Thursday, March 31, 2011
I am sitting at Frank's Place, a restaurant on a hill about 50 feet above our boat in Hatchet Bay. The town's name is Alicetown, not sure why it is called that but it is a typical Bahamian town with a couple of restaurants, bars, one grocery store, one convenience store and an elementary school.
We had an easy passage to here from Rock Sound on Monday. Our friends, Bill and Kathy on Hale Kai are here in the anchorage. Bill was our group leader when we left Marathon back in February. In fact we now have been in the Bahamas 6 weeeks with 6 more weeks to go on our crusing permit. Plans are to continue to Spanish Wells for a few days(Joy's birthday is TuesdaY, April 5), and then over to the Abacos the middle of next week. Working our way up the Abacos over 4 weeks or so, and back to Florida at the end of April/first part of May.
Yesterday we rented a car and drove over to Governor's Harbor, a town fouunded by British loyalist back in the 1770s. Included are two pictures, one of the library exterior and the other is the children's reading room.
We also visited a beach, note the shoe tree, that was part of a US Naval Missile tracking station. This was abandoned several years ago. Club Med had a resort nearby, but that is also closed. There are many projects in the Bahamas that get started but run out of money and just become abandoned and left as empty shells. It is really too bad, but it is a case of people building with OPM(Other People's Money)
Joy and Kathy left to hitchhike to Surfers Beach this afternoon. The first people to stop were Derek and Sonya,who were on their way to the beach. Derek spent age 6 through 8 here in Eleuthera as his Dad and Mom taught school here. His Dad discovered Surfer's Beach back in the 60s when he was snorkeling and there was no access to the beach from the land as it was through dense "jungle". His Dad cut a path through the jungle and began surfing there as it was a perfect spot. Derek and Sonya have a plaque honoring their dad at the Tiki hut where the surfers gather and had flown in for the week to visit the beach. It is now a very well-known beach.
Here are some pictures taken over the last couple of days.
PS Happy Birthday, Gayle
PPS We are in an area of the Bahamas that has spotty Internet. It also costs about $6/hour to get on, so hopefully when we get to Spanish Wells we will have better service.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Well we sailed over to Cape Eleuthera from Norman's Cay. Normans cay as the home of Carlos Ledher and was his drug import headquarters. Very famous place.Was raided by he DEA,FBI and Coast Guard and closed down. He is in jail at a Federal SuperMax
facility in he US for life.
We have a picture of the famous DC3 which crashed in the inlet.
Due to technical difficulties, there will be no pictures on this blog until we get
to a better Internet site. all the pictures are on the new ACER computer, but the Internet here at Cape Eleuthera is locked onto the Sony computer and I have yet to figure out how to log off the Sony from the one day account we paid for when we got here.
Motored over today. Joy caught a barracuda and traded it on the shore for two conchs to make conch salad for lunch tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are heading to Rocksound Harbor to catch up with some friends. We did get a chance to talk to Alex and Faune who are going in the opposite directions.Perhaps we will catch up with them in the Abacos.
Saturday, March 26
Technical difficulties have been resolved and we now have pictures for this posting.
One is the sunset at Norman's Cay, one is Joy sitting under a palm tree at a tiny little
island at Norman's Cay. We motored over to it in the dinghy, it is just a hunk of rock and sand that gets bigger at low tide. Then we have the picture of the sunken plane, and a picture of Joy and the American flag.
After breakfast this morning, we are headed into Rock Sound for the weekend. Have some boat items to take care off, need to fill the diesel cans, get some washers for a part, and look for a propane refill station. Used one of the 11 pound tanks, lasted almost 6 months. The diesel here was on a high speed pumping system and the nozzle was too large for our diesel cans.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We are at Warderick Cay Exuma Lake Park for the second time. We stopped here with Nick and Sue exactly two weeks ago. We are hoping to find our friends, Alex and Faune, who are coming across from Eleuthera to go south in the Exumas. We are going to cross over to Eleuthera on either Friday or Saturday. Hoping they will answer our radio calls in the next day or so.
On the last day we were at Black Point, we took the dinghy over to a little island where we found a beautiful beach all to ourselves, but just for a short while. All of a sudden, igunas started coming out of the brush and going straight for us. They thought we had food or perhaps they thought we WERE the food. They come at you, then stop and stare, and then move forward again. We finally left of chairs and went into the water. Then a large Hatteras yacht, 72 feet, shows up with two families. The igunas left us and went after them.
Had a great time with our boater friends at kind of a say goodbye dinner at Black Point Settlement. We had a feast at Lorraine's Cafe. Picture of Joy and Lorraine. For our group of 17 plus several other people who showed up we had: rice and peas, cracked conch, grouper fingers, cracked lobster, chicken, ribs, potato salad, macaroni and desert. Total cost was 16per person plus extra for drinks. Plus she also passed around coconut fried shrimp, of course I could not have any but everybody else was very happy. Actually met another shrimp allergic person there.Cracked meas breaded and deep fried.
Black Point Settlement is my favorite place in the Exunmas because it is a small Bahamian town, no yacht club, no big houses owned by rich tourists, and no tourists other than boaters. There are a few small rental cottages. Black Point has 3 nice restaurants, one grocery store, 3 churches, one laundry place which also cuts hair, and very friendly people. I stopped by the school and talked to the principal.
Joy is up on the deck doing yoga exercises. Can not go in the water now at 5 pm as the sharks come into the anchorage area to eat at this time of the day. Sue and Nick - we are in the North Mooring field, not Emerald Rock field.
So what I have learned about myself over the past couple of weeks. First of all, I enjoy the beauty of the Bahamas both in the scenery and the people of the Bahamas we have meet over the past 3 weeks. I also learned that I do not have to do daring stuff to have fun. Joy and I both agreed today not to go to a certain anchorage without another boat that knew more about the area. The last thing we want to do is to get grounded on some coral. There is no
boat towing operation around here like in the States.
Also learning to slow down and not worry so much about travel plans and planning too far ahead. Just thinking about the next day or two at the most. Of course we are still reading all the chart and map books.
We most likely will not leave for the States until May 10 or so. Too many new places to visit, people to travel with and no real reason to rush.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Well today marks the farthest south we will be going in the Exumas. We decided to head north tomorrow, going back to Big Majors which is just off of Staniel Cay.
Today is a church picnic here in Black Point, most of our group is going to that.
This afternoon, some of the group is going to a beach to go shelling.
Wanted to include some newer pictures as we will not have access to the Internet. One of the men in town is building a wooden sail boat across from Lorrain'e Cafe, where we had a big dinner party on Thursday night.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Today is an even day so Joy is going to write most of the blog today. I thought I would put in a few words. We arrived here in Black Point Settlement in the Central Exumas yesterday morning after 5 days at Staniel Cay.
Black Point is more of a native area, very little commercial buildings or rich homes up on the ridges or along the beaches. There was a plan to develop a large marina but it is suspended due to lack of money. We may go over there tomorrow on our way to Little Farmers Cay( our last stop going south)
We are having a very nice time, travelling with very nice people and just enjoying the perfect weather. It is about 78 degrees,little clouds and a happy hour starting in 90 minutes across the street.
Last night we went to Lorraine's Cafe for a barbecue for St Patrick's Day which included ribs, chicken, grouper fingers, and lamb, with salad and rice and peas all for $15.00. Two boaters provided entertainment- one with guitar and harmonica who has been here before and another, Rich, with guitar who is travelling with our group. Some 50's music as most of us are from that era and some Irish ditties. Lorraine grew up in Blackpoint, one of 10 children, and her mother lives in the back house, and is the bread maker in town. Lorraine started her cafe 13 years ago when only about 6 boats would be in the harbor. Today there are about 30. She is quick to add that she has kept her prices down, which is obvious as this was the least expensive meal we have had in the Bahamas.
We also had a chance to do laundry in the largest laundromat in the Exumas- at least 10 washers and 10 driers. The building was built by Ida's husband and Ida runs the place. She will also do laundry for you for $10 plus the cost of the machines- $3.50each. We knew about the laundromat as it is well known By cruisers who share all kinds of information.
Many adults leave Blackpoint for jobs on other islands, either daily by boat, or long term to Nassau. It is not uncommon for grandparents to participate with raising children, especially when parents work in Nassau. Others, men and women, do straw work, sitting in the shade making rolls of straw stripping that is then shipped to Nassau for the women in the straw market to make bags with.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Hello from the Hospital Ship High Spirits.
As I write this, our friend, Roy, the single sailor from Marathon, Fl, is resting comfortably in the front cabin. Roy has a viral infection that has kept him from eating and keeping down any food for the past three days.
Roy had stayed behind at Waderick Wells Cay, and last night called out an emergency message on Channel 16 at 4 am. This was heard by some boaters who alerted the nurse at the Clinic here on Staniel Cay. They went out in a speed boat and picked him up off his boat and brought him to Staniel.
Gave him some IVs and other drugs but the nurse, Karen, wanted him to rest at the dock. We offered High Spirits as we were on the dock and had the front cabin free now that Nick and Sue had left. So Roy is sleeping in the front as I write this.
He is an old time ship captain, worked in the marine industry all of his working career and drove 185 foot boats down in the Gulf of Mexico delivering supplies to the oil rigs. boats
We took a short boat ride over to see the swimming pigs but they were not there.
Looks like we will be leaving Staniel on Thursday. Two of our boater friends brought their boats over today, so that makes 3 boats at the dock, and 4 boats at the anchorage on the other side of Big Majors Island.
We are thinking of going two more stops south, and then time to turn around to head up to the Abacos.
PS Picture of Sue Buehler - latest in Tea Party Eye Wear!
Picture of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club sign and the sunset off Staniel Cay on March 15 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
We are in Staniel Cay after a couple of nice days at Warderick Cay and Shroud Cay.
There is a lot to tell and a lot of pictures to show, but the Internet here at Staniel Cay is very slow, so I do not know if pictures will upload in a timely manner.
Our little sailing group arrived in Warderick Cay on Wednesday. Activities included hiking, snorkeling, beach parties, and cocktail parties on other boats. We were on a mooring in the Emerald Rock section, others were in the North Mooring field in the cutout of the channel between the Atlantic Ocean and Exuma Sound. Seven boats came down from Shroud Cay and stayed together.
We left on Saturday for Staniel Cay so that Nick and Sue could spend two days at Staniel. We are at the Staniel Yacht between a large 90 foot motor yacht and behind us is a 65 foot catamaran.
Today, Joy, Nick and Sue went to Thunderball Cavern to do some snorkeling. I stayed behind because Joy and I both thought I would have trouble getting into the dinghy after snorkeling. Since my injury to my left shoulder, I do not have a lot of strength in that arm. Turns out the water depth was only 4 feet so I probably could have climbed in the dinghy. However, not being a strong swimmer due to the injury, I might have had trouble with the current getting into and out of the cavern.
After they got back we walked around the small town here at Staniel. Most everything is closed either to economics or the fact that it is Sunday and the native owners were all at church. There is one church, the Mt. Olivet Bapist Church.
The boat is holding up well. Found out today while filling the empty water tanks that we only hold 95 gallons of water instead of 120. Also we use very little electricity, so far in two days the meter reads 6 kilowatts which is $4.50. Spent ten times as much for the water fill up.
Also the front head is acting up again with the sump pump not working properly. Blew a 15 amp fuse today, and does not want to work. Have to recheck it sometime.
Going to try and upload some pictures.
Having Nick and Sue on the boat for the week has added immensely to our enjoyment. Besides having fun hiking and snorkeling, we could play cards in the evening, either Euchre or Pitch.
The highlight of our stay at Shroud Cay was a dinghy ride through the mangroves up one of the creeks, that runs through the island, which is navigable from half tide to full tide. Coming out on the ocean side is a beautiful long beach with the array of blues from the beach to the deep waters. There was a hiking path to the top of a hill with a spectacular view. We even say a shark about 20 feet off the beach!
The snorkeling around Warderick Cay had quite a variety of spots, some with lots of fish and another with corals that I have never seen before in such abundance and variety. There were purple fan corals three feet tall along with many others that I don't know the name of. Today in Staniel Cay we snorkeled in Thunderball Cave, which was in the 1964 James Bond movie, Thunderball. Most people enter at low tide, which is when you can swim into the cave. Otherwise, you have to dive under and swim into it which none of us was up to. When we got in the water from our dinghy, there were hundreds of fish around us and many followed us into the cave. They probably thought we would have food, as we found out that everyone else brought oatmeal, rice, or bread to feed them. There was quite a current running through the cave, so we had to work a little to propel ourselves in. Inside the cavern opened up to about 25 feet high with natural lighting from the top.
The few shops in town include three which sell a limited amount of groceries- the General Store, the Blue store, and the Pink store. You can find limited fruits and veggies and canned goods. Those from the states are expensive- Nabisco Ginger Snaps- over $6 and the ones from England- $2. So we buy English and they are good. There is a house where bread is sold. When I stopped there yesterday, a young girl was shredding coconuts for the coconut bread that will be ready on Monday. I was told to come back then as there was no bread on Saturday. Today when Joe was in the restaurant he met the sister of the breadmaker who was the waitress. She said to go back today for whole wheat bread, which we did, and used for grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch. We will return tomorrow for the coconut bread and cinnamon raisin!
We will miss our company as they leave tomorrow on a nine passenger plane to Nassau to take them back to the States. They are to get to the airport 15 minutes before the plane departs and since it is a short walk from our marina, we will walk with them to bid them goodbye. There is no building or security, just an agent in a golf cart that checks you in!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Today is Sunday, March 6. Waiting for Sue and Nick to arrive from Florida. The flight is less than an hour
Last night was Bill and Kathy last night with us as they left this morning for Elutherra. The rest of the pack is going to the Exumas. In honor of all they help they have been over the past weeks, we took them out to dinner to Alwack Cay, a kind of
giant food court on the west side of Nassau. There are about 20 restaurants in a row in this park along the water. People come from all over and off the cruise ships to have dinner and just walk around.
A local Church, St. Celias, was having their annual picnic in the park next to the
restaurants, so we went over after dinner to watch the little kids dancing to the DJ.
By the way, we had a delicious meal of group prepared in a foil packet with onions, tomatoes, plantains, and green peppers(none for me). It was one of the best fish dishes I have had on this trip.
Today Joy climbed up the mast to fix our Bahamas courtesy flag. Unfortunately I did not have the battery in the camera at the time, and did not get a picture nor would she wait for me to get the camera. She did a great job climbing up to the spreader.
Have to run to a map meeting about our trip to the Exumas tomorrow
Friday, March 4, 2011
Today is a lazy day for me in Nassau. Washed a batch of clothes while Joy went with some fellow boaters to the fabric store and to the produce market. Potters Cay is under the two bridges that go over to Atlantis and Paradise Island.
We have been busy. The other night 12 of us got in cab and went over to see the Aquarium at Atlanis. It is something else. It took about an hour to go through the entire aquarium. You are about 20 feet under the water surface and there are hundreds of different fishes, ells, rays, etc to see. Plus the inside walking area is done in a motif of the ancient ciy of Alantis. Of course we forgot the camera but I do plan on taking Nick and Sue there Sunday night afer they arrive in the late afernoon. You can go in for free after 5 pm, otherwise it is $39/person.
I broke even at the Atlantis casino, Joy lost $60 on the slot machines. One couple won $275 playing 3 card poker.Everybody else lost a little.
Last night the local megayacht at our marina, At Last is its name, through a party on the pool deck. Will load some pictures later as they are on the Acer computer, I am using the Sony to write this. We all had a good time. Picture of some of the boaters we have been sailing with.
Tonight is a 5 pm book exchange and sundown party on the pool deck.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Picture #1- group at Frazer Hog visiting outside bar
#2- anchorage at Fraser Hog
#3- sunrise on the Banks
So much to fill in here as we have been out of touch of the internet for 5 days, leaving Bimini to cross the Bahama Banks over 2 days and then a three day stay in Frazer Hog Cay where internet was $10 per hour. Needless to say, we fore go it at that price. Our trip worked out well with about 6 boats leaving Bimini together and stopping at night on the banks to sleep. We were literally out there with no land in sight in 15 feet of water under the starlit magnificent sky. We chose a good weather window so that the seas where about 1 foot- a little rocky but not bad for sleeping. The next morning we sailed to Frazer Hog, part of the Berry Island chain. There was very little there except for a mooring field and house which had a bar and food if you gave two hours notice. We dinghied to a beach and hunted for conch and did some water exercise. We had to stay three days due to windy conditions outside of our anchorage. From there we had a thirty five mile run to Nassau over the Tongue of the Ocean, 8000 feet deep, amazing.
I am sitting in Starbucks connected to the internet, as this is one of the few places near our marina with wifi. When you buy something you get an hour use. What a business they do! We are in Nassau through the weekend which suits us fine as Nick and Sue fly in on Sunday. The weather is also keeping us here as a northerly blow from the US made it this far south and we awoke to a little rain, but mostly strong north winds which are forecast for the next 4 days, making it uncomfortable to travel from here to the Exumas.
Nassau is one huge traffic jam. I will include some pictures tomorrow that we took today as we traveled by bus to the center of town to go to the straw market. The straw market is full of vendors, mostly women selling Couch purse knock-offs, straw bags, jewelry,etc. It was a little uncomfortable, because everyone wants you to buy something as it is there livelihood. Of course, there were lots of tourists as 4 cruise ships are in town today. Tonight a group is off to the Casino at Paradise Island, a super glitzy resort. I probably wouldn't make Nassau a destination, but it is fun to be here with a group of sailors.