The Devil’s Backbone

Getting from Harbour Island to Spanish Wells, by sea, involves crossing a network of dangerously sharp coral heads and ragged reefs known as The Devil’s Backbone. Larger yachts and boats arriving for the first time into Harbour Island hire a ‘pilot’ from Spanish Wells. A teeny tiny tug boat, captained by a weathered old salty sea dog, who ties his tug to the back of the mega yaught or tanker and steers them in through safe passage.

However, since around 1648 and despite salty old sea dogs, the Devil’s Backbone has been responsible for countless ship wrecks, and accidents, claiming booty, treasure and…. Amory’s tooth.

We arrived safely in Spanish Wells, on my small boat, Spiderlily, in search of fireworks, fish and immunizations. Your standard shopping list.

Immunizations went well. Fireworks were found. But the fish were problematic. They needed a tank and oxygen and an air pump and something in a bottle that reduced stress. (Fish were stressed?) Anyway they didn’t just come in a small plastic bag. Domino started to sob. Thank God one of her brothers spotted a collection of really alarming, pink plastic hair clips. We were in the marine store, on Spanish Wells, of course they had pink hair clips.

On our way home a big swell began. The boat trampolined up and down. My boys in the bow, holding on tightly, leapt in time with the waves, throwing their heads back with laughter, kicking out their legs. Up and down we went. The boys leapt higher. The boat surged down and then up….just as Amory’s face went down. Crack went the tooth, as he made unexpected contact with the deck. Out popped the tooth, flying from the boat, deep down into the Devil’s back bone, joining other treasure and booty and goodies, from bygone years.

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