A bivalve, a birthday & berries.

 Good morning God-shine, as Myssie calls it. Our cloud speckled skies have offered us stunning mornings and evenings with beams of light pointing to the shallows of the Abaco Sea.

Good morning God-shine, as Myssie calls it. Our cloud speckled skies have offered us stunning mornings and evenings with beams of light pointing to the shallows of the Abaco Sea.

I've got to hand it to this crowd. Here I am in the Caribbean, tan from last week's adventure, and yet I slept in my knee socks and hat. We are off to a chilly start this week, but that didn't hold back the fab four from jumping right into the water this morning.

 I rose early this morning to check out our skies and seas. Everyone was still asleep, including Cheffy Chris who I caught bundled up in a rare moment of repose. 

I rose early this morning to check out our skies and seas. Everyone was still asleep, including Cheffy Chris who I caught bundled up in a rare moment of repose. 

Our first Swim! We were charmed by the production of Hugh Jr. helping his dad don his fins.It's mildly confusing when the water is warmer than the air. It prompted me to work on my breast stroke for a while, to keep my arms from spending a lot of time in the cool. This was a very introductory swim in a new spot. I thought it was a little bland compared to some of the swims we did last week (and have ahead of us this week), but our swimmers were just happy to be swimming outside in December. Giant sea stars stole the show, capped off by a new mollusk for me - the Amber Pen Shell, (Pinna carnea) - that was nearly the size of my fore arm, covered in spikes! Oh sure, it has a fancy name. But we call it the Taco Clam. Very exciting and the crowd actually went a little wild. So while I fretted they would be disappointed and cold, they came out delighted and very happy with the experience. Great.

 Hugh Jr helping Hugh with his fins before our first swim.

Hugh Jr helping Hugh with his fins before our first swim.

Next, a long sail. North to Great Guana Cay, specifically, Bakers Bay, home of last week's batfish. Cheffy nourished us with a protein and nutrient rich pre-swim snack and we jumped in under blue skies that belied the cool temps.

 A cool breezy sail.

A cool breezy sail.

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Kid Swim / wonder boy Zack joined us. Like Sunday driving on a Monday, this group meandered in the shallows along the shore, taking in the fancy beach front homes of the private end of this island. I actually think they were shopping. Janine wanted a longer swim, and it being her birthday and all, I obliged. We followed the shoreline for just about an hour to the spot where the batfish lived last week. Sadly he seemed out to lunch, but we had some other cool wildlife stand in. Many varied sea stars, a very large snail working its way down a  very steep sand bank, and, wait for it, a juvenile yellow spotted sting ray (Urobatis jamaicensis).

I know. Right??!

Anyway. I came back cold, but I swam Janine to a 2.5 mile comfortable birthday fatigue, while Kid Swim and Simon completed a full 1.5 mile of sight seeing swim with the Hughs and Myssie. Impressive to note that neither of the Hughs have swum in over a year, and Myssie is only kicking with fins due to a shoulder injury! And still, they are game and moving at a decent clip. 

 Happy Birthday J9!

Happy Birthday J9!

We're cozied in now, enchiladas in the oven, cocktails in glasses, more easy conversation. I'm sure we'll enjoy a birthday dessert as well, but given the game efforts of our swimmers today, I smell another early bed time. We've got a little bit of everything planned for them tomorrow, so the rest isn't a bad idea.

Thanks for today, Abaco, for the cool creatures and the blue skies that faded to pink. You chilled us but thrilled us, and we are excited for tomorrow (spoiler alert: Oink).

- Heather

PS. Kuddos to Cheffy Chris, who whisklessly whipped the heavy cream for a full 40 minutes to top Janine's birthday berries. Enjoy this short video of his impressive efforts. I bet he'll sleep again tonight.

Chris and his 40 minute potato smasher hand whipped cream. Heard in the background by Simon: "You are cheffing the sh*t out of that whipped cream". True.