What It’s Only 7:30??
It’s really not hard to tire yourself when you have nothing you have to do all day. If someone had told me a few months ago I would be consistently going to bed before 9PM, I would not have believed them. But, as it turns out, this is the truth. Several weeks, even months before our trip we were putting Jaxson to bed at 10 or 11 p.m. and not going to bed ourselves until midnight, trying to get ready for the trip. These days he goes to bed at 8, sometimes 7p.m. because that’s when the adults are calling it a day.
We spent Christmas Day and several after just hanging out on anchor and doing a lot of nothing. After we checked into the Bahamas we motored over to a great little anchorage in the Berry Islands between Chub Key and Bird Key. In the mornings Shawn, Jaxson and I would take the dinghy over to Bird Key. Jaxson and Shawn spent most of their time in the water and I just combing the beach for shells, sea glass, and other interesting items the ocean washed up.
One afternoon, I was re-reading a book about a couple that sailed their boat from Toronto to The Port of Spain. In it the author talks about Conch and how they prepared a dinner of it for a friend. Conch is a local popular food here in The Bahamas, if cleaned and prepared properly the meat tastes like a mix between calamari and scallops. I decided it would be fun to try the Conch experience for myself. Armed with a cutting board, knife, meat tenderizer, and the instructions on how this is done we headed to Bird Key to hunt for conch. Catching the conch is not the hard part, it’s finding them the proper size that can be challenging but on Bird Cay the conch were abundant right at the waters edge and Shawn, Jax, and I searched and found 3 good sized ones pretty quickly. The next part took some figuring out. The book said to punch a hole in the shell between the second and third row of peaks, insert a knife inside and sever the tendon attaching the conch to it’s shell. If you’ve done that correctly the critter comes right out with a yank to it’s foot or claw and you have yourself some conch. Now the not so appetizing part, you cut off it’s eye stalk and other things I can’t name, peel off the outer skin and your finally left with a small hunk of white meat. This piece you beat and pound until it’s twice it’s size and lacy in appearance. Now it’s ready to cook. I used a recipe called “Cracked Conch”, which is really just conch breaded and fried. Almost everyone enjoyed it, unfortunately we found out Natasha is allergic to conch. My cooking it and her eating it and subsequently getting sick helped her figure out this vital snippet of information.
Our next sailing trip we left on December 28th and headed North up The Berry Islands to explore more of The Bahamas. We tucked in behind two islands, Devil’s Cay and White Cay. We had read in the chart books that a Cay close to us had a blue hole. I had no idea what a blue hole was but I thought it was worth finding out. A short dinghy ride and a bit of a hike later and we were at The Blue Hole on Hoffman’s Cay. We snorkeled and explored and enjoyed the experience although we arrived a little too early in the day for the sun to really make the pool look blue.
The last island we visited in this area was Little Gaulding Cay or as we re-named it Gilligan’s Island. It came complete with a bar and 3 beach chairs. The beach was a soft sandy one and there were Royal Palms to shade us in the chairs. The waters were an expanse of turquoise and light blue and there we just enough puffy clouds in the sky to lay on the beach and see what your imagination could come up with. A most perfect afternoon in the Bahamas.
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