Monday, January 26, 2015

An Uncommon Day

Little Harbour Cay, Berry Islands
January 21, 2015

We thought our highlights in the Berrys were behind us. After such a great stay in Great Harbour Cay, we then anchored by the village and, the following night, dropped the hook father south in a gem of an anchorage at Fish Market Cays with two other boats. On our approach to that anchorage, at an inconvenient moment, Keith caught a Yellow Jack and decided to release it. When we checked our fish book later, we found out it would have provided an excellent dinner. Oh, well, brats on the grill were just fine. One more day, and then on to Nassau.
Market Fish Cay beach
Market Fish Cay
Market Fish Cay
You might think that there are no ordinary days in The Bahamas, but that’s not exactly true. However, the next day was uncommon. As we transited ten miles to the next anchoring spot, Keith was trolling, as usual, and caught a barracuda. Not good eating, so he was off the hook. No more than a minute after the lure went back in the water, the reel buzzed, line playing out fast. A bigger fish had taken the bait! As Keith brought it close to the swim platform, we could see yellow rather than barracuda silver. “It’s a huge grouper!” he exclaimed. This time we had our handy fish book in the cockpit and quickly researched its food value. Most groupers rate as very fine dining, but this was a Yellowfin Grouper and the book said bigger specimens could have ciguatera (a toxic poison that can build up in reef-feeding predators), and that one should seek local knowledge.

Yellowfin Grouper
 Conveniently, our planned anchorage was near Little Harbour Cay, the home of Flo’s Conch Bar. It’s a restaurant only accessible by boat, only patronized by cruisers. Once situated at anchor, we left the fish on a stringer behind the boat and dinghied to Flo’s to ask Chester, the proprietor, whether our catch was safe to eat. “Are you sure it’s a Yellowfin?” Looking at our camera screen, he agreed that it was, even though he hadn’t seen one caught in those waters for a long time. “There’s no problem eating them,” he said. “Why don’t you bring him in here and we’ll clean it for you if we can keep the carcass.” Deal!
Flo's Conch Bar - notice welcome sign on roof
Flo's Conch Bar sign inside

As we stood watching the big fish—estimated at twenty pounds—being cleaned, a couple guys who manage a private island came by. We struck up a conversation and they asked us to come to their island. How could we refuse that offer to go to a place we can only visit by invitation? That afternoon was the one possible time, so as soon as the fish was cleaned and half stowed in our fridge (the other half in the restaurant’s, since we didn’t think we could use all of it ourselves while it was fresh), we turned the dinghy toward the private island.

Twenty minutes later, we stepped ashore. Again, we were shown that open-door Bahamian welcome. We chatted while one of them showed Keith his method for cleaning conch, then the other man gave us a tour of the beach cottages. The perfect hosts, they served us drinks and insisted that we take six cleaned conch, a bag of whelks, and a fine bottle of wine with us when we left. It was such an unusual experience that we smiled all the way back to the boat, the whole bumpy, bone-rattling ride.

That night at Flo’s, we were served a fine dinner of grouper fingers—and the next morning, a delicious fish stew for breakfast. Both times, we were the only customers enjoying the gorgeous view and the unique character of the place. It’s an isolated outpost, yet there’s currency stapled to the wall from countries all over the world. In the nearby anchorage we were also the only boat, a rare occurrence that we always savor.
Interior of Flo's
The view from Flo's
Pelican at anchor by Little Harbour Cay
So many uncommon gifts came to us, all strung together into one of the most memorable days we’ve experienced in cruising The Bahamas. 


  1. Every post--beautiful pictures, great descriptive writing...and just a little jealousy on my part :) Enjoy!
    Sue R.

  2. Oh - wish I could join you for a walk on those beautiful white sand beaches!! Love you both!! - Joyce H.