Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Lull Before the Storm

This week was like the lull before the storm.  We did not have a lot of planned activities and next week the regatta starts so there will be loads of things going on.   
We did some hiking with Dave and Toni and I walked the beach one day when it was extremely calm and low tide.

I actually got some pictures of coral with my camera from above the water.  The water is so clear it is so amazing to see the coral reefs near the beach so clearly.  The tide was so low that there were many sand bars and loads of live sand dollars, thus the reason for calling the beach, Sand Dollar Beach.   

Lounging on Volleyball Beach
Toni gets her haircut.
One day I lounged on Volleyball Beach watching all the activities going on; bocci ball, haircuts, basketry, reading and of course volleyball.  It was nice to have a slower week.   
Potluck dinner on Sand Dollar Beach

We did end the week Friday night with a Potluck dinner on the beach.  We continue to meet new people and enjoy their company. 
Al chatting with fellow cruiser.

The community around here is totally amazing.  We have the radio net everyday with information about the various activities going on, but the amazing section is people can come on and ask for help with any type of problem they have and people will call them back after the net and offer whatever help they can give.  One boat was having refrigeration problems and needed some sort of putty for use underwater.  Al had some and so called and offered it to him.  People need help finding a lost dinghy or need help with installing a WIFI extender or someone needs some water jugs or use of a spare motor.  It is an amazing community because people respond to almost everything.  If only we could have such community helps in the states!  This is one more reason why I love it here. The sunsets are another. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Very Educational Week

This week was somewhat educational in more ways than one.  Al attended several seminars this week.  One was on using the Kindle for email.  We don’t have one at this time but have given thought to getting one and he wanted to learn what it can do other than for reading books.  He also attended a seminar on using the single side band radio for email again for a future possibility. 

Shaving Al's head
 I became a barber for an afternoon shaving Al’s head once again.  I could not believe he let me do it the first time.  I cut those thick gray curls right off to ½ inch all around.  He liked it so much the last time that he wanted me to do again.

Unfortunately we became educated on using the doctor in Georgetown.  Somehow I got a staph infection.  It looked like a bite at first.  I started to worry about it on the previous Friday.  Unfortunately, the doctor is only in on Thursdays.  He flies in from Nassau.   I waited all week to see him.  We took our dinghy to get to the office.  It was quite rough and as we were landing the dinghy on the beach it turned sideways and caught a wave which soaked me from the thighs down.  That is the first time I ever entered a doctor’s office soaking wet!  As in the states, after two hours I saw the doctor.  He was very good and told me I needed to come back the next day for his assistant to work on it.  When I said how rough it was getting there, he offered for his assistant to come pick us up in town to bring us to the clinic and return us to town.  Now that is a service you don’t get too often in the states!  I am happy to say I am on the mend.

Al and I each learned how to play bocci ball this week as well.  They had a tournament on Volleyball Beach.  They drew names for partners.  Al and I and our partners lost in the first round, but we walked away with a bottle of wine from the door prizes they had.  It is nice that you don’t have to be good to win a prize!

The next day we went to the Exuma Garden Club Horticultural Fair.  They had about four small school bus loads go.  Compared to Lancaster County Farm shows this was a mini farm show, however, it was what I expected since they cannot grow much here.  They had vegetables, baked goods, plants, a few animals and plant displays. This little Bahamian girl was so proud of her vegetable floral design that I just had to get her picture. We had an interesting nature walk with a guide who was originally from Scotland.    
Pizza Party on the Beach
Afterwards, Toni and Dave, Sue and Don and Al and I had lunch at a local eatery. Then there was a pizza party on Sand Dollar beach to end the busy day.  There must have been thirty different types of pizzas which is my kind of meal!

We took Blue Heaven across the harbor to Kidd Cove near Georgetown the next day so I could go to church and Al could haul water to the boat.  Afterward we decided to anchor at Hamburger Beach for the first time, so that later we could attend the function on the beach.  We hiked to the ocean side for a walk on the beach in the afternoon.  Later we attended the pot luck and jam session at the Sand Bar.  It was a lot of fun.  The cruisers and towns people who come with their instruments and their voices were great.  There were two darling dancers, all of 14 and 18 months old, enjoying the music.  Also, there was a young boy who enjoyed playing a small hand drum with the rest of the adults.  It is so much fun seeing all ages enjoying themselves. 
Our Go Go Dancers
Uke Player
Young performers having fun.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Georgetown Happenings

Al and I decided to sail back to Georgetown on Tuesday and Dave and Toni stayed another day off of Rutter Cut Cay.  We had a motor sail because the waters were quite flat which gave me a lot of time to do some chores like vacuum and defrost the freezer. 
How about this internet cafe outside of the market!

We arrived in Elizabeth Harbor and headed straight to Kidd Cove to anchor so we could go to town for fresh food and internet.  We have discovered that Exuma Markets (the prominent grocery) has free internet so a lot of people sit around the building using it.  The internet in the harbor that you can get is still very “iffy” to work.  Too many people using too much band width for the area I guess. 
The next day Al made three trips to get the free water to fill the tanks after being away almost a week and then headed back to Sand Dollar Beach where we have stayed in the past.  There are definitely many more boats in the harbor now.  I think the last count was 260 boats.  So it is harder to get close to shore for anchoring. 

We headed into Volleyball Beach in the afternoon and I saw Phyllis from Aquiligia who did the car trip on Long Island with us.  She was working on an oval basket which is what I wanted to try next.  She invited us over to her boat later where I was instructed on how to get started and she gave me a few tools that help with the basket weaving process. 

The next day we headed back into town to do laundry and found that Toni and Dave returned and were leaving the Laundromat  when we got there. We heard about their waves breaking over the bow sail coming back the day before.  (I am glad we made it back in the calm!)

 Friday we did our volunteer duty for the Regatta by selling tee shirts in town from 9am to noon.  I had baked some goodies as an incentive, one going to each sale and we sold quite a few.  Second best day of sales that they had!  We did a beach walk with the Mershons in the afternoon and later returned to the beach for a bonfire celebration of a young couple that got marred that day who were anchored where we were.  Several people brought instruments so they had a jam session.  The sax player was terrific along with the guitarist and bongo player. 

Since this was going to be the last calm day for awhile, we decided to take the “looky bucket” (a bucket with clear plexiglass bottom) and view some reefs.  (It is the lazy man’s way of snorkeling!)  Then we headed in to town for some internet and phone use and lunch at the local park where the youth were having a barbecue fundraiser.  When we got back to the boat Toni was there with her dinghy.  She had been trying to reach us because while defrosting their freezer it sprung a Freon leak and she needed space for her frozen food.  I told her to bring it over and we will see what we can do.  We took out our ice cube tray and were able to get all of her things in.  Now Dave has his work cut out to try and fix the leak.  By sunset the wind kicked up and was blowing 20 knots so the front came through bringing cooler temps.  The wind is supposed to stay 15 to 20 knots all week.  We had some boats dragging with the stronger winds but things finally settled down. 

Rug near completion.
I did not make it across the harbor to get to the Catholic Church due to the strong winds, but Al and I went to “Beach Church” on Volleyball Beach where there is a non-denominational service prepared by the cruisers with a choir and all.  It is very good and has a nice social hour afterward. We stayed on the boat due to the strong winds so  I finished my basket and worked on my new oval one as well as hooked on my rug.  I am getting close to finishing the design and will have only the border to do on the rug and then I can pull out a new design. 

Valentine's Day Dance
Valentines Day we went to Hamburger Beach and had a great hamburger and Bahama Mama (an unbelievable drink!) at the Beach Bar sitting looking out at the gorgeous waters and sailboats anchored there.  Later another dance was held at the Chat ‘n Chill so we danced away all those calories we ate!  It is just amazing to see all these “elders” acting like college kids again.  I swear the couple next to us was in their mid seventies and doing moves that were unbelievable.  At one point she was dancing on top of a stool!  Needless to say we had a great time!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sea Treasures Abound

We came back to Georgetown from Long Island for groceries, laundry and another great oldies dance on the decks of Chat’n Chill.  I also had two women come over to learn more about rug hooking.  They are both from the Crisfield, MD area and said when they get home they will check in to getting supplies because they thought they would like doing it.  Mary Lou’s father actually did rug hooking so she was somewhat familiar with it.
View of Twin Beaches Anchorage

The next day we sailed north with the Mershons to visit Rat Cay.  We walked some beautiful beaches and hiked to the top of Boysie Cay for a great view.  Afterwards we motored to Williams Cay to an anchorage called Twin Beaches.  It was gorgeous.  It should be called Triplet Beaches because we could see three wonderful white beaches from Blue Heaven.

Mangroves into Salt Pond
Exploring was on the agenda for the following day.  Al and I took the dinghy to Norman Pond’s Cay looking for sea treasures.  We found the entrance to the salt pond and so Al rowed us in.  I felt like Katherine Hepburn in the African Queen with mangroves on either side of us.   Once inside we found some conch shells that Al could use to make his horn to blow at sunset which is tradition around here.. 

After lunch we went ashore at Twin Beaches to walk the beaches on the sound side.  We struck pay dirt with sea glass.  Toni and I were like kids in a candy shop picking up piece after piece in the surf at the waters edge.  I found about thirty pieces and Toni about twenty!

Dave, Al and I toured the Perry Institute for Marine Science not far from Twin Beaches on Lee Stocking Cay.  They are barely operating because they ran out of money about two years ago from the endowment.  They have only two paid employees and several volunteers.  Colleges from around the country still use them in the spring and summer but it is their slow time now so only one research experiment was going on with coral.  The most interesting thing seen was their decompression chamber which I had only ever seen in pictures.  They have it but do not have two trained people available that are needed to run it, so people have to get flown to Nassau when necessary.
After the tour we were given permission to hike the Coconut Trail on the island.  Once again it gave us some gorgeous views of the sound and more beautiful beaches.  You would think we would be tired of hikes and beaches but we are not.  The turquoise waters and white beaches are superb! 
When we got back to the boat, Toni told us to come for lunch for which I was thankful because I was tired.  We pulled up to their boat and the best smell was coming out of Toni’s pizzeria.  She stayed back to bake and one of the things she made was homemade pizza which was delicious.  After a short rest we went back to “sea glass” beach and found some more.  We had not wiped it out completely the day before!

We had a gentle sail to Leaf Cay to go snorkeling and to find lobsters.  We did snorkeling but Al and Dave had no luck finding lobsters.  Al said between not having a prescription face mask and his asthma he does not think spearing lobster is his “bag.”  We saw another small elk horn reef with a variety of fish and a beautiful purple fan nearby.  Later we went ashore to walk the beach and ran into another dinghy of people who were anchored behind us.  They had caught a King Mackerel that morning and asked if we wanted any.  We said “Sure!” since Al hasn’t caught any fish yet either.  They gave us a huge piece and then our other boat neighbor who is a single hander came by about half hour later to give us one large and one small lobster. 
We hit pay dirt!  Al said now the pressure is off for getting lobster.  I said, “I don’t think so!”  This was the week for all sorts of sea treasures; ones we got and ones given to us.

We decided to sail to Rutter Cut Cay upon Dave and Toni’s suggestion.  The wind had been predicted to be rather light out of the south, southeast but it blew 17 knots and was rather roly-poly out there.  I was glad it was only eight miles because it wasn’t the most comfortable sail.  We anchored off this beautiful beach and a cave.  Unfortunately, the island is private so exploring that beach was out of the question.  We took the dinghies south to Darby Island and walked the beach and saw some interesting starfish.

We also saw Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Paradise Island that they built and still in the progress of building.  They had a beautiful modern main house and at least three guest houses.  The pier was being built presently.  After “oohing” and  “aahing”  we motored up to Musha Cay to walk the waters at low tide for sand dollars, sea biscuits and helmet conch.   We found the first two but not much luck with the helmet conch.  Dave found one but it was not a very attractive one so we put it back.  The one he found here another year was just gorgeous.