Been Here Too Long
02/15/2010, George Town, Exumas
The lead photo is Maxwell's parents on the scooter in front of us!
Under normal circumstances we set our anchor and settle in for a few days in each anchorage then move on to another destination. We have now been here in George Town since January 24th!! Our plan when we arrived was to stay here a few days, case the joint, and then pop over to Long Island for a bit before we would need to be back here for Maxwell's Parent's visit. Well, we never got to Long Island and have been here for what seems like forever! We got suck in this time warp where there was not enough time to go anywhere, so we stayed, stuck in this "seasonal society."
For many cruisers this is the end of the line on their trip South. They arrive here some time in late December, drop the hook and stay until March or April when it is time to migrate North again. Year after year these "veterans" make the voyage to George Town, take their places on random committees, play volleyball daily, and colonize the cruising community into an organized list of volunteers selling t-shirts, teaching classes, and attending weekly trivial pursuit.
This is too much for us! Don't get me wrong. The first week was cool. But at this point, we have been here too long! The organization is killing us! We need a break from the structure! One of the reasons we are taking this trip is to escape the trappings of modern society and here it is all around us! Will you be at the knot-tying seminar today? Will you be attending poker tonight? Don't forget the cruisers net in the morning, broadcast at 8AM with all of the important details of the day's activities!
What happened to paradise and all of it's natural beauty? Why does it have to be colonized by cruisers?
Final verdict: George Town is a cool place to visit but if you are looking for the raw beauty of the Bahamas, it is not here. Only a bunch of displaced boaters who have claimed it as their "seasonal society."
Shifting gears: We are really enjoying the visit from Maxwell's parents! It is so nice to see them! We have tried to stay busy with exploring every day. We rented scooters to explore the South side of the island and it was a blast. What a way to get around! We just had to remember, KEEP LEFT! They drive on the "wrong" side of the road down here.
At the end of the week we will make our much anticipated departure from George Town over to Long Island and then on to Conception and San Salvador.
Patty Cake, Patty Cake, I'm The Baker-woman!
02/03/2010, Georgetown, Exumas
Here is another Reader Request! Lately, I have gotten into baking bread and am really enjoying it. I would love to have some recipes of your favorite breads! Please, nothing too complicated or with too many strange ingredients. Just yummy yeast breads.
I have also heard that you can make bread in the pressure cooker. Any ideas on that? To send us your suggestions, simply click on the "Send Email" button to the right.
The Good Life
02/01/2010, Georgetown, Exumas
The photo above is our view from the cockpit, just off volleyball beach. The weather worn shack is Chat n' Chill, a small bar/restaurant that blasts music on Saturday and Sunday nights until well after dark.
It just occurred to me that I only have a concept of date or day because of the watch I wear. Funny, it is something that used to rule our lives. Without this little strip of black plastic, we could surely slip away into this dream like tropical atmosphere and never return.
I used to sit and dream of a place warm and free of the daily ties we worked so hard to achieve. And now we are here. In a dream. Every once and a while on trip I have had these moments, these "Holy Moley, I'm here doing it," moments that render me utterly grateful, yet astonished at what we have accomplished to be here. A little over a year ago Maxwell and I stood in our kitchen and shook hands, affirming that we would indeed "do it!" So this leap has led us to the other side of the fence. And I have to say that indeed, the grass is much greener over here, despite the old adage.
Here in Georgetown, we are in the company of about 150 other boats amongst the 3-4 anchorages in Elizabeth Harbor but we do not feel too crowded. The lifestyle is so laid back and self-paced. Do what you want and no one cares...just have a good time while at it.
This place seems to be the major destination for most cruisers in the Bahamas. At Volley Ball Beach, just off our anchorage, there are various daily activities all planned by the cruising veterans. Other than volleyball you can get in on trivial pursuit, basket weaving, painting, poker, bridge, bocce ball and the list goes on. Of course there is still snorkeling, swimming, fishing and exploring the beautiful beaches. Last night, Maxwell and I joined our friends Patrick and Sinead aboard Foxglove to form "Team Lobster" for trivial pursuit. (The name stuck after the four of us spent two mornings hunting lobster, unsuccessfully.) Proudly we came in 3rd place which is pretty good since most of the other players were of a, should we say "parental" generation. And, the topic was oldies rock-n-roll. We did well!
Next week we are looking forward to a visit from Maxwell's parents! We have timed it perfectly as we are boat sitting and they will be able to stay aboard Clear Day, owned by our friends Steve & Ruth. We are planning a fun filled week and are so excited to see them.
Right now, I am sitting in the cockpit, dinghies whizzing by here and there going about their business. I wave to friends all enjoying the sun and bliss of this secret escape. My wish is that everyone, family and friends could see it as we do. Not just a vacation, but an outlook. Exploring cultures, different lands and learning about ourselves along the way. My own wish is to release frustrations and requisites, just be, love and absorb.
01/25/2010, Georgetown, Exumas
We are in Georgetown for a few days. From here we plan on heading to Long Island. I have added some photos and hopefully video to SmugMug. Check them out and enjoy!
01/21/2010, The Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Exumas
The past week has flown by! I guess that is how it is down here. Our days have been filled with exploring and relaxing, swimming and socializing. We left Warderick Wells...well, I don't know when. The days actually escape me. After leaving Warderick Wells we went to Staniel Cay. We anchored just West of Big Major Island. This was our first taste of Bahamian culture outside of Nassau. Staniel Cay is a small island of about 300 people. We spent a day ashore exploring...mostly trying to find the local dump to get rid of our trash. It costs $5 to dispose of it at the marina. We were not having that!
We indulged ourselves at the yacht club with some conch fritters, just to taste them! We had never had them before so we were curious to try this Bahamian delicacy. The next day we went snorkeling and found 3 conch ourselves and made our own fritters that rivaled the yacht club's recipe! It was a gorgeous day for snorkeling with no wind and flat calm water. We did get stalked by a 4' barracuda for about 20 minutes until he decided that we were no threat.
Today we moved further South to Great Guana Cay to the Black Point Settlement. The people here are so friendly. Our main draw here was the free water and laundry facilities. We think that we might stay for a few days because it is such a quaint place and what we think a true picture of a Bahamian lifestyle really is. We want to soak up the culture!
The laundry was $3.50 a load and the water was, as I said above, free! We just had to lug it from the spigot to the dinghy dock and back to Anastasia. We decided to pass on the $3.50 dryers and hang our laundry on deck. What a sight!
Today we have gotten internet at Lorrain's cafe. It is an interesting experience. We have hit the happy hour and are enjoying Kalik, 3 for $10. What a deal! We are thinking about jumping out to Cat Island and San Salvador with a not common West wind in the forecast.
We hope to update soon but internet is scarce among the islands. But isn't that what we are looking for? To be free in paradise!
Here is a shot for you to enjoy.
Gorgeous, Just Gorgeous!
01/16/2010, Warderick Wells, Bahamas
Any difficulties or obstacles we have endured and overcome on this trip were WELL WORTH IT! The views we have seen over the past four days have been breath taking to say the least. When we entered Nassau Harbor, it was nice, but it was still commercial and developed. The islands we have visited this week are all together a different experience.
Upon our exit of Nassau Harbor, all of the sails were up. We were in the company of many other boats who were waiting on the same weather window as us for the crossing to the Exumas. It seemed that we were the only sailboat completely under sail. We used our beautiful yellow and blue spinnaker almost the entire way as we were on a run to a broad reach for the whole trip. Navigating through the Yellow Banks where huge coral heads lurk beneath the surface was exciting. If you can picture crystal clear blue/green water 15' deep with black masses scattered around creating an obstacle course for Anastasia and her crew. It was fun as we settled into a routine with me on the bowsprit and Maxwell on the helm making adjustments to course as I spotted the heads.
Once through our course, successfully, we were onto Allen's Cay. This is a small grouping of islands inhabited by prehistoric iguanas. We arrived there Tuesday afternoon and anchored under sail. Scary thought but it was so easy and flawless! Wednesday morning we went ashore in search of these creatures but none were to be found. Only tracks in the sand as evidence they did in fact exist. After that we headed back to the boat and once again were underway, sailing off of the hook. It is very gratifying to know that we are not burning diesel that is surely over $4/gallon here.
Wednesday afternoon we arrive in Shroud Cay and took up a mooring with 8-10 other boats. This island was more beautiful than the last. After a night of rest, we ventured out on the dinghy to a cut winding through the island lined with mangroves to the ocean side. Wow! Beauty in every direction including up and down! We snorkeled around for a while seeing fish, huge conch and live sand dollars the size of my hand! This area is a national park so the fish and sea creatures are protected here. They seem to really thrive!
Not wanting to miss the tide we had to head back to the West side of the island before too late. At low tide the cut through the mangroves goes dry. It would be a long haul dragging the dinghy back though. We got this tip from some friends who were not so lucky the day before.
Friday we were underway again heading South to Warderick Wells. This is where we are now. It is by far the most magnificent place we have been on the trip to date! The mooring field is stunning! We are moored between the beach about 75 yards away and a sand bar about 1 boat length on the other side. We can see the bottom everywhere around. From the dinghy we can see Anastasia's rudder, prop and keel! We are in the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. Check out their website. It is fascinating. We are in the Northern mooring field.
Today, I am going to bake a chocolate birthday cake for Maxwell. Tomorrow is his birthday! We plan to celebrate with friends aboard Anastasia in the afternoon!
Sorry no photos yet...once we have a stronger internet connection I promise to upload our photos and video so you all can share in the breath taking sights.
We love it here!