Thanks SO MUCH for the update, Bruce! Wifi was hard to come by in the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Islands...but now we are up and running again. Enjoy!
Ren and Ashley (sv/Nila Girl) had some adventuring planned for their day and they invited Matt and Jessica (sv/Serendipity) and Brian and I along. Our goal was to discover and explore the 'Red Shrimp Grotto' a locally known grotto on Long Island. The six of us piled into Ren and Ashley's car heading south.
The first clue for the grotto was to go to the oldest church on Long Island; and as local lure will tell us the oldest church in the Bahamas.
After thoroughly exploring the church ruins we headed behind the church where our next clue was to find the trail.
We didn't exactly find a trail. What we did find was a thinned patch of brush that we bushwhacked through until we arrived at an abandoned salt pond. Being spoiled by the clear and vibrant blue waters of the Bahamas, we were a bit disgusted by this brown pond. It was, however, a nice change of scenery and we admired the dark greens of the palms lining its shores. The salty foam felt cool against our sweaty, dirty, hiking feet; only Serendipity had thought to wear appropriate footwear for this trek.
Back through the brush we walked toward the church ruins determined to find the trail for the grotto. Sure enough, just beyond the back yard of the church there was a trailhead clearly marked with a cairn. Ren, Matt, and Jessica went ahead to scout it out. From the distance Ashley, Brian, and I heard a shout, "it's here!"
The grotto was beautiful; a cavern filled with cool, clear, saltwater. Ren, Matt, Brian, Ashley, and Jessica went for a swim. They disturbed a napping bat who I could hear squeaking from my post atop the grotto as they explored the cave below. There were tiny, red shrimp swimming to and fro near the bottom of the grotto. Upon learning of the potential for shrimp Brian and I thought it a good idea to bring the cast net. There weren't enough for an appetizer through, and poor Brian had trudged through the brush carrying his cast net and fish bucket the entire way! Everyone was careful not to disturb the water, but with five people in the grotto the clarity was quickly clouded. Nice and cool, we headed back toward the boats...
...but not without a detour along the way. Ren drove out this road toward Welch Cay; a small community of about 5 oceanfront houses on their own private bay. We had a snack along the coast and enjoyed the view of the ocean side.
On the drive back we enjoyed dessert, sea grapes! Yes, these berries are edible and taste like tart grapes fresh from the vine.
Later that night we had one last hurrah prior to leaving Long Island. We had dinner aboard Nila Girl. Ashley prepared a lovely spread with conch salad, homemade guacamole, salsa, and pan fried grouper for fish tacos (Ren speared the grouper the day prior and it had already fed seven of us, now for round two). Brian and I brought along homemade tortillas and chipotle coleslaw and Jessica and Matt provided the chips and cheese. It was so much fun to share in this feast by brining all our resources together! Ren and the guys took us for a sail to the northernmost part of Thompson Bay. Patty (sv/Lutra) joined us for the meal and brought along a tasty pasta salad. After dinner, we joined the cruisers get-together on the beach to get our campfire fix. Then we sailed home and said our goodbyes...for now. We'll be meeting up with Nila Girl and Lutra soon enough!