tow, tow, tow your boat

A couple weekends ago, we decided to put our beginner's un-luck behind us and take our boat out for another trip to the North Sound. We intended to spend the day on the water visiting Stringray City, eating snacks, catching some lobster and some (sun) rays.  The weather cooperated, and soon there were eight of us involved: B&K, J&S, R&M, and the two of us. With eight on board our 18-footer, there wasn't an empty seat in the house. But we all like each other, so what's the difference?

Not long after leaving the canals and heading into the Sound, BK (whose eyesight must not be nearly as bad as advertised) spotted a wild dolphin!  If you've not been with me when I see a dolphin, you really have no concept of how excited this makes me. Particularly here in the Caribbean, where sightings are especially rare! As I screamed something like, "Oh my gosh! A dolphin! Ahh! I can't believe it!" and tried to find my camera, the dolphin played in the small wake of our boat (which is how we knew it was a dolphin. Sharks don't play, of course.) My pictures don't do the situation justice:

The rumor is that this dolphin has been talking (that's right - talking) to captive dolphins at Dolphins Cove - which I visited several weeks ago. I can vouch for them - they are very pleasant dolphins indeed. The sad part of the rumor is that it's possible that the wild dolphin was separated from its pod. I hope it is living a happy life - there are lots of other fish in the North Sound that I would make friends with if I were that wild dolphin.  I hope we see him again.

Onto Stingray City! It was R&M's first encounter with the rays. Here are a couple pictures from the sandbar:

Since we forgot food, we "borrowed" some from the party boat crowd. Thanks guys!
As our final (planned) stop, we headed out to the reef to hunt for lobster. NS was eager to use his new lobster nooses, as were the other three guys.

RL, mighty hunter
The girls stayed on the boat, chatting and marinating in sunshine, while the boys kept busy:

The lobster population eluded our crew, so they snagged several conch before heading back home.

Well, we didn't quite make it back. Again. As we headed west in the North Sound back to the canals, the engine quit. Just completely stopped. I won't go into all the mechanical reasons - mainly because they weren't fully solved - but we weren't moving. We still had plenty of daylight, so we decided to flag down a passing boat. A large one was crossing the Sound in the distance, so all eight of us stood and waved. I don't honestly think they saw us until BK grabbed two brightly-colored fins and waved them like flares in the air. Finally! They changed their course and headed our way.  A friendly crew aboard the Last Dollar threw us a line and towed us back to the Yacht Club.

I have to admit, although getting towed (for the second time out of two trips) was pretty embarrassing, it was a heck of a lot more relaxing than being pummeled through the sea in an over-loaded watercraft, wondering if your boat will make it back to land. The eight of us sat back, relaxed, and started chuckling about our boat luck. Rather than the typical boaters that find themselves acquiring more friends after buying, we'll be the rare owners that actually lose them!

Once on shore, we still didn't have a car (as the Yacht Club is certainly not where we permanently dock), so JS graciously offered to walk home to get a vehicle.  The rest of us caught the last of the afternoon sunshine and had a little snack picnic by the water.

We had the promise of harvested conch to look forward to:

What's an emergency when you're with people like this?
Before I go on to describe the conch preparation process, I have to give ample space to JS' video of the day's events. It properly captures the spirit of the day - relaxing, enjoyable, with some giggles at the end:

Thanks, JS, for creating a video that reminds us to look at the funny side of adventure. Our stories are all the more prolific because of it!

But our day wasn't over. NS and I headed over to R&M's to harvest the conch and prepare ceviche - fish that is "cooked" in the acid of citris, peppers, and onions. Just to make sure we had the process nailed, we asked Google:

The chef on the internet made it look like a breeze. These two boys, on the other hand, did not:

I'm uncertain how many kitchen/hardware tools they tried before MO finally banned them to the backyard.

They were huffing and puffing by the end of it, making threats that we girls had better appreciate all their toil. M and I just kept the cameras at the ready.

Dark had fallen by the time the boys had practially shattered every beautiful shell and filled a bowl with raw conch.

Then came the preparation. Since ceviche needs to "cook" in the fridge for several hours, MO agreed to prepare it in time for eating it the following evening.

Finally, the finished product! Along with some homemade garlic bread and "crisps".

It was a stellar weekend with lovely people and interesting food. 

Now about that boat.... since our second voyage, B&K have successfully taken the boat out on a couple short trips. I think our first two misadventures were lessons that we need to treat our 12-year-old vessel with respect, and maybe pay closer attention to the weight limit next time. And yes, there will be a next time.


  1. So.........was the effort worth the reward with the ceviche???
    My only complaint about your blog is that there aren't enough pictures of YOU, Jenn! I always see pics of your friends and Nate (no offense to the friends who are reading this) :)

  2. you'll have to check out Katie's blog for more instances of my face :)

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