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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Flip Flop

On stocking Island north of all the most popular beaches, tucked back in the foliage is a "secret" gem.....The Flip Flop Shop. Not sure of the history but this gathering place was created by cruisers (I think) and is utterly charming. It is well decorated with artsy crafts, there are well made seats, tables, a roof, a fire pit and even a bar. A great place to hang out for cocktail hour.

The approach from Elizabeth Harbour

The bar and party room

The fire pit

The crafty bits

This is a rudder from a sailboat

We had a nice happy hour here with a group of friends and really enjoyed this unique place.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

George Town

It looks like George Town is as far south as we will go this year. George Town is a large settlement with lots of businesses and services. The settlement is on Great Exuma Island. Accross Elizabeth Harbour is Stocking Island. Stocking also has a number of businesses and attractions for cruisers.

The Chat N Chill is a beach bar on Stocking. It has a long beach and volleyball court.

There are rays that will swim to you expecting to be fed scraps from the conch bar. We fed it and petted it!

You can take a trail accross to the ocean beach.

We had a BBQ on Hamburger Beach with others for Memorial Day.

This is Salty, he had fun too!

George Town had a horrible fire about a month or two ago and the Straw Market burned to the ground. Thanks to donations from the nearby Sandles resort the crafts people have this new tent set up.

Lots to do here with lots of other cruisers. We have enjoyed being here with about 50 other boats. In winter at high season there are 300 - 400 boats!