Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sara and Tom Visit The Abacos

Sara and Tom are now visiting us in the Abacos.  The kids love having their Aunt and Uncle here.
After we picked up Sara and Tom from Treasure Cay we sailed up north to Powell Cay.  Powell Cay is uninhabited so we had our pick of beaches and places to snorkel.
Nicholas and Samantha are becoming more adventuresome with their snorkels and are going out to deeper water with Sara and Tom.
I love being able to snorkel as a whole family.  That is my rose for our trip so far. 
We stayed a couple of days near Powell Cay then worked our way back to White Sound to drop Sara and Tom off at the Green Turtle Club.
Sara and Tom are going scuba diving while the kids are swimming in the pool where they are staying.  We have taken a mooring in White Sound just near the Club mostly due to the poor holding here and the big wind expected today and tomorrow.  Better weather is expected near the end of the week. 

Seems to be the start of the rainy season.
Funnel cloud behind us as we left Green Turtle Cay.

Sara sitting with Captain Windy Pants and Captain Lovely Hair.

Samantha and Tom enjoying the upper cruising deck.

2 Shorty's Takeaway Restaurant is my new favorite spot to eat in New Plymouth.

The narrow streets in New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay.

Big Storm

A couple of days ago we were hit by lightning.  The past couple of days have been overcast and cloudy.  A few thunderstorms passed us by and I found a few more leaks in the boat.  The day of the big storm it started out calm with the sun almost peaking through.  The first thing we noticed was rain, then the wind started.  The boat started to be pushed sideways as if we were under sail and heeled over.  That is when we realized we were starting to drag anchor.  
Paul went up to start the engine to keep our position during the storm and the lightning started.  The first few strikes were near us but not direct until the middle of the storm our mast was hit.  We don't think it was a direct hit as the boat did not start to sink but our wind instrument started to go crazy.
Other casualties found later were a burned up anchor light and of all things our handheld VHF.  

Everyone is safe and we are still sailing.  Whew!

Nicholas wanted to go for a walk in the rain.  He lasted about 2 minutes in the dinghy then decided to come back.

After the storm.  A beautiful sunset.
Red sky at night sailors delight.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Great Guana Cay

We had a great time visiting Great Guana.  Paul and I both finally got on land for a short run, finally some exercise.  The streets are just big enough for a small car but mostly people travel with golf carts.  We visited the two famous Bar and Grilles.  Both are very colorful and have a pool on site for guests.  I finally got to try a Guana Grabber.  It was delicious and worth the $8.00 :)
Cool painted backhoe, otherwise known as "mano"

Poisonwood is similar to poison oak or poison ivy

Gum-elemi or gumbo limbo is the only known cure for the poisonwood

Nippers with a cool pool

This is game where there is a metal ring that you attempt to swing onto a hook before  your opponent 

The kids enjoyed the pool

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hope Town to Marsh Habour to Man-O-War Cay

Hope Town was definitely one of the most beautiful settlements we have been to yet.  We found a nice park for the kids to play.  From there we decided to try and go snorkeling at Mermaid reef.
We sailed off the anchor without needing to start the engine.  Still under sail we accidentally dropped the handle that works the windlass overboard.  Even though I tried to quickly mark the "man over board" on our GPS and luff the mainsail at the same time, the handle is still missing.
Note to self: Practice Man Over Board Drills :)
Paul snorkeled around for about an hour with no luck.  The kids like to think some nice fish live near it in the deep sea of Abaco (about 15 feet of water).
So now Paul gets the extra workout of lifting the anchor by hand and dropping it with the screw driver in the windlass.
We decided to get into the dinghy and go snorkeling anyway.  After getting all set to go, dressed, gear and all.  The kids decide it is too wavy.
Well, that is how it goes with kids.  Maybe next time.

This event of loosing our handle brought us back to Marsh Harbour where we then attended a "rake 'n Scrape".  We went to Snappa's and saw Matherson Cooper perform.  I am amazed at what sounds come from and old saw and dull knife to Bahamian music.  The kids danced around and loved looking at all the mounted fish and crabs at the restaurant.  Our big joke of the evening was the big white crab mounted on the wall being the one who attacked Mommy in the water.

We now have a make shift handle so Paul has an easier life with the anchor.  From Marsh Habour we sailed to Man-O-War Cay.  This is also an amazingly clean and well taken care of settlement.  I had a chance to speak to a few of the locals and had some fresh Conch salad made right there on the beach.  The cay is about 2 miles long and about 1/4 mile wide.  Everyone there is related to one another in some way or another. Pretty amazing life here in paradise.

Today we are now staying at Great Guana Cay where we will hopefully visit Nippers and Grabbers.  This is the home of the Guana Grabber drink similar to the Goombay Smash from Georgetown.  Can't wait to try the new one out.  Good think I am not driving.

Something I have noticed are a lot of restaurants ending in "ers".  Maybe it is a prerequisite for pub ownership.

Anyway more soon.
Nick and Sam in front of a cool painted wall in Marsh Habour

Spring time on Man-O-War Cay

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hanging Out

We have been hanging out in Marsh Habour for a couple of days.  This gave us time to put together some video for you all to check out.
Click here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nassau to the Abacos

After saying goodbye to Quinn we filled our water tanks and got everything in order to sail up to Rose Island to spend two days. I (Paul) went kayak fishing and caught two barracuda and a Nassau grouper. We didn't keep them to eat. The barracuda can have ciguatera poison in them once they get over 5 pounds and it was the grouper's lucky day. Rose Island is only 5 miles from Nassau but it feels like an out island. 

From there we sailed to The Current which is a settlement near a cut onto the Bahama Bank just south west of Eleuthera. I went ashore in the kayak after we anchored and walked into town.  There wasn't much going on so we just did school the next morning and moved up to Spanish Wells.

Spanish Wells is a nice settlement. Very clean and well maintained.  We walked around and did a little food shopping, then moved the boat out to a smaller island and made water for a few hours.

The next morning we got up early, listened to Chris Parker's weather and left for Little Harbour, Abaco. It was a nice motorsail with light winds and small seas. We caught a big Mahi-Mahi just before getting to port. 

We have since been working our way up through the Abacos heading to Green Turtle Cay to meet my sister, Sara, and brother-in -law, Tom, on the 26th.

The Abacos are very different than the other islands of the Bahamas. They are much more resort like and Americanized. 

Both Hopetown and Marsh Harbour are very nice and clean with anything you need available.

Hopetown Lighthouse

Mother's Day Lunch in Hopetown

Walking around Hopetown

A snapper we caught on the way to Current

Mahi Mahi on the way to Little Harbour

Monday, May 13, 2013

George Town to Galliot Cut

We finally have a good internet connection so we can catch up on our blog posts.

The Family Island Regatta races were a lot of fun to watch and there was a lot of good local food for the event. Quinn arrived on the final day of racing and we went into town in the afternoon for dinner and to watch the police band parade.
We left early the next morning (April 28) and sailed north toward Galliot cut. Quinn's first day of open ocean sailing was a good one.He steered the boat most of the way.  There was the perfect breeze and seas were about 4'-6'. We caught a nice Mahi-Mahi about an hour before reaching port and had a great dinner.
The next day we sailed on to Staniel Cay and went out to dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club where the nurse sharks are  right under the dock. There were some fishermen cleaning their catch and the sharks were feeding actively.
We continued working our way north toward Nassau and had great sailing weather most of the time. Quinn found a nice piece of driftwood on an island at Warderick Wells and I carved our names into it so we could place it on Boo-Boo Hill.
When we got to Norman's Cay we launched the dinghy to dive on the airplane wreck there but Quinn chickened out because the wreck is in an open area. Fortunately our 6 year old daughter was able to tell him all about it after she dove. Ha Ha.
We made it back to Nassau on Sunday,May 5th and Q left the following afternoon.
It's  difficult to recap a visit from Quinn and do it justice but we can say that it was classic and we loved having him and it went by too quickly.


Captain Chrome

Our neighbors in Hog Cay out for a happy hour joy ride

On a mooring in Warderick Wells

Placing the sign on Boo-Boo Hill

Johnny Depp's Island, allegedly
My beautiful ladies

Friday, May 10, 2013

In the Abacos after Mighty Q's visit

We arrived in Little Harbour ,Abaco at 5:00 this afternoon after leaving Spanish Wells @7:15. We've had a great 2 weeks since our last post, the highlight being a visit from our friend Quinn. We picked him up in George Town, Exuma and he sailed with us for 9 days back to Nassau. We had great sailing weather and caught some fish. Here are some pics. More to come.