Saturday, February 20, 2010

Salt Cay is for fishing and reading

Sunday on Salt Cay is always a good day for fishing or hanging out with a good book. On a beautiful Sunday in February, Mike packed his fishing stuff and I grabbed a book and a couple of bottles of water for a few hours fishing, reading and of course some photos. We started out on North Beach... the water was a hundred colors of blue, turquoise, and aqua with no one in sight.

Years ago I visited a Salt Cay friend, Janet Onnie, and caught her relaxing in her hammock. We sat on her breezy outside porch and talked about a lot of things. What I remember the most is her telling me that when she has trouble sleeping she thinks of the Sea and Sky off of North Beach and tries to count all the different colors of blue.

Mike grabbed his stuff out of the back of the buggy and walked down the beach to try his luck in the surf. I sat up on the bluff, spread out a blanket and spent so long looking at the water, the islands in the distance, the beach and the waves that I never did get my book out. Mike walked back to join me at the bluff and we moved on to another spot for him.

Back in the buggy, we drove north past the Grey Salinas to the Northeast side of the island. There is an inlet from the Sea that is made of cut stone and allows water from the Sea to fill the Salinas on that side of the island. This channel was built over 200 years ago and is about 6 feet wide and about 600 feet from start at the Sea to the end that empties into the Salinas.
Following the inlet channel to the East, we watched crabs scurrying about, little fish swimming against the current, birds doing a little fishing and a gecko basking in the sun. Notice the incredible cut stone along the sides of the channel.

Walking along the wall of the channel, we arrived at the opening, a small opening in the rocky cliffs - a great place to try a little fishing.

It was mesmerizing watching the water flowing in and out of the channel, the waves crashing in to fill the little "bay" and spraying foam upon the rocks. Not much beachcombing to be done at this part of the island, but so many beautiful natural treats.

The skies were a bit overcast on Sunday with the sun breaking through from time to time and casting its rays down through the clouds. The Sea on the West side of the island was rough but on the East side it was fairly calm with a few good sized rollers from time to time. The sparkling brightness of the day was incredible.

Mike grabbed his bucket and pole and walked to the end of the small rock cliff to try his luck in the surf. The rocks can be pretty uneven at the end of the small cliff, I chose to stay back and take a look around with my camera.

Any vegetation on this side of Salt Cay has to be pretty hardy. The trade winds blow fairly constantly throughout the year from the East showering the plants with salt water and salt spray on a regular basis. Plants that would normally have a little height are more of a low growing ground cover or bush height.

The tangled branches of this Mosquito Bush (Strumpfia martima) have little barnacles growing attached on one side and beautiful fragile looking pink flowers on the other side. In folklore, when the leaves and branches of the mosquito bush are burned, the smoke is said to repel mosquitoes. I've tried transplanting a small plant and have not been successful getting it to grow on the West side of the island.

A large brain coral with a whole in the middle and another coral lodged inside of it rests next to the channel. I have to believe that a few people spent some time dragging it to this spot, although there doesn't seem to be any place that it could have come from. I enjoyed the contrast of the sun bleached, curvaceous white coral and the dark, sharp angles of the cut stone walls of the channel.

(Don't forget that by clicking on a photo you will be able to view it larger but you'll have to click the back button on your browser to come back to this page.)

I had a book in my bag and fully intended to sit down to read a bit... after a few more pictures.

... the bend in the channel right before it meets the Sea.

... the waves crashing on the cliffs.

... three Haitian islanders fishing a little further north along the same cliff with hand lines.

Mike enjoyed fishing for rock hinds or strawberry grouper along the East side of the island, moving from the spot at the end of the cliff to a place a bit further North in search of the elusive fish.

The wind-smoothed rocks on the top of the cliffs are very different from the razor like rocks of the cliffs further South on the island. After about 1/2 an hour, Mike returned to try his luck by the cliffs again. Caught by a wave or two, his shirt and shoes were soaked and he was ready to try something different on the end of his line.

I do not know the name of this little lure... and I don't suppose it really matters because it did not work! Relaxing on a rock with his (empty) bucket, Mike changed his lure hoping to attract a strawberry grouper or two...

The sounds of the sea crashing on the cliffs and echoing through the channel were a perfect accompaniment to the peace of fishing, relaxing and enjoying a little quiet time together.

I did actually read about four or five pages in my book before heading back after a day of fishing and exploring.

And no, Mike didn't catch anything that day. (Hmmmm, Mike read this and reminded me that he did catch a little sand fish - not worth eating or keeping - so he threw it back... does that count?) Heeheee.

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