Lion FishKeith, overcast
09/28/2008, Government Dock, Green Turtle Cay
Spotty internet this morning. Lets see if I can get this picture up and if I can I'll write more.... Ok, it seems to be working. Well, things turned even more social after Jodi left. There are now four cruising boats around Green Turtle, including myself. While I was walking the dogs yesterday I came upon some kids who were throwing empty hooks into the water and spitting on them to attract the fish. It wasn't working. I hooked them up with a package of squid (and a large water) and they were thrilled, and then started catching left and right. I had to insist on catch and release. The photograph is of a fish one of the kids spotted off the dock. As you may know, the beautiful feather-like fins of the Lion fish are highly poisonous. The kids were trying to catch them and kill them but the slow mooving Lion fish were not interested in squid that morning. While back at the boat cleaning up and eating lunch a nice Canadian couple dropped by and I had them aboard for awhile. They invited me to dinner at their boat at 7:00 p.m. They are moored in a calm (but buggy) area towards the interior of the island called Black Sound. Their boat is a lot bigger than mine and has an hard top plexiwindow structure built around the center cockpit that was really comfortable to hang out in. They served up spaghetti, meat sauce, and some leftover meatloaf. Tasty! After they shared an after dinner liquor that they enjoy with coffee. It was really nice, except for the ride back in the dingy with the dogs (who loved the bigger boat and snuggled right in). It was pitch black out and I had a lot of trouble seeing the shore or anything else, even with my spotlight. There were a few moments while crossing the bay that I almost got disoriented. My masthead light looked like a star compared to the intensity of those on the larger boats and I mistook it for one until I was close enough to positively identify TR by spotlight. We made it back safely and I even diverted to shore so they could have a brief walk. Last night, I kid you not, I had to go under the covers somewhere around 2:00 in the morning. It is definitely getting cooler at night here and last night was the coolest yet. Right now I'm sitting up at the bow watching it get light out as I type this (it also gives me a better line of sight to the wireless transmitter). The breeze feels nice and cool and there are little waves bobbing us up and down. Jake is settled beside me. The people I had dinner with last night strongly encouraged me to keep cruising and that more and more fellow sailors would be coming and it would keep getting better and better. It's already been a great adventure in spite of the minor hardships, and perhaps it will get even better. When I was last in the Bahamas at the Club Med I didn't get to experience very much outside of the Club. I only went out once and we got into a huge auto accident, but that is another story altogether. This trip I'm seeing the country in so many more interesting ways.
The Incredible Water At the Point On Treasure Cay BeachOvercast, which is mostly good as it would have been very hot otherwise
I'm on my own again today. Another spectacular sunrise is upon us and it is about time to head into shore for a nice walk. I can't decide if it is too much trouble to make coffee. I probably will. I've got a few boat projects on the agenda today and I really need to fill up with water and perhaps fuel. I may pull out the honda generator as I've been here for several days without charging except for solar and wind and that won't last too much longer. With the hurricane passing us to the northeast there is too much of a chop on the Whale Cay passage to depart southward for another day or two at least. Even the freighters are anchored out waiting for safe passage. I won't even consider going until they depart. In the meantime I'll have to survive somehow stranded on this beautiful tropical island.
Ferry To Treasure CayOvercast
Good and bad day in my cruising life. After a long walk with the dogs we put them inside the boat, I dingied Jodi and her luggage to the ferry dock, and we waited about 20 minutes until it arrived. After so many miles at 5-6 knots it was like riding on a jet fighter. We arrived to the "mainland" in no time. Since this is so off-season we were the only tourists around. We taxied into "town," which is really a huge marina/resort complex. It wasn't what we were expecting and I'm glad I didn't go through the trouble of cruising all the way to Treasure Cay. It is really more suited to the big powerboats who come here in one leap from the nice West End marina. With time on our hands before Jodi's departure we took a long walk along the world class beach, had a coke at the famous Coco beach bar, did some grocery shopping at the particularly well-stocked grocery (I'm now well stocked again on pringles and fruit), and that was about all there was for us to do there. The taxi driver waited for us while enjoying a nice burger and fries herself at the Coco bar. She picked us up from the grocery, dropped me off at the ferry dock, and continued with Jodi to the airport. It was a weird sensation to be in a van after so much time away. I made the 2:30 ferry and was back in Green Turtle Cay in no time. It was a kind of sad afternoon after that. Anne has been moping around and I think she's depressed at Jodi's departure. Both dogs slept on deck last night. I went into town and did a little socializing after their afternoon walk, but I wasn't so much in the mood. Fell asleep to the sounds of the local music coming across the water from Sundowners, where I'm receiving this wireless signal.
09/26/2008, Green Turtle Cay
Jodi and I (and the dogs) are waking from another in this series of cool evenings. After months of hot, muggy, buggy, sticky nights, the last few have been heaven. And it is calm this morning so we're not rocking so much, except when the ferry boats go by and create waves. Yesterday evening I walked to Jess's house while Jodi and the dogs enjoyed some quiet time by themselves on the boat. I was a bit apprehensive about going to the home of people I just met but felt good that I was being so social when usually at home I don't get out much. Well, it couldn't have been more enjoyable. Jess's family is renting a big house with a million dollar view. We went out on the "deck" and enjoyed the sunset and conversation with cold beer and numerous appetizers. They lit up some mozzie coils and we passed around the bug spray and had a great time chatting and enjoying the panoramic view. They are such nice people. The home reminded me of any normal family dwelling and was very comforting. I would have stayed longer but it was Jodi's last night and I wanted to spent it with her. Jess drove me back to the docks and I dingied back to the sailboat and finished watching the sunset with Jodi. Then we hit sundowners (the bar and grill on the beach near our anchorage) for some dinner with the locals, who were in fine form. Another late night dingy to the boat and a great night sleep. This morning I pulled the blanket over me as it was so cool and it felt so nice. The sun is about to come up and we've been hearing the roosters for the last hour. It is a very peaceful and comfortable time on Tropical Reality. Eventually we will have coffee and then dingy to shore to walk the dogs, stow them below, and catch the ferry to Treasure Cay to see the town, walk the world-class beach, and send Jodi off back to the mainland. That will be sad. I've got tentative plans to meet Jess and her family at Dave's, but who knows what will happen as we have a full day ahead of us. We've managed to live two over two weeks in hot conditions on the three water tanks aboard the sailboat but we're on the last tank and I'll be using my reserve jugs in a day or two. I can fill with water here on Green Turtle Cay. All of the water here is caught from rain and stored in individual cisterns, even at Jess's house. I've still got 1/2 a tank of diesel and two 5 gallon reserve jugs, but I probably should fill up with fuel when I fill up with water. That and the dingy repair can all be done after Jodi leaves. Until then I will enjoy her company.
Fried Conch With An Assortment Of Pepper SaucesNice
09/25/2008, Daves Bar and Liquor Store in GTC
We're spending another relaxed day in Green Turtle Key. Jodi's flight leaves tomorrow and she wants to just completely relax this afternoon with her 1970's rock and roll music. I can dig. Had a little mishap with the dingy and found it almost sunk this morning, but I straightened it all out and got it back into action without too much trouble. Unfortunately it has another small leak so I will need to patch it when Jodi leaves. For the time being I have to pump it a bit once or twice a day. We made it into town after coffee and a little haircut for me... well maybe more than a little one. The dogs were lounging away the morning and didn't really rush to get into shore to do their thing. The first item on the agenda after landing the dingy was to make sure we knew where to catch the ferry to Treasure Cay airport. I already knew but Jodi wanted to be sure. It is a short pleasant walk from our dingy beach to the harbor. We went there last night on the evening walk and took refuge under a little roof/shelter as a summer shower passed by. It was nice. Jodi went off to buy gifts and I took the dogs to the park in the center of town with bronzes of important people. A lot of the inhabitants are descendants of loyalists. Loyalists, as you may not have learned in American History, were loyal to the British during the American revolutionary war. Also called Torries, these folks weren't too welcome in the US after the British lost the war. They eventually had to leave the country and came here. That may explain their unusual accents. I've been meeting all these people who descend from many generations here and they are generally wonderful and nice people. While Jodi was shopping I wound up (or should I say Jake and Anne wound up) finding this woman strolling her baby to her husband's work site. We all talked for about half an hour or more and finally I had to leave and find Jodi. They would have continued another hour and probably did after I left. Very laid back around these parts. Not a lot of rushing going on. Jodi was waiting for us at the dingy landing. I wasn't ready to go back and Jodi was easily convinced to take another walk to that awesome beach. Of course I was also hoping that our English friend and her dog from yesterday would be there. And she was. So was her mom, from South Africa. Cool woman. They also have two other kids, one of which goes to school here and takes the ferry every day to Marsh Harbor. We talked until it became too hot. They invited us over to their house for a drink this evening. Jodi isn't into that sort of thing, but I'm quite social when traveling so I may go and then meet Jodi for whatever she wants to do on her final night cruising the Bahamas... Oh, the picture. We had breakfast at Daves this morning and had an order of fried conch. Very good there. The guy is a hot pepper collector or something and these are the brands I wanted to try. My favorite was the Pickappers brand from Jamaica. The Ass Blaster was by far the hottest, literally taking my breath away. I'm kind of a pepper sauce fan and have several varieties on the boat at present, so it was fun for to try a little on those tender pieces of breaded fried conch. I walked out of there stuffed and on fire.
This Is That Great Green Turtle Cay Beach I Was Talking About Below09/25/2008
A Cool Evening At Last09/25/2008, Green Turtle Cay
This photo was taken a few days ago. Yesterday was spent at anchor and by the afternoon it got downright windy. I put on the wind generator as the batteries had gone down quite a bit due to all the computer and other electrical use over the last day or two. It remained windy all evening and into the night and now we are at around 70% capacity in the batteries so we've got plenty for another day or two, not including any solar energy that comes. The wind last night blew out most of the humidity and heat out of the boat so we got to enjoy one of the only bug free, cool evenings Tropical Dreamer has experienced in a long time. It was great. No fans needed. I even pulled my blanket over me this morning, which is something I haven't done in months. I think it will gradually become more and more comfortable during the night and then the day as the fall creeps up on us. Pity Jodi is leaving in a day or so and she won't get to experience that. Well, she'll have a similar cooling down in Tucson. Anne slept out on deck last night and enjoyed the breeze, which is unusual for her as she has pretty much always come inside the cabin at night. The downside to the breeze is some rocking and rolling, which I kind of like anyway, especially when I'm sleeping in the forpeak, my cozy little cocoon. We had a pleasant relaxing day yesterday. After coffee and morning chat we took the dogs for a walk through town and over the hill to this incredible beach that was almost 360 degrees. The dogs had a great time and Jodi and I met this beautiful young woman from England who is summering here with her parents and the family dog they brought from overseas. We bought a fresh baked sweet white bread and ate it along the way and then made sandwiches for lunch on the boat later on. The nice gentleman at the grocery let Jodi use his phone to make a reservation to fly out from Treasure Key to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow. We will either cruise there today or she can take a ferry tomorrow. It's not that far either way. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset on the boat with some nice vintage Phil Collins music and then ended the evening with a dog walk around town in the misting rain and pizza at Sundowners, a local bar and grill type place where I spent some time chatting with a local I met there last night. Then we took the dingy with the dogs in the dark to the sailboat, navigating by the path of shimmering light produced by the anchor light. All in all a great day in the Bahamas. I have to admit there are still times each day when I feel compelled to come home, but there are also times each day where I feel I want to continue much farther and a lot of in between. Day by day. Week by week. It will end when it ends whether that be sooner or later. Regardless, it has been a unique and full on adventure.
Double Breasted Cay09/24/2008
I think my favorite stop so far in the Bahamas has been an uninhabited island in the way north called Double Breasted Cay (pronounced key). It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I've been to some pretty far out spectacular places. We have been alternating from islands with settlements to uninhabited islands, ideally those with nice beaches for the dogs. There is nothing happier than a golden retriever playing in the clear, cool, shallow white sand beaches here in the Bahamas. Sometimes the heat and humidity and mozzies get us down, but compared to what I experienced trekking down the east coast of the US in July and August, it feels cooler and more comfortable to me here. Electric fans help considerably. This morning I am actually chilly as it starts to become light while Jodi has her fan going full blast. It's all on your point of view and attitude is everything out here. A moment can be comfortable and enjoyable or miserable depending on how the mind handles it. I must say I'm really enjoying myself these days but I give a lot of credit to the people who are cruising around the world for really long periods as they really have to endure hardship from time to time. Living on a boat for years - it takes a special type of person.
Local Cuisine09/24/2008, Abaco, Bahamas
It's lobster season in the Bahamas and most of the men we've encountered seem to be fishermen this time of year. They dive down and capture these with spear guns (I purchased one for $50 but haven't used it to kill anything yet) along with conch, a large sea mollusk. Grouper is also a popular fish. We had a number of lobster which we bought and traded for but quickly tired of them. They're not like Maine lobsters and neither Jodi nor I are huge fans anyway. We've also tried cracked conch, which is a lot like fried clams but with much bigger strips. That was pretty good. Overall, I can't say the Bahamas food is out of this world, but we've enjoyed trying things and I'm sure there's a lot more to experience. A fisherman gave me a huge grouper and then cut it into fillets for us and that was quite tasty pan fried. Between the food we're finding and the food we're making, we are still eating fine.
Fox Town, Abaco Bahamas09/24/2008
I would have to say that the highlight of the Bahamas so far for me is the people. Yea, the water is clear to the bottom and the sea life is wonderful (we saw huge starfish at our last anchorage - we had to keep the dogs off of them - and sea turtles just swimming along in the water) and the colors of the sea of abaco are amazing when the light hits them. But the people have been so friendly and generous to us. Where I come from people, especially strangers, are kind of mean to each other. People don't connect with each other unless they've gotten to know each other for a long long time. Here people are much more willing to chat with visitors. I've learned so much about the culture of the Bahamas from the locals. As you can see from the picture, the dogs are a huge hit with the kids and they love walking them while we tour a new island.
Singer Family Adventures
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