Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Day With A Cave In It

My mother says I remind her of my dad… that he loved caves.  Maybe it’s genetic… I don’t know.  But when we passed what looked like a small cave on our way into Thompsons Bay I must have made a mental note to remind me to go and check it out.  I love caves!

Our day began in the usual way with coffee and the rest of our morning routine.  We listened to the morning net and I inquired about the hiking trails I had heard about.  When it came time for that discussion we have every day… what to do… I had pretty much already mapped it out for us.  We were going hiking in search of a cave!

I packed us a lunch and we got all suited up for hiking and maybe a beach walk.  When we headed for the door it began to sprinkle!!!  I guess I forgot to look outside when I was making our plans.  So instead of a morning hike we settled for a nap instead.  Waking up at 3:30 am because we’re in bed with the sun will do that to you. 

It wasn’t long before the sun was streaming through the ports over my head and we were out the door in a flash and headed for the Indian Hole Point at the entrance to the Bay. 

As we came around the point and could see what must be Indian Hole, we couldn’t really see any way to get to it.  We continued on around and saw several other holes in the cliff that just begged to be explored… 

We found a place to land the dinghy and anchored it fore and aft so that it wouldn’t wash up onto the rocky shore and waded toward the rocky cliff.  Wanting to savor the excitement, I headed for a shallow hole that had some interesting colors and formations inside, saving the big cave for last…

Bruce took off to find the really BIG cave and I lost sight of him.  I scanned the walls of my small cave thoroughly in hopes of finding some sign that an Indian once spent time here… I guess I let my imagination run wild and try to put myself into a different time and guess what it may have been like.  I was sitting on my imaginary cave doorstep when Bruce called me to come and look what he found.

I scurried out and around the bend, careful to pick my footfalls precisely as these cliffs are made of sharp and jagged sandstone.  There are holes going through to the water beneath them everywhere and I knew that they could possibly break under our weight and send us tumbling into the water amidst a jumble of sharp rocky teeth…  (I made an A in Drama class…)

I found Bruce entering the wide mouth of our cave.  I followed him inside and stood marveling at the colors on the walls and ceiling that were created by different minerals that must have been seeping down through the rocks for eons. 

There was no graffiti.  No desecration whatsoever.  I wondered how many people had found their way here and decided that there can’t have been many.  I imagined my Indians again. I could see where someone could set up house inside this cozy den. 

There are three rooms, four if you count the one that reached way back into the hill growing ever smaller.   There were even windows in the outer wall.  It would be snug and safe from everything but angry seas and excessive high tides, but maybe that only happens once in a while. 

Bruce and I were both thinking how amazing it is that there are no signs of vandalism.  Back in the States, this place would be marked up with all kinds of tacky tributes to those who came here before us.  It’s so good to know that there are still unspoiled wonders to be found and enjoyed.

I had a bit of a start as I peered back into the deepest recesses when something fluttered out and came straight for my head!  I squealed and ducked, then turned to see what it was… just a butterfly.   

We left our cave and continued on to where we had seen another interesting spot.  I had to see if there were Indian markings.  If I were an Indian… I would have left markings here.  But sadly, there were none. 

Beginning to lose interest and thinking it was past lunchtime, we backtracked to our dinghy and hauled up the anchor.  There is a nicer beach just a little further around the bend that would be just perfect for our picnic.  As we rounded the last point, we saw that the beach was bigger than we had thought.  It stretched long away to another rocky point and it was all ours!

While Bruce was securing the dinghy, I found a shady spot and spread out our towel and laid the “table”.  Sandwiches and chips were enjoyed along with an outstanding view.  We sat there and just gazed out onto the sparkling water, no sign of the morning’s rain clouds, only dazzling sunshine. 

I finished my sandwich and left Bruce on our towel to go and explore the high-tide line.  There were millions of very tiny shells making a ridge along much of the beach.  Still more were washing up onto the beach, caressed by tiny waves that made a tinkling sound as they rolled the baby shells back and forth against the coral sand.

Bruce joined me soon and we continued our search for something, anything of interest.  We found sponges.  We’ve never seen sponges washed up like this and wondered if they were casualties of hurricane Juaquin.  Maybe so…  We picked out a couple to take back to the boat with us and started a pile. 

Poor crab with a hole in his house...
The afternoon stretched on as we continued to meander up the beach.  There was one other set of footprints from some days ago.  Other than that, we could have been the only two people on earth.  I am lining my memory banks with moments like these so that I can go back in there and pick them off the shelves and hold them again some distant day when I am old and feeble. 
A BIG sponge

Picture of the day

I stood on the sandstone and bubbles came up from beneath my feet...

SO many tiny shells!

One section had trees uprooted in the hurricane

My stack

Too soon, the sun began its downward trek.  The blue of the water took on a darker tone but the diamonds sparkling on the surface grew more brilliant.  We took our things, leaving no trace of our presence except for two sets of footprints, hoping that someone else would come along and find it just as we did. 

Back on the boat as I waited for sleep, I smiled and thought what a good day it had been.  We have so many good ones but today was exceptional because ANY day with a cave in it is a REALLY good day!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Long Island Days - I

To say that we were pleased to be "somewhere else" would be a gross understatement.  I'm not sure I will ever be able to leave this lifestyle and go back to days that are so one-like-the-other...

Not only was the view outside my window a new one... It had to go and be THIS!!!  I think we're going to like it here!

Thompson Bay is a new anchorage for us. We've been to Long Island before, but anchored further north.

Dramatic view of DL and Kelley Nicole
Long Island was hit hard recently by Hurricane Joaquin this past October and we hope to donate a few things to the cause and maybe help with the continuing cleanup effort.  Bright and early we went ashore to scope it out.

The dinghy dock provided (as they often do) a bit of a challenge... It was recently rebuilt by Cruisers.  This is not the official "Government Dock" but one that is a bit closer to town and is graciously offered to us for our use.

It's a very short walk up the street to the Queen's Highway where we made a right turn to go in search of the local weekly farmer's market.

The hours are 8 am to noon on Saturdays but when we arrived the sellers were already packing up to leave.  There was a funeral on the island and the locals were closing up shop to attend.

The offerings were meager at best with things like local art, honey, locally grown melons and greens... nothing we really needed.

We left them to their business and backtracked to find Sou' Side Bar and Grill.  It was early still but we had left the boat without eating breakfast in hope of finding some baked goods at the market...

Now my stomach was objecting strongly to this mistreatment so finding food was foremost in our plan...

We bellied-up-to-the-bar and ordered grouper fingers and fries (Grouper Snack) and some water.  I took advantage of the free wi-fi to do an iPad backup while Bruce watched tennis on TV....

Now fortified and imminent feinting spells averted... we continued on up the street with renewed vigor.

We visited the tiny but well-stocked liquor store to check prices and see if they had any of that pink drink we saw at the bar...

We bought one, Sands pink grapefruit for my sundowner later...

Notice the guy in the blue hat?  He was in every store we visited... I think he was following us...

A stop at the grocery store netted us a few essentials and some home-made carrot cake... Wish we had found this for breakfast!

Art at the counter.
Pressing on, we found a surprisingly comprehensive stock of marine supplies just up the road.  While Bruce shopped, I chatted with the lady behind the counter about snorkeling at Dean's Blue Hole.  Some fellow Cruisers had been warned off of snorkeling there as it is deadly dangerous.  I was curious to know why the locals would have been so adamantly against what was a wonderful experience for us during our last visit.

She told me of the several deaths that had occurred there, but all were easily avoidable events for us and it renewed my excitement for taking Jerry and Sally there later this week.

We paid for our purchases and as we were leaving, the guy in the blue hat came in the door.  We were just asking about renting a car and the man offered us a ride to the rental place.  People are so nice here!

So add hitchhiking to our list of accomplishments for the day!  We hopped into the back of the truck and were whisked away to the rental place.  It was the home of a woman and we were glad to be shown the way or we would never have found the place on our own...

We arranged for a car for Monday.

The lady told us we could cut through her back yard on our way back to the dinghy dock... What a view.

The clouds were thick but the winds were light making the Bay nice and flat.

Jerry and Sally were on their way.  We spent the afternoon napping and when I woke up I checked their SPOT tracker...only to find them already HERE!!

My Sands Ping Grapefruit tasted like beer and Hibiscus flowers
Guess I should have looked out the window instead!  We invited them over for sundowners and made our plans...  It looks like we will be here for a few days as weather doesn't look favorable for leaving Long Island later in the week...