-E.B. White

Sunday, January 30, 2011

OOPS WE DID IT AGAIN  - On the 29th we ventured out at Adderly Cut with a plan to get up to Black Point in hopes of getting Wi-Fi.  It seems our trusty dinghy motor (a 16 year old 15HP Yamaha) decided to break it's rubber thrust hub (in lieu of a shear pin)  in the prop.  We could still putt, putt to shore, but it had lost all its get up and go - and now we are in hot pursuit of where to purchase a replacement part.  The disadvantage of being in the Bahamas is how, where and the expense of getting parts here.  Well anyway, back to the plan - leaving the cut was like riding a bucking bronco, the Captain promised the crew that it would settle down once we got further out into Exuma sound - LIAR!  Six to eight foot seas out in the deep water (1,000 + feet) so we came back into the shallower water (40-50 feet) closer to shore and while choppy, they were a manageable three to four feet.  We hugged the shore for the next hour and came back thru Rudder Cut onto the banks,but, with the tide still dropping, the water rushing out of the cut and the wind blowing against the current the run in was an exhilarating ride with five to six foot waves.  Within minutes we were in tranquil, calm, blue-green water, surrounded by beautiful islands with high cliffs and hills - what a difference an hour makes - can't believe we let this happen to us, again.

    Coming out of Adderly Cut - these tall, unlit, stone obelisk markers are common throughout the Bahamas.
Izzy did not enjoy the ride from Adderly Cut to Rudder Cut - she finally got herself wedged in between Deb and two pillows.  We added ducky and snakey for extra comfort - nothing seemed to help.
 This has now become the barometer for good or bad seas - the beads in the window on a good day.

and this would be a bad day. 

Broulee on the banks - tranquil, calm, clear blue-green water.  Photo courtesy of Big Run

Most of the islands are privately owned.  Thru this stretch, Magician, David Copperfield owns four - purchase price $50 Million.  While the 150 acre Musha Cay is where he has his most private resort, the three other islands are used as buffers to ensure maximum privacy.  The picture above is of Rudder Cay - one of the buffer islands.  He rents out his island for $325,000.00 a week and celebrities such as John Travolta and Oprah Winfrey have stayed here. 

Cave Cay - appropriately named is also a private island.

  Our run up to Black Point on the banks - nothing could be finer - gave us a chance to regroup after everything on the boat went thru the agitator cycle.  Photo courtesy of Big Run.

We anchored at Black Point settlement, Rick was able to get wi-fi info on the prop, Big Run took us all to shore in their dinghy, we kissed the ground and toured the town.

This was not the typical house on the island.  We found the island to be clean, friendly and is supposedly the largest in the Exuma Cays with about 350 people.  We were trying to figure why so many boats at anchor here until we stumbled across the laundromat/marine store.  Lots of washers and dryers - all shiny and new, and no waiting.

The pavillion at Regatta Point, Black Point Settlement

Just stuff on the island.

Saturday night, Big Run invited us over for Happy Hour and " Sharon's Survivor Stombolli's" - we shared stories about boat items that went awry during our two hour ordeal that morning and after a couple of drinks - we could actually laugh about it. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

ALL PROVISIONED AND READY TO GO!!!  The run from Emerald Bay to Rat Cay was very nice and we entered the cut only to find some of the most pristine beaches, gorgeous craggy shorelines and that beautiful aquamarine, turquoise water that makes you go - aaahhh.  Most of the islands thru here are private - so no beach landings, but, it is definitely eye candy.  We were hailed on the radio by our friends on Cocoon Too, who were anchored at Lee Stocking Island  and heard we were in the neighborhood- sounds like a Krogen Rendezvous!!!  They headed out the next morning for points south and Big Run and Broulee decided to tour the Perry Institute for Marine Science's , Caribbean Research Center - one of six national undersea research centers sponsored by NOAA.  The scientific research facility partners with NOAA undersea research programs as well as a large number of other oceanographic and marine conservation agencies, and several universities.  Scientists, students and educational groups visit the institute from around the world to conduct ocean research in the remote, pristine stretch of the Caribbean.  Both on and around this island, they study coral reefs, fisheries, ocean eco systems and the bio diversity of undersea life (someone was taking notes).  In the Winter there is a skeleton staff, while summer is the peak season with about 30 people in residence.  Coral research is done in one of the institutes numerous large salt water tanks (the only study they allowed us to see) which looked to us to be about as stimulating as watching paint dry.  But, these studies, along with the facilities research into tidal level and sea temps are essential to maintaining the health of the ocean.

         Leaving The Marina at Emerald Bay we saw these crazy fishermen/woman  in their dinghy - oh wait that's Gerry and Linda from Monk's Vineyard and Michael from Second Star - good job you guys - Linda, way to go girl with that lookie bucket.
Broulee into the cut at Rat Cay - photo credit - Sharon on Big Run.
Our guide, for the tour, explained to us that Mr. Perry purchased this island in the 1950's for a mere $75,000.00 - the island is now the home of the Perry Institute for Marine Sciences.
The hyperbaric chamber, designed by Mr. Perry, a nice thing to have considering the research divers here do wall dives to depths of 300 feet.

The Perry Institute for Marine Science's - at this time of year - we saw two people, and a dog in residence - a little underwhelming for us, except maybe the heads up on the poisonwood tree - kind of late for Rick because he already experienced the downside of coming in contact with it (poison ivy).  We also learned that the gumbo-limbo tree, commonly known as the Tourist Tree because of it's red peeling bark, like the skin of sunburnt tourists, is an antidote to the rash that you will get from the sap of the Poisonwood Tree.  What are the chances of finding those two trees side by side? 

The Perry Institute for Marine Science's, Caribbean Marine Research Center

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The captain surprised the crew yesterday by deciding to move Broulee back up to the Marina at Emerald Bay to re provision (food, dinghy fuel & libations) before our next adventure.  Looks like we have some good weather ahead so plan to do some island hopping. 
Red Shanks anchorage - Bye, Bye
On a tip from Gerry & Linda (Monk's Vineyard) we hiked over to the Pallappa Restaurant at Grand Isle Resort for "the best burger on the island" and a frosty glass of Kalik.
That's a happy Captain.

I think it's all good!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BACK IN GEORGETOWN – SITTING OUT ANOTHER BLOW!! We did manage to get over to Long Island and I think we are all sorry we couldn’t spend more time there – it is characterized by high cliffs in the north, wide and shallow sandy beaches, historic plantation ruins, caves and Spanish churches. It is made up of 35 quaint villages and farming towns spread throughout the 80 mile stretch of contrasting coastline and nowhere is the island more than 4 miles wide. Originally named Yuma by its original settlers, the Arawaks, Long Island was rechristened Fernandina by Columbus on his first visit in 1492. The island now earns its current name by a seafarer who felt that it took too long to pass the island when he was sailing by.

Anchorage at Salt Pond, Long Island, Exumas

The water was crystal clear – no one could resist swimming – even Izzy had a swim.

Izzy is becoming quite the boat dog - here she is waiting for the green flash and enjoying a beautiful sunset.  She's not drinking rum yet, but give her time.
Our sailing buddy, Fred on Casa Mare.  On a side note, Izzy does not like the conch blowing thing they do as the sun sets - so the Captain has had to refrain from participating - bummer.
 No sooner had the sun went down - this beauty popped up over the hill.
Moonrise over Salt Pond Bay

While in Salt Pond Bay, Rick and Deb visited the Long Island Breeze Resort, opened in April 2008 – http://www.longislandbreezeresort.com/   Amenities include, internet, laundry, showers, freshwater pool, beach area, car rental, and dinghy dock. We took advantage of the internet service (free if you spend at least $4.00 for lunch/dinner/ or a drink) and caught up on our email whilst eating a tasty lunch washed down by a cool Kalik.

The indoor bar area of the resort.
Relaxing area of the bar/restaurant.

We cruised up to the northern end of the island near Cape Santa Maria (named by Christopher Columbus after his ship) and anchored in Calabash Bay only to find one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with pure white silky sand stretching some four miles

.  We are so fortunate to have dog loving friends to cruise with - Big Run's crew is helping to wear Izzy out.
Izzy swimming with Sharon

Wow, Izzy, that's a big stick!

Yup, another day in paradise!

So we are now back in Georgetown, in an area called Red Shanks. We have lots of fond memories of this anchorage from spring Feb/March 2004 it was our first year in the Exumas and very green behind the gills as far as the island cruising thing goes - very lucky to have the crew of Jeanne Marie as our mentors. What happens in Red Shanks, stays in Red Shanks, right Jeanne Marie?   It’s a good place to wait out a blow – a very well protected anchorage – nicknamed the tar pit because of its sticky bottom.  We have been here since Sunday the 22nd – everyone is starting to get cabin fever because it is near impossible to dinghy to town – I’m trying to teach Izzy to play cards – she wishes she still had her dew claws to help hold the cards.  We decided to bite the bullet yesterday and take the dinghy to Georgetown and catch up on email at the Internet CafĂ© – on the way discovered a new bridge has been built since here last – mighty fine for this neck of the woods (somebody has deep pockets) it leads to a private island called Crab Cay.  The ride into town was not bad going with the 25 knot winds, but, coming back was downright ugly, waves crashing repeatedly over the bow of the dinghy, and the constant jarring of the spine as your butt hits the seat when you are pounding into the waves. This is the price we pay to get to land from Broulee during the blows (me thinks we need a bigger dinghy).

This is quite a feat for these parts - very lovely - even street lamps.

Deb got a new underwater camera last year - we finally got a chance to test it out while puddling around in Red Shanks - can't wait to get to the good stuff.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 18th we finally cut the lines and pulled away from Emerald Bay and the many amenities it has to offer.  A note for Istaboa the surge is not a rumor - it is significant in an eastern sea, but manageable. We had a great time while there - the Sunday evening Jets vs Patriots game on the 50" TV, complete with delicious appetizers and BYOB -  was a great opportunity to meet the other boaters and get our football fix .  The morning we left, however, we found out the Veda L had just pulled in (our Krogen friends from our home town) and again, we are just two ships that pass in the night.  One of these days we will spend sometime together.  Motored back down to Georgetown for the night and then on a great weather window we headed southeast to Long Island to see what we can see.
The "Club house" at Emerald Bay
They roll out the welcome mat for you (placed at each boat)!
The Veda L - packing to fly home till an April 1st return - hope to see you in Minnesota this summer.
Back in Georgetown heading to the dinghy dock - Captain needs a fishing spear from local hardware store called "Top to Bottom" (and believe they have at least one of everything you could imagine) also Deb's hoping for Skim Milk at the Exuma Market - lucky us we found both!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

STILL AT EMERALD BAY MARINA ON GREAT EXUMA, BAHAMAS AND IT'S STILL VERY WEATHERY - Got to admit if you have to be stuck somewhere - this is the place to be.  For a $1.00 a foot per day you get floating docks, free laundry facilities, free WI-FI, gorgeous shower rooms,  use of the club house and a beautiful grocery store/liquor store within walking distance.  You pay extra for electric and water, but we are own little floating city with a generator and watermaker on board, so those items are not needed. The marina staff is top notch and very friendly - so not a bad place to be when the winds they are a blowin.  Our new big ass Wi-Fi antenna just arrived - looks like the Captain has a new project to keep him busy. 

This is the the channel into and out of the marina - doesn't look like we will be leaving any time soon.

Big rollers crashing onto the beach.

Waves crashing onto the rocks.

There is an 18 hole - Greg Norman designed golf course here - also part of Sandals Resort/Marina at Emerald Bay.
Oh, Oh - looks like that ball went into the water hazard - I think, if I were him - I would take the extra stroke.

Damn - wish I would have brought my clubs!
Rick playing fantasy golf.

Some of the real estate.

and at the end of the day, if you see a rainbow (like the boat name in the right of pic) - It's all Good!