We have just arrived in George Town, a bit apprehensive, but full of hope. This place comes with a heavy reputation as either heaven or hell, depending… We are trying to be positive in our mood but open to whatever comes. The last several days on the boat have been challenging for me and I feel as if my head is in a bit of a fog. I have been suffering from some cabin fever and writer’s block. Luckily for me, my husband has written the words that follow. (And I’m quite impressed, to be honest.) Please enjoy!
This story comes from No Name Cay in the Abacos. It was a stop the adults made reluctantly. The kind cruisers and locals around Green Turtle Cay who saw our children had eagerly told them about the pigs on the island just to the south. We were less than enthused but the kids were all in. It turns out there were pigs, but also chickens to boot.
The anchorage itself was quiet once a tour boat cleared out. We went ashore to feed and mingle with the herd. Marley tried to pick every piglet and pig up to cradle and love them, as Evyn tried to verbally negotiate with the large sow, explaining that the food in her hand was for the cute, smaller pigs and not for her. The pig, needless to say, did not appreciate the favoritism. The meet and greet went on longer than Erin or I would have liked, but it was definitely making the girls happy.
After we pried the girls away from the feral petting zoo, I took them on a snorkel along a limestone bank on the newly-named Pig Island. I was in search of dinner. Recently I had managed to put two lobster on my family’s table and I was feeling like quite the hunter. Erin took a walk on the beach and she later picked us up in the dinghy.
My girls and I entered the warm Bahamian waters and skirted the craggy shoreline searching under ledges and pointing out beautiful fish. We had wandered a fair distance when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large, dark shadow. I’m a child of the 70s so I immediately did the requisite cringe and reached out for both daughters. As the object grew and came into focus I quickly recognized one of my favorite sea animals.
The spotted eagle ray is a majestic creature. No other word so perfectly describes the animal for me. They break some natural law by flying when they should be swimming. Their movements are slow and deliberate and a sense of pride and purpose graces every rise and fall of their wings. This was not one spotted eagle ray, but four of the largest rays I had ever seen. They flew in a slight V formation and their cadence was synchronized to perfection. I have been fortunate to have had many experiences with nature, from birds of prey taking flight from high perches just feet away from where I was climbing, to a great bull elk yards away with Evyn behind me, to graceful dolphins allowing me to share a wave, to being on a mountain bike far too close to a big, beautiful moose. But this was different. Here were four exquisite spotted eagle rays in only four feet of water off a little cay, flying in formation.
But the special part for me was in the ones with me. I had my two energetic, inquisitive, and beautiful daughters by my side. As I touched a small elbow on each side of me, time stood still, if for just a moment, and those four amazing creatures seemed to lift their heads slightly while they put on a regal parade just for my flock.