Sunday, February 21, 2016

Educational and as Always, Fun Stuff

Thankfully we did not eat chili for a week after our cancelled Super Bowl party because the next day after the bowl game, the weather co-operated so our friends came for dinner and another kind of  game, Sequence.  Men did not find it as exciting as the Super Bowl but it was fun.

Agnus, our yoga instructor.
We finally got to move over to Stocking Island side of the harbor to anchor in Sand Dollar beach. This is where most of the cruiser's activities take place so I was able to start going to yoga on the beach. (Unfortunately, our water aerobics instructor was sick but it also was too chilly in the mornings.) I cannot do certain moves such as this one, but I do what I can trying not to stress my hand with the arthritis too much.

With the temps down into the low seventies or high sixties (I know those in the north would love to have those temps!) and the breeze blowing fairly strong, we stayed on the boat more than usual. I decided try my hand at entering some designs for the tee shirt contest for regatta. Each year they have a contest and the winner is next year's tee shirt sold to raise money for the regatta prizes and a special cause in George Town. The last few times the designs have been like paintings which look great but you get a square piece of plastic where the design is transferred. They may look super but they tend to be hot. So I aimed for SIMPLE and no large block of plastic.
They get voted on by the cruisers at the opening day talent show, so who knows what will happen. Will it be for the most artistic, or the most breathable?

The professor talking about rays.
We had a special treat with a professor from Cape Eleuthra Institute speaking about rays. He happened to be taken samples of DNA from the rays near Volleyball Beach one day, so someone asked if he would speak about his research to the cruisers on the beach the next day. He certainly did not look like the profs I had in college with his arms filled with tattoos and an ear plug in his ear lobe. He was a great speaker but came to find out that they know very little about rays. They are not sure how they mate, how long their life span is, or much about their habits. That is the reason he is studying them. 
Cruisers like to be educated on new topics!
They have discovered at the island of Eleuthra that the rays are much smaller than the ones found in the Exumas. We saw one back in December that had a wing span of my a outstretched arms. He did say that a sting from the barb on their tail was the most painful thing he ever experienced. He also said you can not pull the barb out, that it must be cut out of a human. So it is a creature that you don't want to mess with, although the ones that come around Volleyball Beach are quite tame because they have been fed so much.

Glenda on Tiamo "movin and grovin!"

We have had several dances at Chat 'n Chill a restaurant/bar on Volleyball Beach. It is not the same without the cruisers, Rockin' Ron and Cool Karen who used to provide the oldies music. 
Now it is mostly Rake 'n Scrape or more modern music that many of us are not familiar. However we still have had a great time moving to the beat!  We also had a great harmonica solo by a cruiser.
Great job on the electric harmonica!

There is something to say about good form!
One day they had Boccie Ball clinic, getting us ready for the boccie ball competition for regatta. I always sign up for it because it is a game where you probably won't get hurt. I am not very good, and usually the French Canadians who play it more than Americans win, but it is still fun. 
Sometimes a measuring tape is needed for verification.

The object is to get your teams colored balls closest to the small white or yellow ball called the pig. The object is simple but getting it there is not!

The choir at Beach Church
Sunday which was Valentine's Day was quite windy so I chose to go to Beach Church on Volleyball Beach rather than cross over the harbor to go to church. It is a nice non-denominational service under the casuarina trees with the beauty of the outdoors. They even have a volunteer choir to lead everyone in song.

Some of us with our roses.

At the very end, all the ladies were given a red rose which was quite a surprise. A new flower shop opened up and one of the cruisers was advertising for them on the morning net so they donated 30 roses. A nice surprise seeing that none of our husbands thought about getting us one!

We have been going for walks on the beach and trails on Stocking Island. One day at low tide I found about 10 sand dollars. We also had spotted an agave plant on one of the trails not frequently hiked.  I always wonder, how did it get here, because you don't see them very often.

The Pencil Tree
On another trail we came across this yellow bark tree. It is called a Pencil tree, maybe because it is the color of the #2 pencils we use in schools.  
The newly named, Honeymoon tree!

This other twisted tree was named by Harry on Escape Velocity.  He said it was the “Honeymoon” tree. I think you can guess why!  

We had a great time showing newcomers to George Town, Harry and Finola, Flip Flop Beach and the beautiful ocean side.
Finola and myself at the Flip Flop Beach Bar.

Harry and Finola enjoying the water.
We had a wonderful dinner on Escape Velocity. Finola and Harry are originally from Ireland and have the great Irish accent and sayings that are used by the Irish like – Top of the morning to you. I also learned from them that there are many Indian restaurants in Ireland. I knew they were in England but also in Ireland. They prepared a wonderful Chicken Curry. Topped with coconut, bananas and mango chutney. Delicious! I brought a German Chocolate cake so we covered a few countries that night!

One day we went into town and we ran into our friends Lisa and Ben on Sararaid. We hadn't seen them for a week or two since we moved closer to town. They were going to lunch so we joined them and it was a great way to catch up. Lisa and I got a ride to the meat market and I got some red snapper which came from Nassau as well as meat. 
Lemon Red Snapper
That night we had the fish which looked good and was delicious. Another recipe that I tried another night was a pork chop dish with red onion, mushrooms and red potatoes, marinated in balsamic vinegar and herbs and roasted in the oven and topped with blue cheese crumbs. Both recipes are keepers.
Pork Chop Supreme

A mini gam for the Seven Seas Cruising Association was held on Volleyball Beach one afternoon. 
Seven Seas Cruising Assoc. gam on Volley Ball Beach
A good crowd showed to hear about cruising to Cuba, Nova Scotia and the Great Lakes. People who had cruised to those places or live in the area spoke about the pros and cons. It was a great way to learn about more cruising destinations.

At one large happy hour at Hamburger Beach a group of cruiser's wore a special tee shirt that was designed by Bruce and Joyce on Mandalay. They designed and got the tees printed and sold them to the cruisers with the proceeds going to a local cause last year. They wanted to pay tribute to Bruce who died unexpectedly last summer of a heart attack. They all toasted Bruce and it made for a great picture as well as being  very touching.
A toast to Bruce!

Happy Hour at Hamburger Beach
Besides large happy hours at Hamburger Beach, we have had some on Sand Dollar Beach with small groups and some on our boat or others boats. 
Small group happy hour on Sand Dollar Beach.

Watching the sunset while enjoying our friends and a drink.

It is definitely a ritual to have a drink (non-alcoholic or otherwise) to watched the sunset when you are a cruiser and it is hard to break the habit when you get home!

We have been keeping busy, but it is only going to get busier with Regatta starting next Saturday and our son, Christopher, coming on Wednesday for a week .

Monday, February 8, 2016

Keeping Busy with Lots of Activities

While we were still in Red Shanks hiding from the west wind, our friends on Saraid called and said they were going to some sand banks south of the anchorage with other friends on Right of Way, so we joined them. And I am glad we did!

Love the colors!
It was a beautiful day and with the sky a deep blue and the white sand bank and turquoise waters made a spectacular site. I am sure you agree!
What a beautiful sand bar!
We explored the sandbank but did not find sand dollars like we were hoping but came across a piece of old broken off coral with an interesting growth on it. No one had ever seen the white little soft petal-like growth before.
Does anyone know what these are?

The next day the west winds finally changed so we head over to Kidd Cove near town so we could go to the Catholic churches “Steak Out” and Al could get water for our tanks.
Cruisers enjoying the steak and chicken and other goodies.

The steak and chicken barbecue at the church was well attended by cruisers to help support the building of a youth center in back of the church.
The youth center is on its way.
It is actually ¾ ths done. Now we hope it just gets completed. Something which does not happen often in the Bahamas! There was some good eats at the stands with homemade French bread, donuts and cookies. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the bouncy house and games.
The kids favorite spot.

After lunch we headed over to Sand Dollar Beach to anchor. The next day we hiked some of the trails which were in fairly good shape, so Al did not have to wack too much vegetation. We hiked to the end of the island and walked back on the beach on the sound side. We never found any sand dollars but I did find an Emerald Nerite. You can see how tiny it is compared to a normal sized shell. I was reaching for another shell when I spotted it. They are so small, it is not one you spot just walking the beach.
The emerald nerite is quite tiny against the Sunrise shell.

The next day we moved to Monument Beach. In the evening, Freebird called a 'Beginning of Regatta Season” party on Flip Flop Beach. 
                      What a voice from one of our cruisers!
Flip Flop beach party.

They had a fire and music, and cruisers came from all anchorages. It was a beautiful afternoon and a wonderful sunset . One thing cruisers know how to do and that is party!
Chatting with friends as the sunsets.
I like being at Monument Beach because every morning except Sunday, there is water aerobics which is a very good workout. I have been in the water more this year because of it than ever before.

Checking in the ladies at St. Francis.

Look at smiles.  A little time away from our mates is good!
Tuesday was a busy day with water aerobics then the Ladies Luncheon which I organized at the local resort, St. Francis. Twenty-nine ladies came. I provided a “get to know others” type activity and some small door prizes as well as some of my favorite appetizer recipes. Everyone seemed to have a grand time which I gathered from all the thank-yous I got. It was a lot of fun.
Door prizes

Set up for Texas Holdem. 
Then that evening we went back to St. Francis for Texas Holdem. Al did not want to play, so he sat at the bar talking to people and enjoying the local beer. I played and made it through the second round, but did not make it any further. I knew the last time had to do with beginners luck, but I still enjoyed it.

The following day we hiked with George and JoAnn on Bristol Crème to the Monument. We got a good view of our anchorage with Blue Heaven close in. 
Looking at Blue Heaven from the Monument on the hill.
Hiking with George and Joann.
 We then hiked down to the beach on the ocean side looking for treasures. Not much found but a few small shells.

After a few days at Monument Beach we moved back over to Kidd Cove near town since west winds were due in on Sunday. I got some shopping done and hitch hiked to the meat market with another lady to get some cheese, luncheon meat, fish and chicken.
This is terrific compared to packaged luncheon meat!
You can see the deli case at the market. It looks like a small version of one in the USA. We are thankful because those prepackaged luncheon meats never taste the same.
In the evening we came into town to go to Rake'n Scrape (Bahamian music with drums, guitar and saw) at the new cafe at the right of the dinghy dock, called Red Boones. 
Rake 'n Scrape at Red Boones.

Escape Velocity, Cookie Monster and Sail Away all represented.

 Other friends came in and we had a good time, dancing, talking and listening to the music. Did not get back until almost eleven so you know we had a good time.

The next day I helped sell Regatta tee shirts and bags to support the cruiser's fund to buy sports equipment and prizes for the Regatta with left over money going to a Bahamian cause.
Selling tee shirts and bags with Helen on Dejavu.

We had another experience with dolphins around the boat and people swimming with them. I got one picture of a dolphin looking up like Flipper ( I hope you remember that show on tv.) 
The dolphins are very entertaining.

Sunday being the Super Bowl, we were to have friends come for a chili dinner and watch the game. A front has come through, so it is blowing like stink out of the west which has altered many a Super Bowl parties plans. We watched alone with a lot of chili left over!