Monday, February 15, 2010

JUST THE FOUR OF US AGAIN






On the off chance that people are actually checking in regularly with us, I must apologize for the length of time since the last post. Once again, internet access has been "hit and miss" to say the least. I keep meaning to update more often, but haven't had much luck. So once again, this will be a long one.

After a great two weeks in the company of the Mitchells and Alan and Spencer, we were off on our own again. We were all a bit down, especially me, having gotten used to the company on "Island Girl". I am not as "free" with my emotions as my brother and cousin can be ;-), but I almost had a weepy moment (almost). It didn't help that they took the warm weather and sunshine with them, it was cold and grey as we said our good-byes to Alan and Spencer.


We finished up our groceries, laundry, etc... and moved north to Treasure Cay. We had a really nice sail, with both Delaney and Mitchell taking turns at the helm.



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In the video we are doing about 7kts, but you can see how effortlessly Delaney was driving the boat. We loves catamarans and we love our Gemini!!

This time we met up with the crew of "Gladys", with Jennifer and Ben onboard, along with two little girls, Ocea and Jaia (geez, I hope I got the spelling correct). Ben rowed over and introduced himself, and later we all went over to the beach. The kids had a great time, I got a kiteboard session in, and Lisa and Jennifer talked and read.


As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Treasure Cay is a bit of a mish-mash. The anchorage is pure "South Florida", all small condo units with fishing boats in front and lots of empty, undeveloped lots. The beach; however, is amazing! 3-1/2 miles long and the softest/powdery sand we have ever seen! Creative marketing I suppose, but it's listed as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the world by National Geographic and Conde Nast magazines. Anyway, our second night we heard was going to be pizza night up at the Tipsey Seagull Bar. So although we love our regular feasts of Mac & Cheese with turkey Spam on the side (which contains 50% of the fat of Fat Reduced Regular Spam, so it can't be all that bad, right??) , we decided to splurge. So imagine this, all the Florida retirees out for pizza, lots of blue hair and sequined/bedazzled tops, and Frank Sinatra blaring on the soundsystem. Bahamas, right??? $47.00 and 2 -8 slice pizzas later, we were back on the boat for the night.


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The next morning Ben swung by after a very successful coconut gathering trip. We got both green ones that we cut open and drank the water from, as well as older that we cut the meat out of (and the kids later made hanging bowls out of). Cheap entertainment, the kids were enthralled for hours!

The next day, following the winds as has become our routine, we moved south again, back to Hope Town (some ugly weather was on the way), but with a stopover for some snorkeling at Mermaid Reef just outside Marsh Harbour.


In Hope Town, we always have to check out the "Lizard Lodge". This is the palatial home of a "Curley Tail" (lizard), fully set-up with his own NASCAR Chevy, float plane and perpetually full mug of beer!! And what do you know, he was actually home this time (you can just make him out inside the front door). With the winds up and the boat securely moored , we dinghied over to the lighthouse to check it out. Just a side note, we haven't had much luck with lighthouses, at least not when Mitchell is involved. Two years in a row we tried to get him up the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, but he is pretty small for his age and could never meet the height requirement established by the U.S National Park Service. So now we come to a Bahamian lighthouse, where things aren't quite so "regulated". First of note is that this is 1 of 3 remaining lighthouses in the world that still uses kerosene for the light. It is also 1 of 2 lighthouses in the Bahamas that are still manned by a keeper (whom I might add we never saw during our visit). No admission fee, a couple of simple rules, and minimal safety features (note the tattered safety netting in the pics). The views from the top were amazing, looking down on Hope Town, the Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Abaco. "Charlotte-Ann" is somewhere down there in the harbour.


Later that afternoon the winds dropped off a bit. We went to town to get some fresh fish , some just-picked green beans and "hot out of the oven" Key Lime Pie from Vernon's Grocery. On the way back to the boat we were treated to our best encounter yet with dolphins! They were swimming just ahead of us in the dinghy, so I cut the engine and we drifted for a bit. They were heading up to the south end of the harbour, so we knew they would eventually have to come past our boat again. Sure enough they did, so have a look at the great video we got of two of them playing about 15' from "Charlotte-Ann"!



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Later that evening we were invited onboard the catamaran "Hakuna Matata" to have dinner with Nathan, Rosalinda, Ahava and Ziva Ramon. We had a great meal, but what made it extra special for us was the fact that the Ramon's are Jewish, and it was Friday, the Sabbath. None of us had ever spent any time with a Jewish family so it was really nice being introduced to their Sabbath tradition. Thanks guys, it was a great night.

The next day (Saturday), Lisa had a bad headache so I took the kids a few miles outside of Hope Town to the Abaco Inn at White Sound where they were hosting a small kid's fun day. They had races, games, a pinata and bouncy castle. All the kids we have been hanging around with in Hope Town were there, as well as Jennifer, Ocea and Jaia (Ben was out taking advantage of the great surfing conditions, the best in the Bahamas).



Saturday night and Sunday were very laid back days. We decided to stick around since all the other kids were off school and this gave Delaney and Mitchell a chance to hang-out with them. Lisa was thrilled to see me dinghy over at lunch with 7 hungry kids!! (L-R: Jack, Mitchell, Jed, Delaney, Ziva, Molly and Ahava).When we are in Hope Town we tie-up to a mooring ball in the harbour. "Hakuna Matata" stays at a small resort called Hopetown Hideways. Also at Hopetown Hideaways are Jack, Molly and Jed, whose parents have rented small cottages for the winter. When I go back to work, Lisa and the kids will be staying in the marina next door, but this will end up being the neighbourhood all the kids play in. Here you can see how beautiful this spot is, a truly "kid-friendly" environment complete with a pool, beach and grassy paths (oh yeah, also a beautiful tangerine tree).



On Monday we had a nice motor about 8 miles north to Guana Cay. We grabbed another moring ball, dinghied to shore, and made our way up to Nippers , a spot famous throughout the Bahamas for their Sunday pig roast (and frozen Nipper drink, ouch!!)As we were walking along the main Town Dock we were treated to the sight of this 4' wide stingray as it passed below us.

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The kids had a great time playing on the beach (again) and swimming in the pool. It would have been great to get some snorkeling in but the water was just a bit too rough for that.

The next morning the kids and I went ashore for some freshly baked coconut bread, mmmm..... as well as a wander around "downtown" Guana Cay (which took all of 4 minutes!!).

After 3 days on Guana Cay, we took advantage of the west winds and had a brisk run down to Marsh Harbour this morning (you can see our mascot, Barefoot, doing a little surfing off the davits).
videoWe need to provision (again), and then plan to spend the next few days hanging out with some friends from Hope Town. Monday we will move the boat into the Hope Town Marina in preparation for me flying to St. John's for work (grrrr.... where did the past 3 months go????).

We hope you have enjoyed the read.

Take care,

Mark, Lisa, Delaney and Mitchell