Outside Norman's Pond

Fri 5 Mar 2010 00:19
24:37:20.1 N
76:48:16.86 W

We moved around inside Norman's Pond today -- first up to the north end again to look for a pink rashguard of Rosie's (her only long sleeved one) we suspect may have blown overboard there. After much snorkeling I returned with no shirt, but one big conch and the world's largest hermit crab. He was living in a West Indian Chank shell almost a foot long. He seemed like a lobster in a shell. We took some photos and released him to his crabby kingdom.

Then we decided to go over by the Underwater Garden near the entrance to the Pond. The wind was still blowing pretty strongly from the NW, and to leave the shallows (too shallow to lower the motor) we managed an interesting feat -- we raised only the mizzen sail, and between that and the upswept bow, with no rudder down or leeboard, we sailed perfectly sideways in about 18" for about 300 yards to deeper water.

By the time we got to the Underwater Garden we realized that the wind was too strong there and snorkeling would be tough, so we kept going outside the pond and just a bit left -- where there is a long sweeping beach and clear shallow water, well protected from the NW wind. While we were playing on the beach, we met two men, one of which turned out to be Louise's (from McDuff's) husband. He said they saw our sideways maneuver and thought the boat was terrific--perfect for the Bahamas, because you can go anywhere and always find shelter tucked up somewhere other boats can't get. He said, "With this boat, you are king of the Bahamas!" He, too, expressed dismay that we were only here for two months. "Take them out of school for six months!" he suggested. Later, in the evening, we met three young French Canadians who were only on a week's vacation here. Most of the time, they've been in Nassau because the weather was too bad to come to the Exumas. They only have 3 more days. Everything is relative.

We spent the afternoon here snorkeling, then we had dinner on the beach with a small campfire for warmth. We fried two conchs in thin slices, and ate them with pesto. Good living! From our beach picnic spot, we spied a dark shape moving through the water. We kept expecting to see a large dorsal fin, but it turned out to be a large ray.

Soon we will have to stop our conch-eating, shell-collecting ways, as we hope to go to Shroud Cay tomorrow, one of the islands inside the Exuma Land and Sea Park. The whole park is a no-take zone, and because of that is said to be extraordinarily beautiful -- corals and conchs and fish all let to grow unchecked.

Homemade pizza last night was a success. Even more popular were pretzels that the girls made from the leftover dough, that turned out like steamed buns. Next time we may skip the pizza and go straight to pretzels. (The provolone we placed in jars of olive oil was perfectly preserved, but a bit too strong tasting for the girls. But good to know the technique worked.)

Our boat battery is low and the solar panel only puts out a measly 12 watts, so to run this power-hungry laptop (needs 60 watts) we crank up the outboard motor, which puts out 72 watts. It is a strange and comical feeling that we have a gasoline-powered laptop.