He sat at the mouth of his cave, a king presiding over his royal court. There was no question this lobster was the ruler of this coral reef. He knew it too. The monstrous coruscation must have been over a meter long. Living in prime real estate, the “sea aquarium” that was the Exhuma Cays Land and Sea park’s pride and joy he knew that no one could touch him.
The sea park reef was nice snorkeling, but not quite as spectacular as we had been led to believe. A half hour was really enough time before we were ready to move on to the land portion of the park. We sailed the short distance to the small island in a few hours and were greeted with an enormous whale skeleton. The whale had died from plastic bags and pollution in the crystal clear waters and stood as a warning.
Curly-tailed lizards scampered along the pathway up to the gift shop, run by a volunteer US ex-pat. He regaled us with tales of how the most disastrous shipwreck of Dominican refugees to date had just happened a few weeks earlier. I was reminded of Christmas Island and the refugee problem there. The Bahamas weren’t nearly as well-organized as Australia. No one was sure the exact number but certainly hundreds of Dominican refugees had died in this accident and it was just one of many this year alone.
The volunteer ranger knew everything about the island and told us about some of the interesting hikes. We walked along the shore as several feet of sand gave way to the porous stone characteristic of the Bahamas. We wanted to find the cairn of boat signs. Umineko had put one up in Cocos Keeling and we naturally had to leave one here. Sato San had made it specially!
We hiked through an array of landscape, mangroves, sandy beach, rocky outcroppings. The island was more diverse than anything I had seen in the Bahamas. Pushing stunted trees and vegetation out of our way we reached the top of a hill. There were several holes in the porous rocks marked “blow hole.” Air shot up through the vent startling us the first time. Then Sato San had me stand over it and practice my Marilyn Monroe impression.
The enormous pile of wooden boat plaques at the top of the hill overlooking the boats was massive. Yachts of every nationality had marked their visit with signs commemorating their visit to the Bahamas. We fixed our Umineko sign to one end of the landmark. We were here.
Seafood was in order that evening but I didn’t have any desire to make anything too terribly complicated or time-consuming. Seafood cous cous sounded perfect.
Cous cous is the perfect food for a boat. Fast, easy, it cooks quickly and uses very little water. Sure it needs a bit of dressing up to be tasty, but you can work wonders with cous cous. This seafood cous cous turned out marvelously. If you don’t have conch stock just use water and add a little vegeta vegetable stock or a bouillon cube.
Sextant Seafood cous cous
1 clove garlic
1 T olive oil
1 t turmeric
2 t garam masala
2 c conch stock
1 t coriander
1 t cinnamon
1 t black pepper
2 c shrimp
1 c squid
1 c imitation crab
½ c cranberries
½ c cashews
1 c cous cous
Fry the onion and garlic in vegetable oil about 3 minutes or until fragrant
Add seafood and spices, mix in cooking another minute
Add conch stock and bring to a boil
Add cous cous and cover cook for a minute
Allow to steam 5 minutes
Stir in nuts and cranberries