Saturday, January 25, 2014

Norman Cay (Jan. 19 - 22)

It was only about 15nm from Allan Cay to Norman Cay, which we motor-sailed in just under 3 hours, arriving early afternoon.  It took us 3 attempts before we finally set our anchor, and I wondered if we weren’t a little too close to the boat behind us. No sooner had we shut down the engine than that boat’s captain dinghied over. I thought he might express concern about us anchoring too close to him, but that wasn’t the reason he came to see us. He had recognized Serenada! He knew one of her previous owners … the Delaney’s (from way back – I’d guess 15yr. or more). What are the odds? He told us that he actually has pictures of Serenada when she was down here in the Bahamas (in a previous life). Brian & Leslie left this anchorage shortly after we arrived, but I hope some day we’ll cross their path again and have a longer visit with them. I love their boat’s name: Afeica (an acronym for ‘another fricking expense I can’t afford’).

Our first day here we took the dinghy over to ‘Lonely Palm Island’ (a small island with a single palm tree). We weren’t the only ones drawn to it …. we watched the sunset in the company of Jorge & Kim, Amie & Dave, and Chris & Cassie.  The following day, the happy hour gathering here had grown to at least a half dozen couples.

Happy Hour at Lonely Palm Island

The attraction here  at Norman Cay is a partially submerged plane wreck. As it happened, we dropped anchor very near it, and I was able to just swim out to it. Unfortunately, Gil’s back acted up and he wasn’t in any shape to swim /snorkel out with me. A large ray passed under me as I was swimming out to the plane wreck. At the wreck I saw a variety of  tropical fish, including some angel fish, a barracuda, and I think it was a very large blow fish; as well as several more rays. From other snorkelers I learned that I had missed seeing a nurse shark – that’s a good thing, because I can’t discriminate the harmless from the harmful – and I’d likely have made a dash back to the boat and missed everything else. The plane wreck itself was a sight. It was a twin engine prop plane and it was all pretty much there… full wingspan, both props, tail, cockpit, engines…. and it was grown over with corals, morphed into a reef. I wish I had a GoPro underwater camcorder so you could have seen it too  J

GoPro underwater photos
snorkelling in the turquoise waters :-)

Gil needed to walk to nurse his aching back, so we landed the dinghy on a beach and went for a stroll on Norman Cay with Jorge & Kim. This island used to be controlled by the drug lord, Escobar.  There’s a landing strip here (the one that was missed by the aforementioned plane) and several deserted dwellings  which date back to Escobar’s time. We walked across the cay and came upon a small resort area  which was closed as the restaurant/bar/grill was being renovated. It’s upscale cottages were beautiful and quaint, and nosey little me discovered that one was actually unlocked!?  I could hear my inner voice: “…yield not to temptation…” as I imagined each of us being able to get out of bed without having to climb over the other J

Jalan Jalan is a huge sailboat from Owen Sound (there are so many fellow Canadians down here), and we noticed that its’ captain had returned with a haul of conchs. So Gil & Rob (from Vita) went out in search of them. They were gone for a couple of hours or more, and came back with one each L …. slim pickings. When you’re looking for them, you can’t find them. Later the same day, Gil & I  were dinghying over to an area with sand pools at low tide, when what did we see? Conchs, conchs, and more conchs! When you’re not looking for them, you find them. Go figure. We never made it to the sand pools. We harvested and cleaned conch instead. Both Rob & Serena, and Jorge & Kim ended up joining us, and also brought back conch to their boats.

That same evening, we were invited over (with Jorge & Kim, and Tom & Annie) for pizza to Makai, a 48’ catamaran, crewed by a family of 6. Eric & Jackie, and their children Roy, Genoa & Marie, and their dog Topaz, have been cruising for one year, of three planned. Roy, at 13yr., is their eldest and he’s the fisherman on board. He’s reeled in a dorado on his own! Genoa is their techie. Marie handled the lines for us when we came aboard. I have to give parents like Eric & Jackie a lot of points. This cruising life is a lot of work with just two of us. I can’t imagine adding in kids and a dog and everything that comes with them (ie. home schooling, all the extra shopping, cooking, laundry, having to take the dog to shore, etc); and Jackie invited us to dinner! There’s a lot of energy on that boat.

It wasn’t until the following day that I did something with all that conch. For lunch, I made us a conch salad – a mixture of very finely cut raw conch, with green onion, green pepper, tomato, garlic & lemon juice – quite yummy. For dinner we tried conch fritters – also a mixture of finely cut conch, with green onion, pepper, tomato, egg and seasoned bread crumbs; rolled into balls and deep fried – also yummy. We still have more conch, which I’m saving for a cracked conch dish.

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