Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pictures or stories?


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is my explanation for all the photos lately. It hasn’t been that I have been too busy to write. In fact I have had enough time to pluck each and every leg hair out with tweezers. (Yes, I am living proof it can be done and I got the idea from another boating friend who did the same…lol). Now if that’s not having time on your hands I don’t know what is. Quite simply, I’ve just been too lazy to write.

We arrived in Georgetown a week ago after a phenomenal 30-mile sail from Cave Cay. There was an offshore breeze 18-20 knots and we sailed 45 degrees to the wind. Blue Blazes loves these conditions and she flew like a bird. It was amazing.

Georgetown, like I have mentioned before, is an extremely popular place. At last count there were 185 boats anchored here. That may sound like a lot but the anchorages are huge and there is plenty of room for everyone. We have moved around a few times since arriving but, until today, we have been anchoring in the less popular spots. We just couldn’t see ourselves getting involved in all the organized activities. That is until Harley signed us up for the Georgetown to Long Island Regatta, which starts this Monday. Tonight is the kick off party so we moved in close to the action so we don’t have a long dinghy ride back to the boat after.

I wasn’t too excited at first about going in the regatta because, it’s no secret, I hate racing but this 4-day event sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Harley tells me he has no interest in the racing aspect and that he only signed up for the social part. Anyone who knows Harley knows he is just feeding me a line but I have to admit it sounds enjoyable.

To my surprise the town of Georgetown is quite small. I was expecting something similar to (but not as big as) Nassau. Instead we found a laid back town with one main street and lots of character. The size shouldn’t fool anyone however, as this town has everything anybody would need and it is a great place to re-provision before carrying on to more remote places.

Anyway, it is time to move on, and we plan to after the regatta, but where? We don’t know yet. We’ll just have to see where the wind blows us.

Pictured above:

The Internet Cafe

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Georgetown





The anchorage here in Georgetown is quite a happening place but, as far as I can see, it’s not much more than summer camp for seniors…..not really what we are into but that’s o.k. We had to come and see what all the fuss was about.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cave Cay (con't)

If you care to read more about Cave Cay see my comment on the posting.

Janice

Slide show - Bahamas Vol 1

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cave Cay - A Short Story

Journal Entry
January 21, 2010

……We wanted a nice protected spot to weather out these high winds.

Cave Cay was the perfect spot with protection from all directions but as soon as we dropped the hook a voice came on the VHF in a very southern U.S. accent, “Vessel just entering Cave Cay Cove…this is Cave Cove Marina……What are your intentions?”

Harley was still up at the bow attending to the anchor so I come back, “This is Blue Blazes, We were planning on staying the night to get out of the weather….we will be leaving in the morning.” I replied.

“Anchoring is not allowed in the harbour…You are welcome to stay at our marina” came back the voice on the other end…….CRAP!

I called Harley back to the cockpit and after a short discussion we decided (what the heck) let’s take a slip for the night. After all, we haven’t tied to a dock since St. Augustine.

“Our batteries could use a charge.” Harley says, “I bet they have water to wash the deck.” he continued,

“I bet they have internet,” I added.

We radioed back to the voice, asked the price, and then said, “What is our slip assignment.”

Two very friendly faces greeted us at the dock to take our lines. In fact, they were overly friendly, which believe it or not freaked me out. I felt like the unsuspecting tourist character from a horror novel falling victim to some horrible plot.

Besides a boat that had as much growth on it as the dock, we were the only boat there.

At first glance this place appeared modern and well kept. The buildings were outstanding and the floating cement docks were built of the highest standards, but we soon found it was only a fa├žade. The structure that looked to be the marina office was beautiful but it was locked up tight. When we peered into the windows we discovered it was totally empty.

I left Harley at the boat and walked up to the laundry, washrooms, and shower facilities. Call it a sixth sense, but I could swear something was watching me. Sure enough I was being carefully watched by four menacing looking German Sheppards. The facilities looked like they haven’t been used in several months with dust, twigs, and leaves that must have blown in over time covering the floors.

While walking back to the dock where Blue Blazes was securely tied, I could feel the burning stares of those intimidating dogs but not only that I could hear a conversation on a VHF radio coming from somewhere up the hill.

I recognize those voices” I thought and then quickly realized it was Harley and Marg discussing where Lion’s Paw is anchored and what their plans were. Whoever was listening to that radio, was listening in on our working channel!

When I got back to the boat I tried to brush it off. “This is ridiculous.” I thought. “Don’t let your imagination run away with you.” I told myself.
I was creeped out for the rest of the day checking over my shoulder constantly. Even while on the internet I couldn’t help but think I was being watched.

The next day as we were leaving the owner of the place gave us his bill along with an 8 x 10 photo of our boat tied to their dock. (Probably taken by their surveillance camera) He said we could have it as a souvenir and asked us to come back anytime.

Not in this lifetime!” I thought.


P.S. We had a phenomenal sail yesterday from Cave Cay to Georgetown.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gin-clear Water



"On a clear day you can see forever..." both looking up and looking down.

Beautiful People

The Bahamian people, from what we have experienced anyway, are a rare breed. We could all take lessons from these beautiful people.

Yesterday, for example, we went to a restaurant that runs on an honour system. Lorraine the owner says, “Take what you want, write it on a piece of paper, and pay me later”. It doesn’t even have to be today!

And today, at the laundry mat the proprietor (Ida) takes orders for conch fritters (six for a dollar!), cooks them up right there, and serves them to you while you finish folding your laundry.

In every little village we have stopped at the local people have been incredibly friendly and seem genuinely happy to have us there. Almost without exception, they won’t pass us on the street without giving us a friendly hello…..even the children say hi.

They live simply, have little money, but they are millionaires in quality of life. I am so envious of their laid-back lifestyle. Harley and I joke about it and say, “even the criminals lack motivation!”

Having said that, we never leave the boat unlocked and always put the dinghy up at night. Old habits die hard.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thunderball Grotto






We went to Thunderball Grotto again......can you tell? I love this place.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sampson Cay




Jan. 14/10

Great weather and beautiful scenary makes for a mighty fine day!

Today we toured around in our dinghy and checked out this whole area. We ended up at Sampson's Cay Club for lunch where we enjoyed a Grouper sandwich that was to die for. Did I ever mention how lucky we are?

Pictures

1. Sampson's Cay Club
2. Sampson's Cay Club
3. Nurse Shark

Piggy Beach


With everything I put in my mouth these days I feel every calorie settling on my midriff but, no, that is not me on the beach.

They call this beach Piggy Beach as there is a family of wild pigs who live here and, like the Iguanas at Allan’s Cay, they wait for people to come to shore so they can beg for hand-outs. These somewhat aggressive creatures have even been known to swim out to the boats looking for offerings. Now I’ve seen everything.

Staniel Cay




Jan. 13/10

One of the things that make paradise so tolerable is having playmates. The people we have met along the way have everything to do with why we enjoy this life. We all come from different walks of life but we love what each has to bring to the table and of course we all have sailing in common.....We all live on cramped vessels needing constant maintenance and have nothing but the weather controlling our every decision....LOL.

Today we are playing with our friends Pat and Lynn and since they have been here before, they know of the best places to play. We just came back from the coolest, most spectacular snorkelling we have ever experienced. Here at Staniel Cay there is a reef/cave called “Thunderball Grotto” and it is the location used in two James Bond movies.

The many types of coral formations were like nothing we have ever seen before with their vivid colours and fascinating shapes. We swam through crevices and into a large cave teeming with fish of every description. Unfortunately I am finding that there is a trick to underwater photography. I haven’t quite got a handle on it and most of my pictures didn’t turn out like I would have liked. I’ll keep trying though. For now you will have to take my word for it….It was spectacular.

Pictures:

1. Today's sunset.
2. & 3. Pictures taken while snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto.

Friday, January 8, 2010


View The Trail of Blue Blazes in a larger map

Now This is the Bahamas We Were Looking For



Five days ago we left Nassau and had a great sail across the Yellow Bank to Allens Cay. This type of sailing is all new to us and we have discovered that one has to be on their toes to sail in these waters. Like the Great Bahama Bank, the Yellow Bank is very shallow and we could see bottom the entire way. The difference though is that now we had to have a sharp eye out for coral heads. Given that this is our first time down here we weren’t even sure what a coral head should look like so it was a bit nerve racking at first. We soon found out that coral heads are well charted and once we saw one it was really quite obvious where they were and they were easily avoided.

Allens Cay is a beautiful place but what draws cruisers here is the rare species of giant iguanas that have taken up residence on the island. Who could pass up an opportunity to visit ugly, intimidating, and somewhat aggressive creatures like that? Well I can think of someone. As soon as anyone comes to shore in their dinghy they start to come out of the shadows looking for handouts. We stayed on the beach just long enough to throw them our peace offering and snap a few pictures. That was enough for me.

We stayed in Allens Cay for two very windy and very rocky days. From there we sailed to Normans Cay….again, another impressive spot. The sand, the water, the coral, the colours, and the scenery were absolutely stunning. Now that’s what it’s all about but nothing can match the beauty of Wardwick Wells Cay where we are now.

Wardwick Wells Cay is where the headquarters of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is located. Not only is the scenery exquisite, the Exuma Park is a "no take zone" by land and sea, which means the reefs are abundant and the beaches are pristine. Today I feel like we experienced the best that the Bahamas has to offer. This is the Bahamas I was looking for.

Pictures:
1. A picture taken while snorkling today.
2. The view of the anchorage at Wardwick Wells Cay.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Picutred above:
1. View of Atlantis from the anchorage
2. Marg and Steve
3. Harley and I

Happy New Year!!!!!

Nassau is a big commercial port and probably not like the rest of the Bahamas but it's definitely worth seeing.

To explore the area we started with a walking tour of the city. After we took a trip to the beach. To get there we walked through the grounds of the fabulous Atlantis resort and it was like walking through Disney World....very commercial and fake but absolutely stunning to say the least. The beach was beautiful and very clean but not what we had envisioned for the Bahamas, but then again this isn't the real Bahamas.

Last night was amazing being New Years Eve and let me just say, this town knows how to party. The party started at midnight with an astounding fireworks display and then Junkanoo started. Junkanoo is a festival similar to mardi gras and it goes all night and all day. We stayed until we could barely stand up any more and at 6:30am we left. It's been a very long time since I last pulled an all nighter, and I'm paying for it today, but I'm glad I went. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.