free as a bird

19 April 2014 | Warderick Wells Exumas
19 April 2014 | Warderick Wells Exumas
31 March 2014 | Nassau Harbour Club Marina
01 March 2014 | Boot Key, Marathon, FL
19 April 2011 | Warderick Wells Exumas
02 April 2011 | George Town Exuma
11 March 2011 | Warderick Wells
30 April 2010 | Nassau Bahamas
15 April 2010 | Rock Sound Harbor, Eleuthera
31 March 2010 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
20 March 2010 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
15 March 2010 | Georgetown Bahamas
27 February 2010 | Nassau Bahamas
19 February 2010 | Marathon, FL
25 January 2010 | Useppa Island
18 January 2010 | Shell Island, Panama City, FL
29 April 2009 | Georgetown
14 April 2009 | Georgetown Bahamas
03 April 2009 | Warderick Wells-Exuma Park
24 March 2009 | Nassau, Bahamas

free as a bird

24 February 2008 | Staniel Cay
Frank and Gail
On Thursday, February 14, we left Georgetown and headed north. We saw one of the most amazing sights yet. As you leave, you are on the ocean side instead of the shallow banks. At one point, the water was 50 feet deep (as it gets deeper) with the ocean blue color instead of the green color on the banks. You could see the bottom as if you were in 8 feet of water, individual plants, etc. It was remarkable.

We sailed up to Rat Key. There was a lot to explore there, beaches, reefs, etc. We dinghied to Barraterre community which is at the end of the large Exuma Island where Georgetown was. There were very few houses. (Mother: It makes Blue Springs look like a big city.) We came upon a small building labeled "Variety Store." Of course, we wanted to go in, but it was locked, sign said it opened at 4:00. While we were looking around, a 91 year old man came out of the house in the same yard. He said the store opens when his grandson gets out of school, but he would open for us (there were 9 of us, not counting Keesi). We bought a few things. He then took us to his garden. We bought fresh vegetables. He pulled me four, fairly fat carrots out of the ground, washed them off, then charged me a $1. (I paid $6 once before for 1 pound.) We also bought some green tomatoes (his tomatoes weren't ripe yet), some green peppers and Frank bought a big watermelon.

While Frank took his watermelon back to the dinghy, the rest of us waited at the top of a hill under a shade tree. We were going to find a little restaurant/tavern that the others knew about and get a cold beer. We learned that it had burned. A man came out of the house across the street from "our" tree and started talking to us. He owned the "Circle T Bar" next to his house. It was a little white house-looking building and it did have a sign above the door. We didn't even notice it was a bar. He said that he would open for us. How cool is that?! Keesi was allowed in and the beer was good and cold. One person ordered a rum and coke. Fred, the owner, opened a new bottle of Bacardi Gold, handed it to Lew (the man that ordered the drink) with a cup and a can of coke. Told him to mix his own. Have you ever? We sat and talked about whether or not the town partied on the weekend at his place. He said they used to, but his mother can't take the loud music, so not so much any more. His mother is 85. We met her coming back from tending her garden. These people were the salt of the earth.

We stopped at a half dozen beaches on the way back to our boat. On one beach there were a lot of little iguanas (about 10 inches long). They would sit on rocks, still like statues. (Note: We knew there were iguanas on Allen Cay, but we didn't go there because Keesi isn't allowed ashore, so we thought we missed them.)

That night, 5 boats grilled on the beach. Three of the boats have traveled together in the past and had done this before. When we got to the beach, we found the grill that Al and Lynn had left there the year before. We built a fire, grilled dinner and shared with everyone. I also fried the green tomatoes I had bought and gave them a touch of the South. (The other four boats were from NY, NJ and Boston.) Everyone liked them. I didn't have corn meal, so I used flour. They were still very good. We spread our food on a tablecloth on the sand. On command, Keesi didn't mess with any of it. She laid on the beach waiting, knowing she would get some food when people finished eating. Everyone loves Keesi!!

Saturday, we moved up to Lee Stocking. We raced another boat for the last mooring. Yea, we got it. With Frank, I guess you never quit racing. Ha! Ha! We were in this sweet little cove that had a few small, brightly colored houses. These are part of a research center for coral. We saw a plane land and take off in the water about 100 yards from the boat. You don't see that every day! The guys went immediately looking around in their dinghies.

The next morning, all of us are dinghying over to Leaf Cay, Nicolas Cage's island. It was the first time I did not put on Keesi's harness and leash. We were in water that wasn't over our heads, so I thought it wasn't necessary. However, for the first time since we left the U.S. there was a dolphin, a large one that surfaced two feet in front of the dinghy. It was the closest she had ever been to one. Keesi went bananas, she was trying to jump in the water. I held on to her, but she is so strong, she scratched my thigh until it bled, then bruised. She is a very well-mannered, disciplined dog, great "boat dog," but she is out of control if she sees a dolphin.

When we arrived at the island, lo and behold, large iguanas. Three of them about the size of a beagle. They eyed us intently. They didn't bother us until we started eating our lunches. They walked toward us. We didn't take our eyes off them, either.

For the next three days, we snorkeled, saw some gorgeous reefs, fished, combed the beaches and best of all, Frank went conching (diving for conch) and learned how to clean them. Of course, he was meticulous. It was a great experience for him. We only need one conch-cleaner in the family.

Tuesday, February 19, we said goodbye. They went back south and we had to go north. It is surprising how close you can get to people in a couple of weeks. They are all from the northeast which makes it difficult to see them otherwise, but still possible. Who knows when paths will cross again. It was a really good chapter in our lives.

We sailed up to Staniel Cay. It is really beautiful here. We are anchored out now, but we have already gone to the Yacht Club and made arrangements to dock for the weekend. Got to see the Memphis/Tennessee game. The office is in a nice bar. Someone at the bar said Tennessee is now ranked #2. We've been out of touch, last we heard #7. I can't imagine how that happened. Top ranked teams must have been losing right and left. Nevertheless, I can't believe it until I confirm it. If it is true, it will be the game of the year! We won't miss it. I know the Bahamas is true nature, cut off most of the time from the news and the rest of the world, but we have our priorities. We've missed some games (mostly CSS), but we caught a lot of them also. Got to stay in touch with the hype!! (Since confirmed it is all true and even more hype than I imagined.)

Thursday evening, we dinghied around Big Major Cay to take Keesi to the beach. We get on the beach and out of the bushes comes three huge pigs. They clearly were looking to be fed. We brought no food. One snapped at Keesi, so they weren't there for loving' and attention. We talked to another 'dog-couple,' watched the sunset, then left the 'pig beach.'

We went to Thunderball cave. It was a spectacular experience. Tropical, colorful, all sized fish swimming around (including many Dorrys-blue tangs). We were told to take peas or corn. We took corn in a plastic Ziploc bag. When the fish see the bag, they come running. They are spoiled because they know they get fed at low tide (that's the best time to snorkel in there). They totally engulf you, you can feel them touching you. It is such a concentration of fish that a claustrophobic person might have a problem. It was absolutely breathtaking. That is where the James Bond movie Thunderball was filmed.

We moved to the dock as planned. Watched the Memphis/Tennessee game. We know Memphis lost, but I don't understand how that automatically puts Tennessee #1. They have lost 2 to weaker teams, we lost 1 to the #2 team. Nevertheless, the season goes on and we will be there when we can.

Leaving Staniel Cay today, continuing north. Expecting to be in Nassau in a couple of days. Front is coming through Wednesday bringing high winds, so we need to be "hunkered down." We hope that to be in Nassau, if not Highbourne Cay.

Will update again when we get internet access.