Life’s good 

 Wow! We have been blessed with a great few days and I’m completely in awe of this place.  The water, the colour of it and the abundant life in it is astounding. When spearfishing I’m often distracted by all the beautiful little fishes, it’s like swimming in a fully stocked aquarium, that is until I see a nice grouper who’s thinking he’s camouflaged, then the thrill of the hunt and the prospect of those fillets sizzling in our big cast iron frying pan with salt and pepper and a splash of lemon snaps me back to the task at hand. The trigger fish has become one of my favourites. They both look and taste beautiful. About half their body is their head and they swim kinda funny. They have very tough skin and are a little tricky to clean (a good trick is to peel them with pliers like a mahi mahi) but you are rewarded with firm and tasty meat. Snapper and hogfish are also very delicious. I tell you,we freshwater folk, we are learning all sorts that I couldn’t have guessed.

Turn it around

Anchored at the bottom of the Exumas off of Leaf Cay, about to turn our boat around and point our bow towards Winnipeg, I’m feeling quite a bit of internal struggle. I didn’t mean to experience this. We have full tanks of water and diesel and are stocked up with food from Georgetown, there are so many more islands (the Raggeds are so close and then Cuba, Haiti/DR and follow the path all the way to Grenada) to explore. It seems like it’s all within reach and yet we turn around. Although we’ve never had a destination and are enjoying the journey (and it’s not over yet), it feels strange to turn around. It would seem more natural to just keep going. Perhaps I’m emboldened by the fact that we will not sail further that I can think so flippantly about these passages. But the truth is this does seem very doable. I suppose I’m planning our retirement already!  Rachel has been enjoying swinging around in the rigging with the bosuns chair and took a few photos from aloft today. 

Unexpected experience

It’s interesting how one thing leads to the next. After replacing our alternator in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, we thought we were finally on our way to the Exumas. A powerful cold front coming in fast changed our course. We reluctantly paid to stay at a marina in Cape Eleuthera where a wahoo fishing tournament happened to be taking place. When the boats with the fish came in to be photographed and weighed, it attracted all sorts. Locals, curious transient sailors like us, marine biologists and sharks. That’s right, when the cleaning of fish begins, the predators circle. First a guy doing research on plastics in the ocean asks where the fish were caught and if he could keep the stomachs. He’s a friendly fellow from Chicago working on a study of the affects of ingested plastics in fish and how it affects them and their food quality for humans. Then from the Island School (, a whole team of folks were asking to take the fish remains. They were measuring, dissecting and labeling lots of ziploc bags to place various fish parts for further research and study. Then with what was left of the fish, a research team began “fishing” for bull sharks. They invited us to join them on their boat to capture one to measure, tag, take blood and tissue samples and implant a transmitter under its skin. I got caught up in the hunt and pointed out when I saw the Bulls come up from the depths as the nurse sharks (about a dozen) mostly swarmed near the surface as they threw in fish carcasses. What an experience! The team was super friendly and eager to talk to us about what they were doing. Some facts I learned about the Bull Sharks include: They have the most testosterone of any animal on earth, are very territorial, can swim in both salt and fresh water, are responsible for most human bites (note to mom: mostly because of mistaken identity in murky water, or people doing stupid things. The water in the Bahamas is the clearest I’ve ever seen and I’ll promise not to be stupid). Part of this project is to see where these sharks all travel. The shark they tagged while we were on board was a 270 cm female. The first one this year! Everyone cheered as the shark swam away after its procedures and surgery. It didn’t really hit me until later what we had just experienced or how special it was.
The cold front that rerouted us here hit us with a dramatic and instantaneous 10 degree drop in temperature as we were in the research boat and it began to pour. They were very apologetic that we were getting wet although they couldn’t really control that could they?
I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Our plans are to leave for the Exumas in the morning. We’ll see if that actually happens as I ponder who’s really in control.


Food from the ocean

We’ve managed to catch a few meals by hook, spear or hand (in the case of spiny lobster.)


However on one day while slowly sailing, Shad wanted to check out the bottom for lobster as we had seen some locals doing. Vaguely aware that we were effectively trolling for sharks, I hollered to Shad when I saw this!

Fortunately this blog post title has the word “from” rather than “for”, as the dorsal belonged to a dolphin.

No sooner had Steph spotted the dolphin, she began tearing her clothes off and jumped in which both surprised and scared me a bit. Not that I was worried about her safety of course, but I had heard rumors of women swimming with dolphins and somehow this affected their ability to conceive. And then in this confused state of emotions (my son is shark bait, my wife wants to conceive) from the bow of the boat comes the sound of a recorder!What’s happening! Rachel had heard another rumor that dolphins enjoy music so began performing every song she has ever learned! Which may have worked as the dolphin spent quite a few minutes going between the creatures being dragged behind the boat as well as enjoying the talented musician at the bow.

It’s good to be alive today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Royal island

Time to catch up. Currently we are anchored off of Royal Island. It’s Sunday we think and we are doing great. We went snorkeling at a wreck off of Egg Island yesterday although the waves were a bit high to be ideal we still managed to have a good time. So many fish and the broken up ship added interest. A few too many sharks to comfortably spearfish so we found our anchorage and Steph cooked up one of my favourites from Winnipeg, sweet and sour farmer sausage with rice. The kids and I are also experimenting with baking in our bemco backpacking oven over our barbecue and have had fresh bread a couple of times. Steph has been amazed at our results.