The weather for the next few days looks pretty terrible -- rising to over 30 knots for a day or two -- so we're content
to stay here in Norman's Pond, where there is good shelter and much to do and see. We moved a little father south to get
shelter from today's SE-SW winds -- or really to get out of the waves created by those winds coming down the long fetch
of the Pond. Plus we get to play on a new beach. And when the wind clocks around to W and NW later tonight, we'll be
very well protected.
For all you shallow water sailors out there, I might add that we are WAY up in places the deep draft boats can never
get, right now in two feet of water, waiting to dry out on the sand flats at low tide. We have great latitude here to go
where we please. So much of the Exuma water is shallow, and we can go in our big boat where others can only visit in
their dinghies. We can simply step out of the boat and walk to shore. It's a really pleasure. Of course every boat is a
compromise, and we gave up blue-water, bad-weather passage-making for our shoal draft, but it seems that most boats
spend 90% of their time at anchor, and that's our strongest point. We often call the boat "our moveable beach house."
Last night I made my first attempt to extricate a conch from its shell. The proper way to do it is to knock a small (one
inch) hole in the shell up near the third ring down from the top of the spire, then slip a thin knife in there, cut the
tendon attachment, and effortlessly pull the meat from the shell. An experienced person can do it in seconds. Well, I
must have knocked the hole in the wrong place, or missed in my attempts to cut the tendon. The meat would not budge. So
I enlarged the hole, and made more attempts to cut the tendon. Yellowish goop poured out onto the cabintop. Finally,
after about fifteen minutes, I gave up on artistry and used brute force. I used my hammer to smash the shell away in its
entirety. I'll study a few of the many shells laying about here to try to get a better fix on just where to knock that
hole. We sliced the conch meat very thin, diced it, left it raw and soaked it in lemon juice with salt and pepper. Ten
minutes later we ate it. Delicious -- the tang of the lemon juice highlighting the sweetness of the meat. Firm meat, but
pleasantly so in such small pieces--not too tough at all.
As I write, it's 9:30 AM. Rose is in the cockpit doing her math homework. Isabel is curled up in her room in the cabin
writing in her journal. Lilly is boiling water for a second round of tea, and hot chocolate for the girls. Once
schoolwork is done, we'll venture for to the new beach, and later we will roam all over the huge sand flat that will
soon rise as the tide goes out.
Now it's 6:45 PM. Wind hasn't been bad so far today, but the barometer is falling and thunder approaches.
We had a very full day. Walked to McDuff's. Got ice cream! (Can't mention the price -- too painful.) Met a Canadian
woman who has been here in Norman's Pond on her sailboat since December. Everyone seems surprised at how little time
we're cruising here. They're all down for 4-6 months. And we thought we were taking an extravagantly long trip. . . .
Had an mesmerizing walk along the vast sand flat that rose at low tide. We walked nearly all the way across the
width of the Pond and back. Swam in the nearby deeper water on the way back.
Successfully extricated two conchs. Getting to be an old hand at it. Made one into ceviche, and sliced one thin to
fry with olive oil and garlic. Sublime.
Certain things don't get mentioned after they become an everyday occurence. But I must mention the color of the
water. These words keep tumbling through my stupefied mind: turquoise, cerulean, azure. . . .