Fishing for Bonefish

Fact: Bonefish and I have something in common, we both like calm seas.

Greg, our fishing guide , said we will never catch bone fish today the sea is too rough. We are not particular, Clare and I will be happy to catch anything. Our guide now had a mission.  

A  90 hp, sixteen foot flat boat spirited us wildly across the Tongue of the Ocean to vast areas of mangroves at the edge of a blue hole.

A fifty pound casting net was thrown effortlessly and expertly over the sea and came back with at least 75 small lively silvery bait fish and put into a hold.  Greg added large steel hooks and jumping slippery bait to each of our lines and said here cast it.

 OK, now cast it again, right into that patch of darkness. Get the slack out of your line and keep the pole down.  You have to leave the line in the water or you won’t catch any fish. We must be fast learners or we just had a superb guide, because within ten minutes we both caught our first three pound mutton snapper. 

Whoops!   What is that? Clare is struggling to hang on to her bending rod. Yikes! A three foot long and narrow fish is flying across the boat.  Clare has fallen onto the deck but still holding on to the line. Greg grabs for the pole just as the barracuda bites off the line and disappears into the deep. Even the guide was having a good time. A never to be forgotten experience.

We went on to catch at least fifteen more snapper and one little gluttonous grouper who had a crab in its mouth while trying to eat our live bait.  He was the only one we had to throw back, too small.

We are officially spoiled, this is the way to fish!

Word Press has completely change their program and their tech support, The Happiness engineer is not making me very happy right now. I cannot caption these photos. So. They are mostly of Clare, me and our guide and of course just some of the fish we caught.

Paradise Lost

Dream Seeker must sail from this quiet shallow port on high tide! This morning it is 10 AM and we must go. Denny is in his element.

Fresh water is difficult to come by on these islands and Kamalame cay is no exception. It provided fresh water in small doses.  West End has reverse osmosis plants so water was plentiful there. 

The family is going their separate ways. Two on the  the seaplane, some on the the ferry to the airport, three of us on Dream Seeker, Clare, one of my six beautiful granddaughter’s is sharing our journey home. Although exhausted from ten days of revelry I am delighted to have her on board.

The celebration is over but will never be forgotten! The resort was amazing and the people so very happy to have us. Walking, running, bicycles and golf carts were the major forms  transportation on this three mile long island. But I still drank too much and didn’t get enough exercise. 

Ah, the good life!

A Glorious Day

Not Balmy, actually, quite cold but sunny and beautiful. Whitecaps on the ocean even within the reef.

Jumped in the golf cart to get lunch and await the families arrival and there they were: Hi Grandma! Hi Mom! Hugs and kisses all around in this age of COVID. The tiki Bar was crowded with my family drinking Pina Coladas, et al.  Immense pleasure sprinkled with sorrow: The UK Wagners were missing but not forgotten.

The bed in the master suite where the shortest family member is staying, namely me, is about four feet off the floor.  Denny offered to lift me onto the bed but how would I get out. I could take a running leap but I might miss.

Guest services were already on the premises because I had twice prematurely locked myself out of the safe; so I asked them to solve my predicament.  Two stools were brought in from the wrap around porch and created a lovely ladder onto the bed.   Wishing me a good night they drove into the darkness.

Ahhh! Both the huge green frog and I jumped five feet in the air!!

I almost made it onto the bed without the ladder. Should I call guest services back again?

Denny removed the errant frog and deposited him among the greenery. Disaster averted once again.

Kamalame Cay

Palm trees sway, the ocean sparkles and faces are smiling:  Welcome to Kamalame Cay.

The guide book says that  Kamalame, was named after the native tree that is found in abundance across the island, the Kamalame tree, but I believe it is a Gumbo Limbo.   The tree is also referred to as a tourist tree because the bark is red and peeling, like a tourist.

The resort is lovely but the marina is unaccustomed to large boats and their individual needs like water.  The island is approachable at high tide only and the marina has no potable water. Joey, the dock master, a master diver and instructor tells us all this and more will be available next year.  But for the present he is filling our two, two-hundred gallon water tanks with 5 gallon jugs. They have been working since noon and it is now cocktail time.

Hourly reports from my children state they have all passed their COVID tests, have their Bahamian health visas in hand and are hoping to pass the one remaining obstacle, The winter storms due to hit the northeast tomorrow, travel day.

Merry Christmas! 

Pictures: the Ferry, one of our rented houses and us enjoying the ambiance!

The Tongue of the Ocean

Three small black dolphin, so different from the bottle nosed dolphin we see in the Indian River Lagoon, circled our boat looking for bow waves. We were looking for a safe anchorage and were as disappointed as the dolphin because we found ourselves currently aground. 

Denny there is more protection closer to shore, go further, go further, oops not that far. Dream Seeker suddenly stopped. I am afraid I may have been the cause of our escalating situation. The waters of the Bahamas are deceptively shallow. 

One hour later, with much churning up of the bottom, some rocking back and forth, a few prayers and we were afloat again just to return to the original choppy anchorage.

Leaving the dubious anchorage in the morning we set our course directly SSW. The weather reports are showing high winds and rough seas for the next few days.  Another front is upon us. No leisurely island sailing, we need to sail for a safe harborage and hunker down for three days.

Cruising directly through “The Tongue of the Ocean” depth over 10,000 feet, waves one to three, no white caps yet, we head straight south southeast for Kamalame Cay. So far the sun is shining but the sky is ominous.

I am resending the pictures from the last post because they were very askew when downloaded.

DOUBLE DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE

Boris has “Scrooged” my Christmas!

Three years in the planning and so close to fruition, my Bahamian Holiday plans have been set asunder.  Boris Johnson has  stopped travel to and from the UK. My children and grandchildren from the UK will miss this Christmas with the entire family and we will miss them.

I am terribly saddened but not forlorn.

Bahamians wisely have a strict COVID policy to which we are faithfully adhering.  We all want to be safe. I know that the rest of the family will be with us at Kamalame Cay, sorely missing the London Wagners but ready to enjoy the season.

On another note:

Denny’s Dilemma

Just before Thanksgiving this year, Denny managed to fall into an open hatch on Dream Seeker.  Consequently,  he has been wearing a black boot from toe to knee to immobilize his two hairline fractures of the tibia. He was told to rest with his foot in the air but this never happened.

The boot is slowly disintegrating.  Bits and pieces of it can be found in and around the boat.  Large black rubber marks are his stamp of approval and a sore hip is an outcome of legs that are two different heights.

The boot is to be worn for six weeks but it will never hold up that long.  It has traveled too far,  from  the mud covered fields, through the murky waters and into the the dregs of the bilge.

Port of Lucaya

Beautiful but empty.  The docks were  long and floating but the people short and sparse.

The dock master comes to the dock only by request. This land and its’ people are hurting. The hotels  and resorts are empty. 

A few cruise ships were on the seas but I am not sure where they were going or with whom. Seemingly stranded oil rigs dotted the seascape. A brisk walk about the Hotel grounds showed them to be quite empty.

Bananas and bread were available but no Rum.

In the evening, the Grand Lucaya Yacht Club hosted a  small Christmas boat parade. We turned on our lights and cheered them on.

Leaving early again heading south to the Berry islands.

EIGHT MILE ROCK

 “Show Time“, a local driver, drove us the twenty miles into the town of Eight Mile Rock. Rain and sunshine peppered our journey, the effects of Dorian were evident by a sea of scattered blue  tarps.  All the churches were repaired and in use.

Eight Mile Rock is one of the Grand Bahama Island’s oldest communities and got its name from the eight miles of solid rock found along its shoreline. When we drove along it the surf was white and the  waves high and tumbling. The rocks were nowhere in sight.

How about some lobsters, freshly caught today? Who is going to cook them and how? The grill is reattached to the railing among the Christmas lights and fired up.  The weather has turned cool so the fire is welcome.

Apparently there was a great need to replace our current claw anchor with a new 85 pound Mantis anchor, and then hang another anchor, a fortress, next to it. The claw is now in the lazarette.  You can never have enough anchors!  

The men in the sports fishing boats were making bets on how Denny was going to move all these about. Not at all like our helpful Looper buddies. Denny, cleverly, put the davit to good use.

The plan is to leave in the morning for Lucaya and then south through the Berries and into Andros but we are subject to the vagaries of the weather.

THE OCEAN CROSSING

Dawn; large ships,  small sailboats  and vessels of all sizes are milling about.

The coffee is on, the anchor on board, and the engines purring. Leaving the melee behind us we are through the inlet and out to the open ocean,

Alone, with the gentle  ocean swells and a myriad of underwater creatures as yet unseen.  Horizon appears on all sides of us and no vessels anywhere. We could get a peek at what is under the sea if only our trolling fishing line would produce something.

Halfway across and past the point of no return, a black cloud descends on us and the winds start to howl. Our weather window is gone  in its’ stead, pounding seas, flying missiles and crashing furniture. We need a few extra bungee cords.

Sailing into West End in the Bahamas, three hours later, the seas have died down, the sun is shining and  island music is playing.  Except for a few regulars, the docks are deserted.  We are ushered through customs quickly and relatively efficiently. Contract for two conch salads tonight and a ride tomorrow to the  “Aliv” Bahama phone company.

A large sports fishing boat docked beside us was the recipient of our errant and empty trolling hook, line and sinker forgotten in our haste to outwit the seas. Denny managed to salvage the lure and placate the partying fisherman.

Stand up the Christmas tree, turn on our Christmas lights, and enjoy a sundowner.

Denny and the errant lure

Covid Concerns

Tonight should bring the results of this mornings Covid Test.

That is good because our weather window says we should leave at dawn tomorrow for the eight hour journey across the ocean.

You need the test results before you can apply for a Bahamian Health Visa.

The results came in at 9:30PM, way past Looper midnight. 

Onto the Bahamian website!  Over and over flashed, error message: error message: blinking red, Incorrect password, incorrect password.

It had to be one of three things:

Either, I couldn’t remember my password, or I couldn’t follow the non-existent directions, or  the website was down. At 10 PM I decided the website was at fault and surrendered to the arms of Morpheus.

Up at the crack of dawn but to no avail. Four hours later, having  finally successfully navigated the website and obtaining two health Visa’s, it was too late to navigate the crossing and get there before dark.  There goes the weather window.

Anchored with Peanut Island behind us and the Palm Beach inlet in front of us, we plan to embark at daybreak and hope the wind doesn’t come up till the afternoon.

West Palm Beach Inlet
Dream Seeker’s Christmas Tree