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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Visitors to Green Turtle Cay

International arrival at Marsh Harbor airport

At last we had our first visitors in the Bahamas.  It was marvelous!  There have been relatively few visitors to Northern Star since we moved aboard last April, and until now, visitors were all while in the U.S.  Perhaps then you can understand our excitement at traveling to Marsh Harbor to pick up our guests from Memphis, TN.  
Carl's sister at Treasure Cay

My husband’s sister and her husband arrived last Tuesday noon and departed again via Marsh Harbor Intl. Airport on Saturday.  It was our (okay, more my) goal to pack as much Bahama life into those days as possible.  My husband reminded me that we had to allow them time to do what they wanted to do, too.  “Ya, ya, okay, okay,” I said.

Walking beaches of Green Turtle Cay
From the Marsh Harbor Airport we drove to Treasure Cay where we had a beautiful lunch on the beach.  Then, we rode the ferry to Green Turtle Cay, crossing the Sea of Abaco from Great Abaco Island.  The aqua water does not disappoint any visitors to the Bahamas, I’m sure.  

First time driving a golf cart
We walked the beaches both along the ocean and the bays on Green Turtle Cay.   A golf cart helped us cover a lot more ground that we might have done on foot, or in our dinghy.  Theoretically, we could take four people in our dinghy, but I might not want to be one of them.  Just sayin’.  There were strong winds for their visit.  With four in a dinghy, we’d have been riding low in the water, and would have been drenched.  Although we’ve become used to getting sprayed on wet dinghy rides its probably not the best way to entertain one’s new guests to the Bahamas. 
Bronze Sculpture Garden

We were pleased to show off  “our” little town, New Plymouth, the settlement on Green Turtle Cay.    Our guests enjoyed the Albert Lowe Museum, which is housed in an 1826 house and explains the history of Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos.  The Loyalist Statue Garden was a must, as well.  And the cemetery; I always think a walk through a cemetery has much to say about the history of a community.   Bahamians, similar to the Americans, tend to care for the gravestones of loved ones, and mark the places on the island where deaths have occurred.   A delightful lunch on the beach at Harvey’s followed.
Lunch at Harvey's on the shore

Our guests stayed at the Bluff House Marina and resort in a lovely second floor room overlooking sunsets over the Sea of Abaco.   The remark was made that the scene was a “1940’s postcard of the Bahamas.”  Ya, I think we’ve all seen that postcard. 
Sunset from Bluff House

The major event of the week was an “Adventure Day” with Brendal’s Dive and Watersports.  Brendal is a well-known waterman in the Bahamas, bringing people out to snorkel, scuba dive, learn how to spear lobster, and can teach folks how to sail too.   Just about anything that takes place on or under the water Brendal can do with ease.  The Wall of Fame in his dive shop includes names such as Pierre Trudeau, the Discovery Channel and the Food Network.  He is quite an amazing character.  Complete with an incorrigible sense of humor. 
Brendal's Dive Center boat.  The manta rays met us here.

The four of us met at 9:00 at the Dive shop and three of us were outfitted with wetsuits and snorkel gear.  Carl’s  sister opted to watch us from the boat.  Carl and I had recently purchased our own snorkel equipment which we were eager to initiate.  We each also wore a small buoyancy vest.  
Snorkeling is so easy with wetsuit and buoyancy vest.

There were six paying customers, along with Brendal and two helpers onboard.  Because the winds were still rather strong, the water on the ocean reefs was a bit dicey.  Therefore, rather than the reefs, we snorkeled on a shipwreckThis day was spectacular and I am now determined to snorkel every chance I get.   The plentiful fish on the wreck were gregarious.  The more rare specimens were shy and required a bit of patience for their appearance. 
One of the shy fish
While we were snorkeling, Brendal and one of the helpers swam up along the shore looking for indentations in the shoreline that were suspicious for housing lobsters.  They speared a few to add to the ones that he had brought with him, just in case.  Brendal made some lunch preparations on board—then took us to a pristine beach where his helpers showed us how to feed manta rays pieces of fish from between our toes.  
Manta rays waiting for their fish from our toes

The rays were waiting for us — apparently they have an ongoing relationship with Brendal.  One of them he calls “Tony.”  The rays swam back and forth vacuuming the tops of our feet for the chunks of fish.  With a bit of practice, we were able to feed them the fish from between our fingers too.  Did you know that manta rays like their underbellies scratched; I was reminded of our dog, Jax.  We were told that later in the day, the really huge rays would make an appearance.  Amazing creatures!  Simply amazing!
Snapper in the big pot and butter sauce

While we were shrieking and flirting with the notion that the manta rays could nip our toes, Brendal built a tiny fire and cooked our lobster and fresh mutton snapper in a big old Dutch oven over a few sticks the two men had gathered.  A wonderfully aromatic butter and citrus sauce bubbled on the crude grate as well.  
Bendal preparing the salad on the beach

We had as much lobster as we could possibly eat, the snapper, salad and coconut bread; and of course, the ubiquitous rum punch.  Mmmmmm.   Could the day have been any better?  Maybe, but I don’t know how.
All the lobster we could eat.  I had three!  


Granny B said...

sounds like the perfect day!! How much planning does it take to rendezvous with guests? Love snorkeling, love lobster, love sun! You guys are living the life. In case you don't know who Granny B is, it is me Bonnie.

Carl said...

We'd love to see you guys Bonnie! I sent you an email.