It was time for a little trip to stretch our wings again and to see a different Abaco cay. Cutting Class and Kindred Spirit departed Hope Town in the early morning for Great Guana Cay. Although it was a cloudy morning, we had a lovely and leisurely sail north the entire 12 miles, about 2.5 hours and anchored in Fishers Bay.
Great Guana Cay is one of the smallest settlements in the central Abacos, but is growing (95 people in 1990 census to 163 in the 2000 census.) Great Guana Cay’s rolling terrain has some higher hills than the average Abaco cay. It is famous for its 7-mile long beach on the Atlantic side and its two beach bars – Nippers and Grabbers. (I’ll bet those names conjure up some images!) We can hear about the “happenings” at Nippers, Grabbers, and Dive Guana on the VHF cruisers’ net each morning so it was fun to visit the island.
The water in Fishers Bay was so clear we could easily see our anchor, an experience we just don’t have up north.
The “boys” decided to clean Kindred Spirit’s bottom. With Dan’s help, we now have a clean bottom, rudder, and keel.
Of course, Dan had to go lobstering – beware lobsters!! You are not safe while Dan is in the Abacos!! Dan speared four that morning. That said, we all ate well again that evening on lobster cooked in a delicious sauce with vegetables by Marcia.
We took a walk around Great Guana Cay, with Dan and Marcia as our guides. Al found a hammock right there at the beach, three steps from the dinghy – a doze in a hammock is his dream idea of a nap.
Great Guana Cay has a couple shops and a little grocery store. Here we are in the Abacos and we ran into Clive and Herschel from Connecticut walking along the road. They are sailing on their boat, Sitara. Clive retired in June from another CT district as their math curriculum leader, so we had crossed paths back in those days.
Here is something you just don’t see very often anymore —
A bit of trivia – Dan says that more people die from falling coconuts than any perceived tropical or sailing dangers.
We walked out to the famous Nippers Beach Bar and Grill known for their Sunday “pig roast” – roast pork, barbecued pork, peas and rice, mac and cheese, corn, potato salad, cajun coleslaw, custard corn bread, fruit salad or watermelon. That sounds really neat, but when we got there, it was like “spring break.” Major sensory overload in many ways – music, gyrating bodies, drinks, people and more people! Where did they all come from???? Just not our style. Maybe another time, when it is not a Sunday, and not a holiday week. Just TOO crowded for us.
So, we headed back to Grabbers, a much quieter place to relax and have a beer on the beach. We played a rousing game of corn hole. Does this mean we are getting old? We prefer corn hole and one beer over the party scene at Nippers????
We were treated to a softly lit sunrise the next morning.
Shortly after breakfast we all headed off in our dinghies to go lobstering! When I say “lobsters” down here in the Bahamas, they aren’t exactly like our New England lobsters. These creatures are the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) a species in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. They don’t have claws, but do have very long antennae. Spiny lobsters tend to live in crevices of rocks and coral reefs, only occasionally venturing out at night to seek something to eat. Like New England lobsters, spiny lobsters are edible, but aren’t as “sweet”, tasting more like shrimp.
This turned out to be a BIG day – Al’s first true lobstering day and he catches two and a half lobsters! In his own words, “When you spear a lobster he is hiding under a coral ledge and you really can’t see what size it is. So after you spear him it is to late to ask him how old he is. We worry more about getting one that is too small. They are illegal. We look for the tentacles sticking out from the ledge, that is how we know they are there. Most of the time we are in less than 10 feet of water, which is not bad for getting to the bottom. Dan taught me to spot from the surface, dive down and grab a ledge, hang out and watch him. Then do it again, only this time think like a killer!”
Al’s third lobster was a real fighter. Al speared him, but he got away, injured. Dan chased after him and finished him off. That is why Al caught “2.5 lobsters.” We think this was a pretty successful first day for Al, even paid for the spear he bought. All in all, we had 6 lobsters. I am much more squeamish about wiggling creatures with sharp antennas. Putting them into the bucket in the dinghy made me screech out loud! The final lesson was twisting the tail off and throwing the rest back into the water (away from where you catch the lobster, otherwise the dead parts scare away the lobsters still living in that coral head.)
We left Great Guana Cay around 2:00 pm to go with the rising tide back into Hope Town harbor. The sail back was even better than the day before. Should I say it again? It is SO nice to sail.
We cleaned ourselves up and prepared a feast for our dinner. Cajun grilled lobsters tails with orzo salad, grilled vegetables, and brownies for dessert. No restaurant could have provided a better meal than this group effort.
Wow, this is turning out to be an awesome adventure trip.