A day in Barraterre

Sun 21 Mar 2010 00:20
The girls got some school work in early this morning, then we all got ready to go snorkeling over a coral garden near where we had anchored. While they were finishing up their work, I [Garth] got a head start with the snorkeling, bringing along my pole spear, which I don't bring on group trips. At first I saw only small pretty reef fish. But I found four large conch. As I was struggling to swim back to the boat weighed down near to my snorkel's top, I swam over a large sponge and saw a large grouper hiding on the other side of it. As I dropped my armload of conch and tried to get my spear in hand, he dashed off. I got the conch back to the boat and put them in our crate, then went out on one last hunting foray. I spotted a few schoolmasters (a good eating fish) in an underwater cave. After a minute or two of diving and trying to pick out the largest one, I took a shot and actually speared him. The first whole fish caught on this trip. (I know, this is a savage business, but we do eat meat on a regular basis and we buy fish at the supermarket, so I'm just present at the death of the fish. . . .) It was a good-sized fish -- it gave us two large filets that we had for dinner this evening. We gave two of the conch to our kayaker friends John and Kristin, and we ate one conch with dinner tonight and made ceviche with the last for eating tomorrow. Anyway, my paleolithic hunter-gather success was just a small part of a busy day.

We also had another mesmerizing family snorkel over the coral garden, seeing colorful fish of at least a dozen species -- which the girls could name for you. Then we went into town, where we bought some ice cream and assorted groceries at Rayann's Variety Store. The woman in charge there, Julia, is a former Floridian who married a Bahamian, and after many years in the States they came here when they retired. She said her blood pressure dropped about 60 points, she lost 40 pounds, and feels great. When her doctor in Florida saw her stats, he told her he was coming back with her. We thought about buying Rosie a pair of flip flops -- this time she was the one who forgot to bring her shoes to shore -- but the flip flops seemed too expensive at $10.75, so we decided to pass on those. Then Julia insisted on giving them to Rosie. Lilly put up a good fight, but Julia won in the end. Such kindness and generosity.

We strolled around town, which had fewer provisions than we had imagined it would have. Just some quiet homes, a pier, a few people, a gas pump, a bar, and not much else that we could see. Many of the stores in these small Exuma towns look like any other house you pass by. You have to know your way around to know the hidden shops.

In the afternoon Isabel, Rose, and I took Amazon out for a sail in this protected bay. We ripped back and forth on repeated beam reaches -- the girls doing all the sailing. Their sailing is getting better and better. I was so proud of them. I just sat there and grinned, giving bits of advice now and then, but mostly just supremely happy to be taken out for a sail by my daughters.