pineapple Cays.
A short motor sail later, we dropped anchor just southeast of East Bluff. It would be a fine anchorage in another wind but was not ideal this time because there wasn’t enough protection from the SE wind and swells, and we were positioned stern to the shore - never a confidence inducing situation. However, we were dug in and we had places to go so we didn’t worry about it. We got into bathing suits, loaded up the snorkel gear, spear, bucket and shelling bags and set off to explore Sheep Cay. After circling the cay, we beached the dinghy in the tiny horseshoe shaped beach on the eastern side and went snorkelling from there. The grassy bottom must be prime feeding grounds for baby fish because there were literally thousands of inch long fish swarming all around. Snorkelling through them was fascinating - I couldn’t feel them on my skin, yet my whole field of vision was filled with their wiggly bodies, flashing all silvery in the late afternoon sun. We saw a large school of juvenile needle fish along with some mature ones, as well as a barracuda or two. Jim and Liam spotted a yellow ray - a new one for us. There were also some yellow tailed fish, and a very quick and elusive Nassau grouper. Gee, those fish can slide under rocks and into holes in short order. The Nassau Grouper is out of season right now so we couldn’t have gotten it anyway, but it didn’t seem to know it was not in danger. Liam grazed one of the yellow ones but it wiggled off his spear and darted away. Shucks!
I found one pretty, and very smelly, little conch shell, but we mostly just enjoyed swimming around and looking. After returning to Madcap, we decided to move over to the area of deep water between Sheep Cay and the mainland to get out of the worst of the swells. It worked and although the space is somewhat narrow, we were well dug in. Even though we circled around as the wind shifted through the night, we never moved far from where we had stopped.
We were on the go again by 8:30 on Saturday morning headed for Rock Sound. With the main and the yankee up, we enjoyed a lovely sail on a broad reach until we reached Sound point and then roared close hauled across Rock Sound to the anchorage off the town. This time we are one of 9 boats in the harbour - a change from two weeks ago. Another change is that we are considerably further out from shore.
Although we had been anchored in closer for a whole week, we found that we were bouncing off the bottom in the same place this time. There might be two reasons for this: the wind has been blowing steadily and may be pushing the water down this big bay, and because last time the winds were light and the sea flat, we didn’t experience the troughs and crests that bounced us up and down this time. We also discovered that our depth sounder must have gotten accidentally reset so it wasn’t offset to the correct depth. It generally shows the water below our keel, but it was adding about 5 feet to that. We must have been blissfully sitting in about 6 inches of calm water at low tide all that week!
We did the re-anchoring thing again, digging in well with a whole foot and a half to spare, and then headed ashore. A visit to the hardware store netted us a couple of new fishing lures, the grocery store supplied Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, and we bought some new movies at George’s Arts and Crafts across the road from the wonderfully named “In Da Hole” store by the dinghy dock. Then we zoomed back to the boat for dinner ...
... and finally I get to the title of this posting ... because .... drum roll here .... we had successful fishermen on board today!
As we came along the coast, Liam had the fishing rod out. Much to his annoyance, he had one that got away because we didn’t have the net handy enough. Out went the line again, and a short time later we heard the zinging that signaled something had grabbed the lure. We all gasped delightedly as he pulled in a beautiful mutton snapper (at least that’s what we think it was as we looked it up in the fish book!) Jim had his yoyo line running off the other side of the boat and shortly after that, he pulled in a cero - a member of the mackerel family. What excitement there was on this boat! We haven’t been good fishermen up to this point and it was an unbelievable treat to dine on fish we caught ourselves. The snapper was just delicious. The cero was good but bony and not quite as tasty. The guys cleaned and filleted them and I baked them with a squeeze of lime juice and some grinds of fresh pepper. We topped off the evening with one of our new movies - “Salt” - a spy thriller - very good too.
Today (Sunday) was overcast and cool. We spent the morning on board and then went ashore to visit the boiling hole, the ocean hole and on a fruitless search for a payphone that had all its working parts. Back on board, we pulled out the Scrabble game and for the second time this trip we both lost to Liam. He is a master at seeing patterns and finding ways to use those double and triple word squares. As I write this, he and his dad are into some very competitive cribbage play, and from the sounds I hear from the cockpit, Jim is redeeming himself!