Thursday, January 31, 2013

Schedule of Events at Hog Cay

Today I am making bread and I washed out my underwear, rinsing it in water accumulated in the dinghy during the last rain and drying it on the lifelines. Most others have joined Cookie Monster on their big boat trailing the dinghies to Ragged Island, for lunch at The Bonefish Lodge. Hopefully Monkey Man will swing by this afternoon and we can buy fish for dinner.

It is a lovely day with a soft breeze, promised to kick up to the 20's gusting 30 over the next day or so. Just in time for Klaus's birthday party Saturday night at the yacht club. Then Sunday, Fikel and some townies will pick us up for a Superbowl Party, cracked conch and lobster, chicken wings, and all the sides, to be washed down with Kaliks. I calculate two Kaliks = one glass of wine and I don't care to hear differing theories. (Kalik is the local Bahamian beer.) I don't know how I will stay up that late but I am hoping someone brings a cattle prod. You might see a commercial Bahamas Tourism shot in Georgetown right after we left. If it is not beautiful you owe it to yourself to get a new TV.

This afternoon we will take a seaglass walk near low tide then hunker down for the next blow. Signal not good enough for pictures, and right now, no gmail. Soon come.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Jumentos

Technology has tried to catch up in these remote islands of the Bahamas. For some it has succeeded, for others, well I guess you have figured that out. We were here two years ago with a group of friends who  are for the most part not here. A lot has changed but much is the same.

You still go commando or wear your underwear inside out on day 2. The sheets get changed every so often, not weekly. You eat the outside leaves of lettuce and the tops of the tomatoes, you give up bananas and all fruit but apples and citrus. You use ice cube trays to make ice. You seek out new and exciting ways to eat cabbage. Although unintentionally, you swim with sharks. You burn your garbage, and eat canned food.

This time you still hunt lobster, but you can also buy it from Monkey Man who shows up most days with two pound tails for $5 each. The "yacht club" now has a roof, and permanent tables and seating. As in Georgetown, there seems to be a regime change. Every one finds a Mary Bean, except for me. But I now have two, given as gifts. The roof of the school cafeteria blew off in Sandy, so I don't know how you get internet other that the slow version I am using at the boat. You now call Maxine the grocer on your cell phone, not the VHF radio.

We arrived here on January 16th, two years to the day since our last visit. It is different without our old friends, although we have made many new ones. I wish everyone could be here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Long Island Bahamas Dining Out

 Chez Pierre is a wonderful restaurant run by a cranky French Canadian serving Italian food. You will need a car and head north, looking for his sign. Follow the dirt road until you hit it. Pierre will invite you to his self serve bar and take your order, correcting your pronounciation and handing out snide remarks. His appetizer of baked olives is better than you can expect, but save room for any of his salads, a large can easily serve two. The Caesar with bacon is incredible. This was our third time there and once again I ordered the veal al Limone (say Lee Moan or don't order it). This time the veal was a tad tough but if you just asked for a plate of his sauce you would be satisfied.
 
The next night one of the cruisers arranged a buffet at Triphina's old restaurant, she has leased it out to others now. Ten boats showed up to find Triphina greating us with no buffet. Enough said on that.
 
Saturday night Long Island Breeze hosted a bring your food for a BBQ with the Breeze providing a cash bar. This event was well attended by the cruisers and locals and Ted, one of the cruisers, played his guitar and sang cruising melodies, Robin provided the S'mores, and everyone shared good friendship and stories.

                                  Jackie and Mike in a rare moment of civility to each other.
                                           Great wiener roasting sticks provided.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Great Salt Pond on Long Island

One of the great things about getting to Georgetown is that your next stop can be Long Island. You don't want to be here when SW winds blow, but at all other times it is a place called Paradise. When people talk about Long Island, they are generally referring to Thompson Bay on Great Salt Pond although there are other stops here, notably, Clarencetown, down South and west for jumping off to the Eastern Caribbean.

We arrived along with eight other boats to join the four already here, including Synergy and Discovery. Leaving Georgetown around seven, we sailed over to Joe Sound,  the less traditional route, hoping for fish for dinner. Here, you are wise to fish only in the deep water, otherwise you risk catching cinguatera, a fish toxin that can lead to numb extremities, paralysis and the big one, death. (The reef fish in the shallow feast on the algae on which it grows. Or something like that.)
No fish were caught by any of the boats in our flotilla, which were soon to become our newest friends.

One of our attractions here is the Long Island Breeze, where Jackie and Mike have put together a fantastic casual resort with an excellent restaurant (serving the best Phillie cheesesteak and Lobster fettucine), a Laundromat with dryers that actually dry your clothes, showers, internet, a swimming pool, and a rental car for $50 per day. Nearby are the two grocery stores, and Marcie's, where you can, and I did, get a great haircut.


 

We rented a car with Seabiscuit so that they could see the Columbus Monument and we could look for sea glass. The trip to the Monument is just something you need to get out of the way. The road up there is tortuous, and unless you have a four wheel drive, stupid to attempt. It is a strenuous walk up. But once there you have done it. It is one of the several places that claim Columbus's stop in the New World, and I wonder how they can figure out the date of arrival.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hiking Georgetown

One of Georgetown's attractions is the ability to walk many trails, some strenuous while others are just a good walk in the park. The views from up high are pretty breathtaking. This is where we had anchored over by Monument Beach, also known as Hamburger Beach.

You can also find a good clinic in town, and a cab ride away on Thursday you can see Dr. Fox for whatever ails ya. I went in for my quarterly blood work. Bring a good book and be prepared to spend your day here. The receptionist either does a good job of triage or the locals get served first. I think Dr. Fox might also pull teeth as a formidable implement unrelated to a medical practice was on his examination side table.



 
At sunset, it is the practice to blow your conch horn, hopefully longer than the other guy. Peter does a pretty good job. Blair from Strathspey was in the anchorage and blew his Pipes again for us all.


 
One day of hiking we found a whole bunch of great shells, as we hit it at low tide. The next day, encouraged by our harvest the day before, we tried again, only to find someone had been there before us, as evidenced by the telltale footprints that had not been washed away by the high tide.
 
At the top near the Monument you can get a great shot of the "holes" where some folk rent a mooring for short term or long term storage or just to hang on one instead of anchoring. Kavali House also has a small marina in one of the holes, where you can dock your boat while you fly home for a spell in leaving your boat in a very protected haven.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Georgetown

Gtown is the epicenter of cruising activities in the Bahamas. Well, it used to be. One could grow weary of hearing the same boats hailing other same boats, discussing the same topics over and over. But it looks like everyone who was anybody has swallowed the anchor, or chosen some other location to organize. It is quite peaceful here now. Except for the significant number of French speaking Canadians who perhaps are the next generation of organizers here. Even Dabbler is gone, and is now "Dab Blah". Oy.

Not much has changed in town. Julius is still providing computer services and a 15 cents a minute phone call to the US. In 22 minutes someone from Medicare will eventually come on line to tell you you need not apply for Medicare if you already receive Social Security Benefits. Exuma Markets is still providing reasonably (sic) priced groceries, and Sandpiper is still selling her painted tiles, like the ones I purchased and George the tile guy installed in our guest bath.

On New Year's Eve Marilyn and Carl invited us for celebration and hors d'oeuvres with Blue Heaven and Sea Biscuit. Synergy stayed at home under quarantine with Chris in the early stages of The Crud, and Karen suffering a relapse. The Crud seems to be circulating around the harbor and seems like the flu, food poisoning, and a horrible chest cold all rolled into one nasty mess. We made it to Sailor's Midnight and complimented ourselves on old age common sense and early bedtimes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If I Can't Have a Dog, how bout an Iguana?

My New Year's Resolution:
Get an Iguana.
From Little Bay we left along the Banks, waiting for the wind to die down and for slack at Galliot Cut. A good plan. Several hours later we followed Blue Heaven with their Explorer Charts on their Plotter into Adderly Cut by Lee Stocking Island, and headed for the anchorage at Leaf Cay. We paid homage to the local residents, numerous iguana (s?) who charge out of the underbrush at the first site or perhaps sound of an approaching dinghy, in search of handouts. I can report that Costco multigrain cracks trump cabbage leaves, and at times, I wished I had opted for something more vegetarian. It is not a good practice to feed the wildlife, but I did any how.
 The following morning we threw caution to the wind (!!!) and followed Al and Arleen through waters which at low tide would have us stranded to get to their favorite beach, which they have dubbed "Twin Beaches".  Located near Williams Cay, at low tide the sea glass is washed up at your feet and if you are quick, you can grab it before it is reclaimed by the receding waves.

We also got to witness what was either a Ray Convention or a Love-In. Several rays gathered near each other, then one would drop out and swim away, only to have another gain entry into the magic circle.


This is a lovely spot, and although I now have waypoints marking how to get here, I doubt whether I would undertake the expedition without a leader with the right charts. Arlene got this shot of First Edition as the sun set on yet another fulfilling day in the Bahamas.