Wednesday, January 25, 2012

small cave enroute

going down into the cave

Wendy with the stalagtites

the birthday party

Jeff and Brenda on iguana beach

the strange sea egg thingy

Jeff blow the conch horn

the last supper
Jan 14 There was no wind so our friends Ray and Susan on No Agenda took us in their big tender (dinghy) for a long ride south all the way past Musha Cay. It was fun to see, up close and personal, all of the rocks and coves that were too shallow for Windermere to get close to along the way. We had been down in that area but not by dinghy. On the way back, Susan led us up a hill on a path to a big underground cavern complete with stalactites and stalagmites and a big pond full of sea water. We could walk down into it and see how clear the water was. Some of the locals have tried to figure out from where the sea water is coming with no luck. We also walked to a small crescent beach on the ocean side of the island but it was covered with all kinds of, mainly plastic, flotsam and jetsam from storms at sea. Once back north, we all went for a late lunch at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

Jan 19 It was Arnie’s 79th birthday so Susan (Exodus) hosted a big pizza birthday party for him at Sampson Cay. There were 16 of us and it was nice enough to sit outside in the shade on their deck. Janie (Pirate) had made a delicious rum cake for him and I found a candle. Everyone enjoyed the whole affair.

Jan 20 We were expecting more guests in the afternoon but John got a call from them in the morning saying they were already in Staniel Cay having breakfast! They had taken the early flight. We both quickly ate our breakfast, finished making sure their room was ready, and John went to pick them up. After lunch, we took them for a dinghy ride to see the area and Jeff and I snorkeled the Fowl Cay cut. As we were coming into the harbor side of the cut, a large spotted eagle ray was coming out of the harbor and towards the cut. When he saw us, he made a u-turn and we followed him till he went into warp speed and disappeared. We also saw a small green turtle who likes to hang out in our area. He and I then swam all the way back to the boat with John and Brenda escorting us in the dinghy.

Jan. 21 This was a busy day. First, we all had a tour of Staniel Cay by Ray’s golf cart. Then John took us down to Bitter Guana island to feed the iguanas some fruit. It was decided that they liked grapes the best followed by cauliflower greens and lastly apples. Next we went back towards Staniel to our new favorite snorkeling spot which Jeff and Brenda really loved. They even saw a shark swimming right towards them which was a bit of a nervous surprise till they realized it was only a harmless nurse shark! Back in the boat and off to SCYC for another late lunch.

Jan. 22 The tide was right to snorkel in Thunderball in the morning so we loaded up our gear and took the dinghy over there. As soon as Jeff got into the water, the little sergeant majors surrounded him begging for food. He distracted them from Brenda which was a good thing as she is a beginner snorkeler and was not thrilled about the idea of being surrounded by all of the little fish. I took them through the grotto and out the other side and back around and they loved seeing all the fish and interesting sea gardens and rock formations. Jeff even dove through both of the small openings through the rock that go from the interior of the grotto to the outside. On our way back, we fed the pigs our scraps. After lunch, we took Jeff on a dinghy ride to see some of the nearby islands to our north.

Jan. 23 We packed a picnic and followed Arnie and Susan from Exodus to Sandy Cay for lunch. Jeff and I kayaked the whole way there (downwind probably 2 miles at least) while Brenda and John were our escort vessel. Once on the small cay, we went shelling and Jeff went snorkeling. Then we all had our picnic lunches. Arnie had to leave early because of battery problems on his boat so we towed the three kayaks back along with Susan.

Jan. 24 Brenda hadn’t snorkeled the Fowl Cay cut so that was our morning mission. Three of us swam from the beach around the coastline to the cut looking at fish along the way and picking up sand dollars and John was once again our escort vessel and was there to accept the precious sand dollars and to keep them safe on the dinghy. She loved “flying” over the cut and we even saw a 3 ft spotted grouper and a 2 ft Nassau grouper. Jeff spied a strange sea egg thing and dove for it. John has found only two of them in all of our years here so it was a great find. After, lunch, Brenda took a nap and the rest of us took a walk on Sampson Cay.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

4 ft barracuda by our boat

the trawler gang Pirate, us, Pretty Penny, Exodus, No Agenda

John and Arnie from Exodus

Jim the chef from Pirate

Some sailor friends

Penny, Susan from No Agenda, and friend

The whole group on Pirate beach
Jan. 6 The kids left almost bright and early. You never quite know when the Flamingo flight is going to arrive but they all made their connections ok.

Jan 7-10 The weather continued to be wonderful and kayaking became the sport for the ladies.(Susan from No Agenda, Susan from Exodus, and myself.) Everyday, we went to check out another boat or island gabbing as we went. We went to Exodus for cocktails one night and went to the beach for cocktails another.

Jan. 11 Another beautiful day in paradise. we took the dinghy to Staniel and got rid of the garbage. I went to the bakery to get a photo of Rhonda with her bread for my Passagemaker magazine article and on to the Blue store for a few things. Later that afternoon, our 5 trawlers joined up on the beach for a fish fry. Ray and Jim had caught some wahoo and mahi mahi ,which was fried on Jim’s camping stove, and everyone brought something to round out the dinner. Afterwards, we all sat by the fire in our wonderful fire pit.

Jan. 12 Susan from Exodus and I decided to kayak circumnavigate Fowl Cay. We made it through the narrow cut by the resort with no trouble as the current was with us. Paddling up the back side was also no problem as we stayed mostly out of the current which was now against us. At the western end of the island was a shallow spot that we had to go around and get into the current. I was able to paddle around and get back to shore to rest but Susan got caught in the strong current further out and couldn’t make it. I turned around and waved to her to get closer to shore which she did. Back along the island we went till we got to the narrow cut which we couldn’t push through. I had our radio and called John to come rescue us. He tried to tow both of us on either side of the dinghy but my kayak flipped in the current and I went for a swim. He got my kayak up on the dinghy and tried to tow Susan in her’s but her painter (bow line) broke and she flipped too. John got Susan and me into the dinghy and loaded my kayak as well. Our hero! He took us to Pirate beach and we paddled the rest of the way back to our boats. Susan lost her prescription sun glasses when she flipped so John and I went back later to the cut to try to find them but had no luck. As I was swimming near the dinghy and looking for them, a 4ft baracuda came swimming into the cut and swam right by me! When we got back to our boat to take another swim, he was under the boat enjoying the shade! A photo is attached.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

wendy and michael on the laser

new years day breakfast

mom and all her kids

great pizza at Sampson Cay

wild beach on Compass Cay

Corey on our shelling beach on Thomas Cay
Jan. 2  The weather could have been better but this gang was not to be deterred in their mission of ultimate adventures. Michael and I sailed the Laser to Twin Cays which is about 3 miles from our anchorage while John brought Chris and Corey in the dinghy. John enjoyed listening to music on the beach while the rest of us went snorkeling for shells. The take was excellent! Then we all had a picnic on the beach. Chris and Corey then sailed the Laser back. After we got the dinghy, kayaks, and Laser up on the top deck, everyone got hot showers followed by cocktails, dinner and a movie.

Jan. 3 A storm blew all day but luckily from the NW which meant we were partially protected from most of the waves. All of the boats in the anchorage closed up and tried to stay warm and cozy but still bounced around. We all had hot homemade vegetable soup, bread, and cheese and played Mexican Train dominoes all afternoon.

Jan. 4 The wind was down but a cold wind. Our first outing was to Sampson to get some groceries then to Little Majors and our favorite shelling beach which was not a disappointment. Everyone got a good bunch of shells. Then, we went to Staniel and had lunch at the Yacht Club- Christopher’s treat. It was too cold for most of us to go snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto but Mike braved it and saw lots of good fishies. Back to the boat for hot chocolate, and later, dinner and a movie.

Jan. 5 The weather got progressively better during the day. Lunch, this time, was at Sampson- two for one pizza day and Michael’s treat. After stuffing our faces with great pizza, we took the dinghy to Thomas Cay and walked over the hill to another good shelling beach. Our luck held and we all brought home more goodies. John stayed in the dinghy guarding it and playing spades on his ipad and listening to music. Not bad for the middle of nowhere! Once back to the dinghy, we motored down the island to the cut where the kids went snorkeling. There were many large spotted eagle rays and a few black tipped sharks which Mike said were not dangerous. Back on the boat the shells got cleaned, we got cleaned, played cards and had dinner and a movie.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dec. 30 Some friends had told us of a new snorkeling spot just south of Staniel Cay so after a leisurely breakfast, we headed down there on our first expedition of the day. This new spot proved to be wonderful. Two rock islands with an underwater  gorge in between them made for interesting topography and there were lots of fish. Most of the reefs around here are more sea garden with soft corals, sea fans, and a few brain corals. This was the same but covered an extensive area. John sat in the anchored dinghy enjoying a cigar and listening to music on our new tiny speaker that connects to our ipod! He was in seventh heaven. On our way back, we went ashore at Staniel and collected some debris wood for our bonfire and delivered it to our pirate beach. Staniel was having an auction and free dinner that night for everyone so we headed there to feast and bid on items in the auction. The place was jammed but we managed to find a spot to sit and eat on the dock.

Dec. 31 This morning’s adventure was to watch the Bahamian sailboat race off of Staniel. Everyone loaded into their dinghies and motored over to the start. This year there were three boats entered which made it a bit more exciting. The Bahamian crews on each boat gave team t shirts to the cruiser members. They all start lined up at anchor with their sails down. On the whistle, they all raise their sails and pull up the anchors and they are off. For the last few years, the crew has been a mixture of Bahamians and cruisers which adds to the fun. The course is a triangle so they can sail different points of sail to test their skills. We brought along some lunch to eat while we watched. I got some good photos of the action. In the afternoon, we took a long swim to the cut by Fowl Cay and did some shelling. Late in the afternoon, many of the cruisers in the anchorage met on pirate beach for cocktails, shared nibbles, and a bonfire to ring out the old year. Our friends on Pirate had brought a new wooden picnic table and faux thatched umbrella to add to the scene and some of the men had built a buffet table too. The kids enjoyed meeting all the characters.
Back on the boat, we had a duck dinner and watched a movie to try to stay awake. The kids managed to stay awake long enough to watch the fireworks over Staniel from the flying bridge.

Jan. 1 The first day of the new year was a good day! We got the laser down and Chris and Corey took it to Sandy Cay which is a deserted island at the entrance to our bay. Michael and I toodled around on it in the afternoon and John circumnavigated Big Majors again! He only flipped once. I love being on that little sailboat when ever I can- the freedom to go wherever you want-feeling the wind in your hair and the sense of speed without an engine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mike found a big conch

Bahamian sloops racing

And there off
Xmas at Sampson Cay

John on his way to the dump

Pirate beach beauties

Mackie the parrot and our pirate

Corey, Chris, and Mike arrive

My two pirates ready for the party
Dec. 25-29 The Xmas dinner at Sampson was a hit. They had it early enough in the afternoon so we cruisers could get back to our boats before dark. Slowly during the week, more boats came into the anchorage to be here for the New Year’s festivities. The mail boat finally arrived and everyone was able to get fresh food. We went over a bit early and were able to help unload and place the vegetables and fruits which was a different experience. It felt good to be able to help. One night, we hosted our friends on No Agenda (Ray & Susan) for a vegetarian recipe sampling dinner. They had recently become vegetarians for health reasons and we have been trying to do the same so it was fun for me to make some new recipes and have them critiqued. Everything passed muster and was enjoyed. On the afternoon of the 29th, my two sons, Chris & Mike and Christopher’s fiancĂ©, Corey, arrived from the States. After a nice swim and dinner, they got into their pirate costumes and went with No Agenda to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for the Pirate Party. Our friends on their boat called Pirate arrived with their pet macaw and it was a great addition to the party.