In the Water at Compass Cay

During our one day layover at Compass Cay we made sure to hit all the sights we possibly could (and yes, that was ALL of them). After we’d kayaked through the island, we paused for a brief lunch aboard Rode Trip before heading out into the water.

Near Compass Cay are a cluster of islands called Rocky Dundas. These islands actually lie within the borders of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. The park maintains two dinghy moorings that you can use while exploring. The lure of the Rocky Dundas…caves! Here is our view of the islands when we passed by as we approached our anchorage.



At low tide you can snorkel into the caves at the base of the rocks. Now, this was my first time snorkeling in the Bahamas and I was thankful to Bob and Susan having helped me to find the perfect mask and snorkel set. I was also thankful to Kim for having a wet suit that kept me warm and helped me float. I’ll be honest, I’m still getting used to the flippers (aka swim fins). I did actually take them off…but that’s another story. Once suited up, Brian patiently guided me from the dinghy (to which I was clinging) into the cave a mere 15-yards away. He did a nice job of scattering the fish away too. The cave was worth the swim.



Still getting used to those flippers (aka swim fins), I stayed near the dinghy while Brian took a look around via snorkel.




Then we took the dinghy to another, larger reef which was nearby in the Exuma Land and Sea Park and known for having pillar coral. I was content to lie over the side of the dinghy and stick my masked, snorkeled face into the water for about two-minutes. Brian swam around for a bit taking in the underwater sights. We both decided this would be more entertaining if I could read and Brian could hunt. After all, we did need something for supper. So we exited the park boundaries, made a quick stop at Rode Trip, and took the dinghy over to a reef just off Compass Cay.

Success! I nearly finished a chapter in The Path Between the Seas the Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough (after months it’s nearly finished!) Oh, and Brian killed his first ever speared fish. Hooray! Grouper is on our menu tonight.


Compass Cay was a spectacular stop! Continuing onward southbound we are getting closer to Por Dos each day…

Catch of the Day – January 26, 2013

This morning while we enjoyed our breakfast at the marina one last time, this heron chowed down on the hound fish he’d just caught.


The heron swallowed that entire fish in one gulp! See that bulge in his neck…hope his digestive system is ready for the challenge!


After breakfast and birdwatching, Brian and I got ready to leave. Staying at the marina had been wonderful and now we’d made new friends. But at $48/day (a great price in our opinion) it was not the best option for our cruising kitty. We topped off our water tanks ($15 for 30-gallons) and settled up with the marina office. We didn’t have to say goodbye just yet as we were not going far. Jim showed us a spot just around the corner in the harbor where we’d have good holding and protection for anchoring. And so we cast off from the dock, rounded the corner, and dropped the hook. Soon after Rode Trip’s anchor was secure ’round the corner came two dinghies. Today we were joining Jon & Arline and John & Anita for our first round of spear fishing.

I gathered Brian’s gear; mask, snorkel, wet suit, swim fins, spear, gloves, and sunscreen. I made certain I had the camera water-proofed and ready to go. Then we dropped ourselves and our lifejackets into each of the two dinghies and were headed out to the ocean.


We stopped the dinghies near the water’s edge. Brian, Jon, and John (known as big John and little Jon for lack of any other nicknames that we’re aware) made themselves water ready.


The guys didn’t waste any time heading toward the overhanging coral. The gals kept a close watch on their whereabouts in case they caught a fish or needed a dinghy break. Anita and I spotted two large, orange starfish. Anita pulled out a bucket with a plexiglass bottom. She directed me to swish out the bucket, then place it against the water to look down through. What an amazing contraption! It was just as though I had put a magnifying glass to the water. I could see clearly to the bottom. At every opportunity I peered through the bucket. This was my idea of perfect snorkeling! Dry with a good view.




No luck this time. Big John did take a shot at one fish but it got away. Little Jon spotted some lobsters but thought they weren’t quite big enough. We headed back into the harbor where Jon & Arline showed us a wrecked trimaran, good fish hiding territory. Brian and big John got back into the water. Little Jon reported to us that he was, “cold and old.” It was an overcast day and the water was probably 60-ish degrees. A bit more sun would have helped for warmth and fish spotting through the clear water. Brian and big John spotted lobsters and crabs amidst the wrecked boat. Brian spotted some fish as well. Nothing to aim at though. Both Johns decided they were done for today.

Once we’d been returned to Rode Trip I asked Brian if he was cold. He turned to me with quite the grin, eyes glowing, and said, “I used this wet suit for New Hampshire waters, I could do this all day. This is fun!” And so that is just what we did. Brian unloaded the dinghy from the deck back into the water. We put all the gear inside including our dinghy anchor, bucket for any caught fishes, and a casting pole. I added a water bottle and two oranges. What are wives for, eh? Besides I know Brian’s love of fishing can last for hours and hours.

We puttered around the harbor for two hours. Brian would swim along the shorelines where the coral and mangroves created fish havens. I sat in the dinghy keeping and eye on Brian’s whereabouts while nonchalantly casting the rod catching blades of grass on each return. Then I’d follow along to keep close in case he needed me. This was great dinghy driving practice! Back at the wrecked boat Brian had hit it big. His first Bahamian lobster!


I had only a moment to snap a photo before he was shoving it toward me saying, “the bucket, get it into the bucket.” With as few EEKS! as possible I lowered the bucket and Brian dumped the lobster into it.
“Ewe he’s huge! What if he gets out, I don’t want him in the dinghy!”
Brian calmly replied, “he’s dead, or will be in a minute. I think you’ll be fine.” Yup the poor lobster had been stabbed right through the base of his neck.

While Brian continued the hunt I marveled at this strange looking lobster and wondered what parts would be the good eats. My favorite part of NE lobsters are the claws, but no claws on this guy. Finally after scanning the nooks and crannies on the opposite end of the harbor Brian decided he was done, for now. We cooked ourselves a lobster tail for lunch. It certainly was tasty, but without any bias (said while winking) I will say that it just wasn’t as sweet as its NE cousins.

After lunch Brian was back in action. This time his plan was to take our lobster remains and chum over the wrecked boat. Maybe we will be having fish for dinner…