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Fishing on the reef that goes on for miles at Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana. In the two weeks we spent here, we never saw a calm day, this was us making the best of it in 2 feet of chop. It’s still pretty beautiful, no?

We’ve come to the end of our time in the Bahamas. Our alarms are set for 3AM, an early start for our sail to Turks and Caicos.

I wish I could say that our final week here has been amazing, but, thanks to the weather, frustrating is a more accurate description. We’ve been held hostage on the boat this week by relentlessly strong wind and waves (so strong that our sanity-saving swell bridle could no longer handle its load and we had to take it off, which made the boat extremely uncomfortable). We’d taken a chance staying on for a second week in Mayaguana, hoping for just one calm day for exploring the amazing reefs that surround the island. One day out of fourteen was all we were hoping for (and what was in the forecast). It never panned out. Such a lackluster ending to our stay in the beautiful country that we’ve loved calling home. You win some, you lose some.

We managed to get off the boat for a couple of rough dinghy rides and unremarkable attempts at snorkeling and fishing in the chop that ended abruptly – who knew that so many sharks could co-exist on a single reef? Brian did manage to find us a large conch for one last Bahamian fritter-fest, and we finally got around to making a traditional conch horn out of the shell. Lobsters of Mayaguana can breathe a sigh of relief, as April 1 marked the end of the season, and we are no longer a threat.

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When we go fishing in rough conditions, I prefer to keep watch and drive the dinghy. Brian spotted three sharks and had an entourage of lurking barracuda, so he was hopping in and out of the dinghy quite a bit.

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Lobstering was a bust, but Brian found this beauty for dinner instead.

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Conch fritters with our signature boat sauce . The Bahamians usually shape their fritters into balls for deep frying, but I prefer to make mine flat and pan fry them to conserve oil. (Pro tip – after frying, pour (cooled) fry oil down manual pump heads*. It is recommended that you “oil” the head monthly to keep moving parts lubricated, and doing it this way saves oil and minimizes clean up. Win, win, win.) *Apologies for subtitling a food photo with a toilet-related tip.

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Ever get that feeling you are being watched?

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After a lot of talk about doing it, we finally got around to making a conch horn for our boat. Traditionally, cruisers play these at the very moment the sun disappears behind the horizon at sunset. You have to soak the shell in bleach for a day to get the stink out, then you saw off the point of the shell to form the mouthpiece, which you play like a brass instrument. It only plays one note, and each horn has it’s own distinct tone.

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Brian, preparing to play the conch horn at just the right moment.

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After extensive flying in the crazy El Nino winds, our Bahamian courtesy flag has seen better days. We’ve switched it out with our yellow “Quarantine” flag, which we will then replace with the Turks and Caicos flag once we clear customs.

Minor setbacks aside, we’re really going to miss this beautiful, largely untouched slice of paradise. The Bahamas shaped us into more capable sailors: confident on overnight passages and practiced at reading the water (not just our GPS charts). We’re not experts, but we’re also no longer newbies. Armed with better skills and more confidence, we’re ready to test these skills as we change gears and make tracks to the Caribbean.