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Adventures with Mariah and Dave
Conch-quistidors
01/11/2009, Nassau, Bahamas

Forbes teaches Dave how to get conch out of the shell.

01/11/2009 | James
dave, haven't heard back from you with regard to the prop situation, let me know i can have one ordered tomorrow monday for delivery tues... $$$ but new..
01/12/2009 | jim kelly
i hope you learned that props are as necessary as toilet paper my friend....your learning......hope to see you in st thomas.....get your ass moving.....mr k
01/13/2009 | Dave Benjamin
Be a good idea to see if you can score a prop puller on the island. I'm sure someone will have one you can rent or borrow. Or you could even buy one and have someone bring it from Florida. Be sure and check the cutless bearing for play as it could have sustained some damage running with the side loads imparted by the blade loss.
01/16/2009 | jim kelly
well thank god for mom and dad muirhead, what would you do if you were born before them,,,,,youd be floating around like tom hanks and wilson......i bet this has been a real expierence so far....cant wait to hear all the stories that you can put in print..........
Conch-quistidors
01/11/2009, Nassau, Bahamas

Once again, it's been a while. I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about the next adventure. We have had internet technical difficulities. Well, it's just super slow, so a pain to upload blogs. We tried to leave Nassau last Tuesday to head for the Exumas, but got about an hour out of the harbour and all of the sudden our transmission started thunking. Never a good sound. We slowed up and Dave dove under the boat to check out if there was something caught in the prop. Good news and bad. It wasnt the transmission, but we only had half a prop left. Dont know if we hit anything or how it happened. But we had to sail back into the harbour, using real sailor skills, and drop the hook at the nearest anchorage.

So we have been making phone calls and trying to figure out the prop situation all week. Apparently there isnt a sailboat prop on the island. Everything is powerboat gear. Dave's parents are heading out for a visit this week so hopefully we can track one down in Southern Florida area for them to bring over. Otherwise duty taxes on ordering a part can be as much as 70% of the price of the item! And props arent cheap....

In the meantime we have been exploring Nassau. We walked down to the touristy section where all the cruise ships park. Very hustle bustle. But since we have the dogs with us, no one seems to hustle us to buy things. For one....with our dogs, we give the impression that we live here (which technically we do, since our house is here with us) and two...locals dont seem to like dogs. Everyone gives us a wide berth when we walk down the street. Plus the fact that our dogs look like the stray dogs that roam the streets who can be very unpredictable...they are known as "potcakes". So now whenever people ask what kind of dogs they are we just answer that they are "potcakes". Apparently there is a Bahamian Royal Potcake breed that is a catagory in some dog shows.

There is a local market under the bridge on the way to Paradise Island. Only locals seem to go there. It is a colaboration of colorful rundown shacks and everyone serves beer. There are dominos tables and you can hear the loud crack of the dominos slamming down on the table as you walk by. Most of the vendors are selling fruit and vegetables, fresh conch, fresh made conch salads, lobster and fish. We bought conch to make conch fritters one night and Forbes, the guy selling the conch, taught Dave how to get it out of the shell. Forbes did it in about two seconds, where it took Dave a little longer to master the technique. Then you have to tenderize the conch otherwise when you cook it it will taste like rubber. So I got out my trusty rubber mallet and went up on deck to pound the heck out of them. The conch fritters turned out fantastic. Doughy balls with fresh green and yellow peppers, onion and spices dropped in oil and fried golden. Served with a lime mustard sauce. I have been experimenting with plantains as well. You can use green plantains and serve them salty like potatos or use over ripened black plantains and fry them up in rum and brown sugar for a tasty dessert. For those of you that know my lifelong dislike for bananas, this is a huge step for me. Although in the same family, they arent that squishy texture that bananas have, they are quite firm and if you try and eat them raw they are like eating chalk dust.

Karen and Mike are coming on Tuesday so we are looking forward to showing them around town and tasting some Bahamian cuisine at some of the local restaruants. After we get our prop ordeal taken care of hopefully we will be heading to the Exumas by the end of the week!

01/13/2009 | Aunty KIM
Wow, way to live the life. Uncle Pat would be so envious. I don't like seafood so much but would love some beach time right now!
Relaxing in Nassau
Mariah
01/05/2009, Nassau, Bahamas

Hello, hello. It has been several days I know. We left Bimini to cross the Great Bahama Banks. It was pretty crazy because we had to anchor in the middle of the banks...70 miles across from Bimini to the rest of the Bahamas. It is only about 10 feet deep the whole way across so we anchored out. It was a really weird feeling anchoring with no land in sight, nothing to protect us if a sudden wind storm were to come up...luckily nothing did.

We got to Chub Cay yesterday, which I was thinking was going to be a great cruiser hangout. Instead it was this resort built especially for sportfishermen...super high end and looking like a developement in southern Florida. We spent a restful night there at a peaceful anchorage. We left at sun up to head for Nassau before some weather is supposed to head in. The passage from Chub Cay to Nassau can be rough in strong winds. Today was forecasted to be a mellow day but the seas were still pretty rough. Luckily we had a great wind and were able to cross under full sail making about 6.5 knots. We had our offshore rods trolling the whole time and kept hooking seaweed. At one point Dave grabbed the rod thinking it was seaweed, but it started fighting back! He ended up pulling in a beautiful mahi! Not 20 minutes after he finished cleaning that one, the line whirred again and he pulled in a tuna! We'll be eating good for a while.

We got to Nassau which is a huge city in which seems like the middle of nowhere after all we sailed. We are looking at the famous Atlantis resort from our slip at the marina and cars are speeding by the marina. We went for a walk after we got in and found this great marketplace with all kinds of fresh produce. We met some locals and started chatting and they talked us into getting a conch salad from one of the local stands. Probably one of the best things Ive ever tasted so far is a conch salad. Fresh conch with finely chopped onion, tomatos, green peppers, hot peppers and fresh squeezed limes. We brought that back as a compliment to our fresh caught mahi. I cooked up some fish tacos with the mahi and we'll probably have fish sandwiches for lunch tomorrow and sushi for dinner. Yesterday at Chub Cay, we were sick of eating dehydrated food since we hadnt caught anything...Dave took the dinghy to a local fisherman's boat and bought three lobster tails off him for $4 each. I love island eating so far!

Tomorrow its off to Allen's Cay at the northern part of the Exumas and then over to Eleuthera.

01/06/2009 | Chip
Hey guys, if you're lookin foe a nice land based getaway for a couple days, it's only a $2 tram ride to Orange Hill Beach Inn. Secluded, romantic, cheap (cost effective, lol) and absolutely beautiful!! Run by my friend Brendan. Tell him Chip and Andrew sent you. I am not affiliated and would not recommend if I didnt think you would fall in love with the place! Check em out at http://www.orangehill.com/. Let us know via blog if you decide to spend a nite or two. Fair winds.
01/06/2009 | Chip
ps, they do not have a marina, so leave the sled in the slip, pry yourself out of the "V" for a couple nites and go meet the folks who live on the island. Lotsa local flavor. People (guests and hosts) could not be more cordial. Diver-friendly, so if you want the best spots to dive/snorkel, this is a good place to start. Secluded beach, all to yourselves. Imagine the possibilities! :) Live the dream!
Happy New Year!
01/01/2009

Dave catches a barracuda

01/01/2009 | jeff and tracy
Cowabunga! You are sailors now, enjoy it!!!
01/02/2009 | Andrew
Way to go buddy. Hope all is well. Happy New Year.
01/02/2009 | jim williams
hello dave and mariah, i was your neighbor at the marina in charleston. glad you all are doing good and having fun. in feb. i am going on a cruise to the bahamas. maybe we can meet. good luck and happy new year.
01/04/2009 | James Sauers
Hey did you get my message from the Ricky J? Let me know whats up?
01/05/2009 | Meghan
Capt. Muirhead grows a beard! AHHRRGGG!!!! Happy New Year!
01/05/2009 | jc
hi guys.just checkin in from buffalo.hopefully all is well. save me a seat im joining you on The return trip.HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Happy New Year!
01/01/2009, Gun Cay, Bahamas

Happy New Year everyone! We left Bimini and headed a little south to Gun Cay (pronounced "key") to wait out the weather. It is supposed to be 20 knot winds all day today and into tomorrow. So we will plan on leaving to cross the Great Bahama Banks on Saturday. It is about 80 miles to Chub Cay so it will take us two full days. Now we are just sitting tight in windy conditions. We have had to reset our anchor several times already because the wind made us drag. We hear Gun Cay is great for lobstering so we are going to do some snorkeling today and see if we can't pull in some dinner!

Dave caught a Barracuda yesterday on our trip down to Gun Cay. We sedated him with vodka enough to get the hook out and get a picture, but we hear that any Barracuda over 5 pounds can be a potential carrier of Ciguatera poison which makes you painfully sick. So we had to throw him back and eat canned chicken with dinner instead of fresh fish. :(

01/01/2009 | stace
congrates!!! I could trade the blue water for the snow I'm looking at any day. At least with your web page I can see nice weather and hope for a fast spring. love ya, Happy New Years.
01/04/2009 | Aunty KIM
Cool. That's about all I can say. Cool. When are you guys getting married again?
At Long Last...The Bahamas
12/30/2008, Bimini, Bahamas

A view from our picnic spot at the beach

12/31/2008 | Sadler
Congratulations!
12/31/2008 | Bethany
So cool!! Happy New Year to you!
12/31/2008 | Matt
Congrats guys! Glad to hear you made the crossing safely. Great Pics!
12/31/2008 | Gordy
Great Job! Happy New Year!
Glad you had a safe crossing and now can enjoy the beautiful water and gorgeous part of the world! Take care
12/31/2008 | Kristin Jones
Happy New Year!!!
12/31/2008 | Dave Benjamin
Happy New Year and congrats on the crossing. Look forward to hearing more about your adventure in the future. Was cold and foggy here this am. Wish I was out there with you guys!
12/31/2008 | James
Hey, Glad you made it. It was great to see you guys. Let me know where you end up so I can visit. I'll try you on the vhf soon, keep your ears on.

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Who: Mariah, Dave, Barley & Hops
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