06/10/2013, San Jose, Costa Rica
We had a great flight to Costa Rica. Enjoyed our first class seats. Since neither if us would be driving when we arrived, we enjoyed numerous cocktails. I had a nice nap!!
Going through customs was a breeze. Next stop, money exchange. We got our colonies and headed to find our driver/guide for the week, Manuel.
A first for both Robert and I. Manuel is standing among the other drivers holding a sign with "Robert Nordstrom" on it!! We made it!!!!!!
The airport in San Jose was about 30 minutes from Escuza, our destination.
We arrive at a very nice gated condominium community called Portofino. Man, I'm liking this!!!
The condo is lovely. Beautiful mountain views. http://www.sailblogs.com/sbgallery/pics/rnordstrom_gmail_com/sbdq9iakc/w/sb0mqep9.jpg It is also big enough for our entire family!!! 3 bedrooms/3 full baths/ huge kitchen/ formal dining room/ living room/ breakfast nook/ sitting area overlooking the view. It even has a maids quarters!!! The laundry room is bigger than our entire living quarters on SeaQuell.
We met Dean, chief strategist for Robert's company, Decisiv. He welcomed us with open arms, a handshake for Robert and a kiss on the cheek for Becky.
We took a little time to settle in , and Manuel returned to carry us shopping for a few necessities--- coffee, wine, beer, vodka, rum, tonic, limes-- oh, and some food!!!!
Dinner is at a local restaurant, Cebolla Verde ( green onion). We sampled soooo much food--- rice and beans ( gallo pinto) , fried plantains with cheese, chicken fajitas, nachos, shrimp, fried cheese, and chifrijo ( another rice and bean dish with little chunks of fried pork). We also had fried yucca (kinda like a potato). Lots of cold Costa Rican beer to wash it down. We were so full we could hardly walk to Manuel's car.
Back to the condo for after dinner cocktails and enjoying the view of the city---- so many twinkling lights!!!!!
Monday morning brings the smell of our Costa Rican coffee brewing !!! Absolutely delicious coffee. Thanks to Manuel for the suggestion!!
Robert sets up his work station at the dining room table (he opted for this rather than the office area so he can enjoy the view while he works). Becky settles in with a book.
Lunch is Carribean take-out, compliments of Dean. chicken, pork, shrimp, more plantains, more rice and beans, but with a little more spice!!!! Yum!!
Monday afternoon we start exploring. With Manuel as our driver/guide, we head to Cartago , the original Capitol of Costa Rica. The city is full of history. It rains like crazy, but that's not gonna stop us!! We saw the most beautiful church---- Bascilica de Los Angeles. We were both in awe!!! We partook of the holy water, and whispered prayers for loved ones.
After the church tour, we head out to the country to see a coffee plantation. Well, after a slight delay to clean Manuel's battery cables when his car didn't start. Don't forget, it's the rainy season!!!! Somewhat soggy, but excited, we're back on the road again!
Beautiful drive up mountain roads. Everything is so GREEN!!!! The coffee plantations are very green, but it is not season for "berries". We saw some lovely countryside, and stopped for coffee and tortillas (a typical afternoon treat).
Rush hour traffic in the rain back to the condo for cocktails, then out to dinner again at another local spot, La Casona de Laly. Robert had ceviche, and Manuel and I had the biggest bowl of soup ever!!!!! It was a beef broth with chunks of ? Beef?. Loaded with yucca, corn on the cob, plantains, onion, carrots --- everything but the kitchen sink!!! Quite yummy!!
Back to the condo . Nightcap for Becky/night- night for Becky. Robert stays up late doing a little work, and tastes of the rum we bought.
Tuesday morning---- more yummy coffee---- LOVE that aroma!!! Another first---- breakfast is warmed over cheese tortillas with leftover rice and beans!!!!!
Manuel picks us up around 10:00 am. Today, we are heading up to Poas Volcano. It is in a national park. The ride is lovely. Lush green valleys and majestic mountains. Easy hike to the volcano---- UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!! We were able to see the entire crater, rim, smoke-- yes it's an active volcano!!!!! Another first for us both!!!
Uphill hike to the lake--- an inactive crater---- again--- WOW!!!!! Mother Nature has provided yet another beautiful sight. We soaked up as much beauty as time allowed, then it's back in Manuel's car (a different one today-- his SUV) for a very bumpy ride to La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Peace Lodge--- for lunch and a rainforest tour.
Rainy season continues--- good thing we came prepared!!! We had a buffet lunch at the lodge prior to our tour. Again, more food than you can imagine. -pizza, pasta, salad, roasted pork, fried plantains, and of course, Rice and Beans!!!!!!
The rainforest tour was spectacular. Beautiful gardens, numerous plants. Hummingbirds, butterflies, snakes, toucans, macaws, ---- lions, and tigers and bears , oh my!!!! Really, no lions or bears, but we did see pumas and jaguars.
Several spectacular waterfalls!!!!!!! Again, what a majestic view!!! Words or pictures can't begin to capture the beauty.
Had to hoof it to catch the last shuttle back to the lodge, but we made it. We're drenched, but thrilled with our day of exploration.
Ut-oh. Manuel's vehicle will not start. We tried the typical Costa Rican " push it off" to start it. Nope!!! Not happening!! Break out the tools!! Manuel and Robert (with numerous onlookers/concerned lodge employees) try every fuse, every relay, connection etc!! We assume that our bumpy ride shook something loose. Nope!!! Manuel leaves us with the vehicle and goes to get some gas. He questions if his fuel gauge is inaccurate.
30 minutes later, he returns with gas. Into the tank it goes!! Again, NO GO!!!
A very apologetic Manuel makes arrangements for us to hitch a ride with a lodge employee who lives relatively close to San Jose. He interprets for us, we pay the guy 35,000 colonies($70), and once again, we're off!!!! We leave poor Manuel stranded, hoping he can get his vehicle on the road soon.
We're in a van that probably seats 12 passengers. The windows are fogged like hell--- don't forget --- we're in the rainforest!!!! It's raining, it's getting dark, and we're zooming down a mountain road with a guy named Michael. He assures us that he speaks a little English, and that we will be home in a couple of hours. We stop along the way to,pick up Michael's lovely wife and his cute little son. We enjoy what bits and pieces of their family conversation we understand, and settle in for an exciting ride home. Oh, I forget to mention, Michael is not "exactly" sure where Portofino (our condo) is.
He drives expertly through the rain and rush hour traffic-- we witness several minor accidents. The locals drive like SH ------!!!!!!
Finally, with Robert's back seat help with directions, we arrive at the gate of our condo!!! Oh, SH---. The guard is never gonna recognize this van.!!
We roll out of the van at the gate, and thank God!! The guard recognizes our faces and opens the gate.
Forget dinner!!! No rice and beans tonight!!! It's liquid refreshment for the rest of the evening. Nothing like some straight Costa Rican Rum to calm our slightly frazzled nerves!!! After several night caps, and some relaxation enjoying the beautiful starlit sky, we turn in. There is always a breeze here, so we open the bedroom windows--- cool night breeze billowing past the curtains. Nighty- nite!!!!
Wednesday is Robert's first day to train a new employee-- Ruben. They set up a work station at the condo--- again at the dining room table, and get to work at 8:00 am.
Becky is the cook for the day---- breakfast is coffee and fruit. Lunch is homemade spagetti and salad. It's quite a treat to cook in this wonderfully equipped kitchen. I'm not accustomed to all this luxury!!!
The guys work hard all day. They accomplished a lot. Ruben heads home, and we eat leftovers for dinner. Cocktails in the sitting area overlooking the city-- one could easily become accustomed to this! Early bedtime for Becky. Robert stays up late returning e- mails and preparing for another day of training tomorrow.
Thursday is a repeat of Wednesday. Lunch menu is different. Becky cooks balsamic glazed chicken, with roasted vegetables. The guys work until around 7:00 pm. Manuel comes to pick us all up---- he ended up spending the night in his vehicle waiting for a tow truck. His SUV is in the shop, so we all pile into the Toyota Corolla, and it's off for a night on the town.
Yakky's ( pronounced Jackie's) Bar is our destination for tonight. Ruben's fiancé, Anna joins us for dinner. It's two for one night at the bar!!!!!!! Woo-Hoooo!!!!! We partake of a local grain alcohol mixed with ginger ale for starters. Manuel says it' s a party for 12 for $6!!!! After margaritas, daiquiris and beer for the boys, we order dinner. Tonight it's typical bar food--- chicken wings, fried plantains-- of course!!!!, and fried yucca with a spicy dip. Much fun and laughter was had by all !!!! What a great time!!!
Back to the condo --- good thing Manuel is driving!!! Robert and I enjoy our last evening in the sitting area looking over this beautiful city.
Slept great--- again with the windows open with a nice cool breeze. Awakened around 3:00 am--- something is flying around our bedroom!!!! We think it must be a bat, but before we can flip on the lights it flys back out the open window !!!
Friday morning dawns clear and bright. Gorgeous sunrise!!!! Breakfast is the last of our Costa Rican coffee, and breakfast cocktails of the remaining vodka and limes. A little Malbec is left, so we finish that off too!!!!
Manuel picks us up around 11 am to head to the airport. We're excited to be headed home, but hate to leave this beautiful place. We have packed in loads of fun into a very short time (typical for us). Saying goodbye to Manuel is like leaving a family member behind---- we couldn't have asked for a better guide, who now is a friend.
We're heading home ---- enjoying another first class upgrade!!!!! We should arrive in Richmond, Va around midnight. About an hour drive back to SeaQuell--- waiting for us in Urbanna!!! Gotta get home to get ready for tomorrow----- Robert's brother and his wife are coming to stay with us for a week!!!
Our crazy, fun-filled, 'never a dull moment" life cruises on!!! Stay tuned for more Nordstrom adventures as they unfold!!!!
06/01/2013, Urbanna, Reedville, and Tangier Island, VA
We are establishing our routine here in Urbanna.
Life here is very quiet most of the time. The weekends get a little busy, but during the week we enjoy the peacefulness.
We have done a few more projects on SeaQuell. Our toilet needed valves replacing, so that job is done.
Reorganized Robert's tool/sewing closet.
Replaced the fuel filter and oil filters on the starboard engine/routine maintenance.
We had a fun- filled weekend over Memorial Day. One of Robert's co-workers (Nagu) and his sons (Hari and Murari) came to visit. We left the marina on Sat. Morning. The wind was blowing a steady 20 knots, but we had a fantastic sail. When we made our turn at Windmill Point, the waves and wind increased.
Nagu and Hari got a little seasick, but a couple of Dramamine and a nap fixed them right up.
We spent the evening in Reedville--- walked around town, touring the lovely homes and the Fisherman's museum. Snacks ( provided by Nagu and Co.) of a variety of Indian chips, party mix, pastries. Nice and spicy!!!!! Dinner on the boat, with ice cream from the local ice cream/coffee shop-- Chitter-Chats, for dessert.
Sunday morning, after a good night of sleep, we headed to Tangier Island. Winds are brisk, but much less wave action today. We arrived at Tangier early afternoon. Enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant. Explored the village on foot--- we only saw 3 cars the whole time!!! Most of the locals drive their golf carts everywhere.
Nice Memorial Day service at the local church. Very reverent.
We walked on the beach for a couple of miles--- saw a dead dolphin that had washed ashore---? Sick-- no evidence of injury.
Dinner plans were altered--- all the restaurants closed at 5:00 pm. We had dinner on the boat with lots of liquid refreshment for the adults.
Monday morning, we are up early for a 6:30 departure and sail back to Urbanna. NOT!!!!! The port hull of SeaQuell is sitting in the mud---- while waiting for the tide to come in, the adults had breakfast cocktails, and the boys went kayaking.
Finally got underway around 10:00 am. NO wind today!!! Motored back to Urbanna, and arrived at our marina around 5:00 pm. We lost the tip of our boat pole coming in--- gotta dive for that later!!
Guests head back to Richmond around 6:00 pm. Robert and I visited with friends on the dock-- Anne and David Townsend (they live in NC) . Cindy and Doc (Urbanna locals) also joined in the fun!!! We shared snacks, cocktails, and lots of funny stories----- so much fun!!
Dinner plans once again altered--- only one restaurant in Urbanna was open today, and they close at 8:00!!!!! They were kind enough to fix us some crab cake sandwiches to go!!! We're getting pretty good at "flying by the seat if our pants".
Bedtime was a very welcome sight--- all this fun makes ya tired!!
Tuesday, it's back to the daily grind. Becky is up to her ears in dirty laundry, and the boat is a hot mess!!! ( another sign of a fun weekend).
Robert is hard at work, too.
Maggie is doing what she does best---- sleeping!!
The rest of this week has been filled with minor projects and preparing for our trip to Costa Rica.
We leave tomorrow morning. We've been upgraded to first class!!!!! Maggie is at the boarder. Now to do some last minute laundry and then pack our bags!!!
We're both excited about visiting another new place--- life is very good!!!!
05/23/2013, Urbanna, VA
We had a great time in Bath visiting with family and friends.
Our daughter is managing ok , so Becky returned home after two weeks in Wilson.
We celebrated with our niece, Mary, and her fiancé , Chris on their upcoming wedding in July. They are getting married in Alaska (they live there), so we helped celebrate with family and friends here that will be unable to attend
We left for Urbanna, VA on May 8th, and arrived on the 11th. We headed out to Ocracoke--- planning an outside passage. Once again, the weather guessers gave a highly inaccurate forecast. We opted to stay in the ICW. Motor sailed most of the way. Stayed at a lovely anchorage one night--- in Broad Creek-- on the north river-- near the Albemarle sound. Total quiet-- only sound was of waterfowl. We had a few nerve wracking incidents while underway. -- mainly issues with big fishing boats trying to run us over. Timing the bridge openings was another hurdle-- often we were one of a dozen boats, lined up awaiting the bridge opening. Robert had the challenge of holding position-- sometimes for 30 minutes. We encountered 2 large barges heading south--- just as the bridge opened!!!! now, THAT will make ya pucker!!
We finally made it to the Chesapeake Bay around 6:00 pm on Friday. At one point we were making 13.8 knots!!!!!! WOW!!!!
In view of impending storms and small craft advisory after midnite, we decided to head straight for Urbanna; opting out of anchoring for the night. We arrived in Urbanna around 1:00 am, anchored in the creek across from the marina where we'll be spending the summer.
We got into our slip around 11:00 am on Saturday. Time for a celebratory cocktail!!! Another successful passage!! So glad to be "home"
Robert spent our first few days here in Richmond(at the office). Becky and Maggie went for long walks around town.
We spent a couple of days in Wilson-- our daughter, Rebecca received her first infusion of therapy for her ulcerative colitis. We also attended her graduation from nursing school while in Wilson. We're so proud of all she's accomplished.
Back home--- again at 1:00 am. We're becoming very proficient at this.
Saturday was Cocktail Boat race day at the marina. It was fun, despite kinda crappy weather.Good turnout of folks, and good food and drink.
Sunday was a day of much needed rest----- slept in; watched movies; drank like fish!!!!
Monday it's back to work. Usual routine.
Becky is going to work at the marina a little, helping out as a dockhand and with some office duties. First day of training went well.
Projects on SeaQuell continue. We adjusted the rudders(aligned and retensioned the cables). Spring cleaned the old gal.
Getting ready to fly to Costa Rica--- business trip for Robert, Becky tagging along. We're super excited about this trip.
Maggie is getting lots of love and treats. Frequent walks thru town. Chasing waterfowl at the marina. She has it made!!!
We are settling in quickly. Renewing friendships with people we met last year here in Urbanna. The weather is perfect---high 70's during the day----50's at night. Lovin' every minute of our crazy life!!!!!
04/26/2013, Bath, NC
Since our last blog, our lives have been a blur.
We ended up purchasing a new sail drive. It was installed on Friday, April 19th.
Robert left Savannah the following day---- single-handing SeaQuell because Becky is still in Wilson, NC helping her daughter.
The weather was totally uncooperative. Gusty winds, rough seas(even in the ICW). Long, trying days at the helm. Little or no sleep for Robert.
After 4 grueling days, he finally arrived in Bath, NC on Tuesday, April 23rd around 4:00 pm. Docked at the state dock there, and headed to Washington to pick up a rental car.
Mad dash to Wilson to pick up Becky. Quick dinner, and back to Bath.
On Wednesday morning, Robert heads to Washington for a quick haircut for this weeks business trip. Becky tries to clean SeaQuell as best she can, and get Robert packed for trip to New Orleans for business.
By noon, we are once again headin' to the airport. Robert had an uneventful flight to New Orleans. Becky and Maggie had an uneventful drive back to Wilson. our daughter is still struggling with health issues and needs some assistance.
Hopefully, on Sunday, we'll both return to SeaQuell and remain in Bath, NC for a little over a week. Then headin' to Urbanna, VA for the summer.
04/13/2013, Stuart, FL to Savannah, GA
We left Stuart, FL on Wed. April 3rd around 7:00 am. Had to leave our car in Stuart, as the transport service we contacted never showed up.
We went out the St Lucie Inlet--- kindly bumpy, and numerous big fishing boats creating big wakes. We were in the ocean with our sails up within an hour. We had a beautiful sail---- averaged 7 knots of speed; seas about 3-5 feet-- nice "rollers". Early evening, a thunderstorm was just north of us, so we started the engines to push on through it.loving our new cockpit enclosure---- we stay warm and dry!!!!! Best money we've spent!!!!
We arrived at Cape Canaveral around midnite, only to learn that the drawbridge and the locks close at 10:00 pm on weekdays. We tied SeaQuell up at a fuel dock for the night.
Up early on Thursday to make the 6:00 am bridge opening. Through the locks with no issues. Now for our trudge up the ICW for the next couple of days. Off shore forecast doesn't look so hot. There's a front moving in---- high winds and big seas--- think it's wise to stay "inside" for now. As we were approaching New Smyrna, the VHF radio announces a tornado watch. We decide to duck into the marina for the night. We had a great evening. Pizza and wings from a local restaurant. Nice stroll through town . no storms ever developed, and we had a good night of sleep. Bummer news--- Robert checked the sail drives and the port one has water intrusion-- again!!!! Contacted Hinckley Marine Service--- they recommend haul-out in Savannah to re-evaluate.
Friday morning is cloudy--- dark "stormy looking" clouds. The weather guessers say this will end late morning, so we hang out at the marina till just after noon. Motored up the ICW to Daytona Beach area. Around 3:00 pm, the winds picked up to a steady 20 knots, with gusts to 30. Torrential downpour that lasted about an hour. Looks like those weather guessers are at it again!!!! The winds persisted to late evening at 15-18 knots---- dead on the nose!! We found an "anchorage"--- I use this term very loosely---- near Flagler beach. We touched bottom twice trying to get in, but Robert finally found a "sliver" of water and we made it in. We anchored in about 6 feet of water. Little sleep, as the depth and anchor alarms sounded frequently.
We hauled anchor around 7:00 am, and once again "bumped through" this crazy "anchorage". Motor sailed up the ICW to Jacksonville, FL. Long, slow uneventful day. We anchored in Pablo Creek----- a beautiful, calm , deep water anchorage---- much different from last night!!!!!!! Lovely sunset, cocktails in the cockpit, and later a little TV. Slept great!!!!!!!
The weather forecast looks much better , so we leave Jacksonville around 6:30 am. Went out the St. John's Inlet---- beautiful area. Lots of waterfowl, pretty coastline. We saw a naval ship with hundreds of seamen--- all decked out in their dress whites. They lined both sides, the bow, and the stern of this huge ship. They were all standing at attention----- very impressive and emotionally stirring sight. We were in the ocean by 9:30 am. The winds were predicted to be 10-15 knots, but that never happened. We motor sailed all day, due to light winds. As we were coming in the St. Simons Inlet, we caught the current and flew in. SeaQuell was making 9 knots!!!! Cool!!! Also cool--- Maggie used her potty patch!!!!
We arrived at Morningstar Marina around 5:00 pm. Filled the fuel tank, hosed the salt off, and went for a nice walk. Dinner is burgers from Coastal Kitchen----- YUM!!!!!
Good night of sleep. Robert has meetings all day tomorrow (typical Monday), so we plan to hang out at the marina till late afternoon.
Monday morning is lovely---- complimentary newspaper and muffins---- kudos to this marina!!! Robert settles in for a long workday. Becky has laundry, grocery shopping and cooking/cleaning duty. Maggie has "rest/sleep" duty.
We left the marina around 4:30 pm--- went out against the tide, but we're in the ocean by 6:15. the seas are calm--- the winds are 10-12 knots. Broad reach--- making about 7 knots. We saw 2 large sea turtles. Around 10:00 pm, the winds slowed to 6-8 knots, so we started the starboard engine. Motorsailed all night. We each took our "watch"-- uneventful, peaceful night.
Tuesday----Arrived at Hinckley Marine around 10:00 am. We are staying here today and tonight. Their facility doesn't have a lift to haul our fat bottomed girl, so arrangements have been made at Thunderbolt Marine. Scheduled for a 9:30 am haul-out tomorrow.
Wednesday am--- motored to Thunderbolt. The lift is waiting for our gal----- out if the water, and blocked by 10:00am. Repairman from WW Williams arrived soon after to begin diagnostics. The boots that were installed on both drives a month ago have come loose. Minor issue. No obvious cracks/ leaks noted on initial inspection. He drained the oil and pressure tested the drive ( this took most of the afternoon). No significant findings at day's end. Robert, Maggie and I took a nice long walk after dinner.
Thursday---- repairman back in am. Entire drive removed and disassembled for further inspection. Appears there is a leak between the sail drive leg and the upper gear box. Parts ordered. Now we wait.
Received a phone call from our younger daughter's husband. Rebecca is sick again. She has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis earlier this year.Repeat colonoscopy scheduled for Monday. we decide that I will head back to NC this weekend by rental car . Robert will probably single hand SeaQuell the rest of the way home once repairs are complete.
|Out to Sea||
04/01/2013, Stuart, FL
What a wonderful week!!!!
We left for Nassau, Bahamas on Sunday, March 24 th. After dinner of chowder at our favorite hangout in Ft. Lauderdale, Southport Raw Bar, we headed for the airport.
Our flight to Nassau was uneventful and going thru customs was a breeze.
Our taxi ride to the marina was very interesting. I still can't get used to "driving on the wrong side of the road". In route, another taxi driver ran off the road, leaving the couple in his taxi without transportation until a wrecker arrived. Our taxi driver stopped to help, and the couple piled into our taxi. They were a cute young couple, on their honeymoon. We had a great conversation with them on the ride, sharing stories and giving them advice for a long a happy marriage.after delivering them to Paradise Island, we were off again.
We arrived at the marina around midnite,, where Don and Judy were waiting to greet us. We shared a few cocktails and hit the sack. Tomorrow we begin our exciting adventure.
Monday morning, after a little last minute provisioning, we left the Nassau harbour, and headed south. WOW!!! Beautiful aquamarine waters that you can see thru!!!! You can see at least 20 feet down!!!!!!
We had a wonderful sail down to Allen's Cay. We averaged 7 knots of speed on Nemo. The ride was a little bumpy, but overall just great. We had a great lunch of tuna and pasta salad while underway. We arrived at Allen's Cay around 3 pm, and starting searching for our anchorage for the night. The first spot we picked was very bumpy--- not much protection from the wind and the waves. We set the anchor and tried to tough it out for a bit, as the winds were supposed to shift late afternoon.
Once again , the weather guessers were wrong. After a short dinghy ride to check out the iguanas on the island, (WOW) , the guys decided to move to a better protected spot that we detected during our dinghy ride.
All this bumping about made me sick. After hurling over the rails several times, I'm immediately better.I think a glass of wine is just what the Dr. Ordered.
We hauled anchor and moved Nemo to a different spot. Nice, quiet, peaceful. Very little action. We enjoyed dinner of pork tenderloin and veggies. Good wine, good friends, and a beautiful, peaceful anchorage.
We went to bed relatively early, but we're awakened by rocking and rolling of Nemo. Guess what?? The wind shift that was forecast to happen around 5 pm has occurred several hours later than anticipated. We slept ok, but not great.
Tuesday morning, the wind is still pretty strong. We haul the anchor and head out. Today's destination--- Norman Cay. We had another great sail--- less wave action than yesterday, but good steady wind. We arrived at Norman Cay mid afternoon.
We anchored Nemo, jumped into the dinghy, and went exploring. We snorkled around a sunken plane. What a blast!!! Numerous fish, and lots of different kinds of coral. We later walked along the sand flats with the looky see bucket --- there were lots of reefs that you could walk close beside. The fish and coral were lovely. We also collected a few live conch. Picked up several sand dollars and shells.
Back to Nemo for dinner/drinks. Course for tomorrow planned. Settled into bed for another bumpy night.
Wednesday morning, Robert and I got a lesson in removing live conch from the shell and cleaning it. Those suckers are slippery!!!!! We were successful in cleaning 5 conch--- enough to make chowder for dinner!!! Thanks for the lesson Don and Judy!!!
We got underway around 10:00 am---We made fantastic time--again averaging 7 knots. Today's destination--Exumas Land and Sea Park.
We were about an hour from our destination when we ran upon a sandbar.
After numerous different attempts to remove Nemo from the bar without success, we decided to wait for high tide. We fixed some cocktails , appetizers, relaxed and waited. We got off the bar around 5:30 pm, and continued on our sail.
We arrived at Exumas Land and Sea Park around 7:00 pm. We hooked our mooring ball, and settled in for a calm, relaxing night. Dinner is conch chowder-- made with the conch we cleaned earlier today.
Thursday morning, we checked in at the park office, went for a hike up to Boo Boo Hill. We left our momento--- a piece of driftwood (actually an old wooden oar) , with Nemo and her passenger's names written on it. We added ours to the huge mound where hundreds of others have done the same. We hiked down the hill to see the blowholes, but due to low tide, they weren't "blowing".
Thursday afternoon, we drift snorkled the Ranger Garden. The current was wicked!!!! Robert and Judy saw a huge lobster. Again, numerous fish/coral/sea life. Later in the afternoon, I got my first scuba diving lesson at Butterfly Beach. Thanks Don!!!! I have trouble not breathing thru my nose--- finally when I pinched my nostrils I did a little better. This is gonna take SEVERAL lessons.!!!!
Friday morning, we departed from the park. Today's destination is our final for this trip--- Staniel Cay. We had a nice sail down to Staniel. We anchored at Big Major Spot. we took a dinghy ride over to Staniel Cay to check it out. Nice long walk thru the little town. Cold beer and conch fritters were enjoyed at the yacht club. We watched the sharks from our table at the bar. They were just swimming around in the harbor, waiting to be fed. We also saw a few large rays!
Saturday morning, we dinghied over to check out the swimming pigs on Big Major. It was a hoot!!!!! Some other boaters were feeding the pigs. Those crazy pigs were trying to climb aboard their boat!!!!! There were also a couple of chickens roaming about on the island.
We continued our exploration of the island --- some by dinghy and some on foot. We found the town dump and got rid of our trash bags for free!!! (it's usually $5 a bag. Hiked Ocean Beach Trail from the Crow's Nest to Pirate's Trap Beach. Spectacular vistas and 360' views of Staniel Cay.
We had a picnic at the public beach supplied by the locals--- fish, chicken, or ribs with Mac and cheese , peas and rice(my fave) and mixed veggies. Cold beer to wash it down. It was fun to meet new people, and enjoy the local culture.
That afternoon, we snorkled in Thunderball grotto. All I can say is WOW!!!!!! Never have we seen such beauty. It's indescribable!!!! A definite "to do" in this area. fish, coral, sunlight streaming thru the open top!!!!!!!! Again, just WOW!!! I can't find the words----
Sunday is our departure day. We are sad to leave such beauty behind. This has to have been some of the most beautiful scenery we've ever experienced. We can't thank Don and Judy ( and Nemo) enough for sharing this with us!!!!! All the lovely sea life/ crystal clear waters/great food/drink and most of all, great fellowship with wonderful friends. Life just doesn't get any better than this!!!! Making memories is sooooooo much fun!!!
We had lunch at the yacht club-- grouper fingers, flash fried conch,burgers, and beer. Now it's off the the local airport( if you can call it that) to catch our puddle jumper back to Nassau.
We poured ourselves into a tiny little plane/ I'm in the co-pilot seat and Robert is sitting behind me. One other couple boards the plane and we take off!!! We were in the air about 10 minutes when we land again--- more passengers to pick up at Black Point Cay. The ride was beautiful. We got a bird's eye view of all the islands !!!!! Sweet!!! Landed in Nassau after a 30 minute, uneventful ride.
Easy customs check in at the Nassau airport. Head to the bar and wait for our flight. Noisy flight back to Ft. Lauderdale. Numerous kids aboard!!!!!
Safe landing in Ft. Lauderdale. Heading home. Stop along the way for dinner-- disappointing Mexican food, but good margaritas.
Almost home--- we can see our marina from atop the Roosevelt Bridge. Hooray!!!! In the excitement, Robert gotta little heavy footed--- oops!!! Stuart Police waiting at the bottom of the bridge-----SH-------!!!
Very kind officer who just issued a warning ticket! WHEW!!!!!
Crashed into bed as soon as we boarded SeaQuell. Busy day tomorrow.
So far today has been filled with work--- Robert at the desk and me unpacking the gear. Fresh water wash down of all our dive/snorkel gear. Pick up Maggie from the boarder. Laundry. Grocery shopping. You know the drill.
Now planning our departure from Florida later in the week when weather allows.
What a wonderful winter we've had!!!!! Looking forward to just as great spring/summer. Stay tuned for more awesome adventures!!!!!!