Monday, March 25, 2013

Twin Sisters and Ben Bay Beaches in Eleuthera

The next day I had two new beaches on my radar: Twin Sisters Beach and Ten Bay. Twin Sisters wasn't far north of Gregory Town according to the internet directions I found, and while that was true the directions weren't totally helpful when it came to finding the beach. I think some of the landmarks had changed so while I could see the beach from the shoulder of the road, it wasn't quite clear how to get through all the brush. Eventually I did figure this out, but I wasn't feeling it. Many of the beaches on Eleuthera necessitate some rather rough driving off the main highway. This gives you more a sense of peace and isolation, but this beach was within spitting distance (if you were a superhero Llama) of the highway, which kind of ruined the vibe. Because a) I felt far more exposed...anyone could see my parked car and peer over toward the beach and see me. Who these 'anyones' could be and why they would give a shit is totally unclear to me but I guess I'm always on the offensive against rape and murder. I had planned on swimming out to the 'sisters' to see what kind of fish I could see, but I ultimately chose to simply eat half a sandwich before moving on.
Half a sandwich. My Kindle Fire also stopped working that day, so I had to take a book from the cottage. John Grisham's The Appeal.

My next destination was Ben Bay, which was described as having easy/close snorkel options on reefs that also helped keep the beach/water calm even on rougher/windier days. Now the directions to this place were a little more complex, involving right and left turns at forks every .1-.5 mile once off the main road. This was complicated by the fact that it seemed like there were options that wouldn't come at quite the distance I had written down. At some point I definitely took a left when I should have taken a right and found myself bumping along a mainly dirt/rock road with rather dense brush on my right and left. Suddenly I found myself looking at a huge tractor like machine in the middle of the road and got concerned. Was there someone in it? Or was it a farming piece of equipment left behind for some later time? Would they just move without my having to get out and ask? A few seconds later three blonde headed boys hopped out of the truck and one man to boot. The man came by and said they could move the thing and I confirmed I was even on the right road for Ben Bay. Now here's something about the boys and man that might surprise you: they were white. And maybe that won't surprise you that much. How about this...they were dressed in what I can only describe as 'Amish-styled clothing.' Dark pants, simple shirts with no buttons, straw hats. The man had a beard and very piercing blue eyes. In any case it turns out that I was not on the right road. So first he helped me get turned around (these are not roads that are built for 3-point turns) then gave me the directions I needed to get to the Bay...then he asked me if I was alone and I said yes and he kind of gave me a look. Then he asked me if I had a cell phone. I said no and he gave me even more of a look. Then he also noted that I needed to put more sun lotion on behind my ears because they were burned (entirely true) and noted that I had to be careful about sticks on the sides of the road that could potentially pop a tire. I asked him what kind of farming they did, and he said mostly sheep. At that point I realized that beyond the brush that lined the roads there were wire fences and beyond those fences were definitely some sheep doing their sheep thing. He said they also grew fruit. He was very nice and we ended our conversation with his saying if I got into trouble I could just come back their way because they'd be around. Which actually was kind of comforting; if I had gotten a flat tire in the middle of really and truly nowhere it would have been quite the thing. With better directions and a little chutzpah I made my way and found Ben Bay. And man. What a great spot. Because it's harder to find and rougher on cars I think it doesn't get as much traffic as other spots (which again is sort of a stupid thing to say because no beach ever had more than 10 people on it at one time). For the first 40 minutes I was the only person with this view.
I think this may be me being smug about how stupid beautiful it was.
A few other folks showed up eventually. A group of younger Italians I think and a couple. I took a walk along the edges, which is all I guess volcanic rock or something? Research is not something I've done clearly.
The person who took this picture just couldn't wait for me to finish opening and closing my mouth. That person was me.
So you see how it's white all along there where the water is breaking over the reefs? Yeah that's where it was fun to swim out and see some things. It's where I saw the barrucuda-like fish.
So neat.
Rough around the edges.
Later on the Italians left and then a couple and their three red headed children appeared. The husband quickly got into snorkel gear and headed out to the reef with a spear. I spoke with the wife briefly, asking just what he was out to catch and she said lobster. She mentioned that earlier that week he had caught one big enough that it fed the whole family for dinner. Soon enough he came out with one lobster and put it into a bucket. I was a little shy and didn't want to crash the party but you know I wanted to see it. Then when he came out with another one closer to where I was situated, I did go over and ask if I could take a photograph because that is just really the coolest thing ever. Then he asked me if I wanted a photograph of me holding it, which of course I did. Of course I did! So he told me how to hold the lobster and I got my moment. I told him I'd tell all my friends that I caught the lobster....but I just ruined that now didn't I.
After more delightful snorkeling, reading, lying down and sandwich eating (and beer drinking) I decided it was late enough in the day that I should do my ritual Gaulding's Key time period (basically 3-5). There I spoke with a couple I had seen on the two days prior. They'd just been talking to a younger couple who had just arrived on the island and were in search of a car to rent. Then the older couple left. Then I left and went to Daddy Joe's because I thought an early meal out would be nice. There I reconnected with the older couple, who suggested I try this green drink. The name of which I cannot recall. It was sweet and heavy on the rum.

I hadn't realized that Daddy Joe's was cash only and I was running low on money in hand, so while I had planned on trying more of their menu, I ended up with the conch soup because it was in my budget. But it was very good. Spicy and rich.
The younger couple also came in and sat down. We chatted for a while (they were from Brooklyn and the closest in age to me that I'd really seen on Eleuthera) and they also ordered drinks that turned out to be strong in liquor and vibrant in color.
And after my drink I went back to the cottage and settled into a lovely evening. I think I may have chatted with other guests on the property that night and the night before, or some combination.

4 comments:

Barbara Nelles said...

How do you spell j-e-a-l-o-u-s-y? I hope you got nipped by that lobster hahaha!

The water there is gorgeous. The temperature here is freezing!

Barbara Nelles said...

How do you spell j-e-a-l-o-u-s-y? I hope you got nipped by that lobster hahaha!

The water there is gorgeous. The temperature here is freezing!

cc said...

Oh my no, it was already dead. Speared right through. A coworker said the other day that she wanted a husband who could spear lobsters. I at first agreed...but then realized that at the time, on the beach, I didn't want a husband to do it for me, but rather someone to teach me how. This man had his 7 or 8 year old daughter as a partner: they'd locate a lobster, she'd scare it so it'd go scrabbling his way and he could then spear it. Teamwork. Dinner. Perfect.

nc catherine said...

AHHHHH I want the water, I want the lobster, I want to learn how to spear them my own self (I am with you CC, a partner in spearing lobsters yep but not "the guy who does it"), I even want to try the crazy colored drinks. Even tho I have a rule, no crazy colored drinks. The idea of an Amish family in Eleuthera just amazes me. And yes, always put more sunscreen on your ears.