Mark’s Survival Guide to Cruising Lesson 4: Become as Self-Sufficient as Possible

Mark was totally settled into cruising life; even taking the meaning of Captain to a whole new level.

20130319-125007.jpg

We motored from Rudder Cut approximately 13-miles south to Adderly Cut where we received a tip from fellow cruisers that Norman’s Pond Cay near Lee Stocking Island was not to be missed. It was a calm, warm, windless day. We anchored on the northwest side of Norman’s Pond Cay and had the entire island to ourselves!

20130319-125738.jpg
Brian and Mark jumped into the pristine water to dive on the anchor. Before Brian made it back from swimming the length of our anchor chain, Mark surfaced with a huge conch! He passed it up to me and went back for more; surfacing with two others of the same size. We were surrounded by them, right underneath the boat! Brian, not yet knowing his huter/gathering brother had already provided dinner, surfaced with yet another conch. This place is a goldmine!

20130319-130036.jpg
Instead of exploring, the conch prompted a project (typical). Since there were so many conch available Brian wanted to try to hang them off the side of the boat so that we could keep some for eating at a later date. This involved drilling a hole in the shells to string them from the side of the boat. Conch have TOUGH shells! The first attempt barely made a dent. The second attempt brought out the safety goggles, gloves, and this became a two-man job. One hole through…way too much effort for preserving our food.

20130319-130348.jpg

20130319-130413.jpg
Time for exploring instead…stay put, conchs!

20130319-130752.jpg
First stop, the blue hole at the northwestern end of Norman’s Pond Cay. The hole was practically on the beach. Admittedly we were a bit disappointed at the first sighting of it. It actually looked a bit shallow and it dipped downward and backward into a cave. Water was moving out of the hole trickling down the beach.

20130319-131229.jpg
But once we jumped into the idea of this quiet, beautiful creation we couldn’t get enough!

20130319-131716.jpg

20130319-132008.jpg

20130319-132127.jpg
Soon the guys were done splashing and scampered off in different directions down the rocky shoreline.

20130319-132524.jpg
Ahhhh…the peacefulness of the place was simply indescribable. The water in the hole was as clear as an aquarium, the stream trickled nearby, the warm sun shone down on the rocks, and the view of Bahamian blues extended for miles.

20130319-132639.jpg

20130319-132706.jpg
Recharged, we got back in the dinghy and went to the southwestern side of Norman’s Pond Cay to check out the island’s namesake; Norman’s Pond. The entrance was a bit shallow and we were too lazy to carry the dink over. So into the mangrove-lined creek we trudged toward the pond.

20130319-140541.jpg

20130319-133800.jpg

20130319-133814.jpg
Inside the creek opened into shaoled mangroves, which opened into a huge pond. Norman’s Pond was at one time a salt pond. We were amazed at its size! We were happy to see much wildlife; several fish during our river trek, crabs, a shark, a heron, birds singing nearby, and conch. An untainted gem!

20130319-134553.jpg

20130319-134625.jpg
Leaving Norman’s Pond, Brian took a dip at the mouth of the river which we thought resembled an infinity pool.

20130319-134928.jpg
We floated the dink down the current back toward Rode Trip. We encountered two stingrays that were ginormous! Honestly, they were each as wide as our dinghy and about half the length. Back at the boat, the guys gathered their fishing gear and went off around the northern end of Norman’s Pond Cay to see if they could spear a fish to add to the menu with conch fritters. They came back with two, well-sized lion fish (my new, favorite fish). They took everything to the beach to process. Mark got down and dirty with his big brother, filleting fish and skinning conch. Hard to believe he doesn’t live on a boat himself!

20130319-135554.jpg

20130319-135617.jpg

20130319-140738.jpg

20130319-135649.jpg
What a fabulous day…sad to see this vacation nearing an end.