Diving (okay snorkeling, let’s be honest here) shipwrecks is always fun. Seeing how man made ruins have been converted into a make-shift home, no an entire underwater ecosystem never ceases to amaze. Yes, shipwrecks are great, but sunken planes? When I heard that Norman’s Cay boasted a sunken plane from the 1970s I was dying to explore it.
To my relief Sato San was all for it. We anchored half a mile away right off of the archetypal desert island, one palm tree sprouting up in the middle. Of course, under the tree sat a wooden bench, but you could always imagine the Swiss Family Robinson had a hand in that.
A few sheets of metal barely stuck out of the azure water, the last remnants of the plane’s top. The rest had long since rusted away, ravaged by the elements. Still, it was enough for us to spot it and dinghy over. There is a feeling of mystique about sunken planes, shipwrecks, and ruins. It gives you a shivery feeling of wonder, danger, and opens a thousand questions. What had happened? Who had been on this plane? Did they survive?
I slid over the side of the dinghy into the warm Bahamian water and came face to face with rusted -propellers and the nose of the barnacle-covered wreck. I swam around it. Nothing remained inside the wreck. It had been too long; the ocean had taken its due. Resident yellow and black striped fish surrounded the wreck. Two rays were hiding under the sand, only their tails and a thin outline visible. Until an eye blinked open watching.
I never knew the graceful creatures spent time hiding under the sand, but with flat bodies it made sense. The underwater world was just as marvelous as I remembered. I examined the plane from all angles, though decided against actually going inside the wreck and swam until the warm water started to feel cold. It was time to head back to the dinghy.
Taira San, our new 70-year old Japanese crew member who had taken up sailing, kiteboarding, and countless other adventure sports after his 60th birthday, was waiting back in the dinghy. Almost immediately Sato San joined us and we headed over to the desert island to explore.
The island beach was crawling with hundreds of young conchs. The orangey-pink little shells were everywhere. We did find a few legal-sized queen conchs with dramatically flared lips in deeper water though. Our first conchs!
After a little while we headed back to the catamaran to make lunch. After a long morning of exploring and adventures I didn’t want to make something too terribly involved and besides, everyone was hungry. Quick and easy was the name of the game. Tuna salad wraps fit the bill.
Tuna salad is certainly of the best fallback cruising foods. I make sure to keep my pantry well-stocked with canned tuna. This is one of my favorite versions of the classic. If you don’t have bell peppers you can omit them but I always like to have onions and celery.
Telltale Spicy Tuna Salad
1 can tuna
½ onion, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped (red or yellow are prettiest but since they don’t last as long I usually just use green)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 T relish
¼ c mayonnaise
Juice from 1 lime
1 t black pepper
1 t salt
1 t chili seasoning (or cayenne pepper)
Mash the tuna in bottom of large bowl
Mix in veggies
Add remaining ingredients and mix well
Makes 4 wraps
1 recipe tuna salad
1 tomato cut into wedges
4 burrito flour tortillas
Spoon tuna salad onto 4 wraps
Arrange tomato wedges in line on each tortilla
Place sprouts on top
Fold bottom of tortilla up and roll into wrap