A Plane and a Bar
04 February 2008 | Norman's Cay
We had a fine time exploring Norman's Cay - in and out of the water. We dinghied around the southern corner of the cay, marveling at the breathtaking display of colours and cays. A lone palm tree topped one little cay and I later learned that it is locally referred to as Gilligan's Island. We could identify a dozen colours of green and blue - continually shifting as the sun moved over them, and edged by white sand and grey coral. We stopped to get the lay of the land from Kelly on Kwitcherbitchin, and went ashore in search of McDuff's. It was a most remarkable little journey: beach the dinghy, walk up to the sandy road that leads kitty corner across the southern end of the cay, come to an opening in the casaurina trees and find a wide flat landing strip - still in use, then walk across it to where we hear voices, up the steps and into a beautiful bar and restaurant.
McDuff's with cheery Stefan behind the bar, Sally (Gypsy Palace) making sure everyone had what they needed, and a group of local folks discussing American politics as they perched on barstools was a real find. A plug-in to the internet was available to patrons so I made the last few postings before joining the others for hamburger platters. They were good - just like the book said they would be. Jim even spotted some McCain's French Fry boxes out by the back door! The bar is beautifully designed with natural wood all round, the main part screened and with a big porch on one side. Large wicker chairs with comfy cushions, low tables on colourful rugs, lots of candles in sand and shell filled glass vases, magazines for leafing through... all beckoned the visitor to spend awhile. There were attractive wood and tile tables and chairs for serious eating and the long L shaped bar looked to be a perfect place to perch for an hour of socializing.
The bathroom was amusing - when I asked directions, I was told, "under the green umbrella" and sure enough there it was. A fully functioning flush toilet, big sink with cold running water - all spotlessly clean - just around a corner and a step up off the sand. It had three walls of palm fronds and the fourth wall was open to the trees; I judged it wise to announce myself whenever I went there just in case...
On Sunday, we went off to do some snorkeling - and again it was the same story - beautiful sightseeing but no dinner! Mike almost got one and Jim managed to bring back one tiny little scale off a fast one. I spent my time floating around over the coral heads, marveling at the colours and at the fish that nosed around them. A large ray coasted by - just barely fluttering its "wings". We swam over and around the plane that crashed in the harbour back in the busy drug running days - the story I heard at the bar was that there were problems with the landing gear and the pilot chose a shallow spot to set down. The plane was a write off but the crew walked away - no mention of whatever was on that plane. It was a bit eerie swimming around it - and was an experience I didn't think I could ever have as a snorkeller - not a diver. A pair of flippers and a mask and snorkel open up a whole new world.
In the evening, we dinghied to the beach close to our anchorage, enjoyed a stroll and, still in bare feet, made our way along a path to McDuff's for the Super Bowl party. We weren't awfully interested in the game (we did feel a bit sorry that the Patriots lost) but we figured it would be fun to be part of the crowd - and it was. The beers were cold, the wine was served in lovely tall globes, the cracked conch had real flavour and was chewy but not rubbery. People mixed and mingled around the bar with its TV up in a corner and on the porch where another TV had been installed and chairs arranged around it just like in someone's living room. We chatted with folks we had met there the day before, Lynne and George (Ketch'n Dreams) Lynn and Peter (First Edition) arrived, and we were delighted to see Karin and Mario (Victoria) last seen in St Michaels - Maryland! The resident dogs, Salt and Pepper, moved from group to group for a pat now and then but mostly settled for curling up in their corners.
When we grew weary, the four of us said our goodnights and wandered back down the beach under the stars. We were laughing at our awkwardness because of the soft sand, when we spotted sparks under Mike's feet! It must have been something to do with friction of sand we guess - or maybe he's just a real hotfoot!