Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This...

…palm trees, the ocean, conch fritters, and a couple of beers.  We were rewarding ourselves for completing a couple of writing tasks.  Chris finished detailing and uploaded the cover for the last book of our co-authored Cornerstones trilogy, Jundag (see for info on the other books).  We’ve been eagerly awaiting the art work since summer, and now it’s done and off and we’ll be selling Jundag at conventions next summer.  Anne wrote and submitted a short story for an anthology of ghost stories; cross your fingers that it gets accepted.  So we dinghyed into Clarence Town (east coast of Long Island, Bahamas), bought fresh fruits and vegetables at the government packing house, and treated ourselves to conch fritters at Rowdy Boys restaurant.  If you get to Clarence Town, do yourself a favor and check out the conch fritters at Rowdy Boys – they’re delicious!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rum Cay, Bahamas

 We’re at Rum Cay now, following a couple of beautiful daysails from George Town to Calabash Bay, Long Island, then from Calabash Bay to Rum.  Chris caught a mahi en route to Rum, which made him very happy.  We snorkeled on a bunch of the reefs that dit-dotted the southern bay; the coral was a bit worn in areas, but the fish were great, and we saw our first reef shark of the season.  I must say, I was quite proud that it didn’t make us immediately jump out of the water at first sight; instead, we just kept an eye out and continued snorkeling.  Chris caught a couple of lionfish, which he cooked up for a happy hour with other cruisers; it was a hit.  We went into the marina one night to get out of a blow.  There’s great artwork on the beach there, courtesy of Bobby, who owns the marina.  From the marina we kayaked through a canal, under a couple of little bridges (we had to lay flat to get under them and hope there were no spider webs to run into), and through some narrow mangrove-lined channels to an interior pond surrounded by mangroves large and small.  There were all kinds of little fish, a juvenile barracuda, and lots and lots of upside-down jellyfish.  It was very neat.  On a walk, we saw quite a few kingfishers and kestrels, as well as a bunch of friendly goats.  We also kayaked and picked our way through the rocks around to one of the outside beaches to see the surf, which surprisingly wasn’t very high, considering the winds.  Finally, we had some fun get-togethers with other cruisers: happy hour (okay, it was five hours) on Cookie Monster, dinner on Mr Mac, and a pot luck at the marina.  We didn’t visit Rum Cay last year, but we’re glad we got here this year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Day at the Races

The other day they were racing the local sailboats around Elizabeth Harbour.  The boats are fantastic to watch, with these huge long booms that extend way over the sterns of the boats.  So pretty.

Oh, I Love Critters!

And isn’t this a great one!  It’s the cushion or reticulated sea star (Oreaster reticulates), and we see them often on the sand flats.  Sometimes they’re so common, I stand on the bow and point them out, saying, “Starfish, starfish, starfish, starfish…” until Chris goes crazy (ha ha, I love doing that).   But they really are everywhere.  This is a particularly handsome specimen in some particularly beautiful water in Elizabeth Harbour, near George Town, in the southern Exumas.  Unfortunately, it didn’t have its little tube feet out.  If you ever find one (or any starfish, for that matter), hold it on your hand or arm until its feet come out and suck onto your skin.  It’s like velcro when you pull it off. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Taste Treat

Chris on the hunt near Compass Cay, Exumas

Chris loves catching dinner while snorkeling here in the Bahamas, and we’ve had lots of tasty critters. We’ve got a new favorite now: lion fish. The lion fish is an exotic species here. Originating in the Indo-Pacific, these fish are popular for aquariums. It’s proposed that an escape from a Florida aquarium fish farm resulted in fast-growing populations of lion fish throughout Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. The bad news is: these fish are voracious and have no natural predators in these new habitats, and research has shown that they decrease the number of local fish tremendously. The good news is that they’re really tasty, and easy to catch. So Chris had been a happy predator on lion fish, and I’ve been a happy consumer of lion fish. They are beautiful (those spines are poisonous, though Chris hasn't gotten stuck yet), but you know, they just don’t belong here.