Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flame Conchs and Rain Squalls

It's been a busy couple of days here at Lynyrd (Skynyrd) Cay! Since it's the tail end of hurricane season, it's really quiet this time of year...yesterday we went into Little Harbor, thinking we'd eat lunch at Pete's Pub,, they are renovating and building new decks, so nothing was open, not even the sculpture foundry. The water was rocking and rolling into the small harbor entrance there, so it was not a dinghy ride for the timid, either...but hey, we had time on our hands and we used it! We walked about the stretches of inside beaches on Lynyard Cay, realizing how remote it is...nothing on the southern end but a small, tidy fish camp and acres of brush and scrub trees. We explored a bit farther north as well along the water, and went lobstering closer to North Bar Channel in the late afternoon on Tuesday. I opted to be dinghy girl, piloting the boat while Ron checked the underwater layout, looking for lobster lairs amid the ledges and rocks...soon enough, Ron found a pair of tasty tails for dinner! I now stand corrected that the Sea of Abaco has no lobster....but am taking the stand that we were very close to the channel cut, so...the open Atlantic wasn't too far away! In any event, an impromtu Asian stir fry with lobster was a delightful dinner for us on the aft deck Tuesday night.
Pete's Pub --- closed for a bit of sprucing up during the offseason
Today, we met Charlie, an older, bearded Conky Joe Bahamian who set up the little fish camp ashore here at Lynyard Cay. When I woke up today, he and a friend were busily raking the sand along his little section of beach tucked into the limestone crags, making things neat and tidy. Charlie came by in his skiff, inviting us to walk along the beach on the Atlantic side of the Cay, explaining there was a trail across island from his campsite. Who were we to refuse? It was wild beauty over there...nothing but the breaking waves on the ragged limestone shores with gorgeous stretches of sand in between. What startled us though, was the amount of plastic flotsam garbage and jetsam trash that obviously washes up there on a daily basis. Here I was, looking for "sea glass", yet I had to pick my way through more "sea plastic" than I could ever imagine. Sad, beyond sad. Plastic water bottles were the major culprit, along with mounds of fishermen's netting, buoys, flip-flops, plastic containers of all shapes and sizes, and remnants thereof. While I found some delightful pieces of sea glass nonetheless, trapped in the ragged limestone shoreline, the ubiquitous plastic trash was a disturbing presence in an otherwise pristine place. 

Charlie's buoy and flotsam collection at his camp
Watching the waves crash along the shore
When we returned to the inland shore and took the dinghy back to Equinox,  we met Charlie yet again, who pulled up alongside in his boat to give us a gorgeous driftwood and shell lamp/sculpture. The main feature is a magnificent striped Flame Conch of some size that is really breathtaking. I kept asking what we could give him in return/exhange for such a piece, but he demurred at every was almost awkward! (Unfortunately, I couldn't understand his Abaconian accent all that well  -- although between the undercurrent of engine noise and the shish of wind, but I tried!) Thus, we ended up with an amazing piece of true Bahamian art for the boat. Charlie then began working on a new-to-him Bayliner Ciera that needed some TLC and repair, which he had anchored in front of his beach. Ron offered to help him with it, again to no avail, and later, Charlie towed it away with his little skiff.

After lunch, we thought we'd do some lobstering. First, however, we went to get some fuel for Eclipse. We decided we'd go to the closest place -- nearly an hour north! -- and headed to White Sound, since Sea Spray Marina had fuel. We tried to stay in the lee of the small islands on the way north, and it was a delightful ride with the wind at our backs, galloping over the rolling swells! We could have gone to Marsh Harbor, but it was farther to reach, and since we didn't have a jerry can to fill (just the gas tank aboard) we thought we'd go to the closest place. It was fun; we had bit of grilled conch (yummy) while we were there at Sea Spray Resort and during our meal, chatted with a father and son who were on island, visiting from the States. 

Ron relaxing at Sea Spray Resort and Marina before lunch
Unfortunately, our happy repast was quickly ended when we looked over our shoulders and realized we had a squall line marching down on us. There was no out: we were going to be wet on our return trip to the Equinox. We quickly dropped off our trash, fueled up and headed back south into the stinging rain that greeted us as we got out into the Sea of Abaco. Oddly, even while fighting not only the rain but also the oncoming waves, it seemed to take us less time to get back! (Maybe because Ron was flying us over the wave tops in a devil-may-care-we're-already-wet attitude? :) Hard to tell, between the rain and the spray!) It didn't matter, as we were thoroughly and completely soaked by the time we reached the safety of Equinox. But dry inside? Not quite!

While we'd locked up the boat while we were gone, unfortunately, we'd left 4 hatches open for ventilation in the blazing sunshine of the earlier day...thus we had quite a bit of water to mop up beneath them on our return! Our bedding (happily) took the brunt of rain that came in the forward open hatches, and the carpeting in the pilot house soaked up the rain that came in the smaller hatches there. Thankfully, the down comforter in our cabin was easily pulled off the bed and dried, with nothing beneath nor beyond it getting wet that a towel couldn't handle! The carpet piece in the pilot house was pulled up (thank goodness for the rubber carpet mat beneath!) and dried as well. Still...our fault for not realizing the potential for rain while we were gone, and closing the hatches anyway! (What were we thinking?) We know better, certainly....and on a boat, somehow, you feel closer to Mother Nature and should thus be more aware! 

So, after a late afternoon of domestic chores of wiping down and laundering wet items,  we had another delicious dinner on the aft deck. It felt deserved after our full day! As a reward, tonight we are on anchor yet again, enjoying the beauty of the clear, starry night. As the full moon wanes, it's hard to comprehend the sheer numbers of all the stars above us -- the Milky Way is completely visible here, as there aren't any lights from horizon to horizon. As I look about the boat in a 360 degree scan, all I see is darkness...literally, not a light anywhere, as we are on the edge of the Atlantic with only a spit of land between us, the sea and the sky. Serenity, in its most elemental form. How cool is that??

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