Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Hop, a Skip, and a Jump

Little San Salvador –  Abaco, Bahamas
March 18 – 25, 2015

Our time at this fantastic playground of The Bahamas is coming to an end. Now we are hopscotching our way north. On our first hop, fifteen miles from northern Cat Island to Little San Salvador, a pod of dolphins joined in the play, jumping in our bow wave. We can never get enough of them! Among all God’s creatures, dolphins have to be best at capturing the pure joy of living. 
Three of several dolphins jumping for joy
 Little San Salvador, or Half Moon Cay as it’s now called, is anything but an isolated anchorage every day but Sunday. Owned by Holland America Lines, it’s a daytime playground for cruise ship passengers. Before we arrived that day, 3,000 other cruisers had been ferried ashore. They choose from activities such as swimming, snorkeling, walking the beach, eco tours, watersports, horseback riding, renting a private air-conditioned cabana—even getting married (the ultimate shore excursion!). In the course of a year, 441,000 ship passengers will visit the little island. Fortunately, only 45 of the 2,500 acres have been developed. The ecosystem on the rest of this pristine island is maintained as a bird sanctuary and nature preserve. The ships depart by 4 p.m., taking their loud music with them. For our own shore excursions, we snorkeled on pretty reefs northwest of the cay and, after the ship left, walked the exquisite half-moon beach from one end to the other and back, four miles in all. The next morning, as that day’s liner pulled in, we made a quick departure.
A big ship, a little island

Beachfront bar and water toys

Shore excursion beach villa

Half Moon Beach, sand so soft your feet sink in
A ten-mile skip north landed us at one of our very favorite spots: Lighthouse Point on Eleuthera Island. Although there is no symbol in our chartbook marking it as a recommended anchorage, on another visit by car we had seen a catamaran anchor in the bay for a few hours. So, with settled weather, we gave it a try. Here we were the only ones in the anchorage. On the Atlantic side of the point multiple tiers of reef hug the shore. We dinghied over there and jumped in, Keith loaded with spear and weights, me with camera. Immediately Keith saw two lobsters walking across the sand. In the middle of the day! Usually they only risk coming out of hiding at twilight. The taking of spiny lobster is prohibited April 1 through August 31 for mating season. We think these two, a big male chasing a female, just couldn’t wait. The lady lobster found shelter in the reef. The big boy turned and struck a threatening pose. It was his last stand. And our delicious dinner.

Dinner, anyone?

Fresh as can be! (the lobster)

After snorkeling a while, I was chilled but Keith had more hunting in him. He dropped me off at the shore and headed back to the reefs. Walking down the glorious beach, I was completely wonderstruck by the overwhelming beauty of sky, sea, and sand. My heart bursting, I said, “Oh, Lord, heaven has to have places very much like this. I can’t imagine anywhere more perfect and soul satisfying.” Just then, I think I saw Him smile.

Beauty puts a face on God. When we gaze at nature, at a loved one, at a work of art, our soul immediately recognizes and is drawn to the face of God.
Margaret Brownley

Lighthouse Point Beach
We made a few more skips up the big island of Eleuthera for laundry, fuel, groceries, and stone crab claws. Then it was time for the blue-water jump to the Abacos, a different section of the playground. The Abacos are the only area of the Bahamas with an inland sea between a larger “mainland” (Great Abaco Island) and a chain of sheltering cays. Now at the end of the hopscotch course, we’ve landed in a “safe” space. Soon we’ll turn and make the hop for home base. 
Rock Sound, Eleuthera

Hurricane damage, Spanish Wells

The boatyard, Spanish Wells

Sunrise after a squall, departing Eleuthera

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