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Dinghy drivers ed. I don’t enjoy driving the dinghy, but it’s a necessary evil.

Surrounded on all sides by pristine beaches and uninhabited islands in Normans Cay, we’re feeling overwhelmed by the variety of scenery ripe for exploration. It’s good having places to go, as the time has come for me to finally (and begrudgingly) learn to drive the dinghy. Slowly, and often with random jerking movements (still getting the hang of the accelerator on the tiller and the whole right-means-left thing), we’ve puttered to and fro, exploring sandbars that go on for miles, beaches unspoiled by a single footprint, caves carved into the sides of cliffs, and a beautiful hidden lake that is too shallow for most boats to visit.

We’ve also reunited with friends here. After lots of Facebook correspondence and some missed encounters, our course finally intersected with Marjolaine and Mike’s of s/v Basta (we met them waaaaay back in Annapolis, then saw them again at a cruiser happy hour in St. Augustine). Having already spent three weeks in the Bahamas honing their lobstering skills, they showed us how to find, tease out, and spear lobsters. We’re still getting the hang of it (we’ve got a long way to go), but Mike had his best haul yet. We feasted gloriously, with garlic butter running down our chins.

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Two of the magnificent little islands that surround Normans Cay

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Low tide revealed an endless sandbar. We saw enormous stingrays and barracuda from the safety of the dinghy.

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Shallow cut leading to a peaceful lake

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There is a sunken airplane in Normans Cay. At low tide, you can see the top of the fuselage in the center of the anchorage.

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Oh how I wish I’d sprung for a GoPro underwater camera. These shots don’t do the wreck justice.

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Marjolaine and Mike of s/v Basta, arrived just as we were heading out to try lobstering for the first time. They’re already pros at getting lobsters, so they showed us the ropes.

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Brian discovered three lobsters hiding in a cave 8 feet below the surface of the water. We’re still getting the hang of using our spear, thankfully Mike brought his expertise to bear and bagged all three for dinner. The one he is holding is the biggest he’s ever gotten. It was an exciting time for all.

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The catch

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Obligatory blurry and poorly lit group selfie shot of Mike, Marjolaine, me, Brain, and the lobster. We enjoyed a glorious feast of grilled lobster tails and steamed assorted lobster parts aboard Nightingale Tune, then serenaded the anchorage with Space Oddity – our tribute to David Bowie, may he rest in peace.

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Boat hair salon

We’re expecting some squirrelly weather in the next few days, and we like it here enough to stay put and wait out whatever mother nature has in store. In the meantime, we’ll continue to practice new skills to make us safer and more self-sufficient cruisers. (1/10/16 – 1/12/16)