Nov 19-20: Enjoying West Grand Bahama
I was up with the sun the next morning. I finally had a gym to work out in, a treadmill, weights and other equipment. (So wonderful!) When I returned Andrew was up and ready to explore. We were finally in the Bahamas. Now to start experiencing it!
The water itself was a major point of interest. Rays, minnows, small conch shells and squid swam lazily by, aware of our presence but perhaps so used to swimming undisturbed that they hardly took notice. Thousands of minnows were almost barely visible, swimming parallel to shore in a large, waving line as far as the eye could see. As we stepped close an arch in the line would form just a little further away from shore but the parade of fish continued.
Even the birds hardly moved as we passed. Sanderlings skipped ahead of us rummaging through kelp washed ashore with the morning tide, while blue herons sat just behind trees waiting for us to pass before heading out for the morning fishing expedition.
We walked as far as we could, pausing briefly mesmerized as a local Bahamian fished off the end of a rocky outcropping. Even a mangrove tree growing out on the watery rock jetty didn’t seem out of place. The morning was perfectly blue, turquoise and gorgeous.
Andrew was inspired to snorkel and I, after my exercise, was inspired to find a beach chair. We packed a quick lunch for the beach, some good books and snorkel gear. A cozy beach chair helped me relax under swaying palm trees while Andrew dove into the ocean seeking tropical fish. Once he had fulfilled his curiosity he joined me for some sun, lunch and a good book as sweet breezes cooled us.
Up until now it has been mainly work and prep with an occasional tourist day. We were finally relaxing and REALLY enjoying ourselves.
Andrew challenged me to a few games of shuffleboard and I readily obliged. Few people were around so we played for quite a while until people began to gather and the heat made a swim in the chilly pool seem reasonable.
Neighbouring sailors and boaters had also arrived at the pool and soon a community of like minds were laughing, exchanging stories, and conveying their tid bits of advice for us newcomers. What lovely people!
One of them mentioned a local fisherman that swam out in the water each evening. He always attached a large cooler to his waist and as he swam he deposited his catch into the cooler. Andrew spotted this mysterious fisherman and decided to find out what he was catching.
He met me back at the boat later with four lobster tails, freshly cracked and still squirming unbeknownst to me. As the main cook, my job was to find a recipe and cook them. What an experience I was in for!
I found what seemed to be the perfect recipe and began focusing on prepping the marinade, blissfully unaware that the tails were still moving and flexing. Following the recipe, I cut down the middle of the tops then began to pry open the shell to lift the meat up. The opening immediately closed on my fingers as I jumped and let out a bit of a squeal!
Of course Andrew enjoyed several minutes of razzing me for my 'girly' reaction. I grew up killing the chicken for dinner in Congo and nothing much rattles me, but I had a hard time getting past the idea that these lobster tails did not want to be opened.
After regaining my composure and finally adding the marinade, I wrapped them and put them in the oven. When my timer went I asked Andrew to come check the temperature of the meat. As he poked the meat, it again jumped and so did Andrew . . . lol. “Nope! Not done yet.” he said as we both chuckled and put them back in the oven.
The lobster turned out very nice in the end . . . after all the drama. We enjoyed one tail for dinner and saved the rest for the next day.
Morning sunrise, warm air and gentle lapping of the waves again beckoned us to explore. The peaceful walk past gentle waves was very relaxing stirring up conversation.
We realized that we had somehow missed Sunday. Without a work routine, the days have slipped by, not always identifying themselves as weekdays or weekends. Our transit to the Bahamas and joy at finally being there we had completely thrown us off.
This time has become special to us, enriching our relationship, our conversations through the week and created space for interesting dialogue. The morning walk, expanded conversation and Bible reading prepped us for a day of exploration.
We had rented a car and today decided to explore Freeport and Lucaya Beach. Several of the other boaters suggested against the visit but as we drove through towns we were captivated by the similarities with our memories of Kenya. We only had one mission to accomplish, to get set up with a Bahamas data plan so that we could communicate with home, but our goal had expanded to meeting people along the way and exchanging warm greetings.
Wonderful memories flooded back as we drove through slightly more organized roundabouts, past homes tortured by storms, and groups of Bahamians laughing together in the midst of less than lovely communities. Like Kenyans, the sweet, thankful spirit of the Bahamians is contagious, reminding you how much there is to be thankful for.
We arrived back at the marina as the last bit of light was fading into dark horizon. It should have made us feel uneasy but somehow instead we felt right at home.
Tomorrow we will head to Great Sale Cay, roughly halfway to the eastern end of the Abaco Islands, and then begin exploring some of the islands from there.