Evening Boat Excursion

One evening last week, we took the boat out for a couple hours. With daylight savings, our evenings are longer now and conducive to such weekday adventures!

This particular boat excursion was in a 17 foot Boston Whaler, the boat in which I’m being taught to actually DRIVE (and dock and anchor and tie up, etc.) rather than to simply enjoy going along for the ride. But I begged off taking the wheel first since I wanted to snap some blog photos for you!

Off we went. We pulled away from the private dock and waved good-bye to Milo, one of my favorite island dogs.

Milo, just chillin’ out.

We backed into a small canal, then headed west. I never fail to be amazed at the clarity and brilliant hues of the water!

You can see to the bottom!

As we pulled away from the island, I looked back at the local boat yard. One of the island’s sailboats was up on the land getting a fresh coat of paint for the upcoming regatta (sailboat race). These boats are Bahamian-made and Bahamian-owned. They are wooden sloops, harkening back to the traditions of early fishermen. This particular boat has been hand-planked and rebuilt by hand in the past. And she’s fast!

Local Boat Yard

We cruised along the many little “cays” or blips of land, some larger than others. The western backside of a larger (uninhabited) cay forms a safe harbor where many boats are now anchored during this busy season.

Sailboats anchored out in a protected area.

I mean, look at that water! C’mon! I’m not biased, right?!

Tiny little cays in the sea.

Then the real mission of this adventure commenced – wilt-hunting! Wilts (a.k.a. whilks or whelks) are large Caribbean snails. Locally, they attach to the hard coral rock near the water line. So we cruised toward the rocky cays jutting out of the sea.

Like this one.

The water was deeper in some areas than others. You can tell in the pictures by the shades of blue. The deeper the water, the darker the blue.

See where it changes back to shallow water in the distance?

We maneuvered the boat close to the rock – some seriously challenging driving practice for me! – and pried the wilts off with a knife. I took quite a few pics, so I’ll give you a fuller description later.

For now, this is what our bucket looked like when we quit.

After completing our mission, we cruised along for a little joy ride. First stop . . . pig beach! There’s that expression about “when pigs fly.” Well, in this case, pigs swim!

Approaching the beach. See the pink pig by the left dinghy and the two darker ones by the right dinghy?

The pigs are wild. One or more just had a litter recently, and I’ve counted more than a dozen piglets running around!

A couple piglets in the beach background.

The pigs are used to being fed by boaters, and they can be quite aggressive in coming out for food when they hear a boat engine nearing. It’s important to have the food ready to throw or the pigs will actually try to climb into the boat! Not so good in a small boat.

I’m manning a camera and throwing bread bits as fast as I can as they swim up to the boat!

Lots of snorting.

Yup, those pigs are doggie-paddling.

They finally give up and turn to the beach as we motor away.

After we left pig beach, we cruised back toward home. At a local marina, a unique-looking and beautiful boat caught my eye. I’m not sure what type it is, but one of you more astute boaters is likely to know. Pretty, huh?

The wood gleamed perfectly.

“Freedom” had a very patriotic feel, with an old-school look and a large American flag flying proudly.

Also near the marina, we saw a fisherman friend returning with a large haul. So, we tied up the boat and went to the fish-cleaning bench to check it out. He had a very large Wahoo! Yes, that’s the fish name. But it’s worth getting excited about – good eating! If I heard correctly, this Wahoo was caught on an electric line in 600-800 feet of water.

Cleaning the Wahoo.

Right under and around the fish-cleaning bench, nurse sharks slowly swam in circles.

Waiting for fish scraps to be thrown over.

Yes, the sharks are underwater. The water is really just that clear! These photos were taken from the dock above, not with an underwater camera!

I also thought you might enjoy seeing the posted “rules” for the fish bench and grill area. For decades, nothing was posted, so this is a modern touch. It’s still fairly loose and island-style, and people generally respect the rules. However, the outdoor grill that had been built into a concrete wall no longer exists! Hurricane Irene carried it away with her last summer.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, tourists and locals like to gather around the fish-cleaning bench and check out the action. The group this day happened to be mostly visitors.

Watching the fish-cleaning and the sharks around the fish-cleaning bench.

This visitor was especially brave and waded in with beer in hand – Kalik, which is a Bahamian beer.

The sharks weren’t the only creatures being fed that evening. We were able to take home a piece of the Wahoo, so I delighted in a very fresh Wahoo sandwich that evening for dinner! Just lightly sauteed, plenty of lime as always, and it was down the hatch in no time.

Another great day. So grateful!

5 Responses to Evening Boat Excursion

  • Sarah says:

    Fabulous post (As Always)! Wow, that lady with the Kalik is brave! My hubby would probably do that, but it would take a lot of wine to get me to do that!

  • Dawn says:

    Thanks, Sarah! I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the blog and reading along. No kidding about the sharks!

  • I love reading your blog and looking at the photos of a simpler, more natural life in process. It makes me think. I've lived in Connecticut for all of my life but dream of doing something so completely different, like you have done. It's scary to think about but exhilarating as well.My spouse and I love the water so much. We spent our summers growing up on lakes. She lived on Lake Ontario in New York state from the end of June to the beginning of school, and I lived on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut.I think we both dream of living on the water, where we belong. I hope we can make that dream a reality in our lives.All the best,Lois

  • Dawn says:

    Lois, thanks for such a thoughtful comment. Yeah, there's something about the water – and this water in particular, for me – that has always given me such a sense of peace. Keep following your dream – whatever that may be for you!

  • Pingback: Swimming Pigs (and video!) | Choosing The Better Life

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