Swing Set

Apr 27, 201308:27 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

A Couple of Stops and Then Green Turtle Cay

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Seven or eight miles to the southeast from Allans-Pennsecola Cay was Crab Cay, or one of them. There are at least a couple of Crab Cays on the charts for this area. We took a slow cruise to this Crab Cay and anchored in a calm spot within view of the first beach lined with palm trees that we've seen occurring naturally since we've arrived in the Bahamas.

Between Crab Cay and Great Abacos Island was a small inlet leading to the Sea of Abaco. In our anchorage, we had a view through the cut, where we could watch boats travel from the Sea of Abaco into the Little Bahama Bank.

We took the dinghy out to explore but were soon battling a strong outgoing tide as we were making our way into a creek system leading into the island of Little Abacos, which is adjacent to Great Abacos Island. A combination of enough throttle to keep forward momentum, plus shallower and shallower water, with a rocky bottom, was not my idea of a good thing to be doing, so we turned around and headed for some calm water just inside the inlet leading out to the sea.

I donned my snorkel gear and spear to inspect an area below a rock shelf in very shallow water and found an abundance of snapper. I speared a larger one on the first try and proudly took it back to the dinghy where Rosie and Holly were waiting. I put it in a bucket that I had brought along for this very purpose.

My activity in the shallow water stirred up the fine sand, or mud, so seeing more fish became a problem. I tried to spear another one but missed him, when I saw a nice sized "summer crab" and nabbed him, cleaned him, and added him to the bucket. Two sea creatures in one day is a record for me, so we high tailed it back to the boat to get my catch in the fridge and away from any prying eyes.

I placed the snapper on my cutting board and it took one flip and went right back into the water and swam away. It took me a few moments to reflect on this event. No tears were shed, although tears were warranted.

Still not believing my misfortune, I decided to snorkel around the boat after checking to confirm our anchor holding. I swam back behind the boat, and there was my snapper, resting on the bottom, or better put, sitting on the seabed waiting to die. It didn't get a chance. I speared it again and brought it to the boat. I didn't waste any time in cleaning the snapper this time and putting two small fillets in the refrigerator.

Later, with my eye on more dinner supplies, I got back into the water for some more snorkeling. I was swimming away from the boat when I realized I was cooking along at a pretty good rate. In no time at all, the incoming tide had me pulling fast away from the boat. I honestly had all I could do to swim back to the boat while holding my spear in my right hand. Lesson learned there. Rosie did get a funny look in her eye when I asked her if she would've been able to come after me in the dinghy if I needed her to. OK, two lessons learned.

Our plans for the evening were to have our fresh fare for dinner, along with a grilled sirloin roast. When I went to light the Magma Grill, it wouldn't light. I'd filled the tank up in Marathon and hadn't used it yet, and it indeed felt like it was full, but no propane would come from the tank. There's a little screw valve on the tank valve that was closed tight, not allowing the propane to come out. I backed off the screw as the attendant at the propane supply store was supposed to have done, and a grillin' we went.

We had snapper with lemon pepper, steamed along with the "crab," with our grilled sirloin. We added a box of macaroni and cheese and ate good that night. Livin' off the fat a da land!

The next morning, we left Crab Cay and headed for Coopers Town and the anchorage across the Sea of Abacos at Powell Cay. We anchored up close to a beautiful beach, just north of a rock bluff that was sandwiched between another long white beach to the south.

Once I made sure we had a good anchor set, we took Holly and the dinghy to the beach, marveling at the abundance of starfish lining the sea floor. We let the dinghy float at anchor just offshore and went for a walk. In the picture, I'm wearing my dive knife on my right leg. I was no boy scout, but I come prepared.

Holly got to run free along the water's edge on our walk, and she was in heaven. She would only run part way ahead and then turn around to make certain we were behind her. She'd wait for us a bit until she would run ahead again. At one point, she made a dash for the water for a brief swim, and then back to land she came. It may have been her finest moment.

We got back to the dinghy as some other boaters were coming to shore, thus we were able to get a picture of us together.

That afternoon, we took the dinghy to the southern beach, but we left Holly on the boat to rest. We met some folks under some palm trees attempting to clean a few conch they'd gathered. On a makeshift table nailed up between two trees, they had several knives, two hammers, a pair of pliers, a screw driver and a mallet, all laid out. The scene looked like a surgeons table in Negril. The only interest they had in us was whether we had any ideas about how to get the conch extricated from the shell. I only offered as to how I'd watched a Bahamian in Bimini do several of them just by knocking a hole in the end and waiting until they crawled out, their home having been ruined. The conch hunters didn't want to wait that long, so pounding and digging away, they continued.

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