Travel Log: Acklins

Angry Beach, Nassau

Day I
November 29, 2013
Orange Hill Hotel, Nassau, Bahamas

The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

I watch squalls pass to the north, unless that’s south. The overcast is so complete that I really can’t tell, but it feels north. Spindrift mists my glasses, blurring the horizon further.

I cross back over the low berm of sand and climb the concrete steps of Orange Hill. Tomorrow we’ll board a small prop plane and fly an hour and a half eastward in this crap. Our destination: a tiny island somewhere east of Bimini and north of Cuba. There, I’m told, we’ll find bonefish—lots of them and dumb as rocks (or rockets, which is a more apt description of that particular species).

This is a fish that, based on current evidence, will drive sane people from the comfort of their home to fly thousands of miles, endure strange food, stranger landscapes and bloodsucking creatures in their millions just for the opportunity to catch one, and then gently let it go again. What a weird and wonderful little world we live in.

I reach the hotel bar: dry, plainly furnished, with a quartet of anglers drinking in the corner. In place of a bartender there’s a ledger with a number of hash marks. Ah. The honor system. There’s a picnic cooler with an assortment of beer. A little digging surfaces a Kalik and after the first swig I feel my hopes rising. Surely the weather will clear to the east, right? Bound to. Surely.

I wonder if the cracked conch is any good here.

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  • Eric English

    Great conch salad IMHO. Funny how photographs don’t capture the sea state or stormy weather very well. Perhaps nature needs our senses to experience it: In a photograph the white horses are frozen impotently, there is no thump and hiss of a breaking wave on a strange shore, there isn’t a “scratch and sniff” of ozone or churning ocean, no salty taste on your lips… For the viewer, there is only vision and perspective: instagram recalls me to “Kodak Moments” of my youth and storms I have known. I have stood in that very spot and looked for bones and anticipated my next day flight Acklins Island and walked up Orange Hill for a few Kaliks!

    I can’t wait to see how the weather eventually turned out on Acklins for. you I think you haven’t blogged about beach fish camp before so that ought to be unique. Did you fish the “boneyard” behind Fedel’s place? Fedel did one better than Orange Hill Inn: he opened the bar for us for free (the liquor was all gone by then). What a party animal (or savvy business man!).

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