Leaving South Andros Island, Bahamas is tough.
It should get easier, but it doesn't. Don't
jump to conclusions, I really don't want to
live there. But it is like the 'one more cast'
phenomenon - just one more day to fish!
We did not get as many fishing days this trip as
we planned. Chalk that up to the wonderful world
of air travel. Seems the weather was a bit suspect
when we flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Nasseau, so
Continental Airlines decided to remove one of our
two bags and load a little extra fuel. The bag
weighed 32 pounds. I don't know how much fuel
that allows, but the bag wasn't on board.
When we discovered this it left me running between
Continental lost baggage in Nasseau and Western Air
(the next flight to Mangrove Cay) to make arrangement
for the bag to be sent on when it showed up later
(on the next flight they promised.) Knowing the
missing bag had ALL of our clothing, and the necessities
like razor, toothbrushes, clean undies, real shoes (not
the dress stuff we wore on the plane) I made a run to
one of the little shops in the airport and found a
shirt for each of us, the smallest they had was a
large and extra large. As it turned out we lived
in them for the next few days. I won't go into the
whole war between Continental and Western Air, but
it seems they don't have any 'baggage agreement' and
finally put our bag on a plane for the full cost of a
passenger, $50. We lost 2 days fishing because we weren't
willing to fish in short-sleeved shirts and jeans without
any sun screen. Of course all the BullFrog was in the
missing bag as well. We would have been fried.
One of the smart things I did do was to pack all
of our various meds in my purse, that way we do
have what we might need. You might make a note
of that for your carry-on as well.
Uncle Don (Cianca) and his wife, Mary Ann, were already
at the Nasseau airport when we arrived, and we also ran
into Al Caucci and his wife, Betty, who were waiting for
a flight to North Andros and Small Hope Resort.
We did spend the 'lost baggage' days just loafing
around and taking lots of photos. Brendan
Foulkes, the General Manager of Emerald Palms asked
us to help with photos for their new brochure and
When we finally got our missing bag, we fished two
days with a guide we had not used before, Jason
Duncombe. The boat was one he 'borrowed' from Stanley
"Jolly Boy" - and you will note in the photos the boat
has numbers painted on the deck to help the angler figure
out where the guide is telling him to cast. Good idea,
especially for the first-timer.
Jason is a native of South Andros, and while he moved
away to go to school to be trained as a navigator,
he came home. It seems pretty common for the young
folks to want to move to the city, but at least on
South Andros it also seems most come back home.
Jason said he couldn't get use to so many people.
He is a fine guide, with a nice sense of humor - very
accommodating. We certainly recommend him. You can
reach him through the Emerald Palms resort's General
Manager, Brendan Foulkes.
The days we were not able to fish, Uncle Don and Mary
Ann did. Rats. They did catch fish, and
Uncle Don will have a story with more photos for you
soon. He made arrangements to fish with Herman Bain,
whom he had fished with on several other occasions.
The photo on the front/main page this week is an example
of Uncle Don's sense of humor. (If you aren't aware,
Uncle Don has done several cartoons for us in the Lighterside
section. Look for Cianca Cartoons).
Brendan had a surprise for all of us. Instead of the
'clubhouse' rooms we had reserved, he put us in the new
cottages. Uncle Don and Mary Ann were next door, so we
each had an opportunity to 'test drive' the brand new
accommodations. We were the first people to occupy them.
The cottages are large, (ours was a two-bedroom) with a
full width veranda. There is teak furniture on the verandas,
including table and chairs. An overhead outdoor fan provides
a breeze if nature doesn't. Nature was kind on this trip,
although it is a shock to see a good sea out one's front
door and realize the harbor and bite you are going to fish
The attention to comfort and detail in the cottage was
remarkable. Each has its own Jacuzzi. We did a soaky
one evening, and it was lovely. There is also a very
workable small kitchen with refrigerator, two-burner stove,
convection/microwave and sink. Even a coffee pot and
electric tea kettle. (A little basket of teas included.)
I do have to mention something I found interesting. All the
water fixtures were unusual - perhaps they are something you've
seen, but we haven't before. I suspect they are from Denmark since
the owners and the general contractor are Danish - but when you
turn the water in the sinks on, it falls into a channel around
the fixture and that mixes and falls into the sink like a little
waterfall. Very neat!
As promised, Emerald Palms has a first-class chef on staff.
We met Simeon even before our first dinner (porterhouse
steak with all the trimmings.) The food was terrific,
including local favorites, crisp salads and decadent desserts. Chef
Simeon makes his own excellent breads and even dressings.
(He makes the best lemon-butter sauce for lobster ever.)
We were spoiled!
We also fished with Gary Francis again, we had fished
with him in February and were glad to have him as a
guide again. One of the cool things that happened
was we followed (well chased) a school of nice bonefish.
The water was very shallow, so Gary hopped out of the boat
and pushed us around instead of poling the boat. Sort of
puts a new image on 'wading the flats.' You can also reach
Gary through Brendan Foulkes.
We did catch fish, the largest we released was 6 or 7
pounds - but the interesting thing was seeing so many
very big fish. We're talking 14 pounds and up.
Unfortunately we didn't catch any, but JC has a story
to tell on his "almost" big fish. I'll let him tell
There are always neat critters to see on South Andros.
The little curly tail lizards are fun to watch, there
are snowy Egrets, lots of blue and green Herons, and
one we had not seen before a white-faced Ibis. The
Ibis was not the stealthy hunter of Heron repute - it
was a clumsy, comical clown. We had a good laugh. Our
guide Jason also spotted some families of Dolphins.
We got to within 3 or 4 feet of mommas with babies.
What a sight!
We had a severe wind day where no-one fished. Unusual
for this time of year, but we read, had lunch in the
dining room instead of on a boat or some small piece
of land. Even did a little beach walking. Would rather
had been fishing, but we all made the best of it. The
Jacuzzi got a good workout, we all hit it nearly every day.
I almost forgot the other nice addition at the lodge - a
casting pond! A place for anglers to practice or to hold
a school is complete except for the outside deck. We
gave it a trial, and it is just dandy. There are even
a few turtles to feed.
Amazingly, neither of us were sunburned this time. BullFrog
did its job admirably. There was enough wind this trip
that it became my habit when coming inside to go into the
bathroom and wash my glasses.
After dinner our last night at the lodge, Eutamae Brown-King,
one of the waitresses, said she had something for us to take
home with us. It turned out to be a huge frozen lobster.
It took some doing to get it into our jam-packed bag the
next morning, but it did go home with us. It was also eaten
the next night.
The trip back was also a disaster - I'll tell you about
that another time. But by the time we go again the newly
remodeled airport with it's new runways on South Andros
will be done, and having to take a plane to Mangrove Cay and
a ferry to South Andros will be a thing of the past. The
crew doing the airport runways is scheduled to do the roads
at Emerald Palms next, and that will almost complete the
re-do at the lodge.
Every time we go to the Bahamas I am impressed with the
people. The staff at Emerald Palms is very friendly,
courteous, and most of all, happy. The 'happy' rubs off.
It is absolutely infectious. When I was beside myself
about the bag problem, Brendan put an arm around my
shoulder and said, "Now I'll take care of this, okay?"
I understand the fix was his conversation with the
president of Western Air. He really tried to take
the pressure and stress off me. It was very much
Our sincere thanks to the whole staff at Emerald
Palms - we love you all.
We'll be back!
~ The LadyFisher
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