Community Fun Jan 22- Jan 25

Our happy faces continue as the weather gods bless us with a daily dose of: mostly sunny, high of 80 with winds 8-14kts. Another cold front will reach us next Sunday and that means low winds for two days followed by strong winds for 2-3 days on average. Very predictable- just how I like it. Another thing we’ve noticed that is better in The Bahamas is all the clean air. Ortolan is noticeably cleaner- outside and in- than when we’re most anywhere along the east coast. Can’t credit the rain; rarely does more than sprinkle except when an approaching cold front might bring in rain or T-showers.
Sundays are old-fashioned here; businesses are closed except for eateries or a market open half day. We took a day off from the road trip into town to scout the trails on Sand Dollar Beach. Near the picnic tables an easy-to-walk sandy path winds its way across a narrow section of Stocking Island over to the ocean side. The foliage and short palm trees create a canopy that allows enough light in to see yet provides protection from the sun. Some kind person set up a bird bath in the trees with extra water jugs nearby. Instructions on the jugs say to fill the bath when M.T.

Feed the birds....

Birds get water, I get a photo

The ocean beach on Stocking Island is 3 miles long and while I won’t say it’s beautiful, it is a lovely walk for humans and dogs alike. No shells though which was disappointing. We did find a piece of old driftwood for our Boo Boo Hill boat plaque.

The ocean-side beach on Stocking Island

Dare I mention the fishing “seminar” Russ and many others attended? Getting that darn fish- likely to weigh more than 20 lbs- hauled in and subdued sounds like a huge ordeal to me. Not to mention the hefty equipment you need; this isn’t fishing in a stream, this is big game fishing. Hundreds of sheckles later (assuming you get a good ebay deal or similar) you can now set out at least 4 trolling lines and wait, hoping that you get a hit when you’re not in the middle of tacking or gybing. Oh, and be sure to get it hauled out of the water before a shark smells blood! Heaven forbid you get two hits at once.
For now we’ll be very content to buy freshly caught (frozen) snapper, mahi, conch, lobster and grouper at the local hair salon. Yes, you read that right- isn’t that where you’d expect to go? The salon owner’s husband goes out fishing most days and the next day you’ll find a good selection at reasonable prices.
The other day we found a great book at the library, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. Fabulous, easy and delicious recipes. We are gung ho on making and consuming as much as possible. Russ made a yummy rosemary and shallot focaccia bread to bring to our very first happy hour on the beach. Not only was it a hit; it provided a topic of conversation when we set it out.

Focaccia bread a la Ortolan

Background music, compliments of the various informal groups of cruiser/musicians. We met several boats from Sand Dollar area and were surprised to be greeted by Diane of One White Tree, the catamaran we’d met in Nassau. Ross, her guitar-playing half, joined us after his set and we caught up.
I planned ahead- how unlike me uh?- and made conch chowder for us to eat after the beach party; just re-heat and serve… with tasty olive oil herb bread. My Bahama Mama cookbook is getting a workout- finally. The chowder is a tomato- based one, plenty of seasonings and I even had the turmeric called for. You chop/dice the conch and let it tenderize in several tablespoons lime juice until ready to plop in the chowder. Paid $3 for the conch meat- cheap enough.

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