Our exploration of the island and search of a bonefish (aka ghost fish, rightly so) continued into our second week. If you’ve missed Grand Bahama Island 2017 ~ Week One, you may want to start there.
It’s a good thing that we have rented a car, we’ve already put 500+ miles on this rental in two weeks. Everything is so spread out here, and there are so many beaches to see.
On the way to the east end of the island we stopped at the 40 acre Lucayan National Park, established in 1977. There are two caves included in the park. Ben’s Cave that has one of the world’s largest underwater passages that was named after Ben Rose, who co-discovered a new species there a centipede-like organism called Remipedia, in 1982. Large colonies of harmless bats use the ceiling of the cave as a nursery in the summer.
The other cave is called Burial Mound Cave because of skeletal remains of Indigenous Lucayans, the original inhabitants of the Bahamas, found there. It’s been feature in National Geographic, too.
Included in the park is the mangrove ecosystem, home to many plants, fish, birds and animals. Gold Rock Creek flows through the mangrove swamp for miles until it enters the sea on Gold Rock Beach.
Accompanying Dale on this trip is a book called DIY Bonefishing, specific to the Bahamas. It includes where to fish but it’s been like following a treasure map without a compass. We’re actually having to use a printed paper map along with the book. Our phone’s GPS is our usual source to find our way around that it seems so foreign to use anything else. We only have 100 MB to use on each phone before excessive charges occur so we only use them when we’re desperate. Even though the book is a current edition, many places from the east end to the west have either not been there or we need a truck to get there, not the Toyota Yaras that we are driving. Oh, and to top it off there are very few road signs.
The frustration is setting in after several days of fishing Fortune Bay with no luck, one of the easier places to find listed in the book. Time to try a new place, we set out before sunrise, map in hand, to Pelican Beach at low tide just after sunrise. The drive was spectacular watching the sun rise and shine through the very tall Caribbean Pines.
These pines are the only pines native to the Bahamas. They typically reach upwards of 82 ft. and line the highways most everywhere on the island. In the 1920’s the island was known for it’s logging which, seems odd to us because they are very small in diameter.
Anyway, no bonefish there today but let me tell you the shelling was great, I’m scoring big time! I’ve never seen so many shells on a beach before. Usually it’s a major thing to find one or two, here there are tons on every beach. Huge conch shells everywhere. I guess that’s why conch is a favorite on every menu for locals and many tourists. Very often I would see an interesting shell, pick it up but to find someone lives there and quickly put in down and watch it scamper away.
It has taken a week and a half, but finally on a breezy cloudy day early in the morning about 10 minutes after arrival to Barbary Beach, Dale saw a school of bonefish approaching him. He made a cast 20 or so feet in front of the school from the shore when quickly the tip of his pole had that ‘fish on‘ curve. I was only about 20 feet away so I was able to take photos of the action and now a very happy fisherman. This bonefish is by far the biggest that he has caught anywhere at 32″ and 12ish lbs.
Since that day the fishing has been great, the count so far is 10 bonefish in 3 days, none as big as this but all much bigger than the Mexico bonefish that he has caught in the past.
After a couple of days fishing at the same beach we thought we’d head east again to Bishops Beach. This beach is miles long, it was a sunny day with light winds, perfect conditions to catch a bonefish. Nope, not today.
Oh well, there is a restaurant and beach bar right there at the parking lot, we were hungry so let’s eat. Like I said before Bahamians are big on fried conch, or fired anything really. When in Rome, right? Dale order the fried conch with a side of (you guessed it) fries. Me being a vegetarian, but I do love crab and occasional salmon, if fresh (good thing, no other vegetarian choices). I saw crab salad on the menu, so I was happy about that. It was very good, the fried conch well, a little goes a long way. It is light (I did try it) but I don’t think these two tourists will be ordering it again any time soon, a little too much ‘fry’.
We ate at the beach bar conversing with the bartender and noticed a ‘Keep Tahoe Blue’ sticker on the bar pole. He said a customer gave it to them but didn’t know where Tahoe was. We enlightened him since it’s right in our back yard, so to speak. Small world, right?
As we were leaving, I noticed a phone booth a few feet away. Kind of a blast from the past.
I’ve become quite the beach bum enjoying swimming in the ocean, sand under my feet and the sweet sound of the waves. Being unplugged (partically), reading, writing and spacing out is I’ve read, suppose to be very healthy. Did you know that being bored (not having anything specific to do) unlocks your most productive and creative self? Fingers crossed! The book Bored and Brillant confirms it all, smile.
A perfect ending to the week with a sunset walk on the beach. Onward to week three…
Click here to read about Week Three.