Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Positives and Negatives in George Town

One day was windless, so we had very flat water. Since my ear still has fluid blocking my ear drum I could not snorkel but we went with the “looky” bucket to see what we could see on the reefs. I took my camera and just stuck my camera into the water and shot, and I got a

Barracuda swimming near the dinghy
few pictures of coral and plant life. In order to get fish, I would have to be in the water, except for the one barracuda swimming near the surface of our dinghy.

 We have been hiking and walking the beach. You can see we climb some higher hills.
Dave hiking the hill.

Once in a while we meet a creature on the beach. Here is Mr. Ghost Crab who was trying to dig around an upturned plastic jug. Perhaps he wanted to make it his home.
He had it dug out all around the jug.

It is neat in certain spots along the beach where there are these ridges at the oceans edge giving for an interesting view.
Beautiful ridges along the beach.

We also have had a beautiful rainbow right over the monument at Monument Beach.
What a neat rainbow!

And a full moon that came out one night before it was even that dark. A neighboring boat sent us this picture with Blue Heaven and the moon.

Thanks to Kindred Spirit for this photo of Blue Heaven and full moon.

These are the pluses that we have had. The negatives are: still a blocked ear after going to the clinic twice. I finally emailed my family physician and he said that since I don't have pain or fever, that it is just fluid in the middle ear and to take Mucinex D and wait it out while it resolves itself. I didn't like taking those antibiotics so I going to try his method now. Another negative is that our 3 ½ year old engine batteries have died on us. We have one good battery left. Al ordered one from a local business and we hope it will be in by the end of next week. But we understand, we are in the Bahamas so it will probably take longer and at more than double the price in the states. Yikes!!!

To go back to positives, I organized a Ladies Luncheon at the local resort on Stocking Island where cruisers anchor. We had a great turn out of twenty-eight ladies. They enjoyed getting to know one another with a mixer game I had decided on. It worked great. They each got a playing card from a half of a deck of cards. They had to locate the person with the same number. Then they had to learn basic information such as name, boat name, where they were from originally, how many years cruising and a hobby or activity they like to do. 
Helen on Dejavu and Denise on Sloop John D get to know each other.

Having fun at the luncheon.

 While we waited for our lunches to be prepared, they introduced each other.

Making introductions.
 A few door prizes, a delicious lunch, an exchange of boat cards and a great time was had by all. Our mates waiting to take us to our boats were jealous because they could tell we had an enjoyable time. Maybe someone should organize a men's luncheon. We will wait and see if that ever happens!

Mershons and us went for Trivial Pursuit night to have some time off the boat, to have a good burger and a good time even though we did not do that well. I don't have room in my brain for all those trivial facts, I need the space for the basics!

After several days of dreary gray weather (which we usually don't see here) we finally came back to sunshine and a pretty sunset once again.
Another pretty sunset.

Friday, January 10, 2014

George Town The Hard Way

Crashing waves on the rocks going out the cut, and this was the east part!
Saturday dawned and it had been blowing pretty good all night. According to the weather guru, today or Monday would be the best day to head to Georgetown. Well he was wrong and we found that out after we headed out. Dave and Toni, (oh wise ones, on their 10th trip or so) said they weren't going. So we headed out by ourselves. The cut had crashing waves as usual but it wasn't that bad.

 It was the waves outside and the direction. They were not as east as the weather guru had predicted and basically southeast which was the direction we were going. There were 3-5 ft. waves with an occasional 7 footers. One of those 7 footers broke right at the lifelines of our boat sending gallons of saltwater into the cockpit and some splashing down onto the navigation station. I was soaked from the waist down and had to stay that way for the next six hours while we plodded down to George Town. To say the least, I was not a happy sailor! Finally, after five hours, Al admitted it was a mistake to go out. I had not wanted to go in the first place. He kept telling me he was trying to get me to the doctors. I said my ear had been clogged for three weeks, what was another two or three days!
At least it ended as a pretty day!

We anchored off Monument Beach and spent the rest of the day trying to get the salt off of the boat.  However, we did end the day with a beautiful sunset.

 The next day we moved closer to town so that I could go to church while Al hauled water and filled out tanks. Unfortunately, there was no bread at Exuma Market and I was out, so I baked bread in the afternoon.

On Monday we headed to the medical clinic. It was a very interesting experience. You sign in. Then you are to give a urine sample, get weighed and have your blood pressure taken. The results were all put on a scrap of paper that you hand the nurse which the nurse threw it away before she wrote in on the chart, so she asked me what it was. To do these various things, you had to go to different doors in the building going in and outside several times. Finally, you are sent back to the waiting room to wait to be called by the doctor. I went in, he asked what was wrong, I told him, he looked in my ear and said it definitely was infected.
He sat down and started writing things down, not saying a word. I started asking questions all the while he is talking so softly that I could not hear him. Finally, I said “Doctor, I cannot hear out of my left ear, could you please speak up.” He wrote a prescription for Augmentin, antihistamines and vitamin C. I had to take them to the pharmacy at another door in the clinic. They fill them, give you the slips with the cost on them, then you go back to the first window to pay for them. Then you go back to the pharmacy with the paid receipt and get your medicine. No mention of what to do if it is not cleared up by the end of the medicine or anything thing about follow up. It cost me $100 at the clinic for the visit and medicine. I don't know what it would cost at a private doctor who come in once every two weeks. It is still clogged while I write this , luckily I have not had any pain, and I only have two more days to go, so I only can hope.

After the clinic we went to do laundry and later went to check out Volleyball Beach where the cruisers hang out.
Seeing the mile markers felt like coming home.

 The same post with all the mileages was there as it always has been.

Baltimore only 1089 miles, but that is a straight line!

The tourist were feeding the stingrays on the beach.  

The sting rays swim right up to you.
They come and will eat conch out of your hand! It was fun to watch them and try to get
They will eat from your hand!
pictures.  I got this interesting water shot when trying for the sting rays.

A mistake which I think is neat!

Men and women enjoying yoga on the beach.

 I am doing yoga on the beach again every morning. One of the cruisers is a very good instructor, so she gives us a good workout. This was interesting using up turned picnic tables for some of the poses.

 The afternoons are usually filled with hiking to the beach or the Monument.
Toni, Dave and Al at the Monument.

Once in a great while you will come across an interesting insect,
Interesting spider along the trail

A bright spot of color every once in awhile.


or interesting hermit crabs.  This one is in a shell about 1 inch long.
Not the gorgeous view we are looking for, but there are still plenty of others.

There is a new addition to the monument spot, some sort of dish with a solar panel. We are not sure if it is for the local internet company or something else. There are still some gorgeous views but the dish is not a pretty addition!

Two of the many beautiful views.
 Happy hours and game nights are the way we spend many evenings, so as you can see, we are into the George Town groove!  Now if I could only get this ear to heal so we could snorkel!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Big Happenings At Staniel Cay for New Years

The day after Christmas we sailed to Black Point which has a small settlement (town) there. We got in around 2 PM so we headed in to do laundry. It is the best laundry in all of the Exumas so we take advantage of it when we can. (How our priorities change down here!) Also we got a loaf of coconut bread made by the mother of a local restaurant owner, Lorraine. It is also the best in the Bahamas!

The next day I went to Lorraine's cafe where there is free WIFI so I went and got our last blog done there. The photos came in so quick I thought I was back in the states. We decided to enjoy lunch there and the Mershon's joined us. Afterward we headed to the beach for a nice long walk. 
Dave enjoying the blow hole!

 Along the way we stopped at a blowhole. We could see it from the road, spraying up ward so we checked it out closer.
Dave, of course, had to get the closest, throwing in an old plastic bottle he found, and we watched as it came up with the spray landing in the surrounding area. We felt like we were back in elementary school, cheering when it came up. A decent amount of sea glass and sea urchin shells were found, so it was a worthwhile walk!

The next day we headed back north a short distance to anchor off of Bitter Iguana Cay. 

Pretty sand caves.
 It was a very pretty spot that we had not been to before. It had this beautiful “sand cave” right off the beach. Like its name, there are iguanas living on the island. The sign on the island says that the species on the island are on their way to extinction, so please do not feed them, and watch where you walk on the island so not to disturb their nests. Well, every boat that brought people over to see them, all fed them so I guess people can't read anymore! As soon as a small boat lands, they all come out to the beach, so you know that they have been fed a lot.
A pretty new spot we discovered.

Grand papa of the iquanas
We had a walk to the other side and saw a pretty spot where the water had carved out the rocks.

We heard over the VHF that the supply boat came into Staniel Cay, so we headed up there by dinghy. We got there around 1 PM, and there wasn't a whole lot left, especially after we picked up our fruits, veggies and milk. 

Heading in for groceries.

 Once back on board, we decided to just sit and read the rest of the afternoon while Dave and Toni went looking for lobster. A boat with a Bahamian guy came up asking if we wanted to buy the two lobsters he had. We got them for $20. One was quite large, the other medium size. The Mershons came back empty handed, but we who sat on our boat had two nice lobster tails! Now that is the way to hunt!!!!

The following day we decided to go to the Staniel Cay area for the New Year's festivities. Toni and Dave went in, but we decided to head to Pipe Creek so that I could go sand dollar looking. It was low tide when we got there which was perfect for sand dollar looking. 

Someone left empty conch shells which made for a great picture.

We anchored and headed off in the dinghy to this beautiful spot where at low tide is like a huge sandbar. I found probably 20 some last year there, but today I found only two, and Al found two. I enjoyed my time there because it is just a magnificent spot.
No the boat is not on the beach!

I love the way when you approach, it looks like boats are on the sand, but they are in a skinny spot of water on the other side. Once back on Blue Heaven we decided there was still time to head back to Big Majors where Toni and Dave were and many other boats we knew.

The New Years festivities were starting on Monday so we went into Staniel and got a few more basic groceries. Then we stayed for the benefit auction where I donated 3 small purses that I made at home.

This big guy was auctioned off for $30!

After the auction the towns people provide a free dinner of chicken, fish, conch salad, lobster salad and of course, Bahamian macaroni and cheese. Free rum punch and beer while supplies lasted. It was a fun time. The auction offers used things as well as new things depending a lot on what the cruisers and towns people donate.

The towns people ready to feed the cruisers.

The next day there is a race between two Bahamian boats, Lady Muriel and Tidal Wave. They open it up for cruisers to be crew on the boats. These are the kind of boats where you sit way out on the boards to counterbalance the huge sail. When you change direction (tack) everyone has to quickly come off the boards and move to the other side. It is a fun race to watch.
Leaning out on the Lady Muriel

 Our friend Dave signed up but Al said he would steer the dinghy while I took photos. It was fun for a while but the bouncing around in the dinghy, I can only take so long. They had three races and Lady Muriel won, which was the boat that Dave was on, so he got a nice jacket which all the people get who raced on the boat.

It was New Years Eve, so Matt and Marty from Runaway an the Mershons came over for a lasagna dinner. We watched the fireworks from our cockpit around 7PM. A yacht named Milk Money provided them. They were amazing and better than the ones in Rock Hall on the fourth of July. We had a champagne toast while watching the fireworks because we knew none of us would be up at midnight!

January 1st, Dave and Al crewed with Michael on Pagan Chant for the cruisers race. Ten boats participated down from other years, probably because of one of the boats getting t-boned and getting a hole in the side. However, that boat, Glory Days, was back and racing again this year. They got a special award from the town for their wonderful sportsmanship in returning after such a mishap. Our guys came in second. Second to last I should say, but all had a great time. I went out with Tony and took more pictures of that race.
Al and Dave are on the far right boat.

Due to a wind change, it was getting rolly from swells at Big Majors so Sequence and Blue Heaven headed to Pipe Creek. Toni and Dave went to hunt lobsters and Al and I went to hunt sand dollars again. We tried a different sandbar and found six more sand dollars and two shells which I am having a hard time identifying

Can anyone help identify these shells. They are about 8-10" long.
 look somewhat like a Florida Fighting conch, but the long tail and smooth edge is unlike that, although it just could be worn off. My other choice is whelk of some sort. They are well worn but almost look like marble. Sequence was finally successful and they brought back two lobsters. 
The star fish was alive, so I left it there.

We decided at the last moment to move on from Pipe Creek and start heading south to get closer to George Town because unfortunately my ear problem from back in Miami has gotten worse. I believe I need some antibiotic. The antihistamines and ear drops aren't clearing it up.