Several things have occurred in the last few days which remind me why I love the boating life, especially boating in the Bahamas. One might choose to focus on how difficult some aspects of life are here but I choose to dwell on the positive and simple side of things.
On the 5th day after arriving back in the Bahamas we had to take another covid test. I checked the Bahamas website and found several test locations on Cat island. The hours for the site closest to us were from 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. I then called to inquire about needing an appointment and the woman answered that, yes, come at 11. I told her that it was listed as being open only from 1-3 and she still said come at 11 and started to say goodbye. Quickly I inquired if she wanted our names, she said no. I said are you sure you don’t need our names? She said nope, just come at 11. An example of simple!
Let’s back up. After leaving Emerald Bay Marina on Great Exuma we decided to return to Thompson Bay anchorage at Long Island where we left off prior to traveling back to Florida. I called to reserve a rental car so we could explore the land side of the island. The woman asked what day I wanted the car and what boat I was on. No need for a credit card, insurance, or a long list of liability questions, etc? Nope, just our boat name. Simple! (How did she know we were on a boat? I didn’t tell her!)
With the rental car we traveled as far south as Clarence Town and as far north as the Christopher Columbus Monument. Highlights included seeing Dean’s Blue Hole, the world’s second deepest at 663′ deep. Another highlight was seeing the large number of beautiful little churches which was inordinately high for a population of only 3100 people.
We ate well in Long Island at Max Conch Bar, Chef Pierre and our second time at Tiny’s Hurricane Hole. These are rated as the top three restaurants on the island. At Max Conch Bar I had the pleasure of watching Max’s knife skills as he diced and chopped vegetables and conch lickety split for his famous conch salad. I would like to take a chopping lesson from him! We tried his wife’s sauteed pumpkin dish which was delicious. I tried my darnedest to persuade him to share the recipe but to no avail. Truly, she could can it and sell it to Del Monte. I guess persuading someone to share a secret family recipe isn’t simple!
That night we made reservations for a restaurant called Chez Pierre. One must really, really want to eat at Chez Pierre because the road there is awful. The humorous chef Pierre explained how we get up and serve our own water, ice, mix our own drinks, get our beer out of the refrigerator and pour our own wine… all on the honor system. As we traveled throughout Cat Island we learned that the honor system is a common option. Simple!
The day we arrived at Long Island we stocked up on groceries. We can only buy as much as the two of us can carry and the mail boat was just coming in so it wasn’t as much as we would have liked. Back at the dinghy dock another boater approached and asked if he could help us as that particular dinghy dock was a little challenging. The fixed dock was very tall with only one ladder available. We chatted for 5 minutes as we loaded up, maneuvered the dink away from the stairs and pulled up the stern anchor. Then we proceeded to ask him and his wife to join us for dinner at Tiny’s and had a great evening. Simple!
Long Islanders are proud of their monument dedicated to Columbus which is at the end of the nicest road on the entire island. According to my research, Columbus first discovered San Salvador, (some believe it was actually Samana Cay) and Long Island was his third landing. The view from the top was lovely as was the Cape Santa Maria beach and resort which were nearby.
Another new place to explore…Cat Island, named not after a cat but after the pirate, Arthur Catt who frequented the island. It is also the hometown of Sidney Poitier and a population of only 1700. WOW, the beaches are just WOW and the people that we met there received an 11 on a scale of 1-10 for niceness! We dropped anchor at Old Bight in front of Rollezz Villas Beach Resort and loved the charm and beauty so much that we returned for dinner that evening. Beverly served the best conch fritters we’ve ever had and fabulous lobster. The best part of the evening was the gracious hospitality of owners Karl and Yvonne, and Beverly!
I know that I write often about procuring food but it is a whole new experience in the Bahamas. One day we walked a full mile to the grocery to find it closed, on a Monday. However, Mary was selling her home grown vegetables in front of her house and we were thrilled to get some tomatoes, onions and pepper.
We got some exercise walking the mile up hill to visit the Hermitage built at the highest point in the Bahamas, 206′. Father Jerome sculpted the small medieval monastery as well as the stations of the cross. The previous day I had communicated with Leslie, a friend of a friend via Facebook. She had posted that they were anchored in the same area so I sent her a message. We decided to meet for dinner the following evening because they had rented a car for the day. While walking down the hill from the Hermitage we saw a man walking up. I took a wild guess and I asked if he was with Leslie. Wouldn’t you know it…he was! We walked a little further and came to the small parking lot and immediately a woman got out of the car and told us that since it was so hot she would take us to the bottom of the hill in her air conditioned car. I knew that she was Leslie but she had no idea who I was! Simple and friendly! How often are you offered a ride by a stranger…and you accept? This wasn’t our first nor our last time to ride with strangers!
A short cruise the following day took us north up the coast to yet another gorgeous horse-shoe shaped beach, Fernandez Bay. We googled a grocery story in nearby Alvernia and called to inquire about the amount of fresh produce available. Luckily, it had only been 2 days since the mail boat had delivered food and the woman asked where we were coming from. We told her that we were anchored in Fernandez Bay but weren’t familiar with anything on land. She said that she would send someone to pick us up, all we had to do was get to the road! What? A grocery store that picks you up, and without even asking? Talk about simple and friendly! We motored in to Fernandez Bay Resort to learn directions to the road. Kisha, the manager, was so nice she drove us to the road! Amazing! The store had quite a bit of produce and the same young man that drove us to the store also drove us back to the resort. Grocery shopping in a strange place has never been so simple! That evening we enjoyed a fair meal but with great company: Leslie and Ralph on Now and Zen. It’s so simple meeting new friends when you live on a boat!
Since we had no plans or schedule we decided to follow Leslie and Ralph north to Shanna’s Cove Resort at Port Royal Beach the following day. This might be my new favorite beach! Pink, silky, soft sand, no trash, no inhabitants, lots of ghost crabs, 2 dolphins, fish, rays, a Red Thorny Sea Star, and gorgeous sunsets (Scott saw a green flash again). Perfection! We joined Leslie and Ralph along with friends of theirs, Julie and Forrest, and dined on a fabulous meal in a gorgeous location filled with sweet frangipani that welcomed us as soon as our feet hit the shore. Shanna’s Cove is first rate. Did I mention the beach there was WOW? Our pictures certainly do not do it justice.
What a treat dining at restaurants, walking the beaches, and enjoying the simple boating life in Long and Cat Island. The only problem was that we didn’t stay long enough…but, there’s always next year!
It’s time to start pacing ourselves back to the US. We have scheduled doctor appointments, trips to see family (YIPPIE!!!!!! We miss our family!!!!!!!!), plans to travel to Maine, but first of all…my second vaccine which enables us to do safely.