Wednesday, February 23, 2011


under the cliff

Dick feeding the iguanas

Windermere in the Big Majos anchorage- closest boat

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb. 12 It was my birthday! The kids left and the heavens let loose with rain and wind for the rest of the day. I started a good book about a girl who rowed across the Atlantic in a 27 ft rowboat and I couldn’t put it down. Dinner was just us but we ate leftovers so I didn’t have to cook.

Feb. 13 It was still windy so I read. Steadfast came back to the anchorage to be on tap for Valentines Day at Sampson Cay.

Feb. 14 Valentines Day! I decided to make some cookies from a recipe that a friend had given me for my birthday. They were basically oatmeal but they had dried fruits and nuts in them. The special part was the soaking if the fruits in rum before adding them. We gave some to Steadfast for Valentines Day. My birthday was combined with this holiday and we all went for our celebration dinner. Romero made many courses including lobster!  and a wonderful chocolate lava cake for dessert and we rolled into the dinghy. Luckily, there was a moon so we could “see” our way back to the anchorage.

Feb. 15 We did various things and I went for a swim. Our new friends on “Mystic”,who were once again anchored near us, came by to tell us how they enjoyed “$2 Tuesday” at Sampson Cay so we invited them to cocktails. $2 was just started by chef Romero to get people into the resort. He sells everything for $2 and the cruisers love it!

Feb. 16 We went to Staniel to get groceries and ran into our friend John from “Jenny Marie”. We hadn’t seen him in a month and it was fun to catch up. I read most of the day and finished working on the new movie list. It is great having the internet at my fingertips to look up stray movie information. John worked on boat bills, ugh! but we came together for cocktails and a rousing hand of Biriba. After a leftover dinner, we watched several movies to add their reviews to the new list before I printed it. I finished my book!

Feb. 17 It was still windy but sunny. We vacuumed the boat and I cooked up the zucchini I had bought yesterday. We needed to moved down to Black Point so that we could be on tap for art classes tomorrow with Sharon and the kids. After we anchored, I heated up some leftover Sampson pizza, to which I had added some extra vegetables, and John poured the wine. Life is good!

Feb. 18 In to Black Point to help Sharon with the little children doing an art project. The older students will be decorating frames for their art class, in a few weeks, so I took photos of each student and John helped me edit them and print them on our little photo printer. Back to the boat for lunch and off, in the afternoon, to Big Majors. We had to pick a deep spot as the tides were going to be big over the next few days due to the full moon. After we anchored, I called my mom and wished her a happy 87th birthday and made a second batch of the sinful cookies.

 Feb. 19 Up and in the dinghy to go and pick up our next guests, Dick Schulze (mom’s neighbor in Greenwich) and his cousin, Wolfgang who lives in Nassau and who flew his plane down for the weekend. We whisked them to the boat for a curried chicken salad lunch, followed by sinful cookies, out on the aft deck in the shade. Before they could digest, we got them in our extra snorkeling gear and took them to Thunderball Grotto while the tide was slack low. They really enjoyed that experience and wanted to see more so we took them to the Fowl Cay cut to “fly” over the coral gardens and then to the beach to warm up for a moment. Their stay was going to be short so we then dinghied them up to OverYonder Cay to see all the construction going on there and then to Sampson to see the marina. Finally, we took them back to the boat for a shower and to get ready for cocktails aboard and dinner at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We all had the lamb chops and everything was delicious. Dick was our host. John had been salivating for lamb chops since he first heard they were coming! Once back at the boat, John and Wolfie had cigars and after dinner drinks on the aft deck and I went to bed.

Feb. 20 After breakfast, we decided to take them for a ride on the mother ship down to see and feed the iguanas on Bitter Guana Cay. After anchoring, we noticed the other trawler in the anchorage was flying a CCA burgee like ours and they were ashore. John took us in to feed the iguanas and went over to introduce himself to the other people. As I came up the beach, he called to me that there was someone in their group that wanted to say hi to me. I saw the lady and heard her laugh and realized she was the daughter of one of my parents best friends and I hadn’t seen her in probably 20 yrs.! They were down cruising in the Exumas for the winter. We gabbed and then went our separate ways hoping to meet up in a few weeks. Swimming back to the boat and some cookies and lunch were in order. We then moved the boat back to Big Majors and took them to their plane. It was a quick but wonderful visit. I decide I am going to teach John how to cook the sinful cookies.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feb. 1 The minute John and Buz were up, the two of them were working on installing the antenna that i carried in my suitcase back from the States. Before lunch, they had it up and running! Yippee! Now we were so hi tech we couldn’t stand it. After lunch, we motored down to Black Point to be “ on station” for the next morning. I had another nice afternoon swim by the boat.

Feb. 2 We had brought art supplies from the States on the boat to give to our friends Sharon and Charles for the new art class she is teaching at the local elementary school there. After catching up on all our news, they gave us a delicious lunch and showed us their tiny garden. In order to get some good soil for it, Charles had to take a big spoon and scoop out some dirt from every hole in the limestone outcroppings that make his back yard. It was a slow and tedious process but he was persistent and now was growing some lettuce, Kohlrabi and even a banana tree! We looked over the art supplies and talked about projects for the kids. Back to the boat and back to anchor off of Harvey Cay near a very interesting steel trawler that we had seen on our way by the day before. They wanted to see our boat and vice versa but they were having generator problems so the visits were postponed.

Feb. 3 We motored over to Sampson Cay and anchored as close as we dared because of our draft (7 ft). John was having trouble getting our new WIFI to work and Buz agreed to meet us at Sampson for lunch and fix it afterwards. It was pizza day and we all enjoyed our thin crust pizzas immensely! Buz and John went back to the boat to work and Rosemary, her sister, Nelson (their Havanese dog) and I went over the sand bars and through the bushes to another beach to explore and play fetch the stick. On the way back, Nelson did his first real swim across the narrow channel without his life preserver and we all praised him. Now he was a brave little puppy and went wild running all over the sand bar and jumping into another section of the channel before we could get his life preserver back on. Despite the current,he made it to the other side. When we got back to the boat, we looked at the depth sounder and realized we should move to deeper water so we did.

Feb. 4
 It was windy that day, so we decided to move back in to more protected waters even if it was shallower. John took me for a swim on an protested beach. The depth sounder read 7.5 at low tide! We are getting braver anchored in soft sand. That evening, we invited the new chef of Sampson to dinner and I made us a chocolate soufflĂ©! It was a fun evening and we learned alot about him and what it is like working down here for a Bahamian from Nassau.

Feb. 5 first thing on the list was to move back to Big Majors and anchor. Our guests for the week were Nate and Teresa from Rhode Island. Nate is our chief mechanic at out boatyard and Teresa is his finance. They had never been to the Exumas so we had our “tour guide” work cut out for us. As soon as they arrived at the Staniel Cay airport, we whisked them to the boat to change into their bathing suits and off to a nearby deserted island to swim and look for sand dollars. They couldn’t believe the clarity and color of the water! We found lots of sand dollars and, better still, a nice king helmet shell to start their collection. Their welcome dinner was duck and we let them go to bed early.

Feb.7 After a quick stop at pig beach to feed the pigs, we took the “mother ship” down to Bitter Guana Cay so they could feed the iguanas. Nate was fine with this but Teresa decided not to get too close! Next, we headed out the cut and into deep water so that Nate could try his hand at catching a MahiMahi with the used heavy rod we bought from another cruiser. We trolled all the way up the the Exuma Park and didn’t catch anything. He had so hoped to bag dinner. We then motored the Warderick Wells and anchored in Emerald Rock Bay. Everyone jumped into the dinghy for a snorkel at a couple of nice coral gardens near Emerald Rock. The wonderful thing about snorkeling in the park is the size of the fish! There is no fishing allowed and they get really big as do the lobsters. The wind was down and we had a lovely evening.

Feb. 7 In to the ranger station area to see the whale bones and feed the Banana Quits some sugar. Next, I took them up BooBoo Hill to see the view and the blow hole. We rejoined John at the dinghy and went over to our snorkeling spot at the entrance to the harbor. The current was still slack so we could go around the corners of the island and see more big fish including a 3 ft barracuda! There is a really big Nassau grouper there too and 3 gigantic turquoise parrot fish. Back to the boat for lunch and an afternoon motor down to the eastern Bell Island anchorage. This evening there were no clouds so the star show was spectacular. With no ambient light coming from any cities, the sky gets really black.

feeding the Banana Quits
inside the whale!

Feb. 8 This morning, we took them by Johnny Depp’s island and over to the Sea Aquarium to snorkel. They were nervous at first with all the tiny sergeant major fish that crowded around them but got used to it in a few minutes. That little spot really has a good collection of fish. Next, we dinghied down to the southern end of Cambridge Cay where we tied up to a mooring ball. We had a picnic lunch right in the dinghy as the big beach was too steep to land her. Then we snorkeled the garden nearby and saw alot of stag horn coral which we hadn’t seen in any quantity so far in the Exumas. What a treat! Nate even spotted a large ray and was excited to follow it around. Then it was back to the boat to shower and read for a while before dinner and a movie.

Feb. 9 We battened down the hatches and went out through the nearby cut so that Nathan could try his hand again at catching something. We trolled all the way down to Staniel and at the last moment, he caught a large barracuda! As the fish came up to the boat and saw it, it bit through the line and swam away. At least he got to fight something for a short while. Next, we went through the cut into the Majors and then through the little cut by Fowl Cay (to impress the kids) and anchored in our usual Big Majors. Right next to us was Steadfast and they had caught a mahi mahi a few days before while we were also trying. John invited them to dinner of mashed potatoes and carrots and wine and hors if they could be so kind as to bring some fish. Brazen aren’t we! They were delighted and brought some incredible Alberta grass fed beef to make “ surf & turf”. Everyone had a jolly time including the dog, Nelson.
fighting with a barracuda
squeeking through the Fowl Cay cut
my buddy Nelson
walking on Sandy Cay

Feb. 10 We grabbed Rosemary and we all went to Thunderball Grotto to snorkel. The current should have been bed because it was half tide but it was manageable. The younger ones loved all the fishies and were ok with all the sergeant majors that swarmed around them as we arrived. Everyone dove through the opening on the back side and drifted around the outside of the island over the coral garden and back to the boat. Then we loaded up and raced over to Isles General store and got food! Lunch was at Staniel Cay and was enjoyed by all. Steadfast then came by and picked up the kids and took them fishing. John and I followed slowly, on the outside, up the chain and met them at Compass Cay. They didn’t catch any fish, boo hoo! but they had fun trying. After they came into the dock and the kids had photographed the local nurse sharks that hang out there, a friend arrived with a yellow fin tuna he had just caught. Rosemary filleted it and was given half which she shared with us. Back to Windermere, once again on the outside which was still out of the wind, to cook the tuna for dinner and watch a movie.

Feb. 11 Another beautiful day in paradise so it was time to go to Sandy Cay to beachcomb and swim. It is good exercise to walk on the sand bars in about 1 foot of water. We had the place all to ourselves which is definetly more the case down here. Next, we went over to the Fowl Cay cut and let the kids “fly” over the sea gardens while I searched for sand dollars nearby. They saw a large spotted eagle ray. Teresa was not thrilled but Nate loved it. After lunch on Windermere, we went to my favorite shelling beach so we could get them some shells to take home. It was a successful expedition! Later, the cruisers in the harbor organized a beach cocktail party and we stayed till after sunset enjoying new friends. Back to the boat for dinner, to sort shell out, and play a few hands of Biriba. John and Teresa slaughtered Nate and me.
Jan 21-22 We just went about our days and had some delicious fresh mahi mahi with our friends Buz and Rosemary on “Steadfast”. Buz showed John a wonderful antenna that he had on his boat that boosted the WIFI signal form land. He hleped John order one and we can’t wait till it is up and running because we will be able to get the internet anywhere on the boat while sitting in the Big Major’s anchorage and other places we normally can’t.

Jan 23 It was a chilly day for the Bahamas and my departure day. I was flying up to NYC and going on to Greenwich to be with my mother for a week. John stayed in the anchorage and guarded the boat. We went to the airport early and froze while waiting for my Watermaker flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I froze on the flight because there was no heat in the plane. The flight was delayed getting to Florida because they needed fuel and had to fly me to North Eleuhera for it and then on to Florida. I narrowly made my American flight by 5 mins! When I arrived in Greenwich, it was only about 10 degrees!

Jan. 31 I flew back to Florida and over to Staniel without event and John was waiting with open arms. Happy to get his cook (and buddy) back! It was warm and I went for a late afternoon swim to get back into the Bahamas mood. Yeah!