Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pics!

The Sand Castle in Blackpoint






Blackpoint Group Pic








Bitter Guana Cay







Staniel- Dave and Karen!!








Papa in da Dink





Thunderball












Pig Beach







Cambridge














Back to Staniel- Dave and Karen's Last Day






The Clock




The Sharks













:'(





Easter






Our Fire on Pig Beach











Warderick Wells








Papa's Birthday










The Lobster Quasadilla!!




sweet nothings :P


Day 235

We were up first thing in the morning to take a ferry over to Eleuthera and get the rental car to tour the island for the day with Karen and Denis. Eleuthera is one of the most east islands in the Bahamas and is HUGE. It’s 110miles long and has quite a lot of vegetation. They farm the in the north part of the island, but not as we think of farming. The terrain is rough and there is very little top soil. Here they grow all sorts of citric trees. We found out from a local that several years ago a hurricane that flattened everything on the island had destroyed all of the trees and just now are the new trees producing fruit.

As we were driving down the road all that was visible in the north were walls of thick rough looking native Bahamian bushes. Every once and a while you would get a glimpse of what looked like rows of fruit trees and maybe a house just off the road but it seemed to be like driving down the 401 back home. Then out of nowhere we would be in the middle of a town.

As we ventured south we went over hills and the rock was cut away for the road. It kind of reminded me of being up near the Georgian Bay. Just as we were looking at the more barren landscape we came to the glass window, a must see on Eleuthera. We had heard of this spot and were told that it was where the island almost split in two in about a 80’ gap. There was a bridge to continue down the road but you need to take some time and look at the sight here. Here the sound and the ocean met and directly under the bridge was a line that divided night and day. We were at first sceptical but as we neared the bridge we could see what he had been talking about. The ocean was whitecaping as far as the eye could see and beating the cliff sending spray up everywhere. The sound was a beautiful turquoise mill pond. The ocean was the colour of dark navy velvet and looked so forbidding and nasty where the sound was a marbled of all shades of light blue and clear as glass. It was night and day. Here as we looked out across the ocean it hit me that there was nothing across the deep boiling water until Africa.

We moved on and found a little town and did a walk about. We looked in little shops and the boys got anxious to go. We moved on and drove for another while, most of the way having a nice view of the banks and then suddenly we were back into what looked like the farm area on the north end. We saw several silos and we tried to guess what they were for but Papa found in a guide book that they were rain silos...now what a rain silo does I’m not sure.

We found a cave and did a detour to go see it. This cave was smaller (well what we saw of it) then others we have visited but every available inch of the walls and ceiling was covered in graffiti. Denis had the only flashlight and him and I ventured farther into the cave than the rest of the group. We found stairs heading down into what we think would be another chamber but we decided with our footwear and dying flashlight that it wasn’t a good idea to go farther. But first I had to take a pick of what was spray painted above the hole down.

We drove through several more little towns and decided it was time for lunch. We were all talking about food while we were between towns and we noticed a sign advertising an ocean view lunch and we decided to check it out. We found a little Italian oasis in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t tell you the name of it but it’s located on alabaster bay and served a lunch menu that was more than enough for dinner and we aren’t sure how in the Bahamas they can support their menu. They offered bow tie pasta in a black truffle sauce any type of pasta you could dream of, foccacia bread with salami and an Italian cheese, and a variety of other foods that I probably couldn’t pronounce if my life depended on it.

While there we met up with some cruisers that Karen and Denis were acquainted with and we had heard in Georgetown. They told us that the beach the restaurant was on had tons of milk conch shells. After we ate we walked the beach and there were more shells then we could have imagined. We filled a grocery bag with shells and had a good time walking in and out of the warm water. We saw starfish and for the first time in the Bahamas I saw tiny jellyfish.

Back on the road we wanted to get farther south so we drove for a while deciding that we didn’t have enough time to stop and shop in every little town. We made it a little farther south than Rock Sound and saw the ocean hole. This hole is as deep as the ocean, is almost a perfectly round circle and is inland quite a ways from the sound and the ocean. While we were sitting looking at the fish in this bottomless hole an ol’ local came by and was chatting with us about the hole as he broke up stale buns and threw them to the fish and birds. He told us that there use to be rainbow parrot fish in the hole and they kept the sides clean and free of growth but they had all died out and the locals are going to try and repopulate it. He said that in the hole right now there are 5 turtles and several thousand fish. We only saw grey snappers. When it was time to move on we thanked him and said by and headed back to the van. On our way back we noticed several cotton plants and went over to take a look.

Back on the road we tried to find another cave that was mentioned in the guide book but we ended up giving up and heading north on our way home. We made a stop at a grocery store and picked up a few items and then boogied on home...until we all decided that we should have ice cream x]. We stopped off at an ice cream place and went in and were very disappointed to hear that she was out until thurs when the mail boat comes in. She told us that if we wanted the gas station sells ice cream bars. We went just a little down the road and bought drumsticks and headed back the rest of the way north. We arrived at James Bay and called Knight Rider to come pick us up around 7:30 and we headed back to our boats.

Back on the butt we watched Pirates of the Caribbean lmao and Papa decided it wasn’t as horrible as he thought :P.

Niki

Day 234

Papa and Grama left early for a walk about the island and I (not being out of bed yet) decided to pass. I had the boat to myself almost all day because it was after 3:30 when they returned. They said they had a nice time but they were tired and Grams said there were a few shops me and her would have to go visit another time. The rest of the day was uneventful but of course we took advantage of being on hydro and had to watch a movie again tonight =].

Niki

Day 232

Today we had a boat chore and laundry day. It was pretty boring until Grama decided that we should have Denis and Karen over for dinner tonight. We called them and decided they would come over at 5:30 and bring dominos and movies. Grams made up some spaghetti and after we ate we tried to teach Grama and Papa how to play Mexican train beach rule dominos. Grama said the more wine she had the more sense it made and we had a ball. It was pretty late after dominos but we decided to watch a movie anyways. Denis really wanted to see kung fu panda and reluctantly Grama agreed lmao. Near the end of the movie Grams admitted that it was an ok movie.

Niki

Day 231

Papa is now an older man lmao. I was up before the grandparents this morning and had to wake them up. Today we’re going with Karen and Denis over to explore Harbour Island. We took a ferry over to Eleuthera, then a taxi to North Eleuthera and then another ferry to Harbour Island.

Once there we went to a place called Sip Sips and had the best Lobster Quesadilla! There was at least 2 lobsters per quesadilla and one would feed 2 people. From there we walked the beach and ended up talking to a local who showed us a little 2bedroom cottage that her employer rented out to tourists. We continued walking the island and ended up at a little bar on the water. They had a $5 vodka special so we had to go in lol.

After a while we decided to continue our walk and while looking at a house with a for sale sign on it we got a tour. The house was a 4 bedroom/3bath with Dock and pool and was located on the water (obviously, it has a dock!). It was up for 2.something (the guy couldn’t remember what the .something was) million.

We continued to walk around and back towards town. We went in little shops and eventually found the ice cream parlour. We each had a cone and then walked for a little while longer before catching the ferry back to Eleuthera and a taxi back to the other ferry dock and another ferry back to Spanish Wells. Back on the boat we lazed around and did nothing. We were still too full from lunch to have supper and too tired from walking around all day to do anything.

Niki

Day 230

By 9 we were all up, had showers (HOT SHOWERS!) and breakfast and were ready to go to Lower Bouge and find Officer Gordon. We found a ferry to take us to Eleuthera and the driver called us a taxi to meet us at the ferry dock. We got our extension extended and we picked up some booze at the liquor store before heading back over.

Back in Spanish Wells Papa went to get the dingy so we didn’t have to carry the box of wine and the cases of beer back to the boat. Unfortunately when he was getting the motor on the dingy the cell phone fell out of his pocket and sunk to the bottom of the creek.

When he came around to get us Grama wanted to get some seafood for Papa’s birthday tomorrow and they went off leaving me to watch the dingy. When they came back there as no seafood but they had found some dessert.

Back on the boat we unpacked our stuff and I went up to the office to try and get online to post to the blog. The phone tower was down and there was no internet. Meanwhile Papa and Grama went to get a new phone and groceries.

We went to have a drink and meet some people Denis and Karen met. We went to Tom and Gene’s house and had an interesting time. We were told about a robbery that went on in this town. A group of guys planned the robbery for when all of the fishing boats were back at the end of the season and the most money would be in the bank. The routine of the bank was that the money would arrive by plane on a date no one knew. So the robbers were forced to guess when the money would be in. On the day of the robbery the manager of the bank went to pick up the money from the plane but instead of going directly to the bank was driving in his golf cart and was chatting with friends (it’s a really small town).

When he was arriving at the bank he saw the robbery taking place through the window and hid in a house across the street. The robbers were told that the money was not in yet and only got $8000. In their escape they took a hostage but when they got to the boats they ended up forgetting their hostage (now there were a few theories about why or how). All of the guys were caught because the cut they would have to go out was quickly blocked and the money was recovered. It’s such a small town that everyone knows who does what and they laughed and said everyone knows if a kid is going to try and shoplift something before the kid knows.

On our way back to the boat we noticed a guy cleaning a fish and we walked over to be nosey. He said he had tried to save the fish and had been swimming around with him trying to keep it alive but since he died he’d be supper. His name was Captain Ron and his wife was Lorraine and we chatted with them for a while. Lorraine was a Bahamian and her mother’s family dated back to the Eleutheran adventurers. We asked about the netting and why they had fish and a lobster in there and they said that they were their pets. It started out with their son. He found some injured turtles and kept them to nurse back to health. Now they get different fish and keep them as pets. Just before we were leaving captain Ron came over and handed Grama a bag full of fish! We hadn’t even known this couple for 10mins and they gave us enough fish to feed 5 for supper.

Back on the boat we barbequed half of the fish and fried the other half and had a great supper.

Niki

Day 229

Last night we rocked and we rolled and this morning we were up and ready to get out of the anchorage. At 7am we departed and headed for Spanish Wells. It was a rolly day and I was very happy to get into a quiet dock at Spanish Wells. We needed to get an extension in our permit to remain in the Bahamas so we rented a golf cart and headed to the immigration office.

While driving through town we realized that Spanish Wells was nothing like any Bahamian town we had ever been in. Most of the population here is Caucasian and the houses are very well up kept. The town has a sense of pride about it...but not in an arrogant sense. They are grateful and proud to be where they are.

We found the immigration building and entered into a little room. Papa had called ahead to make sure they could take care of us and we had been assured they could so we entered expecting to have this over within half an hour. Unfortunately the officer who is posted there was ill and they could not help us. The man tending to us offered to call around and find someone who could help us and we said we would appreciate that. 15mins later we left felling slightly annoyed that we would have to make a long trip tomorrow to Eleuthera and to a town called Lower Bouge.

We decided to drive around the rest of the island in the golf cart. We drove along the waterfront and found a grocery store and decided to go in and pick a few things up. We came out and pilled the bags in the cart and started to drive back towards the marina. On the way there Papa commented that he didn’t see any beer or liquor. As we passed a little corner store Papa went in quickly to see if they sold any...and came back to the cart chuckling. No one on the island sells alcohol! We all laughed at that. We were on an island in the Bahamas that didn’t sell rum!
Back on the boat we unpacked the groceries and flaked out. Into the evening Papa went to a little take out place and picked up some supper for us. It was good but both Grama and I really weren’t hungry. We went to bed early and enjoyed the stillness of the boat.

Niki

Day 228

Well this quiet peaceful anchorage was invaded today! First came a snorkelling tour boat, and then came another and another and then a huge cruise ship anchored a couple miles away and brought over load after load of passengers to the beach. Then a large powerboat came in to anchor and started to jetski around between the boats waking us and not being careful of the snorkelers.

We went out snorkelling after lunch at on outer reef and it was neat. I was disappointed that there were no sharks around but with all of the people and commotion around I wasn’t surprised.

Around suppertime we noticed the crew from the cruise ship herding the people back into the shuttle boats to carry them back to the ship and a large storm front quickly moving in. We had the Longest heaviest rain I have seen thus far in the Bahamas. It lasted about a half hour and came in a constant downpour. The partiers from the large powerboat started out unsure where to go to stay dry but finally resolved the problem by all getting into the water and swimming.

The Canadian Flotilla had a small get together on the beach at 5:30 but headed back to the boats for supper. We ate and treated ourselves to a few episodes of Two and a Half Men, thanks to Kathy loaning us her DVDs.

Niki

Day 227

8am departure from Shroud Cay. It was an early morning and a vigorous sail to Rose Island (just north east of Providence Island). In case you didn’t notice I said SAIL in the previous line! We actually sailed someplace! Unfortunately we had following seas and Grama and I weren’t very comfortable for most of the trip (a.k.a. I went below and slept in order to not be completely sea sick). When we were going past Nassau I was ready to jump overboard and swim to it!

Coming into Rose Island was fairly easy...we just followed Bob lol. We went around a reef and are currently anchored 100’ from a beach in about 15’ of water. Tomorrow we’re planning on swimming off of our boats and snorkelling the reef behind us because we watched 4 snorkelling tour boats leave here just as we arrived.

When we were in and got comfortable Southern Cross came from Nassau to join us along with another boat they had met called ‘Don’t Look Back’. Kathy got everyone organized and we had a beach pot luck supper and a campfire... Rose Island is a private island and you’re not technically allowed to have a bonfire but Bob thinks he knows the guy and it’s ok. Lmao.

It’s only 10:18 at the moment (which is 2h and 18mins past the sailors bedtime) and after a long sail today, not feeling well and then eating like a pig tonight (LOTS OF MARSHMALLOWS) I’m exhausted and going to bed.

Niki

Day 226

We departed this morning from Warderick Wells around 10:30 and headed up to shroud. It was a calm day and we traveled with the jib and with the several waypoints we jibed a few times. I kept trying to convince Papa to raise the main but we would be constantly altering course slightly and be on the point of the jibe.

Once at Shroud we picked up a ball and decided to take a dingy ride through the mangroves. It was a long ride and there was a heated exchange over how to drive the dingy but once we made it over to the sound side tensions disappeared and we started to enjoy ourselves. We climbed the hill and walked the beach and snorkelled. I went in search of the Lion Fish we had seen here...on day 158 (I wanted to know when so it took me about 5 mins to try and find the day lol), wow that was forever ago! I searched up and down the ledge where the nest had been but I couldn’t find it and I was disappointed because that meant the Park Ranger probably found and speared it. I have mentioned before about the Lion Fish that although they are amazing, beautiful fish they are not native to the Bahamas and are destroying populations of several species of fish that they prey on. As well they have no predators in the Bahamas (although there have been some reports of very large grouper feeding on them) they are rapidly multiplying. Knowing all of this they still are beautiful amazing fish and I am captivated by them. Maria and I decided to snorkel up by the mangroves and there we found two lionfish hunting. AND I had my (shoot! The) underwater camera!

When we headed back through the mangroves towards the banks and our boats we made a turn off towards a beach and apparently everyone had agreed to have happy hour on the beach near the boats...alright! Maria, Marg and I snorkelled a little more along the ledge at the beach and then (having been in the water for so long) I got cold and went back to the boat to get some dry clothes on.

As soon as I was back on the beach Maria wanted to go check out the well. So we climbed up the rock steps and through the path towards the well when suddenly Maria stopped and said “look!” I looked and caught just a glimpse of a small, furry, groundhog like rodent running through the mangroves. It was the first (and most likely the last) time I have seen a hutia, one of the few land animals native to the Bahamas.
Back on the boat we turned in early having planned an 8am departure in the morning.

Niki

Day 225

We had thought about leaving today but with the wind being stronger than predicted we decided to do nothing today. We still needed to go place the plaque Maria made up on Booboo hill. So we all got off of our butts and headed up to Booboo hill...and then we walked the Sound Trail and then back to the blow hole. There was a happy hour on the beach this evening and Papa and Grama went and had a good time while I laid around and finished the book I started yesterday lol.

Niki

Day 224

This morning was very overcast so I finished typing up the blog...I’ll admit I’ve been slacking. In the afternoon Papa and I headed into the office to get the internet. Papa checked his email and I posted to the blog and spent over a half an hour trying to load 6 pictures to the blog only to have it fail on me =[. I’m sorry but you’ll have to keep waiting for some good pics and the Great Conch Girl Video staring Karen Kentner :P.

On the way back to the boat I stopped off at Sinn Fein to see if Maria wanted to go kayaking. She did so I waited on Sinn Fein until she was ready and we went to the office to get the kayaks. We had to fight the wind and the current to avoid drifting out the cut while we talked to Bob and Marg who had been snorkelling and when they mentioned hot chocolate we jokingly said we were coming over to have some too! When they went back to windswept we decided to try and see if we could make it to the butt. It took a while and we were exhausted when we got there but we made it.

Going back towards the office was easy, all we had to do was let the wind and current push us. On our way past Windswept Bob offered us some hot chocolate and of course we didn’t refuse. We were very wet (the Kayaks being ocean kayaks and because we had been heading straight into the waves) and the hot chocolate was wonderful.

There had been talk all day about going to put a plaque with our boat names on it up on Booboo hill but no one had the motivation to go. It was still very overcast and gloomy and we decided just to have a quiet night onboard and do nothing.

Niki

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tia’s Announcement

I have been thinking about my little sister Tia for quite a while now and I have been very upset at the lack of internet and not being able to call her. Tia is a very hard working and very talented baton twirler and at 11years old has managed to make it and is going to the worlds in Belgium this year. I wasn’t sure what day they were leaving but I knew it was sometime around Easter and as Easter approached I was getting more and more anxious to get to the internet so I could let her know I’ve been thinking about her and to wish her luck. Now that I have gotten the internet I received a couple of emails and she has completed her competition. In a quick email my mother explained that while twirling Tia was surrounded by 16 judges on two side making for a total of 32 judges. Back home the most I have seen at the Canadians was 3 judges. My mother sent an email just after Tia had competed and said her solo wasn’t the best she had preformed but it was ok and her X-strut went well. I have also received a follow up email with Tia’s results. Her solo was as my mother said was her worst out of the two and Tia took 14th at the WORLDS!! Her X-strut was well done and Tia did Canada proud and brought home 10th place!! I am proud to call her my little sister. I have always told people that she is a Canadian Champion having taken 1st in Solo and X-strut at the Canadians but now I will be telling everyone that she is a world champion! Congratulations Tiabia! I miss you and we are all so proud of you!

<3 your big sis

Day 223

We decided to go up the sound to Warderick Wells today. It was a nice motor/sail and as we were going to turn into the Warderick Wells waypoint Grama said no lets veer off a bit so we can sail a little bit longer.

We got in and settled and decided to snorkel the reef with the eagle rays. We only saw one 4’er with a large shark sucker attached but it was nice. I even got a few pics of him with my (ok ok papa ‘THE’) new camera. As the current picked up and with 3 snorkelers holding on ropes to the dingy the anchor started to drag and we decided to call it a day. We also noticed a large front moving quickly our way with several rain dogs so we rushed back to the boat to close the hatches.

Bob and Marg came by a little later and we chatted for quite a while. Today just felt lazy and no one felt motivated to do anything. We decided just before they left to have a movie night up at the office at 7:30.

When we got up there I had a password for 24hs of internet and I got quite a few posts done on the blog. Unfortunately I don’t know if I’ll be able to put on any pics right now. We all sat out on the deck in the howeling wind and watched Iron Man. We had popcorn and a good movie and it was a nice evening. When we were leaving I asked Marg “so what movie are we watching tomorrow night?”

Niki

Day 222

I still wasn’t feeling well this morning but in the beginning of the afternoon I started to feel a little better. I was determined not to be left out so when everyone decided to go for a walk on Cambridge I went with them.

After a bit of a walk and being in the sun I regretted not staying onboard but it was nice. We walked from a beach on the banks side to a beach on the sound side. It was very pretty but we all laughed because the person who made the trail must have been from Georgia! The ICW in Georgia twists and turns and when traveling south you often find yourself going north for a while. This path was like the ICW.

When we got back to the boat I laid down for a bit before Grama was as mad with her hair as I was not too long ago and so we went out on the stern and I cut the back of her hair. I know almost everyone reading this (specially Mom, Aunti J and Mama) is going to be thinking “ohh noo!” but it turned out very nice and everyone says I did a good job :P.

I joined them for sun downers on the sand bar tonight and we invited Skip and Journey (we met them in Black Point) and it was a nice evening. Back on the boat Grama noticed some big fish jumping and swimming back and under the boat and we sat out with flashlights on the stern watching them. The big powerboats all have big lights that come on at night under their hull and Grama and I think we want lights so we can watch the fish at night.

Niki

Day 221

Today I woke up and my throat was soar and I wasn’t feeling too well. We left fairly early and headed up to Cambridge with Sinn Fein and Windswept. It was slightly choppy on the banks so we were glad we didn’t do the sound. When we got into Staniel we really didn’t do much. I laid down and when Papa and Grama went to happy hour on the sand bar I opted to stay back.

While they were gone I started supper and ended up at sundown talking to Skip for quite a while who I didn’t realize was moored on the ball in front of us. When they got back we ate, laid in the cockpit looking at the stars and did dishes...and then bed.

Niki

Day 220

We got up this morning and Grama and Papa went to town for some groceries. When they came back Papa went to talk to Larry about our generator and Grama and I did a big clean out of the fridge. In doing that we ran out of water so I had to go dump our two 6 ½ gallon jerry cans into the tank.

When Papa got back we decided to take the boat into the dock to fill up our diesel, gas and water. It didn’t take very long but we had to keep moving the boat up and down the dock to do so.

When we had that completed we anchored out again and headed into town for the Easter Monday lunch. There was an egg hunt for the kids, a large traditional Bahamian meal for lunch and one lady brought down 10 puppies for the kids to play with. While we ate lunch we made plans for this evening. We decided to have a camp fire on Pig Beach. I was sooo excited! We had wanted to have a camp fire before but most of the Exuma islands are either privately owned or are part of the park and you aren’t allowed to have a fire.

2 hours before our scheduled fire Maria and I went to collect firewood and make a fire pit. We set it all up and played with the pigs lmao (we watched a bunch of people run away from the pigs if they came to near and we laughed because we would go up and pet them.

When everyone had arrived for the fire we lit her and had sooo much fun. Sitting on the beach looking out at the stars and the boats lit up and the heat from the fire and great friends...it doesn’t get much better than that.

Niki

Day 219

Happy Easter Everybody!

This morning we were up early and I went with Papa to see Karen and Dave off. We got to the airport at a little after 8 and there was no one there. We sat in the shade because it was hot already (today’s going to be a scorcher). At around 8:40 the Flamingo rep showed up, but there’s nothing you really have to do other than tell him your waiting for the 8:45 plane. Around 8:50 the rest of the people traveling on the 8:45 showed up and finally at 9:30 their plane arrived.

When we got back to the boat we were all upset. We did a little bit of clean up and put the boat back to normal and I think we all missed them already. After sulking for a little while Grama and I decided to blow up our water air mattresses and float on out behind the boat.

At 3 I had told Maria I’d take her snorkelling at Thunderball so everyone got their gear on and everyone went snorkelling. After Thunderball we did a little snorkel by the ship wreck and then went back to the boat for a lazy night.

Niki

Day 218

We headed back to Staniel today with Sinn Fein. Unfortunately we made the wrong choice and took the sound side down and there were still some rollers left over from yesterday. It was only a short sail and Karen and Dave pretty much slept the whole time in order to feel ok. We got into Staniel in the early afternoon and made plans to have happy hour and dinner at the Yacht Club.
During happy hour Bob and Margret arrived in Staniel! We wanted to hear about their Cuba trip and the raggeds (last time we saw them was Long Island). There was live music and a great big supper (there were enough leftovers to feed all of us tomorrow!). It was a late night because we all knew that when we get up in the morning it will be to say goodbye...

Niki

Day 217

This morning we got up and lazed around waiting for slack tide. It was a beautiful calm morning and I really think Karen and Dave lucked out with such perfect weather.

When we headed over to the sea Aquarium Maria and I went with Denis and Karen in their dingy while the rest of the gang brought up the rear. We got almost all the way there and I realized that I had forgotten the camera batteries! I had charged the batteries specially for this! I tried in vain to raise Papa on the VHF hoping I’d catch him just as he was heading out to tell him to grab it but he came into sight just as I tried a third time. It was a long dingy ride and I wasn’t allowed to go back for the batteries and we were at the Sea Aquarium which is across from a beach where Johnny Depp’s Bahamas home is and I didn’t have a camera! Needless to say I was upset!

The Sea Aquarium was very pretty once I got over forgetting the camera. It was a small reef but there was an abundance of life and we even saw a Trumpet fish! The only problem with this spot was the current. Papa had been swimming looking at the fish and coral and got swept up in the current and Larry and Kathy had to take their dingy to go rescue him. Not too long after a big powerboat came over with several passengers, including two young boys. With the strong current the powerboat group didn’t stay long but the two boys did get in and swim. When it was time for them to go the youngest of the two boys couldn’t fight the current and couldn’t get out to their boat only 15’ ahead of him so Uncle Dave helped the boy swim to the boat.

When we got back to the butt I made sure the first thing I did was put the battery in the camera! We had some chips and munchies as sort of a lunch and then we were off to snorkel Rocky Dundas. Rocky Dundas is an island that along its edge has some great coral but the real attraction was the two caves in the island. The south cave was everyones favourite. In the south cave you swam into the cave under a low opening and then you could stand up in 2’ of water and climb up onto a large platform.

When we were on the way back to the boat (again I was traveling with Maria, Denis and Karen due to the lack of room in our dingy) we stopped at a little beach that had hundreds of juvenial conch. We found all sorts of shells and Denis even found a mature conch but since we were within the Exuma Park boundries it’s illegal to take even a pretty shell off of the beach. When we were heading back to the dingy I cut the bottom of my foot on a buried conch shell. Of course not wanting to bleed in Denis’s dingy I kept my foot overboard on the way home and Denis couldn’t resist making shark jokes *rolls eyes*.

Once I got back and had my shower off on the boat I headed over to Sinn Fein to make Easter eggs with Maria. If it was anyone other than Kathy I would be shocked that someone would bring an Easter egg decorating kit with them all this way on the boat but when Maria asked me to make Easter eggs with her I wasn’t the least bit shocked.

We decided to have another get together on the sandbar. We now know it’s actually called Mailbox Cay but the only part that shows at high tide is maybe 16’long and 8’ wide. It was a fun evening and we knew we had to go back to Staniel in the morning because tomorrow is Karen and Dave’s last day =[ time has been flying.

Niki

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 216

This morning we were up and got underway with Karen and Dave still in bed. I was sure they would have heard the motor but it was 9ish and we wanted to be there for slack tide to snorkel.

It was a beautiful motor-sail. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. Along the way my guitar was pulled out and dusted off... I’ll admit I haven’t been attempting to play very often but I did pull it out a few times when it was official uncle Dave was coming lol. He played a few songs he knew and we chatted and it was fabulous!

As we were approaching Cambridge and passing a cut to the sound we met up with Sinn Fein!! I couldn’t believe it! We were trying to figure out this boats intentions and whether we would slide in front of them or fall in behind them as we entered the narrow channel. Then we got looking at the boat and I noticed Maria staring at us scrutinizing the boat as we were and then we both recognized each other and hurried up on deck to attempt a bit of conversation. We laughed and let Sinn Fein take the lead. They draw more than we do so if they hit bottom we know that spot is shallow :P.

When we arrived in Cambridge we picked up a mooring ball with ease (we had to look good while doing it lol). When the mooring field host came around to check us in we were told about a nice little snorkelling spot just on the outside of the mooring field.

We decided to snorkel that spot and leave the Sea Aquarium and Rocky Dundas for tomorrow. It was a cute spot and had lots of sea life. Karen got in and was feeling confident until she saw an ugly big Jew fish and had to get out (f.y.i a Jew Fish is part of the grouper family). Just a little while after that Maria and I were swimming along together and a nurse shark came and swam by us and as we were hollering at Papa to look at it he swam right under Papa just as we finally got his attention and looked up. Papa missed seeing the 5’-6’ shark! How that happened I’ll never know.

That evening we (Southern Cross, Sinn Fein and ourselves) had a little happy hour on a sandbar just south of the mooring field. From there we had a good view as the sun set on the horizon and we hoped to see a green flash but there were a few clouds obscuring our view.

Everyone went to bed happy and content and I thought I’d have trouble falling asleep but it was a full day and sleep came easily.

Niki

Day 215

I woke up thinking hopefully Karen and Dave will arrive this morning! I got up and made my bed and got ready. The anchorage we were in was still lumpy and so we decided to move down towards Club Thunderball where it would be calmer. We moved and headed around and got settled and were rushing to be in on time to pick them up from the airport.

It was 8:30 and since it was a calmer day (today was bright, clear skies and beautiful) I headed in the dingy with Papa to pick them up. It was a short ride to Club Thunderball and I made the mistake of docking the dingy their thinking it would be a shorter walk. Wrong! There is a lake and a windy road to hike in order to get to the airport. I watched a few planes land and had to jog hoping to catch them because if we weren’t there they would take them to the Yacht Club to wait for us and that was another 15min walk. It was a long jog/run and was a good 20-25min walk. When I got to the airport (it’s just a little air strip with a gazebo to sit and wait in) I saw a plane idling and all its passengers were either sitting around or gone already and I thought shoot! I asked just to make sure that it was their plane before I headed on down to the yacht club. Luckily that wasn’t their plane. Their plane was running on Bahamas time so I was early.

Papa had walked and he made it to the airport and still there was no sign of the plane. We waited and the no-see-ums came out and started attacking me in full force. I moved to stand in the sun and waited some more.

Finally their plane arrived and a bunch of passengers got off. We were counting heads and passenger after passenger got off (well only 7 passengers) and I couldn’t see them. They were the last to get off. Karen and I both ran to give each other a hug and Dave and Papa walked over to meet us. We got their luggage and headed back down the long walk to Club Thunderball.

On the way we talked about last night and found out that they were stuck in Philly for an hour delay and by the time they got to Nassau they rushed out to catch their plane and watched it head out the runway and take off. We told them that it was a rough night and they were thankful they weren’t on board. While walking back we were picked up and given a ride to Thunderball by some local ladies.

When we got onboard Grama made up some breaky and we let Karen have a bit of a nap and get use to being onboard. They also pulled out all the goodies they brought down for us. The one item I’ve been waiting for is a new camera! Ours is officially dead and I didn’t want to ask for it right away but I was anxious to get it. When Dave pulled it out and handed it to me I was suddenly estatic!! Grama couldn’t figure out why but I was soo excited! IT’S AN UNDERWATER CAMERA!!

After a few hours it was low slack tide and we took Karen and Dave over to snorkel Thunderball cave. We had fun but Karen didn’t like how the sergeant majors (a tropical fish) all rush and come up to your mask to see if you have food. I took soo many underwater pics with my new camera (oops, our new camera) I was worried I would run out of memory already haha.

When we were through at Thunderball we took Grama and Papa back to the boat and Karen, Dave and I went on around to snorkel by the shipwreck. We weren’t there too long before we were hungry and returned to the boat for lunch...but when we rounded the corner I couldn’t see the boat. It wasn’t there! Grama and Papa had noticed that we had hit bottom with the moon tide and so they went and re anchored lol.

They had anchored where we would be able to find them but it was between two Cays and in a little while when the tidal currents started to pick up it could get uncomfortable. After lunch we left to re anchor off of Pig Beach on Big Major. This anchoring thing is a breeze with the Fortress now on!!

Just before sunset Karen and I went into Pig Beach. It’s appropriately named because this beach it home to about 6 wild pigs...as in big farmyard pigs...on a beach... I think a pig would be the last animal I would ever expect to see on a beach.

When we returned to the butt we were just in time to see the sun set. I got Dave to blow the conch horn and I was jealous when he tried it for the first time and had no problem producing a nice sound. It was a laid back Bahamian night and tomorrow we are going to take Karen and Dave back to Cambridge... Bahamian style :P.

Niki

Day 214

KAREN AND DAVE ARE GOING TO ARRIVE TODAY! As soon as I woke up I was excited. We did a bit of minor cleaning up and started to get ready for Karen and Dave’s arrival... there really isn’t much to get ready so we keep arranging things and then re arranging the same things just for something to do. There really wasn’t much to do and eventually we were just sitting around waiting.

Thankfully Denis had the idea about going snorkelling in a new spot he had heard about and so I called Shinning Time and let them know we were going to snorkel if they wanted to join us.

The place Denis had heard about really wasn’t anything so we decided to take Shinning Time back to the coral by the shipwreck. It was a fun time and eventually Denis and I had to head back because it was almost time for Papa and Denis to go get Karen and Dave. Grama and I had wanted to go pick them up but today was very windy and the wind was from the west (meaning Staniel Cay is very exposed a.k.a. large waves) and there would be too many people to fit in the dingy. In order to try and keep Karen and Dave as well as their luggage dry we decided to ask Denis to drive in with his dingy and take one of them and Papa would take our dingy and one of them and everyone would wear foul weather gear in hopes to keep the salt water off.

When Papa and Denis took off Grama and I pulled out the steaks for supper and got them ready and marinating, peeled potato’s and got supper all ready so we just had to turn on the oven, cut up some cheese, pulled out crackers and got all kinds of munchies ready. We were sitting and waiting and watching for their plane to fly overhead.

We were sure the plane that came in at 3 was theirs! We started to guess what time they would be arriving on the boat at. Can you tell we were excited? It was nearing the time we thought we would see them heading in the dingy around the corner and up the final stretch to the boat when Papa called on the VHF. I wondered why he was calling but we switched to a working channel and found it busy and it felt like forever before we were both on a clear working channel to talk. He said “They didn’t get off the plane”... “what?!?”
“They must have missed their flight but no one can tell me where they are. They gave me a number to call the Flamingo rep in Nassau so I want you to call them and let me know if I need to stay here. If not I’ll see you back on the boat. The number is...”
I got the number and we cleared the channel and Grama handed me up the phone. I called Flamingo Air and they told me that yes Dave and Karen had missed their flight and that they were rescheduled to fly into Staniel Cay tomorrow morning and be in at 8:45. I asked if they had any contact information in case I needed to get a hold of them or if she knew if they had found a place to stay and she said someone had helped them but she wasn’t sure where they were going to stay. She also volunteered that if I needed to talk to them I could call Flamingo Air tomorrow morning at 7am because they would be there and I could talk to them then. I thanked here and called Papa to let him know.

I was bummed and even more so for the extra cost of this trip for them. Nassau is thee expensive tourist trap because of Paradise Island and the casino. We were just sitting in the cockpit waiting for Papa to return when the cell rang and it was Dave. He said “well I have good news and I have bad news, which do you want to hear first?” I laughed and asked whether getting here tomorrow at 8:45 was good or bad because it was early. He said that ok it was good that I knew and they had a place to stay and it was a long distance call so he should go. Thinking he was on his Canadian cell we quickly said bye and hung up. We could hear about it tomorrow.

Trying to look on the bright side I asked Grama and Papa since there wouldn’t be too many people in the dingy, now that Karen and Dave weren’t coming until tomorrow, could we go to Thunderball’s all you can eat pizza, pasta & a movie night? I was trying to convince Grama and Papa saying it would be fun when Shinning Time called and asked what our plans were for the night and if our guests got in ok. I told them the news about Karen and Dave and told them I was trying to convince Grama and Papa to go to pizza pasta night and they thought that sounded like fun.

At 5ish Shinning Time picked me up and we headed in for pizza, pasta & a movie night at club Thunderball. We had fun and the movie was switched several times but the one they finally put in was don’t mess with the Zohan haha.

When I got back to the boat it was late (well for sailors) because the movie wasn’t started until 8:30ish. I found that Grama and Papa had had a fun night aswell. They had moved the boat to a more comfortable anchorage (the wind had clocked a little more NNW) and then had Karen and Denis over to eat up the supper we had gotten ready and then they decided to watch a Red Skeleton DVD we have.

The wind was blowing hard and the swells were hitting the beam so it wasn’t a comfy night. I guess it was a blessing Karen and Dave were on land in a big bed.

Niki

Day 213

I was up earlier than usual this morning (but I did turn out my light last night way earlier than normal). We decided that Papa would take the dingy up to Sampson Cay (again Cay is pronounced Key) to get fuel, water and a few groceries. It was a bit of a dingy ride but Papa enjoyed having the opportunity to drive the dingy lol. I generally do most of the driving.

While Papa was gone Grama and I found bed sheets, cleaned out the boat and got ready for Karen and Dave to arrive tomorrow! I guess today it a short post compared to normal but we stayed on board all day.

Ohh and Shinning Time, the catamaran I had dinner on in Long Island came in and anchored near us just after dark and we had a bit of a chat and are planning to go snorkelling tomorrow.

Niki

Day 212

I woke up this morning and was immediately excited. Today I get to snorkel Thunder ball cave. This is the cave that 007’s Thunder ball was filmed in and is one of the best snorkelling-must-see’s in the Bahamas. We decided (well Karen called on the VHF to inform us) that we should go at slack tide around 9:45.

When we got there we found some people already snorkelling and feeding the fish. If you bring bread crumbs with you the fish literally swarm you and in looking for food nip at your hands. I went back to the dingy and got my gloves. The inside of the caves looked like the caves we visited in Long Island...but with 6-12’ of water and a big air pocket at the top with what we called sky lights (holes in the roof that let in the sun).

When we had had enough of Thunder ball we went back and snorkelled the beach where we were anchored. It was a cute reef and had everything. I collected some shells and ended up staying in the water until 1 lol.

Once I got out of the water we started to move to a spot where we would be protected from the west wind we’re suppose to have tomorrow. Unfortunately since we had had no wind our anchor road (the rope attached to our anchor) wrapped around the keel. Luckily it was an easy fix and with me hopping in the dingy and pushing the stern around we were able to un foul the line and all was good =].

Southern Cross led the way and anchored just north of Foul Cay. We tried to anchor and dragged it and then pulled it up and tried again. We dragged it. We tried to find a sandy spot and dropped the anchor. What do you think it did? It dragged. Then finally it set!...and we were in the channel and in no way protected from the west wind. So we hauled it up. We wanted to put out the Fortress but since it is our back up anchor it only has 30’ of chain on it and a lot of what hold the boat is not actually the anchor but the chain. So we again tried the Delta. I could keep typing that we tried it again and again but this would be the longest post in history, so I’ll just say we eventually thought we had it hooked. I wanted off of the boat and went for a swim.

Notice how in the last paragraph I said we thought we had the delta set. As I was swimming I realized that the Delta was not set but actually laying on the bottom on its side. I hollered at Papa and gave him the news. I told him that I would stay in the water and I would dive on it hoping to persuade it to set.

I dove on it setting it upright and started to pull it in and then signalled Grama to back down slowly. It dragged and I dove on it again and again and again. Eventually we thought we got it set. That idiotic idea only lasted a few minutes because I wasn’t completely convinced it was set and just asked Grama to back hard on it one more time to make me happy...and we dragged it. I climbed back onboard no one knew what to do now.

Papa got his tools and went forward. No one was really speaking but we knew what he was going to do. He spent a while on the bow changing the main anchor to the Fortress. When Papa had the Fortress attached to our 100’ of chain and we dropped it, it bit immediately. We were set for the night.

Everyone was kinda snappy so I wanted off of the boat so I took the dingy, went to Southern Cross and picked up Karen and headed around the Cay to watch the sun set on the water.

Niki

Day 211

Well today we head for Staniel Cay again to wait for Karen and Dave!! This morning we did a quick run into Loraine’s to get internet, me to do a quick post to the blog and Papa to do a work email.

We went into town and while Papa was filling up our water jugs I walked to Loraine’s and Grama did a last min grocery run. Unfortunately Loraine wasn’t there and while sitting outside waiting to tell Papa (or to see if she would arrive because it was already 10am) I met the friendly constable who told me I could come visit him anytime *rolls eyes*. He also gave me permission to go in to use the internet. Just then Papa arrived and we went inside and Papa realized he couldn’t get online because he didn’t have the password. So I ended up not getting to post the blog while I helped him transfer his lease document onto my computer so he could send it using my laptop. By now Karen and Denis have already left without us so we hurried back to the boat to head north.

Yesterday we had talked to Karen and Denis about doing a quick stop at Bitter Guana Cay and then heading up to Staniel. Denis and Karen waited for us at Bitter Guana Cay and we did a short trip ashore.

As soon as we landed the dingy on the beach big iguanas came racing out to greet us...as in really BIG iguanas. People feed the iguanas and so they are not afraid of people and will follow you around coming so close you could touch them (not that we would). Denis and I brought some lettuce and were feeding them. At one point I was out of food and looking at some baby iguanas that were in a semi circle around me and Karen sounded amused and called “Hey Niki turn around”. I turned and looked and a BIG iguana was coming up behind me but staying far enough away that I wasn’t nervous and I still had a space escape if I wanted to. I went back to looking at the wee ones and Karen again called and said “heeyyy Niikkkiii”, I said “yuuss” and she called “look over your other shoulder” and laughed. I looked and saw another big iguana coming up my escape route. Shoot. They don’t make any threatening moves or anything but they look prehistoric and big and ugly (but cute in a way only a mother would love) and I didn’t like being surrounded.

It wasn’t far to Staniel and we were anchoring between the Majors in no time (The Majors are Big and Little Major Islands). Here we anchored beside a nice little beach with a large shipwreck. Grama and I laughed saying that this isn’t where we’d have chosen to anchor!

We could not get our Delta anchor to set. Eventually after trying to set it about 5times we threw out the Fortress (our second, a.k.a. back up, anchor) and guess what, it set immediately! Grama and I both constantly say we HATE the delta!! If fellow sailors are reading this and thinking about getting a new anchor do NOT get a delta! They set well in a sandy bottom but will not set in anything else (and trust me we have taken some good advice about different ways to try and set it and have willingly tried every way numerous times and have had no luck). Karen and Denis watched us fight with the anchor while anchoring at Bitter Guana and now here and sat watching us in utter amazement that it would not set.

I feel better now that I have had my rant about the stupid anchor today.

Once we were satisfied that we were set Karen and Denis came over (Karen wanted to get away from the sound of the generator running). We were happy to have a break from sulking and we pulled out a bag of nachos and salsa for munchies. Karen was so amazed that we had nacho chips onboard because you can’t buy them down here lol. We hid some away in Georgetown. We enjoyed the afternoon and talked about snorkelling Thunder ball tomorrow.

As evening approached Karen and Denis headed back to Southern Cross. We had supper and after dark today’s heat persisted and Grama and I were so hot we ended up going for a night swim just to keep from going insane. We had the wind scoop up and every hatch open but still it was such a hot night we slept fitfully.

Niki

Day 210

This morning was uneventful but included a swim and a quick tidy up of the Butt. We invited the girls from the castle to come out around 3 and then we planned to go to happy hour with them at Scorpios Bar at 4ish, so we lazed around until then. Ohh and we made up a 2liter jug of rum punch for when the girl arrived!

Just after 3 the girls arrived and Dennis and I shuttled them back and forth between land, Nice Butt and Southern Cross. We had fun and showed the girls the boats and attempting the blow the conch horns.

At 4 we went to Scorpios and had happy hour with munchies and music and dancing. Other cruisers we knew showed up and we met some cruisers and we had a HUGE group of people!

At 7 we decided we were late and went to supper at a local restaurant. Jean had made arrangements with the owner to do a buffet for our group with Hog Fish, Bahamian Mac and Cheese, Bahamian Peas and Rice and a salad. The owner had expressed that there wouldn’t be enough Hog Fish for the whole group to have a meal off of so Denis donated his fillet of Hog Fish. Supper was the best Bahamian meal I have had so far!

While at the restaurant I saw Raymond (the God your beautiful guy) and he introduced me to his wife lmao and his friend Jamal. We had planned to do a group pic and when I finally got everyone together I got Raymond to take the pic for me. Of course when he gave the camera back to me and I said thank you he commented anything for you babe. His friend Jamal made a comment about him being married and then turned to me saying that “he (meaning Raymond) cannot be interested but me (Jamal), I can be and I am!” I looked at Skip (a fellow cruiser we’ve hung out with several times in Georgetown), who happened to be next to me and he looked at me we were both trying not to laugh as I said “well that’s good to know” and walked away.

We walked back to the boat fairly late (past the sailors’ bed time!) and were happy but exhausted. Falling asleep was easy tonight.

Niki

Day 209

I was soo ready for bed last night but once I shut down the computer I got talking to Papa and then got into more of the coconut bread :P and then decided to read for a little while. As it got later I decided to turn off my light and go to sleep...and I laid there...and laid there...and laid there. Eventually I decided to go sit in the cockpit and brought my blanket and pillow thinking the sound of the trickling water will help me fall asleep. After sitting up there for a few hours I got my book and read some more. Around 3am I started to drift off to sleep and the stupid fishing boat left and made enough noise to wake even Grama up. Luckily I fell asleep then but Grama was up for the rest of the night.

This morning I was up earlier than I have been in a long time. Waking up at first light and laying awake while Papa and Grama moved around. I thought I would crawl into my berth for a while but got up shortly after when Karen swam over.

She came over to talk about going to rent a golf cart today, exploring the island and then going over to the castle. The castle (well it’s called the Sand Castle) is a private residence and good friends of Dons. Don calls it one of his other homes. We agreed we would go into get the cart at 1pm.

In the mean time Grama got on a cleaning rampage! So we scrubbed the butt until she sparkled (actually Grama did most of the work I just helped a little). Ohh and Denis came over to check out the hermit crabs we had found yesterday and then we let them go.

At 1 we headed into town. We walked part of the way and I realized I didn’t bring my camera. Back to the butt I went. When I met up with everyone they were at Loraine’s and then the boys went to get the cart. Inside Loraine’s was three of the girls that we were going to meet tonight at the castle. They kinda gave us directions to the Castle by land but only having done it once (the way into town) they weren’t too sure lol.

We decided to take the cart north first because the castle was south. We drove up past Loraine’s cottage and onto a dirt road. We didn’t go much farther before deciding that it was too rough and there wasn’t much up farther. We decided to take a detour and go to the blow hole. We kinda got damp from the spray and taking pics was hard.

When we got back on the road we headed south and stopped at the produce place. We picked up a few things and got on the road again. We went all the way to a dead end then we decided to take a side road and see where that went. It too was a dead end. We back tracked and took another paved road. It looked promising but we made a wrong turn off of it and then decided to ask a local for directions. We found a guy that was a great help and headed off in the right direction. When we were near it we decided to check out the airport.

Eventually we got onto a dusty road (my black dress was beige when we got there) and we found the castle. We met Jean and Doug, the owners of the Sand Castle and 8 of her girl friends: Jan, Rebeca, Jerry, Patty, Dixi, Linda, Pam and Sandy. Karen (Southern Cross) volunteered to take us on tour for Jean since (obviously with 8 other girls) she was busy. Room after room in the castle was a little different and all I can say is OMG!! I want a castle :P. In the tour Karen explained that everything, from the interior decorations to the cement and the all the large machines needed to build the castle, Jean and Doug brought over from California! Just getting to meet them I wasn’t sure how they felt about me running around their house (that was very clean considering the 8 female guests) and snapping pictures....but I couldn’t help but take a few =].

When the tour was finished we sat outside on their veranda overlooking the banks and all we could think was wow this is nice! We got to know the girls and made plans to all go out to happy hour tomorrow at a local bar and then have supper a few doors down at a local restaurant. Not too long before supper Papa and Denis had to run back to town and pick up Don who had moved Next Exit to anchor where it was calm near us. We had burgers and a tasty pasta salad for supper. We had planned to have the golf cart back before dark (no wanting to drive it in the dark)...but who has plans in the Bahamas?

The ride back to town was...interesting. We now had Don to fit in the 4 passenger golf cart and it we didn’t start getting ready to leave until 9pm :P (well a little later because we had to wait while Don peed on the castle wall *rolls eyes*). To top things off we weren’t sure if the cart had enough power to get us all back to town. Knowing we were short of power we decided to run without lights on the cart. Denis drove and I squished between him in Don in the front with the cooler and Papa, Grama and Karen had to try and squish in the back. A few times going up hills we made Don stick his feet out and try to Flintstone us up the hill and then Denis didn’t dare step on the break on the way down the hill so we might make it back without the cart dying on us. The whole way we’re all laughing and making jokes and praying that we make it back to town (it would have been a long walk).We actually did make it back safely and cart still running (barely).

Once back on the boat we were tired and were out as soon as our head hit our pillows.

Niki

Day 208

It’s nice to wake up and think what are we going to do and where are we going to explore today? I don’t think I’ve said it enough but it is such a relief to be out of Georgetown! Georgetown is a great place and I can see why cruisers return year after year because it really reminds me of the community we had at the trailer park when my mom’s parents had their trailer. There are all kinds of organized activities and there are over 300 boats present (which is small compared to usual)...But when you have planned to explore the Bahamas being stuck there isn’t fun...especially on that horrid dock!!

This morning Papa made us French toast using the AMAZING coconut bread and Grama and I decided that we should go into town and do some laundry and I could take my laptop in and update the blog. We took our time and eventually got everything together and headed into town (leaving Papa to run the engine to charge up).

Once at the laundry mat we were told that the lady who runs the place wasn’t there and in order to buy tokens for the machines we needed to walk down to the clinic and find the reverend. Ok so we headed down the road towards the clinic which we knew was only a few minute walk. Once at the clinic we were told that (she the reverend’s wife) had already left and had gone back to the store (the store meaning the grocery store that is in the opposite direction of the clinic from the laundry mat...and as far of a walk). So we headed down to the store and the sign said open but the door was locked. We stood there for a moment wonder ‘what now?’ when the reverend realized he hadn’t unlocked the door and came to open it for us. We bought the tokens and headed back to do laundry.

When we got everything into the machines I decided to head up to Loraine’s to get on the internet. When I got to Loraine’s her mother was bringing out some of her bread that she was going to sell today and I walked back to get some money from Grama because more bread was on our list for today. Grama gave me the $9 for the coconut bread and the French bread and she mentioned that she might be interested in the cinnamon raison bread and if it looked good to put it aside of her to buy after. So I walked back to Loraine’s to buy the bread.

Just across the street from the laundry mat two ladies were sitting weaving some baskets and watched Grama and I walk back and forth and then watched me walk up and down the street with some interest. They said hi every time we/I went past and when I walked back to buy the bread I said “I’m getting my exercise done for the day” and they sat there laughing...for quite a while...I didn’t think that was too funny but w/e.

When I finally got online I started to post to the blog and then as more people came to get online (and then more people and then some more people) I no longer could get online for more than a few seconds. I fought to post to the blog and got no pictures posted (obviously). Eventually I gave up and had to go get the money for the cinnamon raison bread (oh yeah i didn’t say that I got it but it smelt soooo good I picked it up for Grama). So I walked back to the laundry mat, got the money and walked back to pay and get my stuff.

When Grama and I made it back to the boat we chatted with Papa for a while, watched the mail boat come in with the whole town waiting at the dock and then I decided I wanted to go for a swim. While I was swimming Next Exit came by and anchored right near us took one of his guests to shore and back and then headed out back around the point to the anchorage by the castle. Just after Don pulled in Karen came over to the boat to visit saying that Denis didn’t sleep last night because they had anchored by the castle and it was a little lumpy so he was having a nap.

I just got out of the water and started to get dressed when another cruiser we befriended in Georgetown came by and then Karen came back to let us know she was heading into town and was wondering if I’d go with her.

Of course I went to town (I’d do anything to get time away from Grama and Papa!! Lol <3 ) and Karen wanted to pick up a few groceries, do a walk and inquire about golf cart rentals. We pretty much executed it in that order as well. One thing I love about Karen is she loves her ice cream as much as I do so we made sure that on our last stop in town we picked up some ice cream to take back to the boats lmao.

Back on the boat again we sat in the cockpit for a while and Papa decided he wanted to go for a swim and then I decided another swim would be nice and eventually Grama decided to go for a swim too. I found two more large hermit crabs and for the night Papa has let us keep them in a container onboard. It goes to show you how bored we can get on the boat...finding quite a bit of amusement watching the hermit crabs.

We had a good supper and watched for the green flash as the sun set (btw Karen, Denis, Bob and Margret claim to have seen the green flash 3times but they were all on cloudless days and only when the sun sets on the water with no land on the horizon). There are quite a few boats now anchored here for the night (all cruisers from Georgetown who are on their way home) and just as the sun set everyone started to blow their conch horns =].

I forgot to mention earlier that Kathy aboard Sinn Fein called while I was having my first swim and talked to Papa for a bit. They are in Shroud Cay at the moment and are planning on being in Warderick Wells tomorrow. I mention this because in the convo she asked if we could call Dave and Karen and ask them to do her a favour when they come down. So we called and got to have a bit of a chat with both Karen and Dave. In 6 days we’ll be sitting in the cockpit with them sipping rum punches and I’m not sure who’s more excited us or them lol.

When Papa went to get the phone to call Karen and Dave he noticed we missed a call from windswept! We called them back only to leave a message but not long after talking to Dave and Karen they called us back. They are sitting in an anchorage alone at Double Breasted Cay (the Cay has two identical beaches that from a bit of a heart shape) in the raggeds. They said Cuba was FABULOUS!! (but anyone who knows Bob knows that it would be Fabulous :P ) They are going to meet up with us probably just before or while Dave and Karen are down and maybe travel a bit and snorkel some with us =].

This is a long post and one of the few that I’ve actually typed up at the end of the day. I’m sitting in my berth and it’s 11:31 pm and oddly Papa is still awake reading in the salon. Although Grama thought Papa had died last night because he never sleeps for more than 3 hours at a time, 4 if he’s doing really well, but last night he slept for 6 and a bit hours straight. Me once I’m asleep I’m out and I think I’m ready for bed. G’night =].

Niki

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 207

Last night I slept well and it was soo calm. This morning it’s a beautiful day and I was forced out of bed when I could no longer stand the sun in my face (already it was too hot to pull the covers over my head). I got up and then Papa started the engine so I laid in bed reading.

After a while I could smell a funny smell that I didn’t recognize. I opened my hatch to let some air in and poked my head out of my berth just in time to see Grama comment about the smell, open the engine locker and to have a bunch of black smoke bellowing out....instantly you feel deflated...great >_>.

We turned off the engine and let it cool down. When it was cool enough to inspect it we found the belt for the alternator had heated so much it literally melted to the pulleys. Grama scrubbed and got all of the burnt rubber off of the pulleys once the engine was completely cooled off.

Thankfully after all of Grama’s scrubbing Papa could put on a new belt and start up the engine again. We ran the engine for quite a while before we decided it was time to check out the town.

Black Point isn’t very large and when we asked about renting a golf cart we were told that it would take us an hour and a half to cover the whole island. We first decided to go SW and found the grocery store (back home it might be called a little variety store) we carried on and checked out the laundry mat/marine store/hair dressers (you sit on a lawn chair on the back porch of the laundry mat/marine store to get your hair cut) and a little farther up the line we came to Loraine’s cafe.

Loraine has been a friend of Don Willson for many years (Don is on Next Exit and use to be partners with Papa at the office). We went in to introduce ourselves and we found out that her mother had just finished baking some bread. If you ask anyone who has tried Loraine’s mother’s bread who makes the best bread in the Bahamas they will tell you her Coconut bread takes first and all of her other breads tie for second. So we had to go buy a loaf of coconut bread and we decided to buy a French loaf as well.

After getting the bread we were talking to Loraine again about some cottages we saw next door and she said they weren’t well up kept but she had a cottage she rents out so since we were Don’s friends she would rent it to Aunt Connie and Uncle Daryl for $100/night. The cottage was a one bedroom cottage with central air, full kitchen and it has a nice sized living room with a queen sized pull out couch (which would be perfect for Spencer and Phill).

It was such a hot day we didn’t bother going much farther in that direction so we headed back the way we came and decided to check out the cottage. It looked just like it did in the brochure she had, minus a bit of paint chipped off the exterior.

From there we noticed a trail leading to the ocean. It was a bit of a hike back but we found a little beach with some rock with little pools filled with sea urchins, little fish and underwater snails. Grama and I collected some shells and sea glass before deciding it was too hot so we were going to go back to the boat.

Back on the boat we then decided to go for a swim. The water was great and eventually it turned into me scrubbing the bottom of the boat lmao.

Not long after Papa got out of the water Uncle Dave called to let us know they had booked their flight from Nassau to Staniel Cay and they were going to be in Staniel at 2:45-3pm on the 7th!!! As Grama told me this morning every perfect day starts off with a problem in the morning...I of course told her she was nuts... but today wasn’t bad at all =].

After listening to the phone call I got back to scrubbing the bottom and at one point I saw some hound fish and some little fish and a barracuda swimming around. Then a little while later when I was scrubbing the bow I noticed a big hermit crab crawling around by the anchor chain. I dove down and picked him up and took him back to show Grama. We thought he was cute and if it wasn’t for Papa’s loud oppositions we probably would have kept him for a pet lmao.

Just as the sun was setting I got out of the water and Papa called Aunt Connie to tell her about the cottage. Unfortunately with the boys’ hockey schedule and a few other issues it doesn’t look like the Clarks are going to make it to Exuma. We are still hoping though that they may make it to Abaco or to Florida.

A little while later while we were doing nothing a local who keeps his powerboat on a mooring ball asked if we could take him to shore once he tied up his boat. That’s how they get from shore to their boat and from their boat to shore, asking cruisers for rides...which seems reasonable because cruisers are forever hitch hiking...it’s safe enough. So I said sure and untied the dingy and went to give him a ride. We were chatting he wanted to know about our boat name and then he was saying that he had a couple of boats, and he pointed them out, and that he did tours and rented boats and snorkelling etc and in the same breath he caught me very off guard and said “god your beautiful”... I was like “...umm thank you...so where do you do the snorkelling tours?”

Back on the boat Grama and I started to make plans and stuff for when Karen and Dave get down here.... needless to say we’re SOOO EXCITED!! Papa kept trying to read and eventually went to bed. Not long after all of a sudden Grama and I both felt like passing out and decided bed sounded like a good idea!


Niki
P.S. I've wanted to load pics to the blog but internet isn't strong enough =[

Day 206

This morning seemed like the vacation I pictured when I first decided to join Grama and Papa on this trip. Grama woke me up because we were going to leave in an hour or so (ok maybe that wasn’t quite what I pictured but nothings perfect...besides me x] ). I got up and Papa had just finished his morning swim and shower since we were alone in the anchorage...which is something I missed in Georgetown there were always boats EVERYWHERE...so I decided to send Papa down stairs and I did a little swim and shower (I would like to make a little note to my mother and others who have made the comment about our hygiene onboard that we do shower regularly and I don’t always put it in the blog). It’s nice being in a secluded cove all alone with the water so clear and calm.

Papa and Grams had breakfast in the cockpit and while laughing at Grama Papa spilt his coffee all down his leg burning himself. After we made sure he was ok Grama couldn’t suppress her laughter anymore and told him that that would teach him to make fun of her :P.

When we got underway it was calm with a nice light wind and the sun was so warm promising us a hot day. We all felt like this is what we signed up for and then I made a big mistake. I commented about how nice this was and weren’t we having fun...and then the engine overheated and we rushed to turn it off and drop the anchor. Papa pulled the aft cabin apart and pulled apart the water intake strainer and found TONS of weeds that we had just picked up. The weeds were all through the hose coming from the intake and it took a bit to clean it up. In unattaching the hose quite a bit of water ran through to the bilge, which isn’t an issue other than I really should clean the bilge today. When all the hoses were reattached and we started up the engine again it was nice that there were no additional problems. We also checked the alternator which too was working. I talked Grama (who was on the helm) through the navigation to get out of the cut (I had been navigating before the engine issue) and then headed below to clean up the mess in the aft cabin and to clean out the bilge...unfortunately I didn’t get very far in cleaning up before I was called topsides to help Papa with the anchor. The winless was acting up so Papa had to pull the anchor up by hand and he asked for some assistance. When we were underway again I went back to the bilge.

Today was soo calm and beautiful that while I was bellow laying on my stomach with my arms and head in the bilge trying to clean it out I didn’t notice we were underway other than the slight vibration from the engine.

When I finished and headed topsides again we were out the cut and Grama and I wanted to put up the main sail and once we completed that we then rolled out the jib. There wasn’t enough wind to make good time and completely sail so we decided to motor-sail.

Just after lunch Papa just glanced at the Link 10 (the display from the alternator) and noticed the alternator had quite again. We stopped the engine (it was nice sailing for a bit =] ) and Papa went to play with the fitting we played with last night. When we started the engine again the alternator kicked in again. I asked Papa how full the batteries were because I noticed we had 4 green bars on the display. He said we were 45amps from being completely full! All on the alternator! It seems silly to be excited about that but after all we went through with this alternator it’s nice to be self sufficient again.

One thing I didn’t mention was how many boats there were out traveling today. Most having left Georgetown this early morning were heading to either Little Farmers or Black Point. There were a couple dozen boats scattered on the horizon and a cloudless sky and the deep purple velvet water of Exuma Sound.

One thing that was brought to my attention yesterday was that there is a rule we live by down here and I haven’t put it into the blog.

“Olde Sailing Ditty”

Water that’s blue is deep and true (40’ +)
As it shades to green, the water gets lean (3’-20’)
White or Yellow will ground a fellow (1’-3’ sand)
If the water is brown, you’ll run hard aground (rocky bar)
If the water is black, you’d better turn back (coral head)

This is soo true and something anyone cruising down here should know. Sometimes whether you’re in 3’-6’ or 1.5’-3’ it’s hard to tell the difference with a sandy bottom. We use to get paranoid when we were traveling in the dingy, not wanting to go aground, but after spending so long down here it becomes easy to identify the depth (although we can misjudge on occasion).

At the moment (2:31pm) we are underway and I am down below with my computer charged for the first time in days so I am trying to get the blog typed out. I think I’ve mentioned this but today is so beautiful out other than the slight hum of the engine it feels like we could be sitting in a little protected cove barely moving rather than motor-sailing up the outside of the Exuma chain in the Exuma sound in 200’+ water.

(part 2)

When we came in the cut we came past a cliff that was called white horses. It took us a while to see the horses formed in the rock but it’s there. Grama was too busy fighting with the helm to look for the horses. Coming through the cut on an outgoing tide was difficult. Not because there was not enough water (at low tide we would have more than enough water) but because the tide flowing out of the cut met the wind and waves coming off the sound and the only way Grama could describe it was it was like sailing through boiling water, the boat was pulled in one direction and then the other. Meanwhile Papa and I have no idea Grama is fighting with the helm because she was doing so well going through in a straight line.

When we got into the Black Point settlement anchorage we found a nice spot to anchor and dropped the anchor, let it settle in and backed down on it and dragged it way out of where we wanted to anchor. So Papa had to haul up the anchor hand over hand because the winless still isn’t working. We tried again only to have the same thing happen...and then we tried again...and then one more time just to make sure it wouldn’t work there. Eventually we got the hook down closer to shore and within hollering distance from Southern Cross.

Once we got everything settled Papa swam over to Southern Cross to invite them for happy hour.

When they came over we heard a lot about the Jumentos and we told them all about Georgetown >_> lol. It was a fun evening and once they left we made up some left overs for dinner and laid around after we were done. We were tired!

Niki

Day 205

This morning I got up to hear Papa make an inquiry on the net about airlines that fly from Nassau to Staniel Cay. We got a response and we’re giving information about where we could find phone numbers for several airlines. We called Uncle Dave and Aunt Karen to give them the info we got...and then the big debate began. Were we leaving today or not? Well it was blowing...who knows how much the wind was blowing, our wind instrument died remember...but it was blowing quite a bit and the anchorage was getting a little choppy...but then the weatherman promised the wind would die down in the afternoon. We decided to wait until 11:30 or 12 and then see what we wanted to do given the conditions then. I have heard my cousin Kailynn say this sooo many times (because she lives in Georgetown ON) and lately I’ve been thinking about her whenever I think to myself I WANT OUT OF GEORGETOWN!!

At 11 Grama and Papa were preparing the boat to leave and we pulled up anchor at 11:30. We started to head to Monument (the channel zigzags so you have to be very careful trying to get in or out of the cut) and all of a sudden the chart plotter stopped navigating for Grama. So Grama is trying to helm and stay on course and Papa is standing off to the side beside her trying to reach the chart plotter and try to figure out the problem. To add to all the fun we had already raised the main and were heading dead downwind trying to not to jibe. We navigated by the chart (which we always do anyways) and made it out the cut and Papa figured out the chat plotter and all was well.

Once we were out into the sound I decided to plug in my computer (which hasn’t been charged in days)...but in doing so I noticed one little problem...the alternator wasn’t charging. At this point while underway there was nothing we could do about it. A few minutes later while I was down below Grama hollered at me that they were tacking...and for a horrifying minute I thought they were turning around and going back to Georgetown! We had a nice motor-sail up to Lee Stalking Island and had no problems getting through the cut and anchoring.

While anchoring I couldn’t help thinking to myself that I missed the clean crystal clear water. Georgetown is part of the Bahamas and still has beautiful water but it is always a little murky from stirred up sand and a couple hundred boats emptying their holding tanks at night...

Once we were settled Papa went to check out the alternator. If you remember when we first started to have this problem we found a loose connection that Papa had to baby a bit...well that connection was reminding us it was their and it vibrated its self loose. So we put it back in as tight as we could and ran the engine for a bit to charge up for the night.

It was so nice being in a secluded spot and late after supper while we were sitting in the cockpit I wanted to go for a swim...but then Grama burst my bubble reminding me that last time we were here there were a few nurse sharks...that’s fine in the day but not at night.

When we all headed to bed it was so still and quiet...I kept walking up throughout the night thinking something was wrong we were dragging or something because it didn’t sound right lol.

Niki