03/09/2008, Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
March 7th... Emerald Bay.
After breakfast...(our company demands more that coffee and nuts) the girls sunned and Kathy started a couple of loads of laundry. Due to squalls a the occasional rain cloud, we have lots of wet towels and damp clothing, so getting laundry done while it's free is important. The girls did their laundry yesterday so they could take home clean clothes.
After finishing with the clothes and eating some lunch, the girls and Kathy took the shuttle to the mall for some supplies while I showered and did the dishes. We spent the afternoon lazing around the boat mostly reading and finishing a few small jobs.
We grilled hamburgers for dinner and played some more cards before going to bed.
March 8th... Emerald Bay
Kathy did a couple of loads more of laundry in the morning and then we took off to hike to the Resort. We had a map and took off around the tee box of hole #12 which is right behind us and then through one of the gated condo communities to the beach. The resort was half way down the beach. We walked up the boardwalk to a central area that was about two acres of palms perfectly landscaped with a pool that curved through the entire area. Around the pool there were canopied chairs throughout with waiters circulating. We wandered over to one of the outdoor restaurants and ordered drinks and lunch which, although pricy, was excellent.
During our meal the sky turned dank and about the time we finished, there was a down pour. We were in the Hotel at the time ... shopping so stayed dry. I called the marina on the VHF for them to send a car over and Bradford was there in about 5 minutes. It was quite a place.
We did some more reading in the afternoon and I planked some chicken on the grill for supper... which we ate with black beans, rice and a Caesar salad.
The girls arranged for a cab to get them to the airport at six in the morning which was complicated a little by the fact that we were changing to daylight savings time at midnight. After one of the worst movies of all time everyone hit the sack.
Back to Great Exuma
03/09/2008, Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
After listening to the weather we decided to head back to Exuma today rather than tomorrow when seas were going to be 6 feet and the wind was going to be above 20 knots. It would have been fun, but with non-sailors aboard we chose to move today. It was a downwind sail in about 15 knots. We were wing on wing with the headsail poled out and the main prevented for about 40 miles across the banks. We could almost make hull speed.
We fished all the way with three lines out and about noon caught a good sized barracuda on a hand line. It was about 15 pounds and I was able to unhook the thing without bringing it aboard. They are edible and quite good eating but need to be around 5 pounds to be safe for table fare. The larger barracuda have been known to carry the Ciguatera poison, not good to eat that!
We fired up the engine for the last 10 miles as our wind faded and arrived at "The Marina at Emerald Bay" around 3:30.
We were met at the dock by Bradford who tied us up and filled out the paperwork for us. Before he left he grabbed a huge welcome mat and placed it on the dock where we step on and off the boat. This is the first marina that we have stayed in since September in the Chesapeake Bay.
We had an option of a slip with or without power and chose the latter. Water is metered at the dock at 10 cents a gallon. Every thing is brand new here and beautiful. The uniformed help are friendly and very polite. With our slip we have access to free wi-fi, free laundry, beautiful showers, and free shuttle service to the mall, casino, and Four Seasons Resort of which this marina is a small part.
We explored the marina a little and the girls took the shuttle to the store before we made dinner and made an evening of playing euchre.
Exploring a new island
03/09/2008, Thompson's Bay, Long Island
After breakfast, we were underway to Thompson's Bay which was only abut 10 miles south. There were only two boats in the anchorage that we selected although there was room for 50. A little later the four of us took off in the dinghy to try to find the town. About a mile away there was a government dock where we beach the boat and took off on a cross island hike to the ocean. It was only about a mile but without the breeze that we were accustomed was very hot. The beach on the Atlantic side was empty and very nice but as usual, cluttered with junk. No one lives on this side to occasionally clean up the junk.
On our way back we stopped at a grocery a picked up a few things ... but without a list forgot a number of items that were needed. Back at the boat the girls sunned (which it seems is their main reason for being here) and read for awhile before head back out in the other direction to explore. We found Trefina's place, The Thompson Bay Club, and stopped for a beer. The place had a dining room, a small bar area and an enclosed, open-air dance hall. Trefina cooks authentic Bahamian food if you call in on VHF for reservations. We thought about staying but passed.
We have been out of beer for awhile and were trying to find a liquor store replenish our stores, but it wasn't going to happen here... at least not without renting a car. Back on the boat we picked up, read for a while and left for our third dinghy ride for the day. We had been told that somewhere in our bay there was a Tiki Bar that served food so we were off to find it. Cruising the shore line at dusk we found the place about a mile away ..."Parrots of the Caribbean"
The place was small but very nice... there was no indoor dining, just three tables on the deck and a bar with six stools. On the beach level there were two more tables that seemed an afterthought. While waiting for our meal we struck up a conversation with a guy at the bar who was a doctor from Pennsylvania who ended up being the owner. Besides the little restaurant there were a few cabins that he rented as well.
We had an enjoyable evening and found our way back to Sapphire without getting lost. The anchorage had filled up during the day and it is sometimes a challenge to pick our mast light from the 20 others in the bay.