Thursday, June 30, 2011

Great Guana Cay

This is a shot from the fabulous Sunset Beach.  It is absolutely beautiful. During the daytime the trees create shade, there is a breeze that blows gently as you sip your Grabber.  It is a wonderful concoction that includes three rums, pineapple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice and is frozen to the consistency of a slushy.  Nummy.

I'm a critter person and I love watching the wild wonders the Bahamas have to offer.  The birds are amazing.  The otter family was wonderful.  The dolphins awesome.  However, the critter that I absolutely adore is the curly tailed lizard.  They are everywhere and are so much fun to watch.   

I love the people at Guanna Cay.  They are so laid back and friendly.  There is a big tree near the government dock and there is a bench that circles the tree.  The inhabitants of the island come and just sit there enjoying the view and the breeze.  It is an awesome place.  They have a cafe that CLOSES for lunch.  Now that, my friends, is laid back.

This year we rented a golf cart and went up to Bakers Bay.  It was quite an interesting adventure, it has a gatekeeper who allowed us entrance.  We parked our golf cart next to the other golf carts and lordy it was the whole dingy thing all over again.  I swear their golf carts were gold plated.

We were wandering around looking for a place to lunch when we were accosted by a 'helpful' employee.  Doug didn't ask about lunch.  He asked for the harbour master.  This guy was the assistant and said he could answer our questions.  Mr. Assistant went on to tell us the amenities of Bakers Bay.  They have a full gym and a perpetual pool. (Yeah dude, the ocean 100 yards to your left, just say'n.)  He then assured us that TRANSIENTS were not allowed.  REALLY?  ahahaha  I've never been called a transient before.  Glad Doug had the presence of mind to inquire as to the cost of this lovely paradise so we weren't given the bums rush out of there. .

We did eventually have lunch.  We had conk salad with goat pepper,  (HOT!!) and lobster pizza.  Fancy.
This photo was taken off the interwebs. 
We didn't take photo's as gawking riff-raff were not allowed. ;)

It was such an odd experience after the wonderful 'laid back' of the Bahamas I knew.  I probably wouldn't have ever thought of it again except for the whole transient thing.  That still makes me laugh.

That's pretty much it for the home movies from me.

Floating Trailer Park

Yep.  That's a bike on the back of the boat.  We talked about the different things that would make life more comfortable, lawn chairs etc.  Then I teased Doug that we'd look like a floating trailer park.  We have the dingy motor 'up on blocks' (Damn thing does NOT work).  We have the laundry flapping from the lines.  Our dingy had sprung a leak over the winter.  The side panels hold it up so we wouldn't sink but your feet will get wet. I had to laugh at the thought of what we looked like rowing to shore in a 'sinking dingy'.

At some point during the trip Doug announced that he was lusting after another boats dingy.  I laughed and told him he had dingy envy and he had to admit it was true.  I'm quite fond of our dilapidated little dingy.  The dingy has never failed us.  The motor is another story, but the dingy has always been there.  It can't help it that it sprung a leak, it's getting on in years, these things happen. ;)

Below is a picture of the dingy Doug was eyeballing. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour is on the 'main land'.  That's what the people of the smaller cay's call it.  It is a wonderful little community and has a lot of stores for all your needs.  Of course, some of those needs might have to be ordered in from Nassau, but generally you can find what you are looking for. The biggest change this year was the opening of Marshall's.  It is a kind of WalMart for the Bahamas. It wasn't WalMart prices of course.  A frozen entry (single size, not family) was $8.00.  A four pack of toilet paper cost about as much as a twenty-four roll pack.  I marvel at how anyone could afford to live there. 

We have a little 'granny' cart that we constructed from a luggage carrier and a foldable laundry hamper kind of thing.  We bungee cord it together, put our supplies inside and then wheel it the mile or two back to the boat.  On our first shopping expedition we bought a few more supplies than we had room for.  I suggested buying the cloth bags, more sturdy and we could reuse them.  Ahahaha not so sturdy after all.  The first bag was falling apart as the gentleman bagged it.   The second bag we were in the parking lot when I notice a can trying to escape the bottom of the bag.  The third bag made it all the way back to the boat.  YaY!

My favorite dish from the Bahamas is from Snappa's, just a stones throw from the marina they do a foil dish that has conk, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, gosh just all sorts of wonderful veggies and they season it with something that makes the resulting broth to die for.  It is AWESOME. 

It takes thirty minutes to cook but the time is put to good use with a delicious tropical drink.

Sunrise in Marsh Harbour

 Mangoes Marina from the back of our boat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Even though I was only gone for two weeks there were a lot of changes.

The bog grew out of its two tone mohawk and is now fully green.
My eyes can't stand make-up and all I put on was mascara.
My skin is so freaking dry after the humidity of the Bahama's.
There is the pitter-patter of little feet at my house.
Yep, we've acquired a 3 year-old.
Stavo's sister is going through a rough patch and so we are taking care of her son 'til things get better.

This is a major change for me.  I'm kind of out of the kid stage. 
But this little guy really melts my heart.  Perhaps it is because he's had a rough life (sad to say at three) and he's kind of a stray. Perhaps it's because I'm not the primary care giver, Jess and Stavo are playing the parental roll.  I'm just the comfortable lap upon which to plop and that's not a bad roll. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that we are able to help the little fella out.

Yesterday was his first day at daycare.
He took to it like a duck to water.  Loved his new friends and life was good.
In the morning he promised to tell me all about it when I got home from work.
I guess a picture is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm Ba-ack

I'll recap my time in the Bahama's over the next few days along with what pictures I have, but for now let me tell you of my adventure in getting home.

There were thunderstorms over Florida, the little puddle jumper from Marsh Harbour did a great job of staying in the air without too many sudden dips.  The landing was less than desirable, but I'm here to talk about it and I've had worse landings.  Way worse, but I digress.

The thunderstorms held up the plane that was to take me on the next leg of my journey and held it up and held it up.  Then the gal at the desk announces that our plane was in line to take off, YAY!!! But because our airport had been closed all the planes that had been waved off due to the storm now needed to land.   WHAT?  Okay, good news - bad news scenario.  I get it, but baby the natives are getting restless, perhaps we should have tried the no news tack... just say'n.

I feel sorry for the poor people who were on the plane.  They were in line to take off for a REALLY long time and their flight was like a 20 minute flight.  Initially when I asked the gal said I'd have 40 minutes to make my next plane.  Okay, it was Denver and I KNEW that I'd have to race from one end of their GINORMOUS airport to the other end.  However, I've been in Denver and I knew that I could do it, so I didn't worry, too much.

When it became apparent that I would not make my flight I tried to call my daughter.  In the past I always write down phone numbers etc.  Not this time, no sir-ee bob, all I had to do was remember the last 2 digits of both phones and I'd be good.  One was odd and one was lucky.  However, hmmmm, yeah what's odd and/or lucky seems to be subject to change?  I could not reach my daughter, reached a lot of OTHER folk. 

The poor gal behind the desk had to punch in a security code every time I tried a new number, she was already frazzled and I wasn't helping.  I eventually gave up and I called my phone, I left it home just in case anyone called that needed immediate attention kind of thing.  I prayed that Jess had not already check for messages that day.

Eventually (three hours later) our plane arrived and we were off.   Got into Denver even later than the people at the airport thought.  Instead of missing my plane by 20 minutes, missed it by 90.  The pilot said something about having to go out of our way due to storms, we must have gone a long way out of our way.

Spent the night sleeping on the floor at the Denver Airport.  It wasn't bad 'cause I knew the airport, knew where the best sleeping spot would be, knew that Quizno's would still be open and a gift shop too.  Thought I might have to buy me a sweat shirt for warmth.  Instead they had a travel blanket and with my purse for a pillow and the little blanket it worked great.  I had to turn often as my poor old hips complained and my bad knee let me know what it thought of the whole thing the next morning when I tried to walk, but all in all not bad.

Now please keep in mind I'm not really adventurous.  Missing a flight was one of the things I feared most.  What would I do, what would happen, how would this work out... But I survived the ordeal and patted myself on the back.  When I got a page in the morning I hobbled my way to the white phone and thought, 'Great, another contraption I have to figure out.'  I managed that, yay.  However, when the guy on the phone said, "Your son wants you to call him."  That was the end of that.  "I don't know the number," I wail. Tears threatening to fall.  Jake brilliant kid that he is thought of that and the dude starts rattling off the number.  While I'm grabbing a pen to write it down I say, "Is there a phone where I can call?"  He sounded horrified when he asked, "You DON'T have a phone?"  "No," I say tears trying to make another appearance. The nice man connected me.

Seems Jess didn't get the message and was indeed circling the airport in the middle of the night looking for her lost mommy.  She eventually figured it out and went home.  I told Jake that hence forth and forever more I would write down the freaking numbers... however, as I got off the phone with him and headed to my new departure gate (the gate number kept changing) I realized I STILL didn't have Jake's number.  The guy didn't finish giving it to me.  I was so stressed that I would not make THIS flight and I'd have another kid at the airport looking for me. 

It all worked out. 
I'm home.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dances with Dolphins

History of Life (Our Boat)

As shared with us by Gary, the person who enjoyed her before we did.

I thought I would relate to you, the history of your boat as it was told to me.
When Kim and I came to Florida, we went to Ft. Lauderdale to search for a boat. We met Tom Harney, a broker, and he showed us several boats.

The boat we purchased was called RAVEN II at that time. We subsequently changed it to SolyMar.
The original owner, as explained to me by Tom, was a wealthy man from Africa. Apparently, in the early 90's, he was unhappy with the financial system in Africa. The government had ruled that no more than 10% of a persons money could leave the country in any given year. He wanted to take all of his money and transfer it to the U.S.. The man made a trip to the U.S. and met with the people at the Hunter Factory. I'm assuming that it is the facility on the east coast of Florida. He contracted to purchase 2 boats. His story was that he wanted to start a Hunter dealership in Africa. He purchased two boats and they were sailed to Africa.

The owner then setup a makeshift dealership and sold one of the boats, presumably to appear legitimate. He then over the course of time, extracted all of his money in cash from the banks. He hid the money on the boat (your boat) and sailed it back to the U.S., where he started a new life.

I am unaware of his name or whereabouts. I can't verify the story. The second owner, whom were purchased the boat from, is the one who told Tom Harney the story.
Thought you might be interested.

I thought it was cool that our boat was used to smuggle.  My grandfather was a rum runner during Prohibition, must be in the blood. ;)

The Junkanoo was fun, there were local 'bands' that played.  Rake and Scrap is an interesting mixture between taped music and playing a rusty saw.  Very interesting. 

There was a fire dancer who was a mixture between a clown and a pyromaniac.  It looked like he drank as much alcohol as he used to keep his fires burning.  He was amazingly strong and astoundingly flexible.

The Bahamian Marching Band played and they were really fun to watch.  The field was small, but they did a good job.

Oh and food.  Lots of food.   There were more attractions, but we'd been standing for a long time and still had a long way to walk to get back to the boat so we called it a night.  It was very fun,

Above is the footage of the dolphins playing with the bow of our boat.

Friday, June 17, 2011

He's still talking to me. YaY

The sails were not as bad to put up as they had been to take down.  The sun hid behind a cloud, it had rained the day before so the dust was settled.  The heat was not as oppressive as it had been last August.  While still a chore, it could have been worse.  I can be such a wha-baby sometimes.

Once the sails were on, jib, main and some contraption called a Lazy Jack that looks like a game of cats cradle on steroids it was time for fun.  We headed down to Sandy Cay (pronounced Key) for snorkeling.  Since the motor on our dingy was refusing to play (surprise) we could not get to the optimal spot for snorkeling, but it was still pretty cool.

Our snorkeling took us late enough in the day that we could go into Little Harbour.  Our boat can only go in/out at high tide, so we were stuck there for 36 horrible. We spent the day at Pete's Pub where we ate, read and enjoyed the breeze off the harbour.

In the evenings a sea otter family thought we were an oddity and would spend much time poking their heads out of the water checking us out. It was really awesome.  At first we didn't know what it was, just a disturbance in the water.  Then I saw one of them, doing a roll through the water and wondered if it were a very small dolfin, but it didn't look quite right.  Eventually they came close enough for us to see what they were.  Their little heads poking out of the water, scaning the boat, then disappearing again, reminded me of the 'Garbage' scene from Star Wars for some reason. 

The first evening after it was dark, but not near dark enough as the waxing gibbous moon shone down in her glory, we jumped in the harbour for a bath.  If you've read any blogs from the Bahamas that mentioned the full moon coming a couple of days early, it is not the end of the world.  it was just my butt.  (We only use fresh water to rinse, on a sailboat water is limited.)

After leaving Little Harbour we went out into the ocean and worked our way up to Man-O-War.  It takes an entire day to get there using sail power, but we weren't in a hurry.  Along the way some dolphins decided to play with the bow of our boat.  Kind of like a game of chicken, but the dolphins always win.

**Awe, shucks!! We have a video clip of the dolphins playing with the boat, but I can't get it to upload.  Later Doug is going to see if he can't get a link to you tube or something.  For now you'll just have to use your imagination.**

We are now at Mango's in Marsh Harbour.  There is a Junkanoo at the park this evening.  Sounds like it will be very interesting.  But first  we need to get some errands done. I have the laundry, and Doug is off to the boatyard, market and bike shop.  When you are on a sailboat you have to work before you play.

Ability to connect to the internet is limited.  I sent the kids a short note when I first got here and told them that to get the note off you had to be standing on your right foot, holding a broken arrow over your head in your left hand, balancing a ball on your left foot and typing with your right hand. I wasn't far off.  We could get a connection at one spot in the boatyard.  Doug moved slightly to get out of the sunlight and it was gone.  I'll write when I can and will have to catch up on everyone's blogs when I get home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Off to the Bahamas

It is such a wonderful place, I am looking forward to going back. I can get the Internet, but you literally have to be in the right place at the right time for it to work. 

The kids (the whole herd) took me out to dinner last night.  I think I'm still full. I did snack a few chips and salsa and my salad came with a casadea (sp?) and I only had just a bit, white flour is one of my enemies.  It was very fun.  I have a great herd.

My husband went a head of me to get the sailboat ready. (He's a teacher and has all summer)  He sent me an e-mail telling me all the things he's been doing and it is a lot.  The man has not started his vacation yet...however, he told me that he hadn't been able to put the sails back on yet and that we'd do that tomorrow.

This is the note I sent in reply:

WoW. Really? The sails? How sweet of you to save them for me. What a wonderful man.
I was just laughing last night telling the kids (the herd took me out to dinner) that you went early to put the sails on so I'd have a positive outlook on the sailing life. Ya know, so I'd want to go sailing for a really long time some day.   ahahaha - I should really learn to keep my mouth shut as it always curses me.  Wow.  I'm tired so anything sounds pretty awful right now, but the thought of the sails does not thrill me. It fills me with more angst than having to find a key under a conch shell and trying to remember some math formula for the secret code to the boat yard.  I'm pretty certain what my first blog will be about. ;)))

For the record:   I know that you basically do all the work on the sails, I'm just there trying to hold up the dusty, dirty, heavy end while trying not to fall off the side of the boat when the lumbering mass shifts suddenly.  I know that it won't be 100 degrees and that we'll be hydrated and life should be better.  I'm just saying my memories of the freaking sails are the stuff that would make Stephen King run in terror.  Just sayin'

I hope he's still talking to me when I get there.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I cursed myself.

I know better and yet...

Spring allergies can really get to me, Daily eye drops are the only thing to get me through.  Drugs might work for some people, but even non-drowsy drugs put me out, so I always muddle through.  Yesterday I was thinking: Hey, I haven't had to use the eye drops for a long time.  My eyes aren't always puffy. I've only sneezed twice in the last week.  This is awesome!

That's when I cursed myself.  I should have known to suggest that the gods look elsewhere prior to even beginning to think such a thing.

This morning Bob came to visit me at the computer desk and I don't know what he'd been in, but it brought my smugness to a screeching halt.  Thanks Bob for keeping me humble.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A new toy for Bob

I keep waiting for him to find it.  Maybe his little cat paw does not activate it?  hmmmm
What is this wonderous toy?

I had to buy a new bedside light and I got one where you can touch the base to make it turn on/off.  Quick and easy for, "I'm tired  -  Good night!!"

One of Bob's favorite past times is to turn on my clock radio.  He walks over, turns the thing on and then sits on top of it so you couldn't turn it off if you wanted to.  I keep waiting for him to discover the light.  Maybe he did when I didn't notice and the light in his eyes wasn't as much fun as having someone singing to you.  Who knows.  It is after all, Bob.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reoccurring Themes

Over on Julie's blog, from time to time, there is discussion of reoccurring themes and that we should be mindful of them.

Last weekend as we were checking out a rocket launch site I saw a black bird with a red spot on its wing.  A shoulder decoration if you would.  I had never seen anything like that before and I was in awe. It was very striking.

Yesterday I took an odd route home.  I had to pick up non-marking sandals for the boat or I'd be swabbing the deck for my whole vacation and who wants to do that? ;)  The route I chose took me out of my way, but given the time of night and traffic, it made sense.  It was the same way I used to take home when I was taking care of my dad. So 3-4 times a week for 6 years that equals a lot of driving under this particular freeway overpass.  Here they decorate them with items from the surrounding area.  Sea gulls, cat-tails and what the freak??? I looked over and there was my red winged black bird.  I had never seen it before. Ever. 

That's twice now, but what message could be found in a red winged black bird?

 So I read up on the bird to see if there was a message I could take to heart.  Apparently the glossy-black males have the ability to puff up their scarlet and yellow shoulder patches or they can hide them depending on how confident they are feeling.

The last little bit with my story I can totally identify with the black bird hiding his shoulder patches.  Every thing seemed a struggle and I was not at all confident. However, I've muddled through the rough patch. Things are finally starting to take shape and the story is beginning to 'pop' for me once more. 

So what message is there? 

Looking at the bird and knowing how taken I was when I saw him in the field you might think that it would be, "If you got it flaunt it."  Instead I think I'll take away the comfort of knowing that there are times to shine and times when you don't, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Either way, you're still a bird.