Friday, March 25, 2011

Carrie Meets sv Blue Pearl

We’ve been bouncing around the sea of Abaco like the ball in the video game, Pong – Treasure Cay to Guana Cay to Man O War Cay to Hope Town to Marsh Harbour. They are all so close together it’s like running to the 7-11 when you run out of milk.

So, it was an easy run from Hope Town to Marsh Harbour to pick up our daughter, Carrie, after her flight from Vancouver/Toronto/Nassau/Marsh Harbour. Great to see her and lovely to show her our winter home. It was her first visit to this boat.

We had been visiting with our cruising buddies from Azaya and Kolibrie (both big teacher families) and so we were excited to introduce our teacher, Carrie, to them. After Carrie’s first night at anchor in Marsh Harbour, we met up with our buddy boats at our special spot north of Man O War harbour. Boy, someone has a mombo linksys router set up there and so we enjoy great internet. One night we downloaded the movie, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” – one of our favorites.

In the water at our spot!

Skydiving float

Pam had been dying for a hair cut (see previous posts about hair cut disasters in the Bahamas) and was thrilled when Carrie offered to cut her hair. There were envious glances from other lady boaters when they saw the result. Thanks, Carrie!!

Cleaning up!

Carrie is a fairly strict vegetarian but told us that she would compromise herself on our behalf during her visit. So we had lobster on our first night! We’re sure she felt some guilt but we know she loved her dinner.

We spent a couple of days at our Man O War spot enjoying the great internet, swimming, snorkeling, reading, visiting the town and meeting Lola and Martin who run Lola’s Bakery. We bought bread, home-made guava jam and conch fritter batter from them. We also returned to their home to buy beautiful $5 conch shells for Carrie to take home.

At Man O War

We took Carrie to the Albury Sailshop and had her pick out a bag. We hope she doesn’t have to return it in 30 years like Glen did with his (see our last blog post).

Alburys Sailmakers

Lola's Bakery - yummm

We took a run up to Great Guana to show Carrie the hotspots there - Grabbers and Nippers, where she had a frozen Grabber and a frozen Nipper and plunged into the surf off Nippers Beach. Glen was thankful that the scantily clad spring break coeds weren’t there this week.

Enjoying a Frozen Grabber at Sunset Beach

Basking on Guana's Atlantic Beach

Hope Town, only 12 miles from Great Guana is an amazing place. It seems to have been adopted by American ex-pats. There is a huge amount of energy coming from the place and the harbour is PACKED with boats. It is a perfect hurricane hole and very scenic. When we were there in ’79 there were about 8 boats anchored in the harbour. There must be more than 30 now. We walked about the town, bought more lobster tails, looked in the gift shops, admired the Atlantic beaches, enjoyed the pool next to the marina and climbed the lighthouse – one of a few Fresnell lens lighthouses remaining, and stared at the view. One day we rented a golf cart and toured around Elbow Cay, where Hope Town is located. We saw more beautiful Atlantic beaches, visited a cool bar and restaurant and walked on the incredible Tahiti Beach at low tide. Great shelling and beach walking. We travelled up and down every little roadway and lane on the island in our golf cart. Carrie bought a conch shell prepared as a ‘conch horn’ in a shop in Hope Town and was by far, the best heralder of sunset in any anchorage we visited.

Hope Town lighthouse

View from the top

Touring Elbow Cay

Carrie and Mom on Tahiti Beach

Carrie had to catch an obscenely early flight out of Marsh Harbour to Nassau to make her Toronto connection so we anchored in the harbour just off Curly-Tails Restaurant to put her into a taxi at 6:00 AM. Back to bed for us but it was the beginning of an epic, snow impeded trip back to Vancouver for Carrie. She called us at 8:00 AM our time (5:00 her time) the next day to say she had just finally arrived home. It’s windy here… but no snow. As always, when someone leaves us we have a slow day, adjusting to being alone again. We are so glad that Carrie could be here and enjoyed our time with her immensely. She has returned to Chilliwack to her busy life with Jesse, friends, Emily the dog, and work.

So, we are going to continue to PONG back and forth around the Abacos until George and Deb Keys arrive. We’ll give them the whirlwind tour and then head north over the top of Grand Bahama and cross back into Florida.

Boy… time sure flies!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bob’s Your Uncle

We’ve just put Uncle Bob and Cousin Todd into a taxi at Treasure Cay for their flight back to Miami and cold Regina.

When they arrived, a week ago, they brought with them a cold front so we spent 3 days at Treasure Cay – developing a bit of cabin fever.  Uncle Bob was dying to jump off the boat but the harbour was not too enticing.  We walked the long beach – another OOTMBBITB and had cracked conch at the Coco Beach Grill.  They had their first swim of their vacation when they plunged into the surf at the beautiful Treasure Cay beach.  We even found a garage sale!  Of course they enjoyed the obligatory viewing of Captain Ron – a requirement of all our guests.  “Get me a brewsky, Swab!” or “If anything’s going to happen it’s going to happen out there, Boss!”


Beach walking


Dark and Stormies - Rum and Ginger Beer

Beach Bums

Taking the plunge

Beats -30 in Regina

at Nippers
On Saturday we were able to strike out to Great Guana Cay and anchor at Fishers Bay.  We dinghied to shore so Todd was able to organize for a scuba dive on Monday.  Wouldn’t you know it, another front started to come through but luckily it turned out to be a weak one.  We moved into Settlement Harbour and tied up to a mooring ball.  We walked over to the Atlantic side to a beach bar called Nippers and then walked the length of a long, long beach.  Todd and his Dad spent some time in the waves filling their bathing suits with sand.  I think we just about killed Uncle Bob, with the walking and the swimming, but each time Todd asked him if he had had enough of the waves he would laugh his signature laugh and say, “just one more”.  Back to Nippers for Frozen Nippers and the pig roast dinner, courtesy of Todd – Thanks, Todd.  There were 50 to 100 college students enjoying their spring break.  Lots of noise, fun, drinking and general carrying on.  Glen found the sight of the scantily clad coeds quite distressing.  On Monday we spent a pleasant morning enjoying the view on the Atlantic side watching folks get all tumbled up in the waves like those at Big Beach on Maui while Todd enjoyed his trip with Troy at Dive Guana.

a Frozen Nipper drink at Nipper's

Swimming off the boat
In the afternoon we moved south 5 miles to our beach off Man O War Cay where Uncle Bob finally got his chance to dive off the boat.  He spent half the afternoon swimming/floating around the boat while Todd put on his mask and snorkel and looked for things to kill.  Fortunately for the fish and lobster/crawfish of Abaco, he found nothing but empty conch shells.

Just floatin' around

Bakers Bay is a massive and controversial development at the north end of Guana Cay.  It is a failed cruise ship stop and from google earth you can see the massive cut that was dredged for several miles to allow the cruise ships to get in close to the beach – OOTMBBITB.  The new development has capitalized on the cut and extended it into their marina basin – also dredged out of the low lands of the island.  There are hundreds of huge marina slips designed for the hundred foot boats we see all over the Bahamas – and there were fewer than 10 boats in the marina.  It is so weird to see that kind of over developed, underused facility all through the Bahamas.  There is a private golf course associated with the resort and there appeared to be a few people playing and also a few people lounging around the pool.  Pam noticed that 3 of the 5 people at the pool were reading from their Kindles – the other 2 reading old-fashioned books.
Had a great sail up to Bakers Bay


Grilled Hog Snapper - delicious!

We spent our last night on the boat enjoying a delicious dinner of hog snapper a la Pam.  Awesome!  Thank you, Pam.

After a short trip to Treasure Cay, Todd and Bob were able to stock up on Goslings Black Seal Rum before they boarded the taxi to the airport.  Next stop… -30 in Regina.

We have a few days to spend with buddy boats, Kolibrie and Azaya, before our daughter, Carrie, arrives to spend her spring break from her teaching position in Abbotsford.  Other than Glen’s quick trip home in January, we haven’t seen her since leaving Canada on November 1.  It will be a great reunion!

After Carrie leaves, we will be making plans to wrap up our time in the Bahamas and point the boat towards Florida.