Thursday, June 29, 2017

Great Inagua

Less than a hundred miles from Haiti, some hundred from Guantánamo Bay, this huge island is mostly nature, home to flamingos and horseflies, not sure what else--it feels peacefully inhuman, despite the Coast Guard plane that lands as we're approaching, the cutter that briefly stops offshore, maybe patrolling that passage between two islands the US has long messed with. Giant mounds of salt in Man of War Bay await a crane, to be loaded for Morton--sure, I've probably bought this stuff before in antiseptic packaging, never even imagining where it might have come from. Now I know. Salt pans out in the Far Bahamas, an island with long, long empty beaches that may never have seen a single footprint except, I'm guessing, that of casual birds, and wooden fishing sloops tied up in the government basin. 

Leaving Fish Cays after rain

Theme of this trip so far: Desert isles. 

Small crew hijinks in the forward bunk

Two cats on board this trip, thanks to Tallulah's rescue of a feral kitten in our jungular back yard in Río Piedras. 

Beach, Little Inagua

 The sand here is tiny shimmery balls. The beach goes on for miles. No one lives here or, as far as I can tell, ever has.

Sharks in Little Inagua

They circled the boat the morning we left, interested in the old cheese we threw overboard, hard, to make a good splash. Tallulah had gone in to check them out a couple of times when they came to investigate the sound of Adam scraping the hull. Since our dinghy got lost one night underway, we've been swimming to shore, and I was circumspect, not to say terrified. But when I looked up at Adam to report that the large thing swimming under us as we climbed down the swim ladder one morning was "only a barracuda," I figured I'd made some progress, even if I'll never match the savoir faire of my kid. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tallulah's projects

One Shoe: Big Sand Cay

I've been wanting to do something with the whole concept of one shoe for years. Inspired by beach wanderings, almost always accompanied by plastic bottles and single shoes. We took a walk to the windward side of Big Sand Cay, not bothering to swim ashore with our own shoes to cross the sand spurs, knowing we'd find some. Sure enough. One's too big or gets uncomfortable, another will appear in a few yards. The beach is strewn with shoes and plastic bottles. Oddly, some contain pristine toothbrushes. We call to each other over the wind blowing off the water--this place is wild, spooky, for all its human detritus it guards inhuman knowledge. Something living in the ground girds its perfectly round holes with neat loops of twig and sand spurs. The birds hover over us as we cross their land, low enough even in this wind to let us know we are interlopers. Even the rusting, tumble-down structure on the low bluff, the cement bunkers--evidence we'll only ever stay a little while. Last time I was here I read Tibetan Budddhist philosophy. I try meditating on the beach as Tallulah creates a memorial made of shells and driftwood on the soft sand. (Earlier, she buried the desiccated bodies of two baby turtles, their scurry to the sea arrested by those cawing, hovering birds.) This place is neither sea nor land, exactly. It's mostly sky.