Bahamas trip: Day 10

In the morning, my dad picks up Mr. Forbes from his house and drives him back to GRC. Just as they arrive, the power cuts out, so Mr. Forbes can't sharpen his machete. Too bad, 'cause we're gonna be in the bush again today.

We walk down past the water tanks and through the catchment. Mr. Forbes points out a poisonwood tree for me. It's related to poison ivy and has the same toxin, urushiol, but he claims that the surface of the leaves is not toxic, only the sap. Either way, I'm glad to finally know one of the several plants to avoid touching. (Haulback and Manchineel are the others.) Our walk takes us down past one of the brackish inland lakes, where I have the misfortune of being the third person to brush past a wasp nest, and thus I am the one who is stung. Luckily, I have a steroidal cream in my backpack, which quickly cuts the inflammation and pain. However, we don't actually know where the nest is located, just that it's somewhere near or on the path.

As we head back, I am again the third person in the group, and my companions make it past the nest before I spot it. There it is, attached to a calf-height branch sticking out into the path. I try to ease past it, but at the last second half the nest launches. Only one gets a sting in (on the same leg) before they turn back. Again, the cream provides quick relief. (When we later see a similar nest near the path, I choose a wiser but more difficult route through the dense bush, circumnavigating the agitated wasps.)

The power cuts on again minutes after we arrive back at Gerace.

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The rest of the day is unscheduled, so my dad and Kathleen and I hop in the van and explore the island a little bit more. The lighthouse is our first stop. It is one of the last of its kind, and is open to the public. I take a series of photos of the island's landscape from the circular deck, which I hope to stitch into a panorama at a later date.

We have time for one last snorkel, and we choose Rocky Point. It has patches of real coral reef, more impressive than the occasional small coral anchored on a random bit of underwater debris. The water is 20 feet deep, so I get to dive down, roll onto my back, and watch the silvery waves billow overhead. I see giant sea fans, cleaner wrasse, and schools of tiny, translucent fish just below the surface. Kathleen spots a flounder hugging the sand. The current farther out is quite strong, so we struggle back to shore and call it a day.

We'll be leaving tomorrow morning, so after dinner I take a walk down the road to check out the flowering agaves. Once I've explored those as well as the dense roadside bush will permit, I walk further east. There are occasional overgrown driveways into equally overgrown abandoned lots, and in one of these I find a prickly pear cactus, a car's chassis that is nearly covered in vines, and various rusting discarded appliances. It seems to be the wrong time of year for prickly pear fruit, and I have no inclination to clean and cook a pad.


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