The Adventures of Dave and Alexandra

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

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We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

but we're not Tweeting or Instagramming.

Should We #HashTag?

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!
04 January 2017 | Staniel Cay, Bahamas
28 December 2016 | Warderick Wells, Exuma, Bahamas
17 December 2016 | Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
12 December 2016 | Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
03 December 2016 | Vero Beach Municipal Marina
29 November 2016 | Long and Winding Waterway
28 November 2016 | On the ICW, from Daytona to Titusville
27 November 2016 | St Augustine to Daytona
24 October 2016 | St Augustine, Florida, USA
01 October 2016
12 July 2016 | Dartmouth, NS, Canada
05 June 2016 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
02 June 2016 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
30 May 2016 | Devil's Tower, Wyoming
26 May 2016 | Badlands and Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
21 May 2016 | Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba, Canada
16 May 2016 | Winkler, Manitoba, Canada
13 May 2016 | Jacksonville, Florida, USA

New Year Happenings

04 January 2017 | Staniel Cay, Bahamas
Alex, hot and windy with a chance of Dreams
Swimming Pigs, New Year Dreams and Off to the Races. Read on to find out what's going into this Special Chest.

****

We reached Staniel Cay and settled in with the (world famous swimming) Pigs.



The hordes of tourists coming to feed them every minute of every hour of every day are always fun to watch, and we timed our arrival at Pig Beach in between them. We offered up some fantastically healthy green chunks of cabbage, and this is what they did.



Upturned nose and all, they swam back ashore, leaving the stray chunks of green to follow them back. And then we literally laughed out loud as they reached the sand, shook themselves off, and ran (no really, have you ever see a pig run?), their short legs and fat bellies propelling them towards the better offerings of bread bits handed out of plastic bags by the people on the beach.

A fellow cruiser stopped by and asked us if we were participating in the Annual New Years Day Cruising Regatta. I didn't even have to look at Dave to feel his smile at the Idea of Racing, but we both kind of talked ourselves out of it. The winds were high, we were feeling the squally blahs, and the gremlins onboard frustrating the joy out of us. Frustration was mounting, and our patience levels was going to the... pigs.

New Years festivities in Staniel Cay were numerous and the winds to head ashore were nonsensical. So we opted to stay onboard, enjoying a lovely meal, falling asleep a little too early and waking up to watch the fireworks erupting in the sky. Celebrating our accomplishments and marvelling at our Dream of a Life.

Trying to dinghy to Staniel Cay had us soaked to the bone as we walked towards the Pink Store and Blue Store to top up with some provisions. Except that we'd forgotten what non-boat arrival days were like as we negotiated for the last 5 eggs held by the Blue Store. Giggled at our luck in finding an (almost expired) Half&Half and refused to pay $7 for the last loaf of whole wheat bread laying on the shelf. Vegetables? Forget it. Although the large tub of Mango Yogurt was a nice bonus.

On our way back to the dinghy, our path had us fortuitously passing by the Regatta Race table, a gentle nudge by The Universe perhaps, as the kind lady asked us if we were racing as she offered us a (free) Rum Punch.

There were no Ratings (first across the finish lines wins First Place), and the $30 entrance fee accorded us a free meal each at the Awards Banquet, and every boat participating receives a gift bag. There might've been something in that Rum Punch that had us signing on the dotted line.

The day of the race had the winds blowing 22-26 knots. Onboard with us were Allan and Bev (SV Dagny), a couple we met very briefly in Ft Lauderdale. Within moments we learned they had serious backgrounds in racing, and both Allan and Dave were quick to assess the strategies, and place Banyan into the best starting spot just as the start gun went off.



Banyan leapt across the start line and "never looked back". Well truth be told, Dave tried to look over his shoulder, and got told "eyes ahead, just steer the boat!".



What a team!! First leg to Windward, second leg across the bay which had us steer clear of the "a little less wind" zone just south of the point, and then strategically let out some more jib on the third leg where the wind was behind us, only to furl it back in as we went back to windward, all with winds gusting to 30-32. There was no time to think and two laps around, barely an hour and a half later and we were coming up to the last mark.

"It's not over till the fat lady sings, but sure looks like Banyan has it" announced the Race Committee boat just seconds before we tacked across the finish line, to horns blazing and high fives, coming in First. We were speechless and ecstatic and thrilled beyond belief.

That afternoon we headed ashore for the awards banquet. An artistic grab bag full of wonderful goodies



which we shared with our racing mates, a delicious dinner prepared by the Bahamians, a fun time and a first place prize of... a very large Trophy,



which at TWO FEET TALL, now sits under our salon table, as we desperately try to find a home for it.

But best of all was when they asked Dave to pick the name of the grand prize lottery draw winner: a week in a resort in Montana (awesomely offered up by an anonymous donor). What fun!!

A special thanks to our teammates, without whom this would not have been as much fun as it was!



Welcome 2017. We look forward to spending time with you. We're looking forward to filling those 365 blank pages, one at a time, with memories. We know there will be gremlins. We know there will be winds. And we know there will be pigs upturning their noses at our offerings. But somehow in all that, there will be friends to meet, memories to be made, and all of it cherished with laughter and love. And that is what is going into the Chest. Notes written as they happen, from Moments of our Life, tucked away and forgotten perhaps, and then all of it to be opened and read 365 days from now.

Who knows how much fun that will be? We just know it'll be fun trying.

Santa Does Deliver !!

28 December 2016 | Warderick Wells, Exuma, Bahamas
Alex, hot and Windy, with a chance of presents
In Which we Didn't Plan for Santa Surprises, and yet Somehow, they got Delivered!

****

With the cold front coming down at us, we had to make a decision, and fast. Where were we going to spend the Christmas holidays, whilst keeping out of Winds Way. But the biggest question was, was Santa going to find us?

Banyan was certainly the one who'd received some serious gifting lately. New Canvas, New Anchor Chain, Dinghy Repair, WaterMaker parts, and the list was growing, daily! Which had us in a Scrooge Type of Mood.

This is how we decided that we would do the Sensible Thing, the Financially Wise Thing, the Bah Humbug Thing...

"So we Agree to Agree to not Exchange Gifts this year?" we said. We planned to not plan. We chose not to buy. We looked at each other seriously, into the deepest depths of our eyes, squinted and didn't blink, and agreed. Pinky swore in fact.

So we hung our stocking by the wall with care. We sang some Christmassy tunes as we decorated our home.



It was all sparkling and pretty, but something in our heart of hearts was missing.

The winds were forecasted to arrive with a vengeance, winds that would keep us in one place for the better part of a week. Where would we go? We had just enough of a weather window to get to Staniel Cay, and bonus we could overnight in one of our favourite places: Warderick Wells.



We were there before the onslaught of Christmas Arrivals, and received our assignment of Mooring Ball Number 6, with the clear instructions to stay in the Deeper Darker Waters as we came into the horseshoe shaped reef. Roger That. It's always a bit daunting to navigate the narrow area of waters, and a boat arriving after us, went hard aground a few mooring balls behind us.



Once they were safely pulled off, we dinghied ashore to pay for our one night stay. The Ranger asked us if we had Christmas plans, and we both shook our heads no. Didn't want to dampen his spirits by telling him we weren't exchanging gifts either (wink wink).

Before we knew it, he was telling us that we should consider staying. That the Rangers and Bahamian Defence Force put on a Christmas Feast and we just needed to show up, with a side-dish. We were feeling kind of blah as our kids had cancelled their holiday vacation with us, and this sounded like it might lift our spirits a bit. Before we knew it, we had signed up for the entire few days of holidays.

We stayed ashore for a Happy Hour Meet and Greet, meeting new cruisers, and we were just about ready to head back to our newly decorated home,



when the Rangers came out bearing aluminum trays of food, whoa, what a delicious surprise!

As we were heading out for a walk the next day, we asked the Rangers if we could check on the trails for them. They eagerly handed us the trail map, some machetes, and some cans of yellow spray paint.



So we spent the next few hours and the next couple of days trying to locate the existing trails,



hidden from view and obstructed by Hurricane debris, clearing the fallen trees and dried palms, and spraying yellow circles on the trees to help circle the way to future hiking enthusiasts.



So we spent a few evenings Happy Hour'ing on the beach, festively decorated,



with even the reclusive Hutia's making an appearance,



and Christmas Day had us waking up to sunny skies, a great cup of java and some EggNog Cheers to be had.



The depths of emotion of missing our families dampened our spirits, yet, wait, what was this? A package lay there for me to find.

"It's not for you" said the Capt'N. "It's for the Boat!"

And so it was that Banyan received another present, this one for her library collection. The Reef Fish Identification book by Humann & Deloach. If you're a snorkeller, and love to identify the many colourful species of fish you're swimming with, then this is the perfect book for you!! Beautiful glossy photos, and brief descriptions. Banyan (and I) were happy!

We headed ashore to the Ranger Headquarters just after lunchtime. Chatting some time away before we were all asked to gather in the main room and participate in the Elephant Gift Exchange. Thanks to the organization of a couple of the cruisers who return here every year for the holidays, there were over 80+ wrapped items under the Christmas tree. We spent the next few hours, waiting for our number to be drawn, a gift collected from either under the tree or someone else, until hours later, everyone had something.



One of the hottest items on the take was a bag of ice. Second to a free nights on the mooring ball. And some were just stuck with stuff. Like the young boy with a hair brush, desperately trying to find girl with hair to take it from him.

I myself was eyeing some martini glasses and nudged Dave in the right direction to swipe them, only to promptly lose them three numbers later. Then it was my turn and I got them back, and promptly lost them myself. When all was said and done, we had two more presents for Banyan. Clothespins and a plastic egg container. What a fun bunch of Laughs!

The Exuma Park Staff provided trays of Cooked Beast, that along with the several tables laden with pot luck side dishes, had everyone feasting to their tummies content.



The next morning we decided we were in no rush and opted to stay an extra day of R&R before dropping our mooring ball lines, thinking that it was time to head to Staniel Cay for New Years Eve celebrations. When we went to pay our bill, we were given a free night's stay, thanks to the volunteer work we did. Another nice surprise!

We didn't plan for Christmas, yet it came anyways. We didn't exchange gifts, yet they appeared anyways. We gave some of our time to the Island, and received the gift of time back.

I guess somewhere in there lies the True Meaning of the Holidays?
Vessel Name: Banyan
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: David & Alexandra
About:
Welcome Aboard. I'm Alexandra, and if I'm not out Adventuring with Camera in Hand, or cheffing up a storm in my galley, I'm looking to pirate some WiFi to upload our latest tales (with way too many photos) about our most recent adventures. [...]
Extra: CHART YOUR COURSE: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
Social:
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The Adventures of Dave and Alexandra

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

http://www.hitwebcounter.com/htmltutorial.php
WebPage Visits

We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

but we're not Tweeting or Instagramming.

Should We #HashTag?

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!