So about Rosemary…what an incredible lady. She owns the house I am staying in which is actually attached to hers. It stands on a hill overlooking Elizabeth Harbour and both the house and the views are spectacular. I’ve been talking to her for quite some time via email about my trip and knew instantly she would be someone I can learn a lot from and I already adore her. When she smiles, her eyes smile. Technically, they are frowning but you get it. She is just the loveliest, wisest, kindest soul you’ll ever meet. If only I could remember all of the memorable quotes she said…
She invited me over after I settled into my temporary real estate and concocted the best rum punch I’ve ever had. Holy crap was it good. Don’t ever second guess a 70 year old Bahamian lady making a rum punch. Deeeeelish! So we sat on her couch and chatted for a few hours about life and all its nuances. She is the bees knees and I know I am good hands staying here. I headed to bed at 7pm as I hadn’t slept in about two days. Set my alarm for 7am to get ready for my 9am solo kayaking excursion.
My kayak was delivered by Dallas, the owner of Out Island Explorers. They have a ton of rental and tour options so you should check them out if you ever get down this way. Which you obviously will after reading these posts right? He showed me the ropes (somewhat literally) and I went about my way – destination Stocking Island. Fortunately, my house is directly across Elizabeth Harbour from Stocking Island so it’s a quick paddle over the harbour and I’m good. F*ck my life. What looks to be just a quick 15 minute paddle took no less than 1:15, against the current and the light breeze. I’ve never respected a light breeze so much in my life. Jesus I thought I would just die. It took awhile to get the hang of the rutter steering mechanism but I nailed it after a near overboard experience. Note to self – and those reading – always aim your kayak either directly away from or directly against the waves. I should know this from my surfing days but it’s been about 10 years. Or 20.
I finally arrive to Stocking Island and cruised passed Chat N Chill, as it wasn’t quite open yet. It is the coolest bar ever and they are on island time, so they open whenever they hell they want. Paddled through Turtle Lagoon (only saw one turtle pop its head out of the water), then searched for the blue hole (which I never found), and by the time I completed my first round of sightseeing, Chat N Chill was finally open! I was totally craving their Goombay Smash at this point (the most delicious rum drink EVER). Nobody makes it better than they do. I swear. I paid a visit to the stingrays, strolled up and down the beach, and headed to the bar for my first Goombay Smash of the day. Nothing tasted better after paddling my ass off for the last 2.5 hours. I was also craving their conch salad which is a HUGE hit on the island. Conch salad is raw conch, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, and all sorts of other things I’m sure I’m forgetting, all finely diced and served in a bowl. I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it so I asked the bartender, Shephard, when the conch guy was starting. No conch today he said. No what??!!!! I just paddled against the f*cking wind and current to get a Goombay Smash and some conch salad and they just don’t have it today?!?!? Breathe, breathe, I’m in the islands now. I just gotta go with the flow. Sighhhhhh.
So fine, I had a conch burger and cole slaw and it was scrumptious but not the same. It’s fried. Most food in the Bahamas is fried. Totally weird considering you can’t get seafood more fresh than here! But it really was good so I digress. Also while sitting at the bar, I met the two cutest British kids ever. I get such a kick out of their accents that I had to video tape them. I’ll probably get arrested for exploitation or something but I just had to share it. I will keep their most adorable names confidential. Duh. They were my BFFs by the time I left. (Its not letting me upload a video so check it out on My Solitairie Assignment on Facebook).
I finished my second Goombay Smash and was feeling like superwoman so I hopped back in the kayak to see what other little gems I could find. Around ever corner in the Exumas is a deserted white sand beach. It’s just incredible. So I found what looked to be the perfect little spot and parked the ship. Now I needed to get some snorkeling time in. Snorkeling alone is quite humbling. It’s one of my favorite hobbies but still gets the best of me like when you look at the surface of the water (as opposed to the bottom of the ocean) and see a 4 foot barracuda staring you down. Tou cant help but wonder how long its been there and if its eaten in the last three days. So it’s full of fun surprises. And the Exumas have a ton of sharks. Lots of them and all different kinds. I’ve been swimming with sharks more times than I can count but never alone. So I was sort of hoping this wouldn’t turn into the best shark swim ever.
Within 5 minutes of snorkeling I found the first starfish I’d seen all day. Usually, they are plentiful but this time I only found this one. I am still in awe of how vibrant their color is. After I took some pictures and poked at it for a bit, I put it back in the water and watched it creep and crawl its way back to deeper water. That. Is. So. Cool. Try it sometime. Next time you find a starfish. Something I don’t recall seeing so many of in Exuma are Sea Dicks. I’m pretty sure they have a more scientific name than Sea Dicks but its exactly what they look like. Different sizes and colors, but they really just look like…a dick. Hmph.
Anywaaaaaaay, I had the most lovely time snorkeling around and exploring Stocking Island but there is soooooo much more to do. I’m a little sore and have a blister on my hand already but I’m pretty sure tomorrow is going to be another good day for kayaking. So Dallas left the kayak here and I shall make my way back to Stocking Island again tomorrow for more exploration pending weather. And WIND!!! Ugh.
As you might already know I just finished reading the book called You are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero and you have to buy it. Right now. I’ll leave you with a quote from it at the end of each blog.
Our conscious mind thinks its in control, but it isn’t. Our subconscious mind doesn’t think about anything, but is in control.