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Lunch anyone???

2017 April 23
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by Greg Long

There are generally two types of restaurants in the Bahamas. Touristy places that all seem to have the same menu, the same atmosphere and the same prices, and then locally focused places that cater to Bahamians. We seek out the local spots. We usually find them by asking several Bahamians where they would go out for lunch. If they tell us about a waterfront, touristy place we push harder until they tell us about some little take-away spot on the corner or down a side street somewhere. And those are the treasures. They tend to be slower with a more limited menu of local dishes. We’ve developed a real appreciation for Bahamian baked mac & cheese, peas & rice and the local culture that comes for free.

 

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Hidden Treasures, a take-away on the beach in Cat Island.

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Destiny was minding the shop while her mom was away in Nassau. Lunch was slow, we learned a lot about Cat Island, Destiny and her 2 year old daughter and thoroughly enjoyed the wait.

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The local rib and chicken takeaway. Every morning a couple guys fire up the grills and start cooking ribs. By mid-afternoon, it’s all gone. The trick is in the timing: getting there late enough for the ribs to be hot for dinner, but early enough they don’t sell out.

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One rib dinner, plenty for dinner for 2! Ribs, two sides (both mac & cheese) and a roll.

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Pineapples has their own dinghy dock across from the settlement on Green Turtle. We met another cruising couple in town, dinghied over to Pineapples and spent the afternoon getting acquainted. A pretty typical cruising encounter.

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Pineapples was unusual in that they have a pool. A few places do and they tend to be the ones with a lot of night life. Our first experience with Pineapples was during our first season when we went there for a rake and scrape. A Bahamian musical experience not to be missed!

 

But if not…

Water water everywhere

2017 April 22
Comments Off on Water water everywhere
by Greg Long

and this year we had lots to drink!! After last season, we decided to add a water maker to the equipment list. Two seasons of jugging water to the boat and skimping on how much water we used convinced us to take the plunge (get it?). Every time we turn on the water maker we are amazed. Saltwater gets pulled into the boat, through a couple filters and a fancy pump into a couple of very long tubes, and comes out the other end as pure, sweet, drinkable water. So far, 465 gallons of sweet reverse osmosis water to be exact. That’s how much water we made during the 2+ months we were in the Bahamas.  In other words, 93 jugs of water if we were hauling it from on shore, handing it up onto the boat and siphoning it into the tanks. Or, by yet another measure, 3,720 pounds of water that we didn’t have to lug around! Any way you measure it, it was a great decision!

So, in honor of our newfound appreciation for the sublime joys of water, here are a few water pictures from our season.

 

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Pulling the anchor in predawn light.

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Rigging the fishing lines.

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We had so many great sailing days this year.

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Forest fires in the Abacos.

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Forest fires at sunset.

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A ferry crossing the sound at sunset with the forest fires in the back ground.  These fires burn until rain puts them out, so they burned for several weeks.

But if not…

 

Little San Salvador Island

2017 April 21
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by Greg Long

There are a couple ways to see the Bahamas by boat. One is to sail from island to island, meeting locals, exploring amazing sites, with no particular time pressures other than those dictated by wind and whim.

The other way is to join with 2,500 of your best friends on a floating city, anchor alongside a private island owned by the cruise ship company and be ferried into a resort beach setting complete with beach bar, air conditioned straw market and beach umbrellas set up next to lounge chairs.

As we sailed past Little San Salvador island, owned by the Holland Cruise Lines, we had a chance to chat on the radio with one of the officers of the cruise ship hovering (too windy to anchor) just off the island. He was very friendly and informative about how their one stop in the Bahamas was conducted. Even told us about how they ferry in all the island staff from nearby Eleuthera each morning before the ship arrives at 8 am and then take them all home at 5 pm after the ship sails off for it’s next port of call. Each day they set up a one stop, faux Bahamian settlement! Amazing!

The officers life was actually more interesting. The ship is out of Holland, moved across to Port Everglades for a season, then was headed down to the Panama Canal to go through to the Pacific Northwest and then up to Alaska for their cruise season. Then from there back to the Med, down to the Bahamas/Florida and around and around they go. We had a very friendly bit of back and forth when I pushed him about living a pretty plush life and he responded with how he was actually doing it for work while we were sailing along from beach to beach enjoying ourselves with no schedule. Touché! At our speed of 7 kts, we had quite a bit of time to chat. When two whalers would meet in mid-ocean they would pull alongside and “speak” each other. That was called a gam. No idea where the word came from, but I guess we had a gam with the cruise ship. Just 2 boats passing in the day!

 

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You can see the cruise ship long before the island itself comes into view!

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The thing is huge! And it has computer controlled stabilizers and thrusters allowing it to hover in one spot with very little rocking. All the comforts!

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The little resort settlement put together for the cruise passengers to sample Bahamian life.

But if not…

Water color

2017 April 10
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by Lyn

A camera has a hard time showing the true color of the water in the Bahamas! We are still in awe at the vivid colors we see everyday. The brilliance of Gods handiwork!!

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When we crossed over to Cat Island it was deep almost until we were next to the island. The deep purple is a still a thousand feet deep and we could clearly see the bright blue of the banks where it’s 10 to 15 feet deep which is typical for the banks.

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Zach, this picture is for you. It’s Gramps in the dinghy behind the boat at Cat Island. When we got close to shore it was a bright green…your favorite color!!

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This is a mail boat, they carry all food and supplies from Nassau to the other islands. People on every island know the mailboat schedule because the day after the mailboat arrives the small grocery stores have fresh produce and plenty of stock on the shelves….the day before you will fin

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This is one of the types of ferries used in the Bahamas. They carry people and sometimes cars from island to island.

 

He quieted the sea with his power

 

Cat Island

2017 April 3
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by Greg Long

We finally made it to Cat Island, and it was well worth the effort. The highlight of the trip, besides the beauty of the island scenery, was a climb up Mt Alvernia (Como Hill to the locals) to the highest point of the Bahamas. Since that highest point is only 206 ft above sea level, it’s easy to understand why hurricanes cause so much devastation!

Mt Alvernia is the location chosen by Father Jerome, a truly remarkable man who made a lasting impact on the communities. Father Jerome started his career as an award winning architect who then entered the ministry as an Anglican priest. He was sent to the Bahamas to help restore local churches and communities after a 1908 hurricane. After some years of service, he left the islands for stints as a cowboy, wagon train driver, sailor and probably a few other pursuits. He then converted to Catholicism and returned to the Bahamas where he built his retirement home and personal monastery call the Hermitage. From the anchorage, the Hermitage looks like an imposing structure atop the hill. But when you reach it, you realize Father Jerome was more contemplative and reclusive than grandiose. The Hermitage is a series of connected but very small rooms. The largest room is a 1 person chapel complete with a single seat pew and kneeler.

The story is told that Bahamians knew something was wrong when the 86 year old Father Jerome failed to ring the chapel bell one morning. They hurried up the hill to find that he had fallen. They helped him down the hill and sent him by boat to Nassau and then on to Miami for surgery, which he did not survive. But he left an indelible mark on the islands he served.

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The Hermitage atop Mt Alvernia

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Seems like we are always anchoring close to the BTC towers!

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The road up to the Hermitage

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Father Jerome was also a sculptor and carved the 14 Stations of the Cross on the path up the hill

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The Hermitage is actually several small individual purpose rooms: sleeping, sitting, kitchen and chapel

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Not as big as it looks from the anchorage!

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Looking down at the anchorage from inside

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The inside of the Chapel

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The single seat pew and kneeler

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The bell tower and the chapel

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But if not…

 

Snorkeling

2017 March 28
by Lyn

We joined several others at a small reef near our anchorage and enjoyed snorkeling.  It was good to get into the water and swim around a bit.  We went at low tide and  apparently lots of other people had the same idea. The longer we were there, the more dinghies showed up. We spent almost as much time in the the dinghy meeting and talking to other cruisers as we did in the water.  But that’s the cruising life – it’s all about the people you meet along the way.

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But if not…

 

Long Island, Bahamas

2017 March 27
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by Lyn

We finally made it to the tropics! Well, just barely. The Tropic of Cancer, the northern boundary of what is officially called the tropics, passes right through the middle of Long Island.  And it was definitely worth the effort.  It’s a beautiful, friendly and relaxing place.

Long Island sustained quite a bit of damage from hurricane Joaquin and they are still rebuilding. Some things won’t ever be rebuilt since they are just gone. We spent some time talking with locals who described the 36 hours the hurricane sat over the island. Not a pleasant memory! Hurricane Matthew then added to the work load this year.

But the people, like most Bahamians, are resilient and still very pleasant and welcoming. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would love to come back!

 

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Sailing to Long Is from Georgetown.

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It was a perfect day!!

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This is a Long Is snowman…..made of rocks!

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Walking the beach with Ron and Kathy( Stormy Petrel) and Tom and Sue (Sandcastle).

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A doll with seaweed hair that washed up on the beach.

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Tourist office

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Library and museum still closed because of hurricane Matthew but learned things to see while here.

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A Bahamian building a boat for the Long Is regatta in April.

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Anglican Church in Clarence Town.

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Catholic Church just a couple blocks from the Anglican Church

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Inside Catholic Church.

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Learning about Clarence Town from a Bahamian working at the Catholic Church.

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Warning Blue Hole is deep!!

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Dean’s Blue Hole where the world free diving records are set. We met someone “warming up” with a 200′ free dive.

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Blue hole

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Greg swimming in Deans Blue Hole.

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Beach around Deans Blue Hole.

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Touring caves on Long Is with Leonard

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Caves on Long Is

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Adderley’s plantation ruins.

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Kitchen fireplace.

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Several buildings

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Looking at ruins.

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They built really short doors.

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Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492.

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Christopher Columbus monument

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View from monument

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Another view from the monument

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One more view from monument

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Sue from Sandcastle playing her guitar on the beach at Tiny’s in Long Is.

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Tiny’s….the place to relax on Long Is.

 

He quieted the sea with his power

 

Georgetown Exuma

2017 March 15
by Lyn

We tried to go from Eleuthera to Cat Island, but no such luck. If the winds were right to go there, they were wrong to stay there. If the wind was right to be there, it was on the nose so very difficult to get there. Oh well. So we headed across the Exuma Sound to the Exumas and worked our way down to Georgetown. From here, it’s a more favorable angle to head over to Long Island and then, perhaps, up to Cat. We’ll see.  The wind and the weather rule!

 

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Rays waiting for a handout under the fish cleaning station at Black Point.

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Paperbird at anchor in Black Point

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Yes, we had fresh Mahi for dinner our first night in Georgetown

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A good samaritan helped us across the harbor when our dinghy engine wouldn’t start (bad gas). God Bless you, John!

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Ron and Kathy, friends from Stormy Petrel, sailing by to say hello

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Ron & Kathy sailing back to their boat

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Sand Dollar Beach, our anchorage in Georgetown.

 

He quieted the sea with his power

Black Point Exuma

2017 March 4
by Lyn

We are now in Black Point in the Exumas. They are really friendly and the harbor is beautiful!

The challenge in the Exumas is finding a place to hide out from cold fronts. When the winds clock, there are very few spots that offer 360 protection. In this case, the winds are forecast to stay NE so we only had to find good protection from one direction. And Black Point offers great protection and very solid holding for the anchor. There are probably 25 boats here with the same idea. So here we all sit, while the wind blows 30 with higher gusts and supposed to be that way for 3 days! So it’s a good time to relax, read a book, and eat through some of  the snack provisions.

 

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School boys headed to band practice.

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Roosters are every where and crow at all hours of the day.

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The beautiful harbor!

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People watching…

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We walked to the blow hole. It was low tide so didn’t blow very high.

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Greg’s office view.

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Weather front coming in….a water spout formed….it stayed there for about 15 minutes. We definitely kept an eye on it!

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Weather coming our way!

 

He quieted the sea with his power

 

Rock Sound Eleuthera

2017 February 28
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by Lyn

The name of Eleuthera derives from eleutheria, meaning freedom. A group of religious colonists were shipwrecked on a reef now called Devils Backbone (ironic, huh?) and named the island Eleuthera. The more we dig, the more we learn the rich history of these islands.

As we have been able to move south along Eleuthera this week we are now enjoying Rock Sound. A beautiful waterfront and really friendly people. We pass Bahamians along the road when we are walking and say “hello” and they call out “have a wonderful day in Eleuthera”!

We met up with another cruising couple from a boat named Hold Fast who have been coming here for several years. We went to church with them on Sunday and then shared some great times together. Turns out we had met them briefly 2 years ago in Elizabeth City, NC. Since then we’ve followed their blog as they’ve worked with local church congregations and volunteered in the schools here and other settlements. Hopefully our wakes will cross again in the future!

 

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Rock Sound water front as seen from our boat. The church is supposed to be one of the most photographed churches in the islands.

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A view of Paperbird, our boat, from the dinghy dock in Rock Sound.

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An afternoon of praise and prayer of the youth in Rock Sound. In typical island fashion, the start time was listed as 3:00. The actual start time was a little after 4:00 and the music started about 6:00.

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Taken from the gazebo on the beach on the right side in the first picture.

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A nature preserve at the Ocean Hole in Rock Sound.

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700 islands, covering 5,400 square miles of land and 100,000 square miles of ocean….the Bahamas!

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Blackbeard is part of the Bahamian history…..

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The Ocean Hole inland in Rock Sound. The hole is a limestone formation at least 600 ft deep. Jacques Cousteau, who used to winter on Eleuthera, dove it and never found the bottom. Interestingly, it’s about a mile from the ocean, but rises and falls with the tide, so it is definitely connected by underground passages to the ocean.

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Whatcha see in there???

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Lots of fish!!

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No, not ice….drinking water being delivered. We are enjoying our water maker that we installed this year.

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This place has a profusion of color everywhere!

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Lunch at Sammy’s….with a produce stand out side.

 

He quieted the sea with His power