Great Exuma Island

Mon 22 Mar 2010 13:13
23:41.461 N
76:00.065 W

We left Little Hog Cay in search of a good beach. The area around Barraterre had lots of mangroves and ironshore, but no beaches that qualified as prime to the girls. They have certain standards--sand of the non-sucking variety, shells, and room to run. Winds were in the teens when we pulled up anchor and motored a couple of miles across very shallow banks to the tip of Great Exuma Island. At several points, it was too shallow for the motor, so Garth had to jump in and pull the boat--all this against the wind. We tried one beach on Sugar Cay, and we were greated by a large ray. This beach was too small and had too many rocks. The second beach, across a channel, was ideal. Long sandflats that dry out at low tide. We pulled Sea Fever up into about a foot of water and let the tide go out. The girls spent hours playing and splashing on the flats as the tide went out. The sunshine was bright and the water was clear and the sand was white and the flats extended for miles -- it was a dazzling spectacle.

We attracted the attention of some neighborhood boys. Rolleville is a settlement nearby and if judged by our visitors it consists entirely of boys between the ages of 10 and 15. Some of them race in the sailing regattas and they had lots of questions about Sea Fever and Amazon. Lots of questions, too, about the outboard motor -- i.e., "Is this the motor for your dinghy?". We invited them aboard for tortilla chips, and had them sign the guest book. Our guests were: Fabian Davis, Aerion Sturrups, Tyler McKenzie, Craig Clarke, Julian Morley. We talked about fishing, bird sightings, boats, dangerous sea creatures, and school. There was a dialect barrier, and when they talked among themselves, soft and fast, we couldn't understand them. We learned that the schoolmaster that Garth caught is called a "schoolie." We ran out of things to say, but they stayed at least an hour in a general atmosphere of friendliness. A party was underway at a cay across the bay and boats were taking people to and from the party from the Rolleville dock (around a point of land from us). The boys were quite interested in who was coming and going, and talked among themselves alot. At one point in our conversation with them, one (Tyler) got the giggles and we weren't sure how much they were pulling our legs. He thought it was particularly hilarious that Julian told us he once saw a flamingo. After devouring a large bag of chips, and after the tide had come up far enough to endanger their shoes, which they had left on a bit of sand, they departed. A second group came to investigate: Scharad Stubbs, Dean & Aaron Rolle, and they stayed until just before dark. All the boys said "Yes, ma'am" and "Yes, sir" as a matter of habit and they all said they liked school.

This morning is very overcast and humid. Everything in the boat is soggy and damp. We're taking some time to do schoolwork and then will take a walk. We're thinking of going to George Town today if the Sound doesn't look too rough.