It started with a discussion I had with Robert about blog post titles. We were joking about my title for last night’s blog (“This is not a good first blog post”). And we laughed about how it would be fun to let the guests riff on what each night’s blog post title should be. Before the first swim, we were batting around ideas about what tonight’s title would be. Enough of that business, into the water!
But first, because I do like this blog to be a little interactive, I’d like to address some comments from our readers. Some have inquired about the splitterator mentioned yesterday as lost in transit. We quite often have solo travelers who opt to share a room. These yacht cabins, while spacious, have only one large bed per room. The bed is made up of two adjacent mattresses. In an effort to not force strangers to spoon (though truthfully, our guests usually become such close friends they might choose to spoon by the end of the trip….) we have designed and built a contraption called The Splitterator. This is an exact recreation of one half of the bed, made of 5” upholstery foam. We elevate half the bed, throw a couple of upholstered splitter boards in between, and viola, one big bed turns into two, trundle style twins. Strangers not (exactly) sleeping together. The Splitterator. And in yesterday’s adventures in travel, it got stuck in Lauderdale. Post script: The Splitterator has arrived and is currently being held by Abigail, our trusty local go to, and we will use it next week. This week, our once-stranger cabin mates are happily, gamely, sleeping side by side. Whether or not they spoon is entirely up to them and shall not be reported here.
The second reader response I’d like to address is from Princess Lulu, other half of Skipper Richie, who bemoaned the fact that I neglected to put any photographs of her beloved on last night’s blog. For Lulu, I offer here a Richie Interlude:
On at last to our morning swim. I woke tired and wishing I could have another 6 hours of sleep. Coffee, some toast, some fun, light morning chats with our guests who were all excited and ready to go, and splash, we were in. My God, Mother Sea, what you do to me. For me. The temperature was just right - not too cold but not too hot - and the breezes still light, the bay quiet at not quite 8am. We plotted a triangular course to the point, along a shore of white sandy beaches and back to our yacht. We let the gentle breeze push us to the point and as we arrived, the morning light became….exquisite. Everyone felt it, they were buoyed and bouncing in this spectacular glow from a sun low in the sky and refracting its way across the atmosphere. Allie could not stop exclaiming and snapping pics, while Robert and Carol started a game of catch with one of the many golf balls we swam over. The salt, the light, the stunning ripples in the white sand beneath us, all of it, had the same effect on me as a shot of caffeine and a 6 hour nap in the sun. As I am so often when I jump in the sea, I felt light and elated. Healed. We cruised around for over an hour in this bay, in this way, and climbed back aboard to a second breakfast and music.
The first song I heard was “Fix You” by Coldplay (sorry Hopper). It has always been a meaningful song for me - I chose it as my song for my son when I was pregnant (google the words if you want to know more about that) - and when I mentioned that, Robert said, “that should be the title of tonight’s blog post!” And in an instant, I was moved by how fitting that seemed.
All the miles of travel, all the hassles and headaches, all the scrambling and hustling, and in a salty splash with white sea floor, magnificent light and 10 other souls willing to feel it all, I am healed.
A sail. We sailed gently to Green Turtle Cay to top off the water tanks (yes, already. We need to have a talk about water use hmmmmmm….ok I just paused and went and did that) Our guests got off the yacht and had walk abouts. Green Turtle Cay has a sweet little town, and we will be back here later in the week for an historical tour. After walkies, lunchie, another gentle sail up to Manjack Cay, where we set anchor for the night.
Manjack, also called Nunjack, I don’t know why, is shaped a little like a tuning fork, with a fabulous little bay at its northern end that offers a sporty swim either around a point and back into the Sea of Abaco, or around another point and out into the Atlantic, making it a great two swim spot. It is also home to a resident population of southern sting rays, mostly here at the encouragement of tourists who feed them. Right or wrong, this bay offers a wonderful opportunity to get close to these fantastic creatures, who seem curious and pretty smart especially for fish. We plotted a swim into the beach, around the inside of the bay, around one tine of the fork and along the Sea of Abaco shore line. A short way down the outside of the fork brings us to a little beach which we can cross on foot and land right back in the bay. I love this swim. A swim-walkie sort of thing, it offers so much in the way of geology, open water conditions, and today, wildlife. Inside the bay was calm, and as we round the point, we got a bouncy taste of Atlantic with bigger swells and a significant current in only 8 feet of water, then along the wall in 3 feet of water and even stronger current. It’s a bit of a slog, but a fun slog that never feels scary, since you can simply stand up. The payoff is the beach - beautiful soft white sand - sloping gently out from the turquoise and a short walk back to the bay. A challenge, varied and delicious. And today! The wildlife!!!
The biggest and the smallest southern stingrays I have ever seen.
A spotted moray eel
A big beautiful french angelfish
A five foot nurse shark
A little green sea turtle
The. Biggest. Loggerhead. Turtle. I. Have. Ever. Seen.
With two giant remora beneath it.
This turtle must have been a hundred years old. It looked positively unphased and unimpressed with us. It looked at me. What. So? Moving on.
Our swimmers charged with aplomb into the swell, into the current, stopping only briefly here or there to remark what fun it was. We took our short walk across a beach I wished would never end, and back into the bay, only to be met by more stingrays, one of which came to interview Patty Barba and sent her screaming like a howler monkey back out of the water. Dave and I wheezed with laughter and in what can only be described as an heroic moment, Robert arrived with the SUP so Patty could have a ride back to the boat. Spent with fantastic effort from a full day, our swimmers headed home, while Dave and I played with the big ray and searched under ledges for more creatures. I could have stayed in all night. Robert, diving back in from the top deck, nearly did.
And so it was that we woke beneath a soft pastel sky, and in less than a day, shed the planes and bother that carried us from a world of winter, a world without a salty sea and wizened old turtle, and fully immersed in the offerings of Abaco.
Miriam feeds our bellies, this salty Abaco sea feeds my soul.
Fix You, indeed.
I did my after hours work - editing and blog writing - throughout the day, in the hopes I could give this post my best effort and get into my bunk before ten. I’m nearly there. Earlier, this boisterous group, jamming the tunes and laughing and telling tall tails was so raucous I had trouble focusing. John, looking out for me as I was being pestered for pictures and hurry-up-and-finish-the-blog requests, said in a commanding voice, “Disruption hurts the narrative”.
Thank you John! And with that, this narrative comes to an end.
Thank you, Abaco, for the quick but significant fix. Ready for more.