Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Still Hangin' With The Mitchells (Uncle A and Spencer Too!)

So after having a great few days in Treasure Cay (Delaney got her hair braided), the winds shifted to the North so we made our way south once again, this time passing by Hope Town and continuing on to Lubbers Quarters (just across the channel from Tahiti Beach).

"Island Girl" arrived a little before us and already had her hook set, so we set our's a little ahead of her, drifted back and rafted the boats off one another. It was late in the afternoon, so we all just sat back and relaxed, did a little swimming and enjoyed the star-filled night.

The mom's and kids went to bed not long after sunset. Us Dad's enjoyed a single malt sitting on the transom, chatting and often falling into silence as the three of us enjoyed the silence of the night.

The next morning we woke to a bunch of kids who wanted to have some fun!!! We proceeded to swing the boom out perpendicular to "Island Girl", attach a swing rope and get silly for a few hours.

Callan was a little too small, but Freya gave it a go. Unfortunately she got a bit spooked and refused to let go of the rope! We were all encouraging her to let go but after a bit we had to get the boat pole out to pull her in. Great for her to at least try!

It was now time to move on, so we lifted the hooks and made the 15 mile trip south to Little Harbour, which soon became known as "Colin's Spiritual Home". There isn't much to Little Harbour, and I suppose that's the appeal. The only business is Pete's Pub and Gallery http://www.petespubandgallery.com/. Petes' father, Randolph Johnston, founded an art colony here in the mid 1950's. Randolph was an internationally known artist renowned for his lost wax casting in bronze.

No pun intended!

Once again we rafted the boats together, then dinghied to shore to wander around. Our timing was perfect as they had a planned bronze casting taking place in the foundry. Later we spoke to the artist, an Algerian ex-pat who sailed into Little Harbour 30 years ago on a 30' sloop and never left! He trained under Randolph and has lived on his boat and run the foundry ever since.

We made "reservations" for dinner the next night at Petes Pub. I say "reservations" loosely, since basically they just need to know if anyone will be eating because all the seafood is caught fresh on the reef the day of the meal.

Before supper we decided to walk over the dune behind the pub and visit the ocean-side beach. It was pretty rocky, but a great spot for the kids to look for shells, coral and hermit crabs. At one point we saw the fins of a shark about 50' from shore. I pointed them out and everyone was watching for it, when suddenly a big wave came ashore and through the wave you could see the shark swimming! It was an amazing sight (it was a small shark, probably 4'-5'), but seeing it so clearly as the wave crested above it was amazing.

As you can see from the pics, it doesn't get much more real than Petes. A sand "floor", an old boat for the bar and drinks from a cooler of ice. Little Harbour is "off the grid", all power is solar, hence the coolers full of ice. We are here in the middle of the off-season, a time that the staff here obviously enjoys. In another month the fish (wahoo, Mahi Mahi) start running and the place will be over run with large sportfishers from Florida.

The night of our dinner we had the place entirely to ourselves. While the staff played dominoes at the bar, we had a feast of fresh grouper, snapper and spiny lobster. The kids played ring toss (a brass ring on a length of string that you swing and try to catch on a hook), while the adults enjoyed a few cold Kaliks and rum punches.

At one point before supper we noticed a shell slowly moving across the "floor". It was a large hermit crab that, according to the staff, don't care much for the water. We foolishly pointed him back towards the beach, but soon enough he was heading back our way. Who would have thought??

The kids eventually wandered over to the bar to watch the dominoes, and before long Freya was sitting on the bartenders lap and all the kids were playing along! All of the staff were local Bahamians who spoke in a dialect unique to this area. It's a tough accent to describe, a mix of Cajun and Australian, sort of, kind of, but not really. Let's just call it Cherokee Sound Bahamian.
One of the traditions at Petes Pub is that boat crews and visitors leave behind a T-shirts, signed and stapled to the pub's ceiling. Here is our contribution, hopefully hanging there for many years to come.

After Little Harbour, we were off again to Tahiti Beach, and later Hope Town. We had an amazing day of wakeboarding for the kids. Delaney, Mitchell and Spencer all really got the hang of it, even throwing in a little "style". Even Freya got into it, being a trooper and giving it her best shot. Unfortunately Colin and Natalie missed a good portion of the day as, once again, they had problems with the starboard engine, and after repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach The Mooring, had to head to Marsh Harbour for repairs.

Back to Hope Town that night for a quiet night in the harbour.

The next morning we were off again to, you guessed, Tahiti Beach. This was to be our last day of having fun as the charter of "Island Girl"was coming to an end. We left "Charlotte-Ann" in Hope Town and headed off. We had yet to do any kitebaording, but Alan and Colin had experimented with wakeboarding behind the big cat, so we tied a rope off the boom and got in the water. It was fun, but very tiring as the boat was only making around 7.5kts, enough speed to just barely get you planing on my 6' directional kiteboard. Not fast, but lots of torque!!

Later that day the winds came up, and although not the best direction for kiteboarding, it was fine for us since we had the dinghy for a chase boat. And of course, more than 2000 miles after leaving Ontario, all my kite gear was back on "Charlotte-Ann" in Hope Town!!! No fear, Alan and Colin had their gear, so along with my directional and Alan's twin tip, we all got about an hour or so on the water.

Yup, that was FUN!!!

So back again to Hope Town where we went to the fish "guy" and got a bunch of fresh grouper and snapper.

After a bit of "goofy time", our very tired group of kids went to bed. We had a good time enjoying our last night together. Nope, not real, just henna. An inside joke because last summer Lisa got a real tattoo with both the kids names (but not mine). "They will always be my kids, but you as my husband, well ....???". Thanks!

So everyone has now left and it's just the four of us again. It was a real bummer being on the boat on Monday. It was grey and windy, we were in Marsh Harbour (yuck), and had gotten so used to spending our days with those guys.

We made some great memories, I think it will be a very long time before any of us has such a good time again (well, hopefully not too long!).

That's about all for now. Not sure where next, just watching the wind.

Take care,

Mark, Lisa, Delaney and Mitchell.