07 February 2010 | Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands
We have had a nice time meeting locals and crusiers in and around the Berry Islands Club.
At the request of Rick (Sea Language) we tracked down Estelle and Don - former cruisers who live near here now. Estelle had hurt her foot, but after a trip to Nassau, is back home and healing nicely. As we took our leave after a very pleasant meeting, Don asked if we wanted some lemons and bitter oranges. I never turn down gifts like that so we followed him into his garden as he picked both Ponderosa lemons and the bitter oranges (used in conch salads) from the trees. The lemons are big and rough textured with a slightly sweeter taste. The oranges are - well - bitter! Both of them are excellent for marinating fish or pork or chicken.
Back at the boat, a local fisherman, Neville, came along and we bought some conch and lobster from him. We had to make that conch salad! As Neville sat in his lime green boat, cleaning the conch, he told us that although he came from Andros, he lives now on a little island up the way - one that he used to fly over and think, "I want to own one of those one day" and now he does! Neville has been around a bit I think. He talked of escorting Eisinger's children around when they come to visit Chub Cay, and of Mrs Bush (Sr) collecting shells in the area ... and also of his many children and "sugars" scattered through the islands! He gave us samples of his bush tonic - 21 gun salute. He promised Jim that the milky drink with 21 local herbs would do wonders for everything that might need a pick-up, but he decided to take a pass on that one!
The next day, Neville arrived back with a lovely conch shell and a tulip shell for me - gifts from his heart because he didn't have change for the $10 we gave him for the conch (he asked $8).
Lincoln, at the clubhouse, acts as chef along with being dockmaster and we made reservations for the four crews of boats in the mooring field to go in for lunch. Lys and Michael (m/v Lys), tony and Cat (s/v Cheyenne) Judi and Alain (Ramha) and Jim and I (Madcap) all trooped ashore for chicken or cracked conch served with peas'n'rice, corn, and potato salad. It was good basic Bahamian food - not highly seasoned or unusual or exciting, but a nice chance to support the business and get to know our neighbours a little better. We're all headed for the Bahamas (and Cheyenne is going on to Central America) so we'll probably meet again in some harbour.
Jim and I dinghied up along the Cay and took a walk on another beach. We found the most interesting creature - a Spotted Seahare - that looks kind of like a shell-less snail crossed with snakeskin! Very curious - but Jim looked it up in our guide to Reef Creatures - and there it was! I picked up an old grey coloured, grass-encrusted conch shell and turned it over to see the most glorious deep rose colour on the inside - like a sunrise in a shell. It was a reminder to look beyond the surface of things, and I brought it back to remind me of that as well as to admire it. (Now that's an essay waiting to happen!)
We had a good stay at the Berry Island Club. It is a good place to wait out weather - and the moorings are strong - especially since Alain and Jim have now tightened the shackles on most of the balls! Lincoln kept saying he'd take care of it, but we never saw him do it. He also said he'd get a diver to come and put a zinc anode on our prop shaft, but although we talked with a guy at the bar who was willing to do it, Lincoln never seemed to find time to go get him. Friends tried to come over from Chub Cay for lunch one day, but the staff here didn't seem interested in having that happen - ("No, we can't arrange transportation" and when they found their own, "No we're not serving lunch today!") It's too bad because it is a nice spot with excellent protection, and with a little more spirit and promotion, could be more enticing to cruisers.
We recommend it anyway as a good stopover for a day or a few! Just don't expect too much from the folks at the Club. Now the visiting locals are another story entirely and we'd urge you to look for Neville!