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Best Day Yet!

May 23, 2014

Awakening to a mill pond calm anchorage at Lynyard Cay, we drank our lattes during our devotional time, and headed straight to Sandy Cay to snorkel. It was the day we’d been waiting for and we wanted to spend as much time at the reef as we could physically endure.

We arrived at the anchorage on the back side of Sandy Cay around 9:00 AM and we wasted no time taking a dinghy ride around the island to the reef. There were 3 red mooring balls for small boats/dinghies to tie up to, and three white moorings for the dive boats. We were the first ones to arrive, so we had our pick. We chose the first mooring because we could see by the way the mooring ball line was lying in the water which way the current was running, and we like to snorkel against the current when we first get in, making for an easy swim going with the current to get back to our dinghy. It’s easier to swim against the current when you are not exhausted. We’ve had to do that before and it is not fun. Lesson learned.

We had an easy time snorkeling that morning, as the swells from the ocean were minimal, the wind was light, and we didn’t have to fight a strong current. Perfect snorkeling conditions, other than the water was more silty than preferred. Regardless, we throughly enjoyed our time on the reef. The reef had a plethora of living hard and soft corals, beautiful purple fans, and numerous fishes. We saw a large leopard ray, which made Gary’s day. He said it swam right underneath him. By the time Gary got my attention, it had gone past me into the deeper silty water but I managed to get a picture of it, though poor in quality. What fun, fun, fun. If you could imagine swimming in a huge salt water aquarium, that was what our experience felt like.

Fire Coral, Don't stings you!

Fire Coral,
Don’t touch…it stings you!

Elk horn corals were amazing

Elk horn corals were amazing

After snorkeling for an hour, we went back to White Swan and had brunch. We waited an hour for our food to digest before we ventured back to the reef. We decided to go to the other end of the reef to explore there. Unlike our earlier time that day on the reef, the second time we had to share a mooring ball with another boat. Everybody, it seemed, was taking advantage of the calm weather by snorkeling or scuba diving Sandy Cay. No worries, it’s a large enough reef that no one gets in anyone else’s way.

Gorgonians, Soft Corals

Soft Corals

A healthy reef in the foreground, with a dead reef that looks like rock,in the background

A healthy reef in the foreground,
with a dead reef that looks like rock,in the background

We explored the southern tip of the reef and then decided to go to the other end, because the southern tip is not as healthy as the northern end. We got back in the dinghy and motored to the first mooring ball again, tying up with another boat. When we got back in the water, we tried to swim against the current like we usually do, but by that time we were just too tired, and the current was taking us the opposite direction from where we intended to go. We swam together and made it back to our dinghy, counting the day of snorkeling as the best day yet.

Scuba diver at Sandy Cay,  beneath us

Scuba diver at Sandy Cay,
beneath us

School of Blue Tang

School of Blue Tang

Brain coral, Hard and soft corals

Brain coral,
Hard and soft corals

From Sandy Cay, we motored north to the southern tip of Tilloo Cay, on a mission to look for more sea biscuits. After anchoring White Swan in the shallow water, we got in the dinghy and checked out the sandbar. Finding no sea biscuits there, we went to the beach to look for athem. Gary walked the beach and I snorkeled the shallow water near the beach, neither of us finding what we were looking for. I snorkeled as Gary towed me with the dinghy on the way back to the boat, so I could look for the elusive sea biscuits. Eureka! I started finding them in the turtle grass. I dove down and picked up the ones I wanted until the water got too deep for me to make it down. Gary laughed and took pictures of my floundering attempts to get my buoyant bottom down. He finally jumped in the water and dove for them himself, while I pulled the dinghy along with us. What fun. Two old kids at play.

Gary towing me behind the dinghy...shark bait!

Gary towing me behind the dinghy…shark bait!

Gary took this picture of me flipping water in the air but not going down...

Gary took this picture of me flipping water in the air but not going down…

When we got back to the boat, Gary decided to help me with my free-diving technique. LOL!
First, he suggested I take off my wetsuit because wetsuits make you more buoyant. I tried that, and much to my angst and his amusement, I still couldn’t get down the eight feet of water to the bottom. Then he put a three pound weight in his dive belt and I put it on. Still no luck. He added another three pound weight in the dive belt. With that amount of weight, I easily dove down and came up with a hand full of sand to prove to him I made it to the bottom. I practiced free-diving until I was too tired to do it anymore. Who knew this grandma still isn’t too old to learn new tricks!

Sea Cucumber, it looks like a big yucky slug.

Sea Cucumber, it looks like a big yucky slug.

Showers felt wonderful after a full day of play in the sea water. A tall glass of iced tea refreshed us as we motored further north to the anchorage at Tahiti Beach. Having had no lunch, we looked forward to having dinner at Cracker P’s or Lubbers Landing on Lubbers Quarter Cay, which was across a narrow section of the Sea of Abaco from where we anchored for the night. As soon as White Swan was anchored, we took off in the dinghy to explore dinner options.

Much to our dismay, Cracker P’s only served dinner twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays. (We should have paid closer attention to their broadcast on the morning Cruisers Net, or we could have called them on the VHF radio… That would have been too easy.)


Beach at Cracker P's

Beach at Cracker P’s

We walked next door to Lubbers Landing, only to find out they were having the opening night for their new outdoor pizza oven and no reservations were left. However, we found the owner of the restaurant, Austin, to be delightfully enthusiastic as he presented his new grouper shaped pizza oven to us. He generously told us all about it, and his excitement was evident as he made pizza dough rounds as he talked.

Owner of Lubbers Landing, Austin, and his new pizza oven

Owner of Lubbers Landing,
Austin, and his new pizza oven

Austin had suggested we try the new restaurant, Firefly, which was back across the Sea of Abaco and north of where we had anchored. We knew the location of the Firefly restaurant, getting there by land, as we had gone to it when we rented the golf cart to explore Elbow Cay. However, approaching anything by land looks totally different than approaching the same “anything” by water. So, we hugged the shoreline in the dinghy, until we happened upon it, 1.30 nautical miles north of Tahiti Beach. That wouldn’t seem very far to a non-boater, but in a small dinghy with a six horsepower, four stroke, outboard motor, that’s not a short jaunt. We would not have even done it, if the water had not been dead calm.

There remained two hours of daylight when we first left White Swan to look for a place to have dinner. By the time we found Firefly, we had an hour of daylight left. Our delicious and so-o welcomed meals arrived in front of very hungry tummies right as the sun was setting, which meant a dinghy ride back to our night’s anchorage in the dark. No problem, mon. We had taken stern and bow lights for the dinghy and it was not a pitch black night, thus our return ride was quite nice.


Firefly Restaurant at Firefly Resort on Green Turtle Cay

Firefly Restaurant
at Firefly Resort
on Green Turtle Cay


We first heard of the new Firefly Resort on Elbow Cay from our new friend, Viani. We checked it out via the golf cart. We had noticed the resort’s restaurant was down by the water but we had no need, at that time, to inquire about it. We assumed it was for the patrons of the lovely resort. Viani had told us a brief history of the place. The owner has a vodka distillery in South Carolina. Upon listening to Viani, we realized we had been to that very distillery when we went down the ICW for the first time in 2009, when we had to be towed in to Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina (20 miles south of Charleston) for engine repair. What a small world. In fact, we have a bottle of Firefly Lemonade Vodka at home. Interestingly, the outdoor bar at Firefly, where we sat for dinner because no tables were available, had mason jars lined up on the bar of various flavors of Firefly “moonshine”. We remembered tasting some of the different flavored vodkas when we visited the distillery in South Carolina. None of it compared to the real moonshine of the Appalachians in Kentucky, that my cousin coaxed us into trying one time. The phrase “Yee Haw” had to have been coined after such an experience.

We enjoyed the ambience, as well as the food, of the packed Firefly Restaurant. Tubular copper lights, with the design of a firefly nail-punched into them, decorated the outdoor bar. imagePalm trees, with white lights wrapping the trunks, added to the appeal of the outdoor dining area. Gary and I shared our meals of Fish Piccata and Veggie Stack. Both entrees were amazingly scrumptious to us, famished patrons that we were. We viewed the restaurant to be an American gourmet restaurant with a Bahamian twist, 5 stars in our opinion. I wonder if the owner will ever establish another one in Charleston.


One Comment

  1. Nancy Graves says:

    I’m so glad you too can have these wonderful experiences together. Makes me want to come back!

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