After we dropped our friend Dierk off, we had some serious business to take care of in Nassau: namely buying an outboard. Not to mention stocking up on groceries (and rum and beer!), doing laundry, and giving the boat a thorough cleaning. Water is so precious in these parts that poor Mata Hari was in need of a good scrub to get all the salt off her decks since the last time we passed this way. Luckily for us, the marina we were tied up at only charges $8 a day for water (a serious bargain in the Bahamas) so we could scrub to our hearts’ content!
In between all the projects, we popped into Potter’s Cay a couple of times for conch salad and Kaliks. We were afraid it would be a tourist trap, but it turned out to be a pretty fun local hangout. While we were there we also got to try some conch skin. Unlike the conch meat, which is raw, this is cooked, and talk about chewy! I didn’t mind it, other than feeling like I might lose a tooth trying to eat it, but I’m also not gonna go out of my way to eat more. Rich got a piece with the eye stalks and let’s just say he wasn’t feeling it. Our server (who had the prettiest purple marcel waves) just laughed and said Bahamians love the skin. Well, more for them, right?
Slow Internet Is Better Than No Internet
While we were at the marina, we also caught up on The Walking Dead (very slow, but passable data thanks to T-Mobile made it happen).
Our friend Wayne was having a problem with one of the rudders on his boat, so Rich and I went over to see if we could help him fix it. Okay, Rich helped him with it while I drank beer and played with Wayne’s dog Scrappy.
The next morning we cruised over to our old haunt Rose Island, just a few miles from Nassau to try out our new outboard. Who knew a little 3.3-hp motor could be so much fun? We were giggling like little kids zipping around with that thing. Woohoo! Oars are great, but this means we can get around a lot easier and go a lot farther.
Highbourne Cay: Tiger Sharks and Lobsters
From there we motored south about 30 miles to Highborne Cay in the Exumas. It was so hot when we got there we couldn’t wait to jump in the water. Back on the boat we saw some nurse sharks, but they were gone by the time we got our snorkel gear out. A couple of women on a catamaran said hello as I paddled by later and warned me that they saw a few tiger sharks earlier. Duly noted.
Just as we were trying to figure out what to make for dinner, the lobster boat we’d seen at Allans Cay a few weeks ago pulled in. Rich paddled over on the kayak and after some fierce negotiating got us two tails. Winner, winner, lobster dinner! There was so much we had enough for lunch the next day too. Yum!
In the morning we motored to long Long Cay, a private island a few miles south of Highborne. When we paddled by on the kayak and SUP there were two dogs on shore barking like crazy, but one of them couldn’t stop wagging his tail. Another boat pulled up and mistook that wagging tail for an invitation. A woman waded ashore only to come traipsing back tout de suite when the dogs ran up to her growling and barking. That didn’t stop the woman and her companions from going ashore a little later when the dogs had left the beach. Personally, we just don’t get this. It’s a private beach and judging by the dogs guarding it, the owner doesn’t want you on it. Isn’t it enough that you can pull in here and admire it all from your boat?
Later a couple came in on a Cape Dory and went to town lobstering. We were taking notes on their technique, which was impressive. By the time they were done, they had three huge lobsters to take home for dinner. Meanwhile, we’re still working on it, but thank goodness for the lobster boat!
Saddleback Cay: Amazing Scenery and a Run-In With Sharks
However, Rich did manage to find a nice conch the next day at Saddleback Cay. He even got it out of the shell like a boss! Conch salad for dinner, anyone?
The area was so gorgeous we couldn’t believe we had it (mostly) to ourselves. Island World Adventures runs tours from Nassau where they take everyone snorkeling and then drop them on the island with their own private beach bar for drinks and swimming. But they have to start back to Nassau pretty early, and once they left it was all ours! We dinghied all around exploring and totally enjoyed ourselves.
The only part I didn’t particularly enjoy was when I paddled over near the dock and three big sharks swam under my paddleboard. One of them started thrashing around and flipped its tail aggressively at my board. That definitely got my heart rate up! These weren’t the cute little nurse sharks we’ve been seeing all over the place, but lemon sharks measuring around 6-7 feet each. We hear they feed them on the dock, so I was most likely just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I paddled back to the boat, stat! And the sharks went on their merry way. Phew!