11 May 2007 | Eva's Cay, Long Island, Bahamas
Thursday, May 10th 2007. Two months on Long Island and having a great time. One of the biggest problems of being here is the lack of easy/cheap internet access along with the fact that when you can get online the connection is so slow making skype phone calls is near impossible. So we truly miss talking to friends and family and we apologize for this.
This morning I tuned into the SSB radio for a weather report and learned about subtropical storm Andrea. Last I had heard a few days ago it was just a developing low pressure, but now has been upgraded and given a name - looks like it's going to be an active hurricane season. Well the good side of that is that it has been wonderful weather here with light winds and calm seas, great for getting out on the water and diving. There has also been a few days of rain which is good for the plants and filling the cisterns, but the mosquitoes have hatched and are thick. The nights are calm with all the screens in and the fans running nonstop to cool the skin after a day in the sun. Thank goodness for fans! This is the first time we have been down here this late in the season and it is a wonderful time as far as settled weather and clear water. We are pretty close to being done working on our property, undercutting the brush and planting trees. Most of the brush we've cut we've left in place with the hopes of it covering the ground to keep more from going up thru it right away and for it to eventually rot and help add to the soil for when we return to build. I know that by that time a lot of our work will look pointless, but hopefully it will give some of the larger tamarind trees some room to expand and grow into larger shade trees. We have also planted about 40 coconuts, transplanted 3 palms, 4 small mango trees, and 2 sapodilla trees. There are literally hundreds of vermilidads all over the property and where we cleared the trails we gathered these along with the orchids and tried to organize them into beds around the coco's and tamarinds. We also collected fish floats off the beach and hung these along the trail so as you walk along it has a true island feel. This is the first piece of land either of us has owned and we are having a great time just making it unique and feel like a part of us. And now with all the rain it seems to have been perfect timing for our work and planting. Well time will only tell and we shall see when we return.
Jeannette and I only have one more day of diving until she is officially certified an Open Water Padi diver and I have completed my refresher course. How cool! I have to commend Jeannette on how well she has done, not only on acing the written tests but for how comfortable and confident she has become in the water. Taking her mask off at 40' and then clearing it was like second nature to her. I have to say I am very proud of her. This experience has also helped in her overall comfort with freediving. About a week ago we took Puff southwest to the channel cays then took the inflatable out towards the nuevitas wall. We spent the day diving and spearfishing in 15-40' gin clear water over a mile offshore. I speared the boats limit of 6 fish for the day, one mutton snapper, 3 hogfish, and 2 grouper all of which were between 5-15 lbs. What a perfect day, words truly cannot even come close to describing to incredible beauty both above and below the water. Both of our freediving skills have improved dramatically since arriving here. To be able to dive on one breath of air and become one with the underwater world, drifting through huge purple sea fans, coral heads the size of a dump truck all the while being surrounded by schools a margate, grunts, angelfish, tangs . . . . simply breathtaking!
I was also fortunate enough to be invited to help my friend Charlie and Junior set some lobster condos. We loaded up Junior's dad's 45' commercial fishing boat with 116 lobster condos and towed 3 skiffs off into the sunset one evening. This was a guy's trip and Jeannette was cool enough to understand the opportunity and wave us farewell on our 2 day, 2 night voyage. The first night out we anchored out in the open banks under light winds and seas. The boat has enough bunks to sleep 12 people in two fully air-conditioned cabins, but I opted to sleep in the wheel house where the light wind and motion of the sea rocked me to sleep. At sunrise the captain and 5 crew awoke and we got underway. By 8am we were in the chosen grounds to start laying the condos. Charlie and Junior got in the whaler (skiff) and began scouting ahead of the big boat while Justin and myself got the condos ready. Every condo had to have a concrete block strapped to the top and be in position for release in the spot Junior had chosen. Once over the side he would freedive down with the condo making sure it was upright and in the spot he had seen. We shuffled, moved, and launched all 116 condos that day. That's a lot of weight including the block, and the fact that each condo was 4'x6' . We finished around 5pm and as the big boat headed toward our anchorage Charlie and I took off in the skiff to spear some dinner. After a grouper, hogfish, mutton and yellowtail snapper along with 2 conch and being chased out of the water by a shark we figured it was good enough for dinner. The shark came only after I had speared a bar jack to have it bit in half by a hungry barracuda and had waited around to recover the spear. That night we all ate good (one of the crew from the D.R. was the designated cook) and slept even better after a long hard days work. The next day was plate glass calm and it was time to play. Everyone loaded into to skiffs and went spearfishing. Charlie and I had already planned on returning home that day so we dove all day and made our way back to Long Island. His 15' whaler is an impressive boat and we covered to 50 miles while freediving and compressor diving all the way back. We had a boatload of fish by noon and ended up just enjoying natures gift the rest of the day. That was definitely a great experience and a chance to dive some truly remote areas.
I am now able to freedive to 65' and am going further each day. Jeannette is also improving and is able to go to 45' or just spend some good quality time in the 20-30' range.
Some days we dive to blue holes here in Salt Pond, one which has an impressive arch at 45' and is a great area to practice and enjoy being in the water.
Well I'm tired of typing and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out but oh-well, I'll have to do it next time. Happy mother's day Mom and Pat, we love you both and hope you have a wonderful mothers day. We miss you all a lot and look forward to catching up with you upon our return. Lots of love to all and Happy Mothers Day Mom and Mom.