Well…here I am, behind on blog posts yet again! Those of you who also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter know that we are now at our home in Michigan for the next few months sitting out hurricane season, visiting with friends and family, and enjoying all the creature comforts a large home on dirt affords us. While we are enjoying showers with unlimited water and drinks with unlimited ice cubes, I thought I’d take the time to get you all caught up on our adventures to date.
At the end of our last post, we were hanging out at Lynyard Cay on Great Abaco and getting ready to head down to the Exuma island chain about 100 miles further south. We broke the trip into two 50 mile runs, heading first to Royal Island on the north end of Eleuthera. We had hoped to spend a day here exploring nearby Spanish Wells, but weather dictated that we continue moving or chance not being able to make it comfortably and safely to the Exumas for another week or so while we waited out a passing cold front. So instead, we got up the next morning and continued on to Highbourne Cay, one of the northernmost islands in the Exumas.
Let me back up a minute though to the first leg of this trip and tell you a couple of fish stories. First, remember the mutton snapper we’d caught right after stocking our freezer with fish from the market? Well, early in the morning on the first day of this trip, we ate some of it for breakfast. Ewww…Fish for breakfast?!? No thank you. That was my first thought, but, in an effort to not waste any of this beautiful fish, I turned to my trusty Boat Galley Cookbook for suggestions on what to do with what we couldn’t eat or freeze right away, and much to my surprise, there were directions for making fish sausage. Hmmm…interesting, but I wasn’t convinced until we tried it. Believe it or not, if I hadn’t known it was made from fish, I never would have guessed it! It was delicious, and I’m sure much healthier than regular sausage. So much so that we’re now thinking of bringing a manual meat grinder to the boat when we return in the fall (this time we just cut it up in tiny pieces, but it seems like a grinder would be so quick and easy!).
After breakfast, we decided to put out a couple of lines (one hand line and one rod) and see if maybe we could catch something else. It wasn’t long before we heard the line go out on the rod and once again we had a fish on! We’d just been through this drill a couple of days before and were a little more confident with what we each had to do (or so I thought), so while Jim worked on reeling in the fish, I reeled in the hand line and got the gaff and the net ready. Our mouths started watering when Jim got the fish next to the boat and we saw the beautiful tell-tale blues and greens of what we were estimating was about a 30″ long mahi. Unfortunately, that’s when things went sideways. Keep in mind that I’ve only ever gaffed one fish before…ever…in my life, and that one I had easily gaffed right under his gill and lifted him on board. This one, however, didn’t cooperate. As soon as Jim lifted it out of the water, I started swinging the gaff around trying to figure out how the heck to get it, the mahi starting flopping around trying to figure out how the heck to get away, and Jim started yelling and trying to figure out what the heck I was doing! And…bye-bye beautiful mahi! Probably just as well since there was still no room for it in the freezer, but still…..
We tried fishing again on leg two of the trip, but didn’t even have so much as a little nibble. And then it was time to pull in the lines and start paying very close attention to where we were going, as we were now approaching an area that looked like a minefield of coral heads on the charts. And let me tell you…they were everywhere! We donned our headsets (best boating purchase ever!), Jim headed up to the bow and I stayed at the helm. It’s easiest to spot the coral heads on a nice, sunny day, when they look like very dark/black splotches in the water, and up until now, it had been a nice, sunny day. Now, however, clouds were starting to pop up all around us making it a little more challenging, but Jim was able to spot them all in plenty of time and direct me around them. I’m sure we must’ve gone around some coral heads that we easily could have driven directly over top of, but it’s so dang hard to determine how far under the water they actually are! To say the least, we were quite relieved when this section of the trip was behind us.
After two pretty long days (over 10 hours each), we finally dropped anchor in the lee of Highbourne Cay and were officially in the Exumas!