02 February 2008 | Norman's Cay
We sailed away to Highborne Cay on Friday, enjoying a very pleasant sail over there. When we stopped, we could still see the masts from where we started out! We're not in the "making tracks" mood here.
At Highborne, boats anchor just along the western shore. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed on the island - unless one is a paying visitor to the marina. Seems a shame to us - this beautiful beach was just ahead of us with not a soul on it and no houses overlooking it. However, we didn't push our luck by going for a walk. Instead, we dinghied to a couple of spots and snorkeled - Jim with his spear in hand. No luck on the hunter/gatherer front, but beautiful fish to look down on and fronds wafting back and forth in the current. I think my favourites are the Queen Trigger fish. Look them up to see what they look like - they're really lovely, and they have the most endearing habit of tipping sideways to focus an eye on the swimmer above them. Most of the fish take no notice - other than scurrying away if one makes a sudden movement, but those triggerfish are curious ladies. It's almost as if they are tilting their heads to get a better look - and I suppose they are; they are flatfish with an eye on each side of their bodies. They are supposed to be fair food fish but I have no idea how steely hearted - or hungry - one would have to be to ever kill one.
By sunset, there were 10 boats anchored there, several familiar ones - Celebrian (and note to Jason: Rob says Hi!) First Edition, and Ketchen Dreams among them. Kathy and Mike (Sapphire) came over for drinks and lively conversation and we laughed the night away - Kathy and I marveling at the number of stars over our heads, and the fact that we are really here.
As I was out checking the lines late one recent evening, my sarong fluttering around my calves and my shirt billowing in the breeze - millions of stars above me, and my home under my barefeet, the thought passed through my mind that if one had asked me at forty something what I would be doing ten years later, never in a million years would I have pictured myself doing this. But here I am - traveling about as co-captain on a sailboat, feeling confident and vital and interesting. How about that?!
Jim and I took a run into the marina, on Saturday morning. We picked up a jerry can of fuel - pricey at $5.10 per US gallon - the most expensive yet. I bought some milk and a package of frozen chicken at the little store (just in case this dearth of fishing continues). I took a pass on the bag of tortilla chips for $6.95 and the small bottle of balsamic vinegar for $7.95. Yikes! Either we find these at better prices elsewhere or they have become luxury foods to enjoy on trips back home. I suspect we'll find slightly better prices elsewhere. This was a pretty little marina, but the only boats there were large power yachts.
After a perfectly lovely 3-hour leisurely sail on a broad reach (wind aft of the beam - like in the stern quarter - or three quarters of the way back along the side of the boat - do all my boating and non-boating friends know where that wind was coming from?) we turned into the anchorage at the southern end of Norman's Cay. This cay was famous in the 1970's as centre of Carlos Lehder's drug smuggling operation. We'll spend a day or two exploring this area - walking the beautiful beach that sailors are allowed to set foot on, perhaps enjoying a hamburger at McDuff's, which is reported to serve the best hamburgers in the Bahamas, and making another try at catching dinner! We yearn for crawfish.