We ended up spending 5 nights in Rum Cay, partially to enjoy the scenic terrain and friendly people, but also maybe a little bit to watch the superbowl. The Marina at Rum Cay is shut down for the year, having been slammed by both Irene and Sandy the last two years, but they nevertheless offer free dockage, and the camaraderie between the cruisers there was a lot of fun to experience. The marina crew open the kitchen up every evening and help in preparing the potluck dinners that occur almost every night. The first night we were treated to dinner, despite adamantly requesting to contribute our dolphin to the meal(we were kinda proud of it), and followed it with a bonfire on the beach that was fueled(unless I mistake my guess), by planks from a few of the less-utilized docks. It was a fun night, but was just a warm-up for the days that followed.
Having discovered at Black Point Settlement that golf carts are often the best way to explore such small islands, we rented one from the marina and drove it to the opposite side of the island, looking for snorkeling and spearfishing locations. We were, unfortunately, unsuccessful in the latter goal, but we certainly found places to snorkel that were unlike anything we had yet seen. Both that day and the following we found these steep coral drop-offs down to about 20 feet that you could swim down, searching for fish. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether it was due to overfishing, climate change, or some other combination of factors, but these coral cliffs were almost devoid of life. There were plenty of fish here and there(we were followed for a few minutes the first day by a particularly curious barracuda that looked far too interested for my comfort), but there lacked the incredible diversity and abundance that we had seen in the Exumas. It was sad, and more than a little eerie to watch the few existing fish flit through and around mountains of coral that could have, under the right circumstances, comfortably supported a hundred times their number.
After snorkeling in the morning we spent our second afternoon in Rum Cay holed up in the boat to avoid torrential rain, alternating between listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on tape(which took us all of about 3 days to finish) and playing bananagrams. We were finally able to contribute some mahi-mahi to the potluck that night, but we had so much that they only required one of our 3 bulging bags to treat everyone to fried fish sliders, which, on homemade rolls, were indescribable. The night was a long one, as everyone had brought their bottles of rum(apparently what one does everywhere in the Bahamas) and appeared to be in no hurry to head back to their boats. I was targeted early in the night by Sebastian, the 7-year old son of one of the two French-Canadian couples at the marina, who was indefatigable in a game of “hit Dustin with whatever is in your hand” a merry game that was cut short when his father noticed him almost take out a table covered with lit candles and put a stop to it. Bastian was not so easily cowed, however, and instead enlisted the assistance of his sister and their friend to force me to sing karaoke. Fortunately, Jackson came to my rescue and agreed to debase himself with me, so we stepped up and atonally shouted the lyrics to a song whose words and tune I could only vaguely guess at. I believe(though I very much hope that I am wrong) that someone took a video of this event, and if that person is reading this post, please, for the love of god, destroy it.