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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It's a Wrap




We are back in the states. Nice to have plentiful provisions at reasonable prices, all the free water we can use, nice calm anchorages and big varieties of restaurants and stores. We will miss the Bahamian people, the crystal clear water, the fabulous and numerous beaches.


We've traded the sound of the rooster crowing.




For the sound of the train whistle.




While cruising the Bahamas you need to fly the courtesy flag. Ours did not do well.

Here is a side by side comparison of it brand new and after 2 months.




My favorite thing in the Bahamas were all the critters. I loved getting up close to the sea turtles.




Eds favorite was the hiking and snorkeling.




Can't wait to go back.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Berry Islands

Our final Bahamas destination for this trip is the Berry Island chain. We sailed downwind from our anchorage at Old Fort Bay on the NW shore of New Providence Island. Our first stop was an anchorage at Devils-Hoffmans Cove. This is a nice anchorage with wind protection but has surge coming in from the cut. Our first spot to anchor got so rolly that we moved to a new spot at high tide. We had lots of fun exploring the uninhabited cays and enjoying the underwater sea life.

We hadn't seen starfish in the Exumas. Lots of them here and sand dollars too.






One of the beaches on one of the cays.




From Devils-Hoffmans we sailed North around Great Stirrup Cay to head past all the shallow waters to Great Harbour Cay. The claim to fame for Great Stirrup is as a stop for cruise ships. The big ships anchor off shore and ferry passengers to a protected bay for fun with jet skis, para-sailing and enjoying the beach.

We anchored in Bullocks Harbour right outside Great Harbour Marina. Miles and miles of great dinghy gunk-holing in this area.

A cut through the mangroves that are around Great Harbour Cay.




We see the after effects of hurricanes throughout the Bahamas. This 'Summer Place' has a draft of probably 8' and is sitting in no more than 4' at high tide and there is no deep water for miles around it.


A hurricane casualty?




Great Harbour has a rich history. The Beach Club was built in 1969 and was a very fancy, dress atire only, very exclusive night club. We met Angie who told us how, as an employee, she was not allowed in the club at night. She disguised herself, dressed to the nines and snuck in. The club was closed and abandoned in 1975.

The old beach club as it sits today. Rumor has it that it was a favorite hang-out for the rat pack, in its day.








There is a fabulous cresent beach on the oceanside within walking distance (although locals stop to give you a ride if they see you walking). We enjoyed the beach and had lunch at the "new" Beach Club.







The people make this cay very special. The nicest we have met. The marina held a party for all the US visitors for our Independence Day (theirs is July tenth). The party included food, drink and arts and craft booths. The proceeds from sales go to the island school. They had a band, a mini Junkanoo and a fireworks display. A fun time was had by all and everyone attended.








We are going to miss the Bahamas....till next time.


It's da Bahamas Mon



I was long overdue for a haircut. In Black Point Exuma the Rockside Laundry also has a sign for haircuts. I dinghy ashore and walk to the restaurant down the street to find the 'barber'. Two phone calls later the bartender finds Ida. "She'll be right by on her golf cart". So I wait out front for about 10 minutes and Ida comes by on her cart telling me she has to check in some guests at her cottage and will be "right back". I walk back down to the laundry to wait for Ida. And wait. And wait. And wait. Me impatient? Nooo.
I finally give up, hop back into the dink and and go back to the boat. About a half hour later I hear a call on the VHF from Rockside laundry looking for the guy who wants a haircut. That's me, eh? So I respond that I'll be right in. Arrive back at the laundry in 5 minutes and her son tells me she'll be right back. 10 minutes later we set up a chair outside to get started with the clip job. About the time she's spritzed my hair, she gets a phone call. The guys who rented her runabout didn't think to see if there was a gas tank before taking off. Made it about 2 miles before the gas in the fuel hose ran out. She sends her son off to fill two 6 gallon fuel tanks. But Ida doesn't have another boat. So she asks me to run the fuel tanks out to the stranded guys. We load the tanks into my dink and I zip over to them and off-load the fuel tanks. There's some trouble making the fitting connect but they finally get it figured out and I'm headed back to the laundry.
Ida finishes my haircut and it's $15 plus tip.
Total time for my haircut, about 3 hours. It's the Bahamas mon.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

15 Ponies!

We've been contemplating a new engine for the dink. The current 9.8hp works OK but struggles a little to get up and go. For long distances to good fishing and snorkeling, that's not good. The budget has been doing quite well while here in the Bahamas so we decided to do the upgrade. 2 stroke outboards are much lighter than 4 strokes so they are very popular for small dinghies. But they are not available in the US so buying in the Bahamas is the best option. Turns out the 15 hp Yamaha is extremely popular and I kept missing out when more arrived. I was gun-shy about making a 50% deposit. After 3 misses, I had given up. But I received an e-mail that someone had cancelled their order! I pounced on this last chance opportunity and made the deposit. That meant we must go to Nassau to pick it up. Oh no! Nassau? They have a huge crime problem, everybody says stay away! Hmmm, sounds like Deee-troit! No problem mon. So off to Nassau it is.







Here is the beauty...






We spent 2 days at a marina, Nassau Harbour Club, tied up next to a dive charter boat. 22 high school kids on a 60' boat for a week! Kids on adventure!




It's just like Detroit here...




Got in some good grocery shopping for our last 10 days before heading back to Florida. Can't wait to take the dink on a long ride.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Staniel Cay




We spent some time at Staniel Cay. One of the draws to this Cay is the Yacht Club with its restaurant and bar. We have eaten in the bar a number of times. Love the atmosphere.





The other big draw to this Cay is the Thunderball Grotto. This underwater cave is accessible at low tide for snorkelers and was used in the filming of the James Bond movie Thunderball.



The cave is lined with coral and is quite dark.





There are two openings on the ceiling that lets in light.






Lots of fishes too!









We really enjoyed snorkeling here. Now we need to go rent the movie Thunderball to watch for it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Musha Cay

Musha Cay is a private island resort owned by David Copperfield. You can rent the resort (the entire Island) for a reported $37,000 per night with a 4 night minimum. We anchored near by and did some snorkeling.


Freedom at anchor



At low tide our keel was about 6" off the bottom.




There was a plane wreck near by. You could easily see it from the surface.



I called it the arrow plane







Nearby Rudder Cut Cay is also owned by David Copperfield. He placed a stainless steel sculpture in about 10 - 12 feet of water.



There it is. Can you tell what it is?




A mermaid





Sitting at a piano






Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Resort from the Storm

Sooooo, another possible tropical storm was predicted. There was 30 % chance of it forming and hitting the southern/central Bahamas. We had a few choices. We could take a mooring in the George Town area and be protected from winds from all directions. This would also sheild us from the wind and be stifling.....very hot and buggy. We could just play the odds and go on with our plans that would leave us in an area with little protection from west winds. Our choice was to go to Emerald Bay Marina. This is a Sandles resort that has some very reasonably priced dockage. We had no electric or water hook ups but it was just slightly higher priced than a mooring ball.

Freedom at the "cheap" docks right behind a 75' power boat.




We felt well protected from winds in all directions and had access to a great, air conditioned club house. We had free laundry and trash disposal too.






Some of the big yachts that stay here.





We met some great people and had dinner out at a couple restaurants. This was the view from the restaurant at a nearby resort.




It wasn't all fun and games. We had a fresh water leak that needed attention.




We did have one really nasty squall come through, lots and lots of rain and tons of flies. It was really warm so we spent a lot of our time in the air conditioning. As it turns out we might not have needed the protection but it was a nice change of pace.