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Madcap Sailing
Going Out to Dinner in the Bahamas
Beth / 78F and high humidity
12/03/2010/3:07 pm, Little Farmer's Cay

Going out to dinner in the Bahamas can be a little different from the way it is in Halifax.

We got dressed up - that means in clean shorts and shirt for Jim and a quick dry skirt and top for me. (Sometimes dressing up means frills and more elegant jewellry.) Guests arrived for predinner drinks in their dinghies, which are like the family cars back home. Our 6 guests then climbed up the side of our "home" and over the edge of the deck to take their seats on the benches around the table. (tight skirts just wouldn't cut it!)

When it was time to leave for the restaurant, some climbed into their "vehicles" and drove all the way there, while others decided to drive a shorter route and walk the rest of the way. We were among the latter, and 4 of us climbed down the side of our home again, stepped into our "vehicle" and headed for the beach where we hopped out into shallow water and pulled the "vehicle" ashore, tying a line around a tree and making sure it was pulled up far enough to stay dry while we were gone. We got only a little wet, and thanks to the quick-dry fabrics we dried off as we walked.

It was still light enough to see where we were going and before long we had walked around the corner and down the hill to the head of the bay where we waved to friends and headed up another hill to Ocean Cabin. Just before dinner, we paid a visit to the little store on the property to see what the mail boat brought in. I picked out a tomato, a red pepper, a half pound of butter and 12 oz of cheese. We weighed the produce on the countertop scale, looked up the prices on the list posted on the fridge, wrote them in the ledger under the names of our boats, added up the prices and put the money in a box. ($7.00 for me) Nancy (as a sometimes helper for Ocean Cabin) put the money away and locked the door behind us.

Back at the dining room, 7 of us sat down to dinner at one long table and proceeded to enjoy the offerings of Ernestine's kitchen. As is the custom here, we chose what we wanted to eat when we made our reservations earlier in the day. Jim had lobster and I had grouper, both accompanied by peas'n'rice and cole slaw. Jim's lobster was a good size - tail only because these tropical spiny lobsters have no claws - and was served in the shell after being baked with butter and lemon. My grouper was steamed and topped with a spicy onion and pepper medley. Both were delicious. We shared a bottle of white wine with friends and it was pretty bad. I'd forgotten that beer is the best choice at bars here.

Once the eating part was over, Ernestine emerged from the kitchen to sit and chat with us, Terry produced copies of the Little Farmer's Cay song and turned on the music, and we all sang enthusiastically.

At the end of the evening, we headed back up the road in the pitch dark (few streetlights here), flashlights in our pockets until we started down Jeffery's conch shell lined path to the beach again. Once there, we picked our way by flashlight up the beach until we could see our "vehicle" still parked safely on the rocks. Because the surf was rolling in, we all got soaked getting it turned around and into the water far enough to get the motor down. The waves were crashing up against us as 3 of us waded out to knee-deep water and then crawled over the side while Jim tried to get the engine going without taking off too fast (it has a little problem right now and only starts in forward gear, meaning that one has to be ready to fly off quickly!) I think we probably got just as wet as those who travelled back bucking waves all the way, but it lasted a shorter time.

Once back home, we tied up the dinghy, climbed aboard, stripped off all our clothes in the cockpit and laughed at how our evening-out finery still gets relegated to the floor in a soggy heap just like our daytime wear. Once inside we heated water in the kettle to wipe the salt off our bodies before climbing into bed.

You know you're in the Bahamas when you take your clothes off on the front porch (and sometimes shower there too) before entering your abode!

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Across the Harbour
Beth / SE 15 - 20 and 75F
11/03/2010/3:04 pm, Little Farmer's Cay

What a FUN day!

It was windy again (SE 15-20) and it blew right up into the anchorage, keeping us rocking, but the sun felt glorious. Just after breakfast, Solitaire invited us to join them on a visit to Big Farmer's Cay. Did we hesitate?? Not a second.

We beached the dinghy on the little sand beach below Hood's Hill - the hill atop of which sits the geodesic dome belonging to Tom Hood. We climbed up the steep hill, stopping to look back at the view every few feet and wondering how they ever hauled up all the supplied needed for building and rebuilding the dome. The skin on the original metal structure blew off a few years ago, and now Tom is building a dome within the dome. This one is wooden, with windows and doors all round to take advantage of the 360 degree view. We enjoyed our chat with him about his plans and vision for the home and then took our leave so he could get back to work. This time we walked down the trail to the other side of Big Farmer's Cay and enjoyed a stroll through deep soft sand before we took to the trail again - headed for Oskar's round conch coloured house.

Eden Rock, Oskar's home, is just magnificent. He chose the colours from one of those brilliant conchs with the rich pink/coral centre that merges with an orangey/gold edge. The main floor is one big room with 3 sets of French doors that fling wide for air flow, and windows everywhere else - all opening onto a large wraparound deck. A tiny cupola bedroom perches atop the house - again with opening windows all round it. The colours, the thatched roof and the simple but tasteful furnishings made it a perfectly beautiful island haven. A wind generator and a bank of solar panels provide power for all his needs.

Next stop was around the corner to the north facing bay near the cut to the Sound. The sand here was velvety soft and wonderfully warm underfoot. The colours of the bay shifted from pale aqua to deeper turquoise to frothy seagreen shot through with hints of sand and ribbons of deeper blue. Imagine, having such a vista to feast one's eyes on every day!

Once back at the boat, we grabbed computers and headed to Ocean Cabin for a quick check of email and the last few postings ($10 per day) before hurrying home to clean up and host Solitaire, Kolibrie and Winfield Lash for happy hour. It felt a bit like a rush-rush, but it all worked out fine. An hour later we braved the waves again, taking our dinghy ashore at the beach near us and walking down the road to Ocean Cabin for dinner.

Now this is Bahama life!

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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Beth / warm no wind!
09/03/2010/2:37 pm, Black Point Settlement

I'm not sure where that saying, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" started, but I'm here to tell you, clean and salt free bedding and towels and clothes sure feel divine!

We were at the Rockside laundry before 8 on Tuesday morning and I filled 4 washers. Marilyn was right behind me and did the same thing. Water was scarce again so we wanted to get our loads done before the tank was drained. Surprisingly, there were only a couple of other people in - we heard that there was a rush on Monday morning and that people were there till 11 at night, so maybe that's why! Ida's machines take tokens ($3.50 per load) and like most of the laundromats we've found, there is a book exchange (I discovered Pat Carney's memoir "Trade Secrets" ) good conversation and, as a bonus here, homemade carrot cake and haircuts!

Unfortunately, the wifi connection was still not working so we couldn't check email or make blog postings. There were a few others in there and some of them seemed to have access, but others were like us - frustrated. After trying and trying for half an hour on both Lorraine's site and the one at Scorpio's, we decided to give up and go do something pleasurable instead. Back to the boat we went, just in time to see Celebrian come into the bay. That made three Bayfield 36's in one little Bahamian bay! Pat brought over some of the bread starter that I had read about on her great blog ( along with her recipe and I'm looking forward to trying it. It seems like such a friendly thing, this passing along of bread starter. It is perhaps another thread in the lines that link cruisers together.

Jim and I took the trail just before the cemetery up to the beach on the sound side of the cay and were lucky enough to see a blow hole in full "blow". A great plume of mist blew 15 feet high, followed by a frothy white spray every time a wave rolled in. I don't remember ever seeing such a spectacular one - and wouldn't you know, I had left the camera behind. After an hour of clambering up and down over the sharp ironstone rocks, admiring the textures, absorbing the colours and listening to the crashing waves, we headed home to clean up and go over to Reflection for happy hour.

Marilyn and Bruce had invited Randy (Mariah) and Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) as well so the cockpit was full of happy people. Their sweet white Maltese, Nimo, made the rounds too, getting a snuggle here and a salty leg to lick there. That's one way to get the salt off!

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