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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Still in Bimini Part III
02/18/2009, Bimini Islands

On the way back we took the upper road on the other side of the island and I noticed a large yellow building with no roof. We speculated that maybe a hurricane had blown the roof off but as we walked along it, it was obvious that a fire had gutted the long strip building. I had to get a picture of Joan and Brigid along our walk the view was so pretty and as we started to cut back towards town we came by the Dolphin House Museum where an older man gave us trumpet flowers to welcome us to Bimini and another man at the museum - Ashley Saunders asked if we'd like a tour of the building. We did. It was $2/person and I have to say it was the best $2 I've spent in a long time. Ashley has spent the last 15 years building this place from coral, shells, and things he's found along the shore and the dumps. It's quite incredible - his masonary and tile skills. There are dolphins of tile, marbles, coral, glass, etc... and we got quite the history lesson of this place - his family is one of 3 major families here and I loved listening to his story of the house and the families. He's a writer of history, poems, and a builder of stone and the future. His mother sold bread so that he could go to school and get a degree. He was a history teacher to the kids here on the island - went to school in Wisconson and returned home to teach and preserve the history of the Biminis. I was asking him what Volume 1 and 2 in his History of Bimini contained and we got a brief history of the area. Volume 3 - he's currently working on - and here's where we found out that the burned out building that we passed had been set afire during the riots that occurred here. I guess the police shot a local that had been handcuffed which set off some good size riots in the islands here and the remnants of the building still stand.

We went for sundowners over at the pool/grill area again tonight. A lot of the French Canadians that were here last night had left this morning. One of the ladies had a contagious laugh last night, I was sad to see she wasn't here tonight. So from 4:30 - 7 we sat around chatting with the couples from 3 other French Canadian Boats, Aurora and Shahadaroba. I was glad we had this extra day here in Bimini - I thoroughly enjoyed the day. We talked with Lou & Donna (Sooo Fine 2) and tried to set up our MMSI communication with them on our two boats for tomorrows trip. I think I finally got it set up, we were able to chat with each other and call (similar to a phone between ships without going through the VHF chatter) but found out Aurora didn't have that so we'll stick to VHF hailing.

Back at the boat I made BLTs for dinner - very tastey. We agreed on 6:30 tomorrow morning for departure and I discovered that my phone alarm clock wouldn't work without cell coverage (it can't pinpoint a time and date). S*%$! Hope I wake up early - I probably will - I usually do...

Still in Bimini Part 2
02/18/2009, Bimini Islands

Later in the day Joan & Brigid & I walked into Alice Town to get some bread from the bread man. I think his name was Charles. He bakes it and sells it out of his house & as we got there he was just taking it out of the oven - what timing! As we walked into his house the aroma was incredible!!! I carried my hot loaf through town and managed to not rip into it! Joan said his was better than the bread ladies and after tasting it (I waited until I got it back to the boat) - I had to agree. At $4/loaf I wished that I'd bought two. It wasn't as sweet as the bread ladies but still had a slight sweetness to it. It made an excellent BLT for dinner! Hmmm - I got a little ahead of myself...

Along the way we saw a man by the water-cleaning conch so I had to stop by and chat with him to see what he was doing and how he was doing it. He showed me how to punch a hole in the shell to loosen the critter from the shell. He'd already done quite a crop of them and was in the process of cutting the conch up to package for the restaurants and locals. It looked like he pretty much cut everything away except for a section of white muscle. I asked if I could touch it - yes. It felt really firm. He said in order to eat it you had to bruise it first. I didn't quite understand what he was saying (his Bahamian accent) but he made this pounding motion with his hand and said something about a hammer with teeth and I got it (tenderizing it by beating it). He said it makes a fine salad, or fritters and something else... I couldn't believe the pile of conch shells that he had but he had a 5 gallon bucket already packed with conch on ice and was working on another 2 buckets.

Still in Bimini Part I
02/18/2009, Bimini Islands

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Well we're still in Bimini. The winds were gusting strong from the NE so we decided to stay put today. There's another boat heading out tomorrow for Nassau (Soooo Fine 2) so we thought we'd hook up with them and Aurora to go over to the banks and anchor then head on over the following day towards Chub Cay/Frazier Hog Cay. With a northerly heading towards us Morgan's Bluff wouldn't be a good anchorage (it's open to the north) so we'll wait to head down to Morgan's Bluff.

We went over to Layne & Joan's boat & Layne got me connected to a weak signal on the Internet so I was able to check out the weather and see if we'd heard anything from our lawyer (or anyone else). Mary, Steph and Randy checked in - Aloha Randy - hope all is well in Hawaii. I think of you and hope things are going better for you (I still have my moments). You realize if we ever do make it through Panama I have every intention of trying to reach you in our little boat...

Layne was showing us his You Tube videos on how to build wind generators while we were over there. Wow, excellent stuff! So we could have built one very similar to the KISS one we bought for a third of the cost. We'll have to check in on his videos periodically and stay in touch with them. They're from Wisconson not far from Green Bay so if we get the boat back home again we'll have to visit them for a sail on the Great Lakes.

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