It was the start of the fourth day of our nine day adventure. We rode the constant southeast breezes for three days and were now about 25 miles from our launch spot. It was strongly suggested that we shouldn't go any farther north than this as the 15 to 20 knot winds came blow steadily for days out of the southeast, giving us a battle on the return. Our favorable tides which had been high during most of the day was flipping over to the new regime of mostly low during the day. The large shallow flats we had seen on the way up would be much more exposed in the coming days possibly requiring long detours on the way back. In spite of what we felt were fairly low mileage days, we decided it was prudent to take advantage of the current brief change in the wind direction and use this day's north north east wind to start back.
Before leaving the beach at Big farmers I investigated a small mangrove marsh on the north end. The shallow bay was accessible only at the very high tide through a narrow entrance.. The little bay had two narrow shallow channels that gave access back into the small pond where new mangrove seedling were taking root. I saw another small shark as I paddled in.
Leaving the caves we followed the channel markers to look in the harbor at Cave Cay. There were only two boats on the docks of the large marina and it looked like the place would soon be in dire financial condition if it weren't already bankrupt.
After picking up the conch, we stopped on Darby Island and walked up the path to Green House, the ruins of an early century mansion. The trail was full of spider webs and I took one, spider and all, full in the face.
Passing Musha Cay we once again gawked at the wonderful accommodations there ...... and kept on paddling. In the mangroves to the east of Jimmys Cay I found several conch on the shallow bottom. Reaching over the side from my cockpit I picked up four of the heavy mollusks and put them in my cockpit. In the cramped quarters there they were soon pushing up against my legs with their powerful foot. When we got to camp on Lignum Vitae I opened the shells with the machete. It took quite a while to clean them with my small knife. They yielded about 4 ounces of chewy white meat each. In the lime juice they were good but tough.
Abandoned by the owner long ago after the discovery by his wife of his mistress, the site had a gorgeous view over the shallows from the second floor veranda. We climbed carefully over the cracked concrete and rebar and walked gingerly up the rotting stairs.
After returning to the little concrete landing where we had docked the kayaks, we learned from those who had not gone up the path that some very nice people from the sailboat "Beans" had left us a quart of lobster bisque. Without our utensils handy we soon had fashioned scoops from the leaves of the strong waxy vegetation and were eagerly sampling the great gift. We also learned from them that the weather was due to improve. After mid day the next day, the winds were due to shift to the east and stay light, 12 knots or so for the next week. Hooray!
We continued on south retracing our path to Lignum Vitae Cay. We camped on a beach facing to the east just south of the camp we had occupied two nights before. It was spitting rain once again and the spotty weather continued for the rest of the afternoon. Unlike the other beach, this one was not very far above the high tide line. Late that night the water came up close to my tent about three horizontal feet away. The others were a little farther back in the palmettos and scrub.
On to Day 5.....................