A Day Trip in Time

Having spent much of my childhood in Nassau surrounded by hotels, cruise ships, duty-free shops and sunburned foreigners, I’m not keen on touristy things. I have zero desire to parasail, jet ski, have my hair braided or shop for made-in-China souvenirs. With apologies to the organizers, and those who wouldn’t dream of missing it, I’d rather be stranded naked in a swarm of jellyfish than attend the Stranded Naked beach party.

During our recent trip to Green Turtle Cay, I wanted to do something different for Tom’s birthday. Several friends suggested a day trip with local guide Lincoln Jones, and though I secretly suspected it might end up being a rum-soaked, reggae-blasting booze cruise (nothing wrong with that – just not my thing), I decided to give it a try.

Turns out – and my husband will love this – I couldn’t have been more wrong. The day was lovely and low-key, and, given that boating, fishing and beach cookouts are practically built into the Bahamian DNA, as authentically native as it gets.

The entire day evoked fond memories for me: conch diving with my cousins in Hope Town, hand-line fishing from the seawall opposite Fish Hooks, Sunday beach picnics and public holiday cookouts with my extended family in Nassau.

Lincoln collected us from our cottage around 9:30 am. In addition to Tom and me, there were three other guests. We headed north in the Sea of Abaco before veering right between Munjack and Ambergris Cays and into the Atlantic.

Fifteen or so minutes out, Lincoln shifted the boat into neutral and tossed a line overboard. When he landed a mutton fish in less than a minute, we dropped anchor and baited the remaining lines. Despite competing with a shark and a barracuda, both intent on stealing our fish before we could reel them in, we had a productive morning.

Shortly past noon, with the cooler stocked with yellow tails, snappers, grunts and mutton fish, we puttered into the clear shallows at the north end of Munjack Cay. A welcoming committee of young sharks trailed casually behind.

The braver souls, including my husband, hopped overboard off the stern. The saner members of the group waited for the crunch of the hull on sand before scrambling over the bow and onto dry land.

While we explored “Lincoln Park,” our captain retrieved a giant cast-iron skillet from the bushes and kindled a fire. He mixed a batch of Goombay Smashes (a pineapple-based rum drink invented on Green Turtle Cay), cleaned and floured much of the morning’s catch, sliced and seasoned potatoes and set out a fresh salad.

Before long, the six of us were gathered at two weathered picnic tables, enjoying our fresh-from-the-sea lunch.

It was great to get to know Lincoln – turns out that as kids, he and his brother used to go fishing with my two uncles when they’d come to Green Turtle Cay on school holidays.

The other guests – a married couple, both psychologists, and a country music publicist – were interesting and intelligent and much fascinating conversation and laughter ensued.

It felt so much like the family outings of my childhood, I could almost hear my dad and uncles debating politics, and my grandmother warning we’d get cramps for swimming so soon after eating.

Not that we swam after lunch. Once we were done, Lincoln marched a pan of fish carcasses down to the water. A dozen or so small sharks swam lazy circles in the shallows. Lincoln tossed in a fish head and the sharks darted simultaneously toward it. Two stingrays hung back, waiting for the sharks to clear out before gliding in to nibble the leftovers.

Truth be told, getting up close and personal with rays and sharks isn’t typically Bahamian, but perhaps more locals would take conservation seriously if they could experience these amazing creatures up close.

After a few minutes, I was more fascinated by the sharks than scared of them, and by the time we were leaving, I was comfortable enough to wade out into the water to board the boat.

Of the many things I enjoyed about our day with Lincoln, one of the best was sharing it with the foreigners in the group, all of whom seemed to really enjoy the trip. It was terrific to see tourists have the opportunity to experience the real Bahamas, rather than some generic, manufactured facsimile.

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  10 comments for “A Day Trip in Time

  1. July 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    awesome day!!! Not big on fishing … but I do love the ocean and a snorkel or dive would make it perfect!

    Like

    • July 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Yes, it was an amazing, perfect day. We didn’t bring Wrigley, but I hear that for guests who bring dogs, Lincoln is happy to drop them off at the beach early, so they can enjoy beach time while the others fish. May take advantage of that next time, though I fear Wrigley would try to take on the sharks….

      Like

  2. Amy Friedman
    October 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Always a great time. Great food. Love Lincoln.

    Like

  3. Melony Wallace
    February 15, 2018 at 4:01 am

    The phone number listed for Lincoln on Trip Advisor doesn’t seem to work. Any suggestions on how to book a tour with him?

    Like

    • March 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Hi, Melony. Try 242-458-3668. Hope that’s helpful.

      Amanda

      Like

      • Pamela Rea
        June 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm

        Hi Amanda-we atre coming to Abaco Bahamas for first time in 2 weeks and heard about Lincoln already!m We do not have international calling on our phone plan-does Lincoln have an email we could contact him by to set up an outing with him possibly? Can he take us to any of the surrounding Cays as well? Do you know his fees?

        Thank you,
        Pamela Rea
        pdrea1962@gmail.com

        Like

      • July 2, 2018 at 7:05 am

        Hi, Pamela. Unfortunately, I don’t believe Lincoln does have an email address. Best way to contact him is by telephone. It’s been a few years since we’ve been out with him, so I’m not sure what his current rates are. If you ask your rental agent or resort, I’m sure they’d be happy to set up an outing with him for you.

        Like

  4. Rebecca
    April 29, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    We’ve been going fishing with Lincoln and Marcus for 10 years now…
    some of our favorite memories are made on those trips.
    Last year Marcus took us by to visit the swimming pigs on our way back inland. Oh what a moment in time for me. I’ve been wanting to go there for years!
    Everyone we’ve taken on one of Lincoln’s fishing adventures remains a highlight in their lives.

    Like

    • May 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Hi, Rebecca. Thanks for your note. I agree – a trip with Lincoln or Marcus is always a highlight!

      Amanda

      Like

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