Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Green Turtle Cay

Brian getting coconuts, one of the world's most perfect foods! We drink the juice, then eat some of the meat and dry the rest for eating with muesli or trail mix.
Charlie loves getting as salty and sandy as possible!
Jack looks over the treasures from land that I've brought to him. Coconut, passion fruit, fresh green grass, and a seashell.
Green Turtle Cay ("cay" is pronounced "key") is always fun. We always see old friends there, like Tony on Papillion. We saw Byron from Ocracoke and Bad Betty, whom we met a couple of years ago briefly. We met new folks too, like Josh from Wrightsville Beach and Carlos, a Green Turtle native.
I'm wearing my Christmas colors here. The town is built on the water and it is so cute.
This is one of the last conch houses on Green Turtle Cay. Homes built by the early English settlers of the Bahamas. Most of the conch houses were disassembled plank by plank and transported by ship to the Florida keys when their owners found the Bahamas to be too inhospitable for growing plantations. Most of the old conch houses in the Keys have been restored. This conch house is now a marine preservation museum.

I thought it was funny to see a rooster hanging out at the Rooster's Rest, a bar where the Bahamas' most famous band in the nation, The Gully Roosters, plays.
Okay, what was this strange little bunny doing sitting on this bench. I don't know, but now that he's been tagged on my blog, he's famous.

Charlie is obviously unaware that there is an attack chicken in the vicinity.

I thought my mom would adore this Episcopal church on the beach.
We are always tickled when we read the bank hours. These are the normal hours, year round, nothing to do with the holidays. Seriously. We love this. They really have their priorities straight here. Having fun takes precedence over all else, including, and perhaps, especially... business.
Brian having a Kalik at the Wrecking Tree. The very old tree behind him is called the wrecking tree for the practice of "wrecking" that was at one time a viable economy in the Bahamas. Wrecking is the practice of looting ships that have run aground or wrecked on the reefs near shore.
This is our Christmas orchid. We took this orchid from our land on Long Island, Bahamas in 2007. It was the last time we were there. Now we are returning to build and we are bringing our orchid home. I decorated it for Christmas and placed gifts underneath. It was very cheerful and helped to put us in the holiday spirit.
A load of Queen trigger, hogfish, and lobster. Beautiful and tasty! Thanks, B.

I always enjoy cooking up a fresh catch.
Another sunset to remember. The weather is beautiful, wish you were here!

Scenes From The Abacos

This is the ocean on a flat day! Gorgeous!!!
A small cove perfect for dogs or children to play in. The water was only a couple feet deep here.
Charlie and I exploring trails that led to beautiful beaches.
Kayaking around the coral limestone islands is always relaxing and fascinating. You can see all the fish,rays, and coral easily from the kayak.
Charlie likes to go too.
Charlie and I look like we're in the jungle somewhere.
I was out there for hours, so I put on a white shirt and huge hat for sun protection. Charlie actually decided to lie down and take a nap right on the kayak. When I got back, Brian and I had Caribbean spiny lobster for lunch. They call them crawfish here, and they are sooooooo good!

Brian is a really good spear fisherman.

Caribbean crawfish stir fry....

Another amazing sunset in paradise.

Bahamas Crossing and the Abacos!

We crossed from West Palm, FL on Sunday the 13th. It was a good crossing, we left Florida at 8 AM with clear skies and light South winds. We were headed almost due East with a push North from the Gulf Stream, which we hit about 12 miles off the coast of Florida.

The South winds help smooth the Stream out, whereas North winds make it unbearable... that's why we chose South winds. We (Brian) caught one fish, a blackfin tuna. We ate it immediately. Brian cooked it on the stove while the wind vane steered the boat, and I languished in seasickness on the settee. The above pic was taken about 45 minutes before I succumbed to total debilitating nausea. I had taken Dramamine, which helped me simply feel bad instead of actually wanting to die, which is what happens when I don't take anything at all. I was just happy that I didn't throw up the pineapple I'd eaten for breakfast.
This is Charlie's seasick face. He looks kind of drunk, doesn't he? The crossing took a mere 18 hours and we all got over it quickly. It is all worth it to make it here, to the lovely islands of the Bahamas.
Still fishing as the sun sets. The seas were not bad at all once we arrived on the Bahama Banks, a very, large, shallow sand bank that we sail over for a long time before reaching any islands.

We arrived at an uninhabited island called Mangrove Cay at 1:30 AM during a brilliant meteor shower, easily a dozen or more shooting stars per minute! It was beautiful.

We had our morning cup of coffee in the dingy taking Charlie to shore on the tiny Mangrove Cay to do his business. Mangrove Cay is all Mangrove, so there was no dry land to walk him on. He had to go on the debris of a wrecked barge.

We got a good night's sleep and put in another full day of sailing Monday to get to our next anchorage, near another uninhabited island called Crab Cay. We (I) caught a lovely yellowtail snapper which we again ate immediately, and I cooked it this time.

Charlie and Jack love it when we catch a fish! They both know the sound the reel makes when the drag is spinning with a fish on.

Spent our second night in the Bahamas anchored in light winds and a hellacious current that spun the boat around in rapid 360's for 6 full hours. It took us about 2 and half minutes to complete a 360 spin in that current, so that is about 24 rotations an hour. Brian slept like a baby, and I was up all night, timing the rotations. I'm glad our anchor held.

The next day, Tuesday (today), we sailed for 7 hours and arrived at sparsely inhabited Manjack Cay, which is next door to the more populated Green Turtle Cay.

The harbour is beautiful. We anchored in 9 feet of crystal clear turquoise water. The air temp is in the 80's and the water temp in the 70's.
I immediately climbed the mast and took pictures. There were five or six other boats already anchored here.

Brian couldn't resist joining up there. About 3 days later, we were told about a guy that was standing on his spreader and it broke off. Glad that didn't happen to us. Puff has strong spreaders on her mast, but we probably won't do that again.
Can you believe how crystal clear the water is? Charlie was the first one in.

Taking the dingy to the nearest beach!

We finally got to use the underwater camera in the Bahamian Sea!
This was our sunset that day. Pretty sweet.