31 March 2010 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
Gail Bermel/Sunny/78 degrees/Wind N8-10
Well, we set out to Water Cay, Jumentos, Tuesday, March 23. We had a beautiful sail. Frank caught two big fish; however both were barracuda. They were ugly, with big teeth, but Frank got to hear the wheeeeeee sound the reel makes with a fish on. It's exciting for him! Pete, however, caught a 15 pound mutton snapper. It is listed as excellent food fish in the fish book.
We anchored in an area with a surge. We rocked and rolled through the night. Most of the coast is called "iron coast," which is rocky. It will ruin a soft dinghy, so you can't go ashore. Right across from where we were anchored; however, there was a tiny sandy beach. That's all we need to land the dinghy for Keesi to go to the lady's room.
The next day the wind direction changed and came from over the land. We were able to move into a cove that was much smoother than the night before. We explored the island and found nice shells. That evening we met on the Gull Wing (Pete & Clare's boat) for mutton snapper dinner. There was no disappointment. It was every bit as delicious as the red snapper in the Gulf. We had a delicious pot luck meal of fish, salad, rice, brownies with whipped cream and pineapple upside down cake.
Thursday we sailed to Flamingo Cay, another island going south. The anchorage was in a cove with large sandy beach, smooth sleeping overnight. There was a large fishing boat anchored just off the cove. Smaller boats dive for lobster and other seafood. Sitting in the cockpit the first evening a small boat comes by with two large lobsters looking to trade for rum. We didn't have rum that we wanted to give up, so we traded for a six-pack of Budweiser. How cool is that?!
The next day we went conching. We dinghied to a cove (that opens to the Atlantic) on the south part of the island. The rock formations were beautiful. Right as we got there, the other people saw a large shark, but he proceeded back out into the Atlantic. Frank said he was a little hesitant getting into the water. Pete said there was nothing to fear, he would stay on the tiller, (meaning Pete would stay in the dinghy while Frank got out). No worries, everyone conched and it was perfectly safe. We got about 8 large conch, enough to feed the six of us (we were traveling with Wind Lass, Pete & Dee, yes another Pete. In fact, there were four boats sailing to and from the Jumentos, three of the skippers were named Pete, a very amazing coincidence!)
We saw three birds called frigates circling above for hours. I've seen them in books, but never live. Pete (Wind Lass) said that the frigates will "bother" the osprey babies. That may explain why we saw a huge osprey on top of the hill screeching into the wind for over ½ hour, maybe to protect its babies. Interesting.
Our three boats, traveling together, and two more anchored in the cove, met on the beach at sunset for drinks and snacks. That is one of my favorite activities. Keesi loves it, she gets to stay at the beach for a few hours, chasing baby iguanas.
The next day, Frank spent the morning under the boat cleaning the bottom. At one point, I pulled on his air hose to get him to come up. I said "Frank, there is a three-foot barracuda near the boat!!! Come out, come out!!" He said "Settle down, he's been under here with me the whole time, he's a pet by now." We conched again later that day.
That afternoon, the ladies met on Wind Lass and Dee taught us how to cook conch. We made conch fritters and cracked conch. We added that to some cooked carrots and Bahamian dish called peas and rice, cheesecake for dessert and great company. What a lovely evening!
Monday morning, we set sail back to Thompson Bay, Long Island. The wind was perfect for sailing with no motor. We arrived in the late afternoon with plenty of time to settle in for the evening.
Yesterday all boats met on the beach for evening cocktails and snacks at 5:30. Shortly after we were all on the boat for the evening, a full moon rose. It was a breathtaking sight. Somehow, the combination of the moon, water, the quiet, instills a peace that doesn't let the negatives of the world in.
Clare and I did laundry today. It seems to be a day long event, waiting your turn and washing a lot after so long. It is not a chore at all. It is beautiful and peaceful on shore.
We plan to be here for a few more days waiting for the wind to clock to a good direction for sailing north. Next stop either Conception Island or Cat Island. If you google them, there is more than one Cat Island. We will be traveling to the long Cat island on the eastern edge of the Bahamas.
Wish you all could share the ride with us. Paradise is everything its rumored to be!!