Friday, July 30, 2010

Never before seen footage

Lunch at Nippers... $55.00
Rum Punch ... $ 7.50 each
Result... Priceless

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Man-O-War Cay

Low Place

Not a comment on my mental state... not at all ;)
The place where we stayed when we were on Man-O-War was called the Low Place. Mama Wendy said that during the Spring Tides the ocean can totally wash over the 'road'. That would be wonderful to see.

The seas calmed and the stars came out

On our snorkeling expeditions, as we'd dingy to the reef, you'd see green patches here and there in the sand beneath the boat. It wasn't until the seas were totally calm that I realized that these patches were really starfish. AWESOME!! Even around our boat were a scattering of them. Doug found one portly starfish by our boat, it was huge.

Walk into Man-O-War

We took the dingy to the beach at the Low Place and walked into Man-O-War. It was a wonderful walk, and we got to see some wonderful things we would not have been able to enjoy if we had taken the dingy. The path varied between worn down lava, sand and concrete. The vehicle of choice? Golf cart.

Afternoon in Man-O-War

While we were waiting for the motor to be repaired we had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy ice cream cones, cinnamon rolls and an afternoon at the pool. I worked off all the treats by doing laps in the pool. They were 'Bahama' laps of course. You float on your back until you bump into the wall, push gently off with a foot or hand and repeat.

I threw part of the cinnamon roll to a bird that was acting as if it would like a nibble. One of the curly tailed lizards raced down the tree across the grass and grabbed it quick as a lick. It was awesome.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Man-O-War Cay and Great Guana Cay

This (the picture above) is our latest anchorage as of today, Wednesday July 28. It’s on the island of Great Guana Cay. I took this photo about an hour ago from the beach-front restaurant where Judie and I had dinner tonight. We left our previous anchorage this morning and moved over to this new island this afternoon.

One really cool thing we discovered upon arrival is that this place has wireless internet that’s strong enough to reach all the way out to where we’re anchored. As I type this I’m sitting on the boat, relatively far from land, and yet I can get access to the internet via wireless connection. I've marked in the photo which boat is ours so that you can see how far from shore the boat is anchored. (We couldn’t get any closer because the water is too shallow closer in.) And yet we can get a wireless internet connection from here. Amazing.

Yesterday we had an adventure worth describing to you. We found out that it's best not to put too much trust in the dingy, or at least not its outboard motor. What happened was that we used the dingy to travel several miles away from where we had our big boat (Life) anchored. We went to a spot where the snorkeling was absolutely phenomenal but it’s a place where you can’t take a big boat like the Life. There are too many reefs and corals just barely under the surface of the water and not enough room to safely maneuver a big boat. So we went there by using our dingy even though it was a far distance from where Life was anchored.

After we'd enjoyed several hours of truly incredible snorkeling (the best I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world), we started up the little outboard engine on the dingy, headed back, and all of the sudden the engine dies. Completely dead. Nothing will restart it. It wasn’t out of gas, because we’d brought extra and had refilled it before starting the return trip. So there we were, miles away from our boat and to get back we had to cross a large gap between two islands where there's a strong current that could carry us out to sea if we couldn't move fast enough. And without our outboard engine we couldn't move fast enough. We had oars so we could theoretically row back to the boat, but we wouldn’t be able to cross that one dangerous spot fast enough to avoid being carried out to sea by the current.

Luckily we had thought to bring a handheld radio with us just in case of this type of emergency and so we were able to call for assistance. A very kind lady named “Mama Wendy” had her marine radio on even though she lives on land. (Apparently lots of people here use the marine band radios to communicate even if they aren’t boaters.) Mama Wendy called one of her relatives who has a boat. They came and got us and pulled our dingy back to a dock near her house. Her husband is a mechanic and he took our outboard engine apart, found the problem and fixed it.

It was a little dicey there for a while, but in the end everything turned out well and we made friends with some very nice people here.

All of that happened while we were anchored at the island where we’ve been for the past three days but we were incommunicado because of no internet access. That island is called Man-O-War Cay. While we were there we did lots of snorkeling, including two trips (on two separate days) to the place I described above. That place is such an incredible snorkeling location that it’s been designated as a Bahamas National Underwater Preserve. (It’s called the “Fowl Cay Preserve”.) The government monitors it closely to make sure that nobody takes any fish, corral, or disturbs things in any way. In fact, a ranger drove up to us in his boat one time and checked us over to make sure that we hadn’t broken the rules while we were there. The first time we went there we got back without incident. It was the second time there that we had our little adventure that I told you about above.

While we were at Man-O-War Cay we also had some very nice meals. Here’s a picture of me grilling some hamburgers and brats on the grill attached to the back of our boat. They sure tasted wonderful after a long hard day of snorkeling and exploring.

We also explored and swam at some very pretty beaches. Here’s a picture of one of them.

So now we’re at yet another island. We didn’t really do any exploring today… just went ashore and had dinner at the restaurant where I took the first picture shown above. Tomorrow we’ll do more exploring of this new island.

Well that’s enough chatter for one blog post.

Talk to ya later,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time to Move On

It's been a fun week here in Marsh Harbor. We've eaten some great food, listened to some great music, Judie's back has done some great rehabilitation and I did some great scuba diving. But now we're ready to move on. The plan is for us to cast off tomorrow (Sunday) morning. It might be a while before you hear from us again here on the blog. Or it might not... I've purchased a temporary subscription to an internet provider here who claims to have wireless service at many of the popular anchorages in the "outer islands". We'll see if their claim is good or not.

We're not going to go far. We'll probably just sail a few miles over to a cay near here called Man-O-War Cay. There's a place off the north side of that cay that's famous for underwater scenery. In fact, it's so nice that it's been declared a national preserve. So our plan is to anchor there for a while... we don't know how long. Part of the joy of the sailing lifestyle is not making firm plans. We'll just see how we feel each morning. One day we'll look at each other and say, let's go somewhere else.

Oh... regarding the concert that we attended yesterday. There were a couple of details that Judie didn't mention that I thought were worth telling you all about. The musician we listened to is an island dweller who is supposedly famous outside of the islands as well as locally. He's called "The Barefoot Man". He did some very humorous songs, one of which he wrote just in the past week. It was a song about the "Barefoot Bandit". I assume you've all heard about HIM in the news. He stole several planes in the US and crash landed the last one right here in Marsh Harbor. Then he stole a boat here and took it to another island not too far from here. That's where the Bahamian police finally caught up with him, shooting out his boat's engines and very nearly shooting him too.

Anyway... the Barefoot Man did a song about all that. Part of the lyrics went something like this...
"He stole a boat, he stole a plane, but worst of all he stole my name."
"Why can't we catch him? Well somebody might, if BEC would ever turn on the lights."

That last reference would go over the heads of anybody who's not local, but if you are from here you'll really appreciate it. BEC is the local power company and they are really really bad at their job. There is a power outage every single day... I kid you not... and some days the power goes out two or even three times. At first I thought they were just doing rolling blackouts on purpose because they didn't have enough capacity when everybody ran their air conditioners during the heat of the day. That would have been understandable. However, that theory got shot down when the power outages happened at night as well as during the day. So we'll have to just chalk it up to a crappy power company. The people who came here from other places are outraged at BEC's incompetence. The local people just shrug.

The concert was very fun. Good music. Lots of bikini-clad girls dancing. Lots of old men and old women trying to dance... not succeeding, but that was OK because nobody cared. Lots of shirtless young guys standing on the sidelines ogling the girls who were dancing. Why the young guys didn't dance was a mystery. They just stood there and watched the girls.

There were lots of people drunk out of their minds. The guy that Judie mentioned falling off the pier afterward the concert let out... The reason he fell off was because he was so drunk. His friends had left him to wait for the ferry all alone while they went shopping. Some friends. He couldn't even stand up on his own. It's no wonder that he fell off the pier. The water was very shallow where he fell. There were rocks right under the surface. He had cuts all over him, including one bad one on his head that was bleeding pretty good. Luckily for him there were some non-drunk people nearby who fished him out of the water. Otherwise he could have easily died.

And people ask me why I've never been drunk. Over the years I've seen waaaay too many drunks do things like this guy did. I could tell LOTS of stories about the drunks I dealt with while on business trips in Asia where the local sales rep and I took customers our for dinner and drinks in order to "establish relationships" with them. (Taking customers out to eat and drink is a very important part of the sales cycle over there.) Man have I ever seen a lot of drunks, and seeing what people do when they're drunk leaves me with no desire whatsoever to get drunk.

So anyway... back to our sailing plans. Tomorrow Judie and I will cast off the dock lines and leave what's been our home for the past week. It's been a nice place here, but it's time to move on.

Talk to you all later.

I'm back...

Pun intended. My back is feeling so much better I can sit at the computer for more than three nano seconds.


Doug and I ate at Jamie's Place. The restaurant had a 'family' feel to it.
Tropical Salad sounded good but one of the ingredients was crushed nuts and I was concerned as to the kind of nut. So as we were ordering Doug inquired, "What kind of nuts are one the salad?"
Her reply, "CRUSHED NUTS!!"
Like Duh!!
We had salad without the nuts.

And a good time was had by all...

Yesterday my back was feeling 'better' and we decided to put it to the ultimate test. Give it a good work out and if I could walk on Saturday, then maybe we could untether ourselves from this dock and go do a bit more sailing.

We took the ferry over to Big Guana Cay and saw a concert by the Barefoot Man at Nippers. It was very fun. The music had the 'island-ish / Jimmy Buffet kind of feel and he loved to make fun of the BEC (Bahama Electric Company) because you KNOW that there will be a power outrage at least once a day if not multiple times and it can last for hours and hours and hours.

Watching all the girls dance was great.... did I mention that Nippers is a bar that also has two pools. All these drunk bikini clad gals are out dancing together or dancing with the old guys. The young guys seemed content to just watch from afar. (Admire from afar? ;)

This one ANCIENT couple was out dancing. Now grandma still had some moves in her, but grandpa, well, he was doing good to just stand on his feet. He'd lumber out onto the dance floor and grandma would use him as a prop as she'd dance around. He had a huge smile on his face, I'm assuming he was having fun. Another old dude, that looked like Don Rickles had a gaggle of gal that kept him on the dance floor for most of the afternoon.

After the 'concert' we headed back to the ferry. We were waiting for it to take off when down at the end of the pier one of the 'concert' goers walked off the dock and fell into the water. Kersplash. Luckily someone was near and help to fish him out of the water. He had only a few bloody scrapes and bruises. The guy that helped him on to the ferry gave him the advice of 3 gallons of water and 10 apples. Sounds like helper guy has taken a dive or two off the pier himself perhaps?

OOPS... boy is my face red
Well, it seems that rice and peas IS rice and peas. Not navy or kidney beans. PEAS

We were trying to figure out what to have for dinner and we pulled out a can that the previous owner had left on the boat of Pigeon Peas and by golly if they weren't the "bean"... ahaha who'd a guessed.

Here is a recipe for anyone who is adventurous enough to give 'em a go.

Printed from COOKS.COM

1/4 c. bacon, diced
1 sm. onion
1 green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery
1 (8 oz.) can Pigeon peas
4 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. rice
2 c. water

Cook bacon until crisp. Add onion, pepper, and celery and cook until the mixture is pulpy. Add tomato paste and cook until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated.

Add the drained Pigeon peas, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the rice and add water to cover. Cover the pot and allow mixture to simmer until all liquid had evaporated.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rest, Recuperation, Repair and Resupply

Hi everyone,

For the past several days we've stayed tied up to a marina in Marsh Harbor so that we could rest, recuperate, repair and resupply. We've hit several of the local restaurants, done some exploring around the town, and in general just relaxed.

A couple of days ago I joined up with a scuba trip that was run by a local dive shop while Judie stayed "home" and gave her back a rest. The dive trip was incredible. We went out to a large reef that has a network of caves running through it. Part of the cave was filled with hundreds of thousands of tiny silver fish. They were illuminated by an opening in the cave up above and it looked like there was a spot light on all the fish. It was an incredible sight.

Judie and I are planning to stay here at the marina for the rest of this week. The weather report shows a tropical storm forming north of Haiti that will head this way and give us some rough weather later in the week. Therefore we'll stay tied up at the dock until that passes. Don't worry if you see something in the news about a tropical storm hitting the Bahamas. We'll be fine here in this safe and pleasant marina at Marsh Harbor.

Bye for now,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Great Harbor Cay

At Great Harbor Cay we rented a jeep. Ahahaha I guess if navey beans can be call peas, then a Geo can be called a jeep.

The guy that rented us the 'jeep' told us to keep it on the hard road and with good reason. The last person that took one of them off road got stuck. The guy was not telling tales out of school, there at the beach was a car stuck in the sand. They had to bring in a HUGE machine that could almost stretch out and reach the car. They tied ropes to it and eventually were able to drag it out of the sand.

The sand really did seem like sugar, it was white and so very fine. Doug swam out enjoying the cool ocean water while I explored the area.

There were tide pools that were fun to watch. Near one of the pools I met this wrinkly black crab. I'd never seen anything like it before so I tried to take his photo. He was just a little camera shy.

In the tide pool was one large-ish fish. He seemed to have it down to a fine art. The ocean would wash over the rocks and he'd hide in a crevasse. When the water would recede he would dart out and enjoy a wonderful lunch of the tiny fish that had washed in.
"Come on in for a bite boys."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Catching up

Devils Cay

We had a nice little sail from Goat Cay to Devils Cay. Squeezed our way into an anchorage (well, it looked like it to me) but Captain D. with chart in one hand and the 'talkie' in the other got us in and anchored.

He had to dive on the anchor to make sure it was set properly and before long we were both enjoying the water. Doug swam over to check out a neighboring cay and by the time he got back a storm was hinting at the fact it might join us. It began talking. It grumbled and rumbled but there was no lightning to be seen. Next thing we know out of the clear blue sky, literally, directly above our heads we had a flash of light and a crack of thunder.
When I realized that we were both alive and neither one 'sizzled', then I decided it was freaking awesome!!

Soon the rains descended and Doug was out swabbing the decks. I was not able to get a picture of that, but I did get a picture of the rainbow.

The snorkeling at Devils Cay was wonderful. My favorite part was when Doug said, "Let's go to the edge of the reef where the big fish are." Sounded good to me. Suddenly he's tugging on me acting agitated. I can't figure out what it is I'm supposed to be looking at. Doug goes up topside and says, "Swim back the way we came."

I comply. His need to get out of the area was so urgent I assumed that we'd stumbled over a crop of coral that we were in risk of killing...warn't no coral!! It was a six foot shark. Yea Doug, let's go out where the BIG fish are. ;)))

Doug also told you about Barry, the barracuda that fell in love with our dingy. Doug said he was looking for shade, but even in the cool of the evening he was love, I'm certain of it.

I went to the Doctor
ahahaha anyone who knows me won't believe this one. However, it is true.
From time to time my back likes to give me fits and starts. It had been a while and my back decided it was time once again to prove who was the boss. Generally, a day in the fetal position and then an icy/hot pad or two is sufficient to make things better. Not this time.

I blame it on the boat. The constant rocking and never being able to find one spot and stay there, I was constantly shifting for balance and it was not pretty. When we made it to Marsh Harbour poor Doug had to bring the boat in by himself. It was not pretty, but he got the job done.

The doctor said it was 'muscle spasms'. I could have told you that Doc!! ahaha he did give me some drugs and it seems to be helping. I slept for about 20 hours yesterday and am feeling well enough to sit here and type. That's a biggie.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back to Civilization... (although where we've been was certainly "civilized")

We're back... after a week of no internet access. Feels like a month. We've been a lot of places and done a lot of things. Where to start?... Hmmm. How 'bout starting with a photo?

This is just one of the many beautiful beaches we've visited in the last week. That's me you see carrying my snorkel gear from the dingy to a shady spot we found under a couple of palm trees. This beach was so beautiful. It was just like a postcard. However, the snorkeling there wasn't nearly as good as other beaches nearby. But to be honest, I didn't really check it out as thoroughly here as I did at other beaches because...

Do you see the dark streak in the water in front of me there? That's a barracuda. Here's another photo of the same creature... or maybe it was one of his friends. We left the dingy tied up behind the sail boat, and when we looked out there several different times, this is what we saw.

Apparently the place we were anchored at was barracuda heaven. The barracuda that you see lounging in the shade of our dingy stayed there almost the entire time that we were anchored there. I estimate his length at about five feet. He stayed there for hours... just relaxing in the shade. And then when we took the dingy over to the beach, there was another one waiting in the water for me. They did eventually go away and so we did eventually get to do some swimming and snorkeling, but that one under the dingy came back when we returned from the beach. He really liked the shade from the dingy. He was there for at least part of the day on each of the three days that we were anchored at that spot.

Oh... and remember from a previous blog entry how the cruise ship company wouldn't let us go ashore to get some ice cream on what turned out to be their private island? Here's a picture we took after we stopped at another island... one that was much more hospitable... and then we sailed past the cruise ship island again on our way to yet another island.

The caption for this photo should read...
- Travel time to and from another island (one that will sell you ice cream): Six hours
- Cost of overnight slip (at the marina on that island): $80
- Cost of a pint of HagenDas ice cream: $8.50
- Thumbing your nose at the stingy cruise ship company: Priceless

So... what else is there to describe? Let's see.... We found several places that were a snorkeler's paradise. Man oh man do I ever wish I had an underwater camera. We saw corral "forests" filled with all different types of corrals and crowded with beautifully colored tropical fish. We say manta rays. Oh... and at one place we were at I decided to swim to the edge of the reef... where the water dropped off to deep... and when I got there I saw a very large shark swim by. He wasn't interested in me and Judie, but we decided it would be best to return to the shore anyway.

All in all it's been a terrific week (since the last time we posted on this blog). Hopefully there will be many more to follow.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

LuCaya and the Goat Cay


We went into LuCaya on July 4th. I know this because I saw posters for a firework show. They had decorated the bandstand with flags and everything.

It was a fun little place to visit. So many booths selling so many things. Everyone calls you Honey and invites you in to see what good, fine things they have to sell. We looked but did not buy. Doug was on a quest for ice cream. It was Sunday and a lot of the stores were closed. No ice cream for Doug. We did have a wonderful fruity drink that was mostly crushed ice. It was very good.

We had dinner and the waitress said, "I'll be with you in a Bahamian minute." That means she'll help us when she damn well pleases and it may not please her for a while.

When we pulled into port we just figured we'd window shop, have a little something to eat and leave again. We told them we'd be a few hours and so they didn't charge for the slip. When we discovered there was going to be a firework show and live entertainment, we thought we'd stay for the show. We went back to the boat to rest for a bit when we discovered something very important. Bahamian time doesn't apply to harbor masters. He was very much on 'real' time. We'd used up our few hours and it was time for us to be leaving. Okee doe ... we left.

Berry Islands
Goat Cay

Doug told you about the cruise ships and the 'clowns'. (The sea-doo's that parade about our boat.) They are amazing. Everyone follows the lead sea-doo like a flock of baby quail. Occasionally an adventurous fledgling breaks out of the wake, but not very often.

Doug and I went out in the dingy for an adventure and perhaps ice cream. On the way we discovered a wonderful little beach, a couple of GINORMOUS star fish, and really shallow water. We eventually made our way over to the cruise ship island. Thousands of people were sprawled out on the beach looking and sounding much like the nesting grounds for sea gulls.

There was no ladder but we managed to shimmy our butts onto the dock, tip toeing from the dingy seat. Doug was just tying up the dingy when an officious, sun glass wearing lady swaggered up to us. The swagger suggested she meant business.
She did.

It seems to me she could have come down while we were still in the dingy. Maybe she underestimated our ability to clamber onto the peer and thought that her inhospitable dock would do the job for her. Whatever her reasoning, it didn't work and here she was letting us know that we could not stay.

"These people pay lots of money for the cruise and so we can't just let any old body on the shore," she said.
Really? Really! Not even this old body? I put on a bra AND a clean shirt... come one let this old body on the shore, pretty please?

She inquired as to our lodgings and we told her we were on a sail boat by Goat Cay. Doug told her that HER sea-dooers had been circling our boat and we thought we'd return the favor. ahahaha I loved it, she did not seem impressed.

We inquired about ice cream, hoping to melt her officious heart.
She said, no ice cream, but went on to describe a delicious sounding crushed ice and fruit something that would have hit the spot. "But they won't sell it to you without an arm band."
Then why describe it to us????

Seems the island used to be open to all. However, the riff-raff that came...well,they just had to put a stop to all that. So Riff and myself, Raff clamored back into the dingy (no small feat) and left. On our way back we cut across the wake of the 'clowns'. Hope it threw the remaining clowns into total confusion. If you hear of a couple of sea-dooers lost in the Berry Island vicinity... don't mention this blog. ;)))

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another day, another beautiful location

Hi everyone.

You probably noticed that I've changed the photo at the top of the blog. This new one was taken at the anchorage where Judie and I spent the last two nights. The little island in the background is called Goat Cay. It's one of the "Berry Islands". (In case you don't already know, down here a small island is called a "cay"... which is pronounced "key". I don't know where they draw the line for when an island is big enough to be called an "island" instead of just a "cay".)

Right now we're at a marina in another one of the Berry Islands. This one is called Great Harbor Cay and it's just a short sail from Goat Cay. We decided to come here to get a few supplies, some ice cream, and to get internet access. (Those are not necessarily listed in order of priority.)

Goat Cay was nice, but unfortunately for us the cruise ship companies think that area is nice too. Every day at least one cruise ship pulled into a neighboring cay (about a mile or two away from ours) and disgorged a couple thousand guests. One day there were three cruise ships there at the same time. Most of the cruise ship guests stayed over on that neighboring cay and we never saw or heard them but some of those guests would rent jet skis and come over to our cay to play. Luckily the jet skiers didn't ever stay long. Cruise ship customers can never stay long in one place. They do one thing, then rush off to do another, then rush back to the ship because by then it's time to leave for another location where they'll rush through some more activities. That's not my idea of a vacation.

Judie and I spent two and a half very relaxing days there at Goat Cay. We did some swimming/snorkeling off the back of the boat, got in our dingy and did some exploring, found a beautiful little secluded beach, did some more swimming, and just relaxed. The water was crystal clear... exactly what the Bahamas are famous for.

One day we got in the dingy and went over to the cay where all the cruise ships took their customers. I thought maybe we'd find a little store where we could buy some ice cream or something. However when we arrived we were met at the dock by someone who politely but firmly told us we couldn't come ashore. Apparently the cruise ship company owns the entire cay and people who aren't their customers aren't even allowed to set foot there. I thought the island was inhabited by local people who would gladly sell their ice cream to anyone, but no, that wasn't the case. Oh well.

So... that's the latest on Life in the Bahamas.
Until next time... whenever that might be...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunrise Marina

We prolonged out stay at the Sunrise marina one more day.
Our boat sprang a leak. Not a good thing in a boat.

Our beloved AC was causing grief, not pumping water where it should and instead pumping it into the Master Cabin.

We stayed the extra day because the guys at the boatyard were going to come take a look at it. The Bahamians apparently have no sense of urgency at all. Totally laid back, it will happen when it happens kind of feeling. Apparently the guys at the boatyard were not "feeling" it yesterday and closed up shop. Didn't stop by to even say they couldn't do it. Maybe they thought we meant next Saturday.

Doug seems to have fixed the problem. **crosses fingers**
"Don't need no stinking boatyard dudes!!"

I too encountered the Bahamian sense of 'eh' yesterday.
I thought that before we headed out to the Berry Islands that we should begin with some clean clothes so I took our laundry to the marina, paid for the wash and dry at the front desk. Meandered back, put the clothes in the washer, added the detergent and waited for someone to come turn the machine on for me. After a while the gal from the front desk appeared and announced that the washer was broken.

Really. Really?
Not an out of order sign to be found on the island I take it. Couldn't even make one up? Eh. I smiled, took my money back, gathered up my clothes and walked into town, Doug and I had seen a laundromat the night before when we were exploring. Laundry is done.

On my way to the laundry I noticed that the same LARGE dude was still standing at the bus stop. Now, I would not have thought much of this had he been standing on the OTHER side of the street, as it had been evening when I last saw him. He was on the same side of the street. Odd, that. Then a vehicle came to a stop and the tinted window rolled down just far enough for a hand with a bill in it to be exposed. I discreetly looked away. Whatever LARGE dude does with his time is no concern of mine.

They have a car wash in town and he was busy working again yesterday morning. He sets himself up beside the Variety Store, near the bus stop and proceeds to wash and detail cars.
I get it now. That's what LARGE dude was doing... on the front of his Tee it says "Car Wash $20.00" He's the walking billboard. Yes... a walking billboard. Must work well too, the car wash dude is always busy.

The night before when Doug and I were exploring we ate at a little restaurant. I had conch with plantain and rice with peas. (peas = kidney beans) Doug had the BBQ Chicken, mixed veggies and coleslaw. It was very delicious.

On our adventure we heard a little critter rustling through the brush. (Little my aunt fannie) It was a large lizard, at least large in comparison to the lizards in Florida. Its tail at the base was very broad and the rest curled up tight. Once it had gotten itself safely away from our loud, tromping feet, it stopped and gave us the stink eye for having disturbed it.

Birds are everywhere and sing constantly. They have black faced gulls with white around their eyes. I've yet to determine if it is a look of innocence or intimidation. Their cry almost sounds like laughter... having seen me trying to get on and off the boat at this marina, their laughter is warranted.

The fish in the marina I have yet to see, but they feed like the carp at LaGoon. There is a major disturbance in the water, it roils for a bit and then all settles back as if they'd never been there. Doug said he saw the fish throwing themselves against the concrete wall. Suicidal fish? We have a hook that could remedy the situation for them.... just say'n.

Returning from the shower I found myself held captive by a ginormous crab. The kind they keep as pets in restaurants. The kind that sparked the notion of every outer space monster born in Hollywood. It's slow procession took it from from the main office tile towards the shower room door, while I just stood there and watched it. "Take a left, take a left," I pleaded. It did and I escaped.

Later today we are going to head down to another marina for the afternoon. We'll spend the afternoon exploring a market place that they advertise, have dinner and then make the crossing to the Berry Islands tonight. That's at least the plan right now.
Every thing changes when you are on a sail boat.
= )

Friday, July 2, 2010

Same event. Different point of view...

By now you've read Doug's version of the crossing.
It is very Tavelogish and a wonderful read...

This is my version of the crossing...
Yes!! We were on the same boat.

Day One
I got sick

Left Port St Lucie for the big bad ocean. Doug gave me sea sick pills, just in case...
The sea sick pills made me sick. I was MISERABLE.
To make matters worse when I wasn't on watch, I was encouraged to sleep.
HOWEVER, because of the winds we had to tack every short bit and no sooner did I fall asleep, but Doug woke me up. No worries, I got my revenge when I WAS on watch and Doug was SUPPOSED to be resting.

Day Two
I got peanut butter ... and more peanut butter

We start across the big bad ocean. I have first watch and wobble the boat about like a drunken sailor.
Our GPS has a 'bread crumb' trail that shows where you've been... so there was no denying that I was wobbling about. I blame it on the winds being light and trying to sail as close to the winds a possible.
Did not get a DUI. What would they do, flash their lights and ask me to pull to the side of the ocean?

Wasn't hungry and so had only two crackers with peanut butter. Thought that I would eat before my next watch at midnight. However, Doug was so enthralled with his stars... (and thoughtful of me) that he let me sleep through a watch and woke me up at 4:00 instead.
Now, I have to tell you that getting out of bed on creaky complaining joints is bad enough.
Doing it when the boat is dancing about the ocean is a whole new treat.
I was able to make some coffee and had peanut butter and crackers for breakfast.
(Doug is all masterful and can make himself soup and top ramen. I am happy that I am able to manage to get the peanut butter on the crackers. ;)

Day Three
I got shower

We pulled into West End and as Doug said there was no anchoring, no matter how hard he tried and let me tell you he tried. The poor man was tired. He only wanted to anchor the boat long enough to eat lunch and get some rest as
he'd only gotten a couple of hours sleep. While we were waiting to see if the anchor would hold it began to rain. At first I was a bit annoyed as the bimini was pulled back to allow for maximum star viewing. Sure, I love rain, but I love it when I CHOOSE to love it. I was not thrilled at getting soaked and nothing to be done for it....
However, I soon realized what an idiot I was being. We are in day three and NO FREAKING SHOWER... oh, sure I could have had one on the boat, but to what purpose when within minutes I'd be sweat and salt spay covered again. Here I had perfectly good fresh water offering to rinse me off and I was whining? ahahaha

When we ascertained that the anchorage blew we were off again. Doug crawled down below to sleep, and for lunch I had peanut butter and crackers while I dodged every freaking boat in the Bahamas. It was as if they came out to test my skills.

When we finally docked at the marina (after 26 hours of traveling) we made a WONDERFUL dinner and I can assure you that peanut butter was NOT one of the ingredients.
= )

We're in the Bahamas finally!

Those of you on our SPOT satellite e-mail distribution list should now know that we arrived in the Bahamas yesterday (Thursday) morning. We sailed from Port Saint Lucie to Palm Beach as planned, and spent a night at anchor there. However, we then decided to do the crossing to the Bahamas differently that what we told you we'd do.

The wind direction was exactly wrong for sailing from where we were to where we wanted to be. The wind was coming right straight from the direction we wanted to go and the weather forecast said that things wouldn't change any time soon. So we knew it would take longer to make the crossing than we'd originally hoped. Therefore we decided to do it as a night-time crossing so that even with the extra time required we'd still arrive during the daytime. We rested up at Palm Beach during the day, and then in the late afternoon pulled up the anchor and left.

We sailed through the night... which is something I absolutely love doing. Sailing under a starry sky is an incredible joy for me. Since Judie is an early sleeper while I'm a late sleeper I took the helm during the first part of the night while she slept. Then during the second part of the night she took the helm while I slept. It worked out very conveniently for both of us.

I removed the bimini (the canvas cover over the cockpit that shades us from the sun during the day), because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see the stars while seated at the helmsman's position. It was worth doing. The stars were absolutely glorious. The Milky Way was clearly visible, and even the various branches of it could easily be seen. There were more stars in the sky than most people ever see. Even a couple of falling stars. On the horizon there were lots of clouds and even some very impressive thunderstorms, but they stayed away for the most part. Occasionally some clouds would pass overhead blocking my incredible view of the stars, but not too often. Only one squall hit us during the crossing (bringing rain and stronger winds) but it passed quickly.

The moon came up soon before I turned the helm over to Judie. It was quite bright and completely spoiled the view of the starry sky. So Judie completely missed seeing the Milky Way in all its glory and she could only see a very tiny fraction of the stars that I saw. But she didn't mind. The moon reflected on the ocean's surface is a very impressive sight too.

We arrived at the western-most part of Grand Bahama Island in the morning. That's the location where I activated the SPOT system to tell you we had arrived. I'd hoped to spend the night there, but we quickly discovered that the sea bottom there isn't good for anchoring. It was so hard that the anchor couldn't bite in to where it would hold us reliably. So after several failed attempts to anchor at several locations on the western tip of the island we finally decided to move to another part of the island for the night. In fact, since we were tired from the overnight journey we decided to splurge and stay at a marina rather than anchoring. (That way we could have internet access to tell all of you what's up... except that we've since discovered that although the marina does have a wireless router which we can always connect to, their server can't actually connect to the internet 90% of the time. Apparently they share an internet connection with a whole lot of other people. Oh well... if we're patient and keep trying then eventually we can get online for a few minutes.)

We're now in a place called Sunrise Marina, near the town of Lucaya on the southern part of Grand Bahama Island. We'll stay here for a couple of nights before moving on to somewhere else. I chose this marina because it's right next to one of the boat yards that I had called by phone before leaving Utah to see if they could store out boat for a while when we return to Utah in August. I liked what the manager told me over the phone but I wanted to check it out in person before deciding where to leave the boat. (FYI, I liked what I saw today at this boat yard and so although I'll be checking out a few other alternatives before making the final decision, if I had to go with this boat yard, I'd be OK with it.)

"Where will you and Judie sail to next?", you ask. Ah... that's the beauty of being on a sail boat. We'll just see which way the wind is blowing and let that decide where we go next.

Talk to ya later.

p.s. Here are a couple of photos

First, this is the marina we're in now and that's the boat yard in the background.

And then this is the spot near Palm Beach where we anchored for a night after we left Port Saint Lucie and before we took off for the Bahamas.

In case you're wondering why I'm only sending pictures of the boat rather than pictures of us... it's that neither one of us feels particularly photogenic. You might not see many (or even any) photos of us on this blog. Or then maybe you might... we'll just have to wait and see.

Bye for now,