Conch Salad

During the afternoon following our Blue Hole expedition, we took the dinghy ’round neighboring islands where Brian scouted the coral lined shorelines for fish. He lucked out when he found a group of conch on a sandy patch below the water. What do you call a group of conch anyway…a heard, a gathering, a flock? He pulled up six! “That should keep us busy for the rest of the day,” I said. Brian continued snorkeling for a bit while I sat, cornered in the dinghy on the opposite end of the conch. They were making gurgling noises and starting to turn themselves right side up. I backed as far us as I could now sitting next to the outboard on the wooden support. Then, one spatted out little fish! EWE!! I screeched and called Brian, “um, can we get these back to the boat!? This is NOT fun anymore.”


Back at the boat I was able to distance myself from the gurgling, squirming conch. I fired up the computer to review the directions for getting the conch out of their shells from our electronic copy of A Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing (thanks, Scott & Kim). Then I directed Brian through the process of breaking the shell, cutting away the conch, pulling out the conch, cutting off the eyes, and peeling away the skin. Sounds gross, eh? It was. It took approximately 30-minutes to process the first conch. It was a slimy mess.



Mid-processing we had some visitors from a neighboring boat. They were also Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) members and came by for introductions. Not a great time for visiting as we were covered in slime, but they encouraged us and gave us some conch cooking tips.

After the second conch was ready we’d decided that two were plenty and threw the other four back into the ocean. I took the meat below, chopped it, and added lime juice and spices for a makeshift conch salad. We didn’t have any fresh produce but typically a conch salad has tomato, onion, and pepper. Brian stayed on deck fishing with his newly acquired bait, conch bits.

Success! Out of the water Brian pulled a porgy. Hopefully this fish would be delicious as it was plenty for both of us for supper. Living on the outskirts may not be so difficult after all with all this good food just swimming around.


Lake Worth, FL to Berry Islands, Bahamas – January 21-23, 2013

We stayed in Lake Worth just two days, keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. The forecast on Monday, January 21st, was calling for 5 knot southerly winds and 1-2 foot seas. This was a good forecast to cross the Gulf Stream. On Tuesday, January 22nd, the wind was predicted to build from the north 15-20 knots. We opted to take this opportunity since the next window wasn’t predicted until Friday and we did not want to spend the week dawdling around in Florida.

While in Lake Worth we met new friends aboard sailing vessel Ching-Tu; Pierre and Deborah welcomed us aboard and we had an evening of wonderful conversation. We had to peel ourselves away to get home and prepare for the following morning’s departure. Thanks for a lovely send-off! We’ll see Pierre and Deborah in the Bahamas soon enough!

Monday morning we set out at 7:00am. Making complete hypocrites of our sailing selves, we planned to motor across the Gulf Stream. We’d heard so many cautions about the Gulf Stream; mind the current, maintain an eastbound course, absolutely do not attempt to cross with a north wind. This was a bit intimidating. We’d also heard of the changes we’d observe; warm, green water full of life. This was a bit exciting. We exited at the Lake Worth Inlet and our anticipation grew. Only four miles until we should be entering the Gulf Stream. I had visions of a green, flowing river filled with seaweed, fishes, and sea turtles. And so we motored…and motored…and motored. The chart told us we had entered the Gulf Stream, but we had few visible signs. It looked like the plain ‘ol ocean to us.


We did spot several Man’o’War jellyfish and a few patches of seaweed.


The US coastline was drifting farther out of view.


I made ready our quarantine flag; this would be raised once in Bahamian waters to indicate that we’d not yet cleared customs.


We motored for approximately six hours, eastbound, when the chart showed us we had exited the Gulf Stream. The 3-knot current had pushed us 13-miles north from our plotted course. As evening came, we set sails and headed south downwind. As predicted on Monday night the wind entirely stopped. Our main sail boom was banging loudly as each wave beneath knocked the wind out of it. It was a restless night.

Tuesday, January 22nd, the wind did build from the north. The waves grew to 3-5 feet. It was an overcast day. We cruised along downwind in the Northwest Providence Channel with a double reefed main and the jib. We hoped our speed would bring us to the Berry Islands by sunset. Unfortunately, it did not. By sunset we were still 7-miles away from the entrance channel to Bullock Harbor, our intended anchorage. We decided to sail through the night, a very long night. We sailed on a reach away from the Berry’s. This was entirely uncomfortable and the boat’s bow and starboard toe rail were repeatedly dunked into the water. We made sail changes, took down the jib and set the stay sail instead to minimize heeling. As Brian shares in sailing language, “We were sitting on our ear.”

Wednesday, January 23rd, morning came after what felt like days. We’d gotten the snot kicked out of us again and so when we approached the Berry Islands in the daylight our enthusiasm had dwindled. Our first view of Little Stirrup Cay (pronounced “key”) as we entered the charted channel. Little Stirrup Cay is owned by a cruise line, ships anchor out here and let off passengers to bask on the beaches and zip around on jet skis.


We’d arrived at the northern Berry Islands. As we neared, the water indeed became crystal clear. It was strange to sail over various shades of bottom; sand, grass, rock. Brian relied on the chart and the depth sounder to navigate safely to Bullock Harbor where we dropped anchor. Finally, not moving! We’d arrived at 11:45am and were ready to eat, dry out our soaked boat, and sleep.

Cruisers Helping Cruisers

Special thanks to fellow Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) members, Mary and Christian (SV/I Wanda). They’ve permitted us to use their mooring ball, thus Rode Trip is secure while we are able to travel to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with our families. Thanks also to SV/Sea Schell for connecting us with Mary and Christian.

Kimberly, of course I couldn’t have gotten the ball rolling without your encouragement. It’s all part of the training process!

The SSCA network continues to provide us with new friendships and valuable knowledge and resources. We are very appreciative and will continue to pass it on!