1 Waking up at Shelby's house affords one with this beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean.
2 Down the beach is a great restaurant called Tippy's, where we went for a late lunch one day. These are two refreshing island beers.
3 The conch fritters were the very best I had on the island. Do not tell Shelby's cook I said so! Elaine's are also very good, but these were lighter and fluffier.
4 Tippy's pizzas had thick crusts, but they were tender and very delicious, with toppings of anchovy, olives, capers, and white cheese.
5 The grouper, served fresh (the season had just opened again that day) was lightly battered and fried. It was very clean and delicious, served on fresh arugula from the Island Garden.
6 Another pizza with white cheese, tomato, and sauteed peppers - some sweet, some hot
7 The palapa, an open-sided dwelling with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves is, island made, of course.
8 Despite grey, cold weather and high winds, we had a delightful time.
9 The dessert I ordered was proclaimed the "best" key lime custard, garnished with caramel and chocolate.
10 We went to visit the Island Farm garden, owned by Annie and Clyde Bethel in Palmetto Point. These coconut trees were laden with fruits. I tried to drink fresh coconut water each day.
11 Island Farm is very prolific and vegetables grow with vigor and great taste. These cherry tomatoes are evidence.
12 The farm also sells native and tropical plants for resident gardens, all very well grown.
13 There is bed after bed filled with edibles and flowers.
14 Without irrigation, and with very little watering, Island Farm manages to grow a lot of produce. Rain water is collected in giant concrete cisterns all over the island, providing water to households and to gardens, as well.
15 Strong and vigorous, Clyde tries to grow as much variety and unique types of vegetables as possible. He is very interested in providing the locals with fresh food.
16 A bed of arugula ready to harvest - Local restaurants buy their fresh greens from the farm, one of several on the 110-mile-long island.
17 Pepper plants were just starting to produce in the rich composted soil.
18 Watering hoses help seedlings get established in this organic garden.
19 Banana peppers are popular in local cuisine and the farm grows many of them.
20 One of the farmers planting tomatoes - three plants together, no supports, and little water - but they grow! Clyde attributes much of the farm’s success to the excellent people who work there.
21 There was a tremendous crop of cherry tomatoes ready to harvest.
22 More sweet tomatoes
23 Another farmer transplanting lettuce from seedlings - Lettuce needs cool temperatures and grows well at the farm in autumn, winter, and early spring.
24 Local fisherman bring their daily catch to piers everywhere along the coast. This man's catch consisted of grouper and lobster.
25 The groupers were large and plump. Each one was priced at $25-$35 each! The lobsters were $25 each!
26 One man bought four groupers for a dinner party.
27 The spiny lobsters made my mouth water.
28 One night we ate at the local Fish Fry in Governors Harbour, Shelby's town.
29 There was grilled pork.
30 There was fried pink snapper.
31 There were all kinds of salads - potato, slaw, macaroni, etc.
32 There was also a booth serving up conch salad. The secret ingredient? An orange Tang-like drink!
33 The conch were extricated from their shells right before each salad was composed.
34 Tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime, celery, orange and "Tang"
35 Mark Daniels, Levy Preserve Manager, gave the salad a big thumbs up!
36 Memrie Lewis dressed up every night. She is standing with one of Shelby's guests, Eric Carey, Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust.
37 Shelby, in pink, with Brenda Lee Petty and her daughter. Brenda, a gospel singer, wrote the "anthem" for the Levy Preserve.
38 Eric, Shelby, me, Mark, and Dr. Ethan Freid, botanist and adviser to the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
39 The pink snappers were marinated and then fried quickly over a wood fire. They were delicious!
40 The chicken was carefully and slowly cooked over wood.
41 The cook turned the chicken and did not burn anything. The barbecue sauce was applied at the end of cooking.
42 This gentleman was the chicken cook.
43 These are bags of marinating pink snappers for the fry. Dinner was priced very modestly at $16.00 a serving - more than one could eat.
44 The pork chops were huge and very nicely cooked.
45 Eleuthera has The Island School, where many American students come to learn about ecology, boating, scuba diving, and marine biology. This group of friendly, earnest students came from the Berkshire School. We saw them again later in the weekend.
46 Berkshire School, located in Sheffield, Massachusetts, has the motto Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus, "Learning not just for school but for life."
47 This sign, in the palapa, caused many comments.
48 Another competitive conch salad creator was discovered in the small settlement of Tarpum Bay. I made everyone stop for conch salad, which they all devoured.
49 This is Avien Morley, the owner of Coco's. He was eloquent about his salad, and rightly so - It was superb!
50 Piles of conch are harvested in the wild and used by Coco's. Each salad costs $10.00 - A real bargain!
51 This is what the complete animal looks like once extricated from its shell house.
52 There is a bit of waste on each conch and the local potcake dogs, a mixed-breed type, love to eat the trimmings.
53 Check out Coco's knife - It's a worn down, well-used machete.
54 These are perfectly trimmed conch ready to be chopped into the salad.
55 Avien's masterful conch salad at Coco's
56 The gang of us eating that great conch salad
57 We went to Lighthouse Beach, which was the highlight of our trip. It's one of the most pristine and extraordinary beaches in the Bahamas. On one side is the Atlantic and on the other side is Exuma Sound. The Bahamas are not in the Caribbean.
58 The ocean has eroded part of the point and it is now a separate small island at the very tip.
59 The waters from the Sound and the Ocean merge right here.
60 The skies were amazing, although we were freezing in the brisk winds.
61 We met those Berkshire School students on Lighthouse Beach.
62 This beautiful sight is where the Exuma Sound and the Atlantic Ocean meet at Glass Window Bridge. Glass Window Bridge, originally the site of an extraordinary natural arch, destroyed in a hurricane, is one of the most impressive sights on Eleuthera.
63 Simply breath-taking!
64 Glass Window Bridge is another tourist attraction and the topography is extraordinary.
65 These rocks, near Glass Window Bridge, are called the cow and the bull, although no one could tell me which was which.
66 Rob and Memrie posed for me on the cliff looking out at the sea.
67 There are vast fields along the highway where huge dairy farms once thrived, providing the islanders with fresh milk, butter, and cream.
68 This is one of many defunct silos from the former dairy farms.
69 more silos
70 We made another stop at La Fleur Farm going north on Queens Highway, the only main road on the island.
71 This gentleman at La Fleur prepared coconuts for us so we could drink the energizing, nutritious coconut water.
72 Judy Steinhardt enjoyed her coconut with Mark Daniels.
73 Marilyn La Fleur recognized me and wished she had one of my books for me to sign.
74 La Fleur Farm does barbecue ribs at night. Too bad we could only taste the coconuts.
75 Another attraction along the northern route is a mile-long underground cavern, a cave that is geologically fantastic. There are stalactites and stalagmites and lots of bats.
76 Another photo of the cave's interior - Unfortunately no one is protecting this extraordinary site and graffiti and vandals have damaged a lot of the interior.
77 More of the cave, which can be explored on one's own, if you happen to be a spelunker.
78 This silk cotton tree was the most magnificent living thing we saw. It's near Tarpum Bay and it must be a national treasure, although I'm not sure about that.
79 The food Elaine made for us at Shelby's house was delicious. Here are grouper fingers, baked potato, island carrots, and farm salad - so good!
80 Elaine also made us guava duff one night, which is tender white bread dough encasing sweet guava fruit. Wrapped in plastic wrap or cloth, the dough is steamed until puffed and cooked. It's served with a crunchy, sugary, rum butter sauce.