Monday, March 7, 2011


Cave Cay, Exumas 23º54.11N | 76º16.17W

Anchored in Cave Cay.   Photo by Chip
Although on the chart, each island in this stretch of the Exumas looks similar, once you've explored them, you realize each as its own personality, almost its own spirit if you believe in such things.

Cave Cay's spirit is a bitch. After a brisk, double-reefed sail from Black Point in 18-22 knot wind, gusting to 30, we anchored in a beautiful cove with a seemingly peaceful white beach, deserted but for a large sign.

We got out the binoculars to read: "PRIVATE PROPERTY. BEWARE OF DOGS!" A warning with teeth, we learned later at the marina when a huge, wolf-like hound came running at us, growling menacingly, hackles up. Everyone was yelling at us, "Don't run! They won't attack if you don't run!" Gulp.

The island is a beautiful place, carved limestone along the edges, punctuated with white sand beaches, but it is hard to enjoy with the looming threat of being mauled.

Despite the pall, we had one magical experience here. Chip and I went to the beach near the anchorage to loll in the water and do a little snorkeling, looking at starfish and coral. We figured we would be fine since we now knew not to run. No dogs appeared. Once we returned to the boat, I was cleaning the dinghy and picked up the pump to dispatch some excess water. I looked down and did a double, then triple take.


There was, honest to god, an octopus lying in the boat, a tiny two-inch one but still.

The baby octopus who showed up in our dinghy.
If you look just below the small V of leg on the upper left, you can see his closed eye.
After some real pondering, I realized he must have hitched a ride into the dinghy inside the empty (I thought) conch shell I picked up on the beach. Once the shell was in the dinghy, he climbed out in search of water.

I dropped him in a glass of water -- from which he briefly escaped when I wasn't looking -- until Karen, Dale and I tried to return him to his habitat. He was having none of it. He liked that glass and was not coming out. No way.

Karen pointed out that octopi need shelter and don't like hanging out in open water. Unfortunately I had deep sixed his old house, so, wracked with guilt, I found him a new one.

He reluctantly crawled in.

Sorry for the water on the lens. That's the little guy in his new home. 
Poor thing. Talk about a bad day!

May he grow to be a large and happy octopus -- and stay well clear of the dog-infested beach.

Beautiful Cave Cay.

Inches to spare!

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