Monday, July 09, 2007

Long Bay, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E-SE 15-20 knots

Karl is becoming quite enchanted with San Salvador Island, as am I. Yesterday, after I journaled, I went decided to move the boat closer to shore. As of now, the weather’s forecast to stay a little heavier than we would like through this Friday, so we figured we’d better get to shore, make some phone calls, and find a place to fill up our water. Even though we’re not that low right now, we will be by the end of the week.

We uneventfully dodged coral heads to get within 500 yards of the beach, and then I went for a dive, my first in San Salvador. My 1981 guidebook says that the only real reason to come to San Salvador is the diving, and I can see why. The reef here is, by far, the best reef I’ve seen in the Bahamas. There are huge coral heads, rising up twenty feet above the ocean floor, so high that when I swim over them I fear my belly will graze their tops. So far I’ve seen skipjack tuna, giant 20-pound grouper, stingrays, and countless brilliant electric-blue fish that look like little specks of sky swimming in the water. There are whole huge yellow heads that are at least ten feet wide, and vast fan-coral gardens with exquisite fans of green-yellow and bright purple.

I could get entranced just by the diving around here, but the island itself is a fairly amazing place. It has everything that I’m always looking for in an island paradise--blinding white sunlight that reflects off the white sand and roads, palm trees (yes!), shady pine trees, miles and miles of powdered-sugar pink-sand beach that is perfectly untouched and unbuilt upon, and amazing people. We took the requisite photos where Columbus allegedly landed, and then wandered up to the local Fish Fry, which seems to be more of a hangout, because they don’t actually sell fish, fried or otherwise.

As soon as we got there, though, we were invited (as outsiders) to a girl’s birthday party that was happening that night. “Free food,” they said, which is really all anyone needs to tell me. It was one of the best experiences we’ve had so far in the Bahamas. As soon as we walked through the door, the girl’s mom laded us with platters of Bahamian food--fried spicy chicken, barbecued ribs, pasta salad, corn. Considering we haven’t even seen meat in about two months, we were pretty ecstatic. There was a deejay playing reggae, and everyone was extremely friendly, even though we couldn’t really hear what anyone had to say. What we did hear was another invitation, to the Bahamian Independence Day celebration on Tuesday. Evidently the government provides more free food, so I’m there.

All in all, I feel more welcomed in this place than I have on any Bahamian island. It’s another enchanting place, a place that I could be convinced to stay in for a long, long time. We may just be able to, too, if the weather stays like this.

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