Friday, December 20, 2013

Shhh...ixnay on the aconbay talk ('cause the pigs might hear)

I'm pretty sure that pigs would be walking around with the cockroaches during a nuclear winter. They are resilient as heck. Just throw them on a deserted, nearly barren tropical island and somehow they find something to eat and a way to spawn. The pigs on No Name Cay, with piglets in tow, came running when they heard our approaching motor, having learned that people in boats bring food. We have heard that they have adapted to eating crabs and decimated the crab populations on some islands. They could tell that Matt loves bacon and gave him a wide berth.

Another thing we have learned in our almost-year of cruising, besides the fact that we don't know nearly as much as we think we do, is that different people experience the same places in very different ways. I guess this shouldn't be such a surprise, but its easy to default into considering only your own perspective. Case in point: North Bimini, in the Bahamas, has been referred to by others as a "dump." Despite the garbage-covered beach and the worn concrete that seems to be the predominant geological feature, earlier this year we marveled about the crystal clear waters, white sands, pastel buildings, and freshly made cracked conch. And this was even after our windlass conked out after picking up an electrical cable while trying to anchor; an event that could otherwise sour one's perspective on a place.  Even though Bimini was our first experience in the Bahamas and the scenery and experiences got better as we went along, I'm pretty sure we still wouldn't call it a dump.
Bimini aside, the rest of our Bahamas season was very nice with beautiful scenery and friendly people.  So we were somewhat taken aback to hear that some more experienced cruisers we had met couldn't stand The Bahamas in general and the Abacos (and Marsh Harbour) in particular. We couldn't really argue with the reasons given, as they were valid and not just petty complaints. It seems that a few bad encounters can leave a negative impression that affects an entire visit. Luckily we came to opposite opinions.  We haven't had anything terrible happen so far, which is not to say it won't (how about that for half-empty!).

Marsh Harbour is one of the more utilitarian Bahamian stopping points. It has stores, restaurants, bars, and yes, even traffic. It is convenient for cruisers but not particularly scenic. We have been here enough times to make it seem familiar. Yet, this visit has been memorable because we continue to meet great people. Matt walked into a local seafood shop looking for free advice about a big amberjack we caught while underway. Even though we weren't buying anything at the moment, the journeyman fisherman/proprietor shared his wealth of knowledge, which included the advice to eat a small bit of the fish the day before consuming the rest to avoid ciguatera poisoning (FYI, the fish was delicious and we didn't die--yea!). Hours later, we had to tear Mark and Conrad away from playing with their very friendly children/nephews/ grandkids that were hanging around the shop because school was out for winter break.


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