Nancy Lu's Blog

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28 March 2015
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15 February 2015


02 May 2014
So much has been going on since Hog Cay, Jumentos that I am daunted by the task of recounting it chronologically. So I'm going to share all of our goings-on by different categories. Some things may show up in more than one category. I'll keep it chronological within the categories, and give a few explanations along the way. Soooo......

.....OK, it's still daunting, but here I go.


1. Leaving the Jumentos Cays!

2. Parting ways with our friends, Anita and Bob on S/V Discovery after continuing to enjoy sharing anchorages and adventures with them since or time with them in the Jumentos Cays. We were with them at Buena Vista, Jumentos Cays as we started making our way back north; Black Point, Great Guana Cay; beautiful Cambridge Cay, where we got protection from some west winds, did some awesome snorkeling and took a dinghy day-excursion from there to Compass Cay; and lastly, Sampson Cay from which we took a dinghy day-excursion with them over to Staniel Cay.

3. Leaving one of our new favorite communities, Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera where we had a planned reuniting with Dena and Myron on S/V Hold Fast. We had spent time in the Jumentos with them, but temporarily parted ways after Black Point. Dena and Myron introduced us to the wonderful community of Hatchet Bay that they had fallen in love with earlier this year before we met them.

4. Parting with Dena and Myron when we left Hatchet Bay. We felt a special bond with them because of our shared they were a lot of FUN and very helpful.

5. Of course, leaving lovely Bahamaland, a place we've come to love so much! It was sad to take down our courtesy flag as we entered American waters! We've made the decision to put off our adventure to the Caribbean one more year so that we can come back to the Bahamas again next winter!


1. Movies (on the computer) and old-fashioned popcorn popped on the stove ("WooHoo!") almost every night that we weren't making a passage thanks to S/V Hold Fast, who shared a lot of movies from their extensive collection with us. We especially liked "Perfect Getaway", which became fodder for many little inside jokes...OUTSTANDING!

2. A last bit of cool snorkeling in the Jumentos Cays at Buena Vista Cay, which was a one-night stop on the first little leg of our trip back north to the Exumas. We saw two of the pesky but beautiful, non-native Lionfish and many more colorful fish and coral.

3. Awesome snorkeling at Cambridge Cay, which is part of the Exumas Land and Sea Park, with Bob and Anita. One snorkeling site is aptly called the "Sea Aquarium", and not far from there is an underwater airplane that took a nose-dive. It is still in a position with its nose in the bed of the sea and its tail up towards the surface. There is coral growing on it and beautiful fish all around. I also enjoyed just swimming around the Nancy Lu at Cambridge Cay.

4. Lunch, beachcombing and exploring with Anita and Bob on our dinghy day-trip from Cambridge Cay over to Compass Cay.

5. Lunch, stopping in at the bread lady's yellow house to buy some homemade coconut bread, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto with oatmeal (courtesy of S/V Discovery) to feed the fishys,

and a stop at "Pig Beach" with Bob and Anita on our dinghy day-trip from Sampson Cay to Staniel Cay.

6. Flying the spinnaker and playing on the boom on our passage to Hatchet Bay... "WooHoooo!"

7. When Mark, Dena, Myron and I all turned off our flashlights at the same time inside the massive cave that we hiked 3 miles to get to at Hatchet Bay.... "WoooHoo!" It was pitch black!

8. Playing in the Queen's Bath with Dena and Myron ("WooHoo!") when we rented a car to travel north on Eleuthera from Hatchet Bay. Timmy didn't like the Queen's Bath much, though. He was tied to a rock while I explored until he finally wiggled out of his harness. Then it was time to go.

9. Waving and shouting, "Have fun!!!" to the passengers WAY up high on the Disney Magic cruise ship as they passed us in the channel as we were coming into Cape Canaveral, Florida and they were going out on their way to Nassau, Bahamas! They're the ones who said, "WoooHooo!"

10. Saying hello to a curious and friendly manatee at Cape Canaveral, Florida


1. On our one-night stop at Buena Vista Cay, Jumentos Cays, we walked the beach with Bob and Anita. We found the house that belongs to the only inhabitant of this Cay. Unfortunately, he was off island, but his 3-walled house was wide open for us to look at from a distance on the beach. It is so interesting to see how some people live so differently from us.

2. Mr. Ferguson, the retiree and owner of the store in Hatchet Bay where we got ice cream, was very interesting to talk to. He was sitting out front of his store every evening that we went for a walk--most of the time with some of his friends. On Easter Sunday, after we got back from our hike to the cave, we sat down with our refreshments and had an interesting talk with him about Bahamas politics. He answered our questions, gave his opinions, and explained about the PLP and FNM, the two main political parties. We were so enthralled in conversation that he forgot about the Easter Cantata that evening at his church right across the street

until some ladies in their Easter finery came walking by on their way to the contata!

3. I wanted to go see "The Glass Window" when we were near Eleuthera last year. This year we visited it when we rented a car in Hatchet Bay with Dena and Myron. "The Glass Window" was once a natural stone arch at the narrowest part of the island. The artist, Andrew Wyeth, even painted it. The natural arch has been demolished by a hurricane, but they've built a man made bridge in its place. It is just wide enough for one car. One year, a rogue wave pushed the bridge over 6 feet. Tragically, life was lost in this event. In Bahamian style, they moved the road over to meet the displaced bridge.

"The Glass Window" offers a place where you can see the placid turquoise waters of the Exuma Sound and the deep-blue, turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the same time! I assure you, "The Glass Window" will show up in at least one other category.

4. When we got to our anchorage at Royal Island, where we stopped for one night after Hatchet Bay on our way out of the Bahamas, I saw a small boat motoring around the bay with a lady at the bow of the boat staring out at the water ahead holding a big net. Every once in a while two girls would jump off the boat and snorkel around as the boat followed. I yelled to ask them what they were hunting. They told me they were with the University of Florida and were tagging sea turtles for research. Finally, I saw them catch one!

They came over to show me the big one they had just caught and the other little ones that they had already caught. They stayed out all day. I don't know how those girls were able to swim and catch the fast turtles with their bare hands, but they did!


1. Page was a sweet, gentle, and mature little grade-six girl who we met in Black Point earlier this winter and again when we attended the school fundraiser this spring. At these fundraisers, school moms cook up a bunch of Bahamian fare and cruisers come in droves to buy and eat it. We usually attract the little kids because they love Timmy. All the other children who were sitting with us seemed to look up to Page, and she helped them out with telling me their names, eating their food, and relating to Timmy. Timmy even let her hold him. When we left, she said that she would miss me... "Awwww!"

2. The day of the fundraiser, Anita gave Hold Fast and us cards that she made thanking us for our friendship... "Awwwww." It is now displayed in my galley.

Also, Bob made nautical bracelets for all of us and a collar for Timmy... "Awww!" We all love them!

3. Walking to church in Black point, we came upon a "big" brother and little sister headed to Sunday School. "Awwwww!" I could totally live in Black Point!!

4. The LONG heartfelt hug that I received (the kind where you sway back and forth clinging tightly to eachother) from the woman wearing the blue suit and cream-colored hat who sat behind me at church in Black Point. It made me feel like family, which we really are!

5. When we arrived outside the entrance cut into the cliff that leads to Hatchet Bay, Hold Fast, who had been there for a few days, came zooming up on their dinghy to welcome us and escort us into the harbor... "Awwww!"

6. The grade 6 children at the government school in Hatchet Bay were very receptive and polite when I went there to teach them how to use my homemade "Knitting Nancy Lu-s" to make bracelets and necklaces with yarn. They even asked me to come back during their lunch break after Hold Fast spent an hour with them helping them get ready for their upcoming end-of-the-year math exams. The school kids spend their 30 or so minute lunch break in their classroom. Their teacher, Miss Goodman said she'd be happy to have me come during lunch. It's nice to have a chance to give back a little to the kids of this country that has given us so much joy!

7. Of course, I returned to the school after Mark and I visited with our friend, Robert on S/V Okyo, at an open air bar and restaurant popular with the locals, "Da Spot". He treated us to lunch in return for us having him for dinner on N.L. back at George Town.... "Awwww!" On that day, "Da Spot" was providing the lunches for kids who didn't bring their own from home. "Da Spot" is owned and operated by two of the grade 6 students' grandmother. I've found that having a local eating establishment take orders in the morning and cater for lunch is how they do it in a lot of the government schools around the Bahamas where there are no school cafeterias.

8. We had to hitchhike places on Eleuthera. People are so good about stopping and picking up hitchhikers in the Bahamas. They will even stop to say sorry if they're not going very far or in the wrong direction. We got a ride in the bed of a truck to the town of Governor's Harbour to go do Internet at the library. We were actually the second pick up for this nice driver. We shared the ride with a young man on his way to a court appearance (uh oh). His girlfriend rode in the cab of the truck with the driver. On the way back, Aaron, a business owner in the village of Lower Bogue, gave us a ride in his big truck. Dena and I enjoyed talking with him as we rode in the cab with him. Mark and Myron had to ride in the bed of the truck again.

We also got picked up for a ride from the caves in Hatchet Bay back to our anchorage by a Swiss family living in Governor's Harbour who were there showing the caves to their cousins visiting from Switzerland. They're the ones who told us about the Queen's Bath! People are so nice in the Bahamas! "Awww!"

9. Grade 6er, Jameisha Land, found me after the Good Friday service that we attended at St. Stephen's Baptist Church to show me that she was wearing her necklace

and another little boy was wearing the bracelet he made to church on Easter Sunday.... "Awwww!" Like Hold Fast, we now have a soft spot in hearts for Hatchet Bay!!

10. The Bahamas Holiday that they call "Homecoming Week" is in conjunction with the Easter Holiday. At the Easter service in Hatchet Bay, we were called by name and given a special welcome along with the many visiting family members of the congregation who had come home to Hatchet Bay from other islands--heartwarming!

11. I couldn't resist this little round-bellied baby boy in his white t-shirt! He was toddling all around with his mom and aunt close by at Current Settlement the day we rented a car... "Awww!"

12. The only other boat, Baccaleiu, anchored at Royal Island the morning we got there, came over in their dinghy to meet us. Brad and LeeAnn had left their eight-year-old daughter, Abbey, on their boat. I told them about the "Knitting Nancy Lu" after I noticed the rubber band bracelets they were wearing that their daughter had made for them. I invited them to bring Abbey over later if she wanted to learn to use the "Knitting Nancy Lu". They all came over later that afternoon, and we had a great time getting to know them! While the grown ups talked, Abbey enjoyed playing the keyboard after she made a necklace and anklet with the "Knitting Nancy Lu" and taught me how to use her rainbow loom to make jewelry with rubber bands. She suggested that we all get together for a potluck the next day... "Awww!" Too bad they were on their way to the Abacos and we to the Berry Islands the next day.

13. Mark has started to treat me to my coffee in bed some mornings, and he makes it for me EVERY morning... "Awwww!"


1. We were so encouraged by the service at Bahamas Holy Bible Mission Church! Terrance, who preached under the training and teaching of the Crossing Cultures missionaries, Charles and Sharon Vassalo when we attended there 2 years ago has become the pastor of this small church. We attended Sunday school and church along with Dena and Myron. What a blessing!

2. The Good Friday service at St. Stephen's Baptist Church in Hatchet Bay focused us on Christ's suffering for us. Seven different lay people preached short sermons on the last sayings of Christ. We sang hymns in between each sermonette. What a blessing!

3. Easter Sunday was a two-hour true celebration of Christ's resurrection! There was singing, praying, preaching and even a special praise dance done by a mother and two little girls. What a blessing!


1. Ida, who owns the Rockside Laundromat in Black Point Settlement along with her husband, Pastor Terrance, also gives haircuts to cruisers and locals alike. I had to giggle as I watched a little boy get his shearing totally unaware of the faces he was making. At least he had the beautiful turquoise harbor to gaze upon as he braved Ida's clippers!

2. When we visited Compass Cay two years ago, we explored around the ruin of what used to be Hester's cabin (I don't know who Hester is or was). This year, we discovered that the S/V Living Large has taken on the project of converting it into his own personal gym, the "Living Large Gym". It's really impressive and quite quirky! Seeing the big barbells made out of stumps and boards and other creative touches made with found objects made me giggle. A testament to the lack of crime in the Exumas: He just leaves his tools such as his circular saw and sander in their containers out in plain sight on a shelf.

3. There's just something I love about seeing roosters and hens walking around towns, but when I see "beach barnyards" like the one at Big Majors Spot, I just have to giggle!

4. Who could keep from smiling and sneaking a picture of the bunch of boys we saw the day we rented a car with Dena and Myron on Eleuthera?! They were enjoying their Easter holiday and "Homecoming Week" at the ocean. They were having such fun barreling down the pier and jumping into the water, swimming, splashing, laughing and playing as their dads cleaned fish at the dock in Current Settlement

all unabashedly in their underwear!


1. The stars at 4:30 in the morning at Buena Vista Cay, Jumentos Cays when we got up to weigh the anchor and start our long passage to Blank Point in the Exumas... "Wow!"

2. The anchorage at Cambridge Cay plus "The Aquarium" where we snorkeled there.

3. The view from "Living Large Gym" on Compass Cay... "Wow!"

4. Surfer's Beach, north of Hatchet Bay where we visited in our rental car with Dena and Myron. We enjoyed watching one of our fellow cruisers, Russell on S/V Blue Highway, as he surfed at this beautiful beach! We want to take lessons next year!! Also, I found a piece of lavender seaglass there--very rare!

5. "The Glass Window".


1. We led the way as we took a very narrow channel of water deep enough for Nancy Lu all the way around Bell Island when we left Cambridge Cay for Sampson Cay with Bob and Anita. We took this route because it was the only choice for the conditions of the day, but we also got a 360 degrees view of all the impressive buildings and amenities on this private island owned by Aga Kahn who is listed as one of the top 10 wealthiest men in the world by Forbes magazine. It was pretty spectacular!

2. The first lift that we got when we hitchhiked to Governor's Settlement on Eleuthera was given at a very high speed, but we made it to the courthouse safe and sound where the other hitchhiker was going, and it was right next door to the library where we were going ... "Whew!"

3. Our next lift that we got from Aaron was not at a high speed, but he had two tires blow out with us on board. The 4 or 5 big pallets of sodas, which were stacked and shrink-wrapped together in the bed of the truck where Mark and Myron were riding, just missed crushing Myron when the tires blew out. Luckily, we were just around the corner from a gas station and they took care of the tire in no time as we waited. We hopped back in and the truck limped along on a used tire and the spare the rest of the way back to our anchorage.

4. Mark had to drive on the "wrong" side of the road on the "wrong" side of the car when we rented a car with Dena and Myron, but we got everywhere we went and back to the anchorage with no mishaps.... "Whew!"

5. Driving across "The Glass Window" more than once!!

6. When we left Hatchet Bay to go to Royal Island, we had to go through Current Cut, a narrow opening that leads from Exuma Sound to the Northwest Channel where we needed to go. It has a notoriously swift current and only a narrow path deep enough for us to get to it.

7. When we rented the car the day before, we visited the cut from the shore and got pointers from Myron and Dena on how to approach it and safely get through it. They had been through it before. We timed it with the tide just right and went through with no problem.... "Whew!" Last year, we watched a boat try to sail through when the tide was against them. Luck for them, the worst thing that happened was they had to turn right around and go the long way.

8. When we got to Cape Canaveral, we had to go through a drawbridge and then a lock to get to our anchorage. We have never navigated a lock system before. It wasn't difficult, but the first time you do something can be nerve-racking. We did just fine... "Whew!"


1. A 109 mile route from the Jumentos Cays to Black Point that we did in one day. The route we took is not marked on the reliable Explorer Charts that almost all cruisers use to navigate the Bahamas. We had heard about it from another cruiser that had tried it, recommended it, and reported to us what to expect. This route allowed us to bypass Long Island and George Town and effectively took days off the trip back north. I'm glad we had Hold Fast and Discovery traveling with us as we tried something off the beaten path. We had a great sail!

2. Getting the laundry done at the wonderful Rockside Laundromat with the wonderful view of the bay in Black Point.

3. Replenishing fresh produce at the nice grocery store in Rock Sound, Eleuthera.

4. An impressive spinnaker-take-down witnessed by our welcoming committee, Dena and Myron, when we got to Hatchet Bay. They gave us a rating of 10 out of 10! I wish I had it on video, but I was doing my part in the process.

5. We FINALLY caught a fish!!! We caught a 52inch Mahi Mahi on our motor-sail from Royal Island to Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands, our last anchorage in the Bahamas ☹ . I'm looking forward to making fish tacos with some of it for my parents when we go through Arkansas on the way back home. We caught the fish at 10:00am, and Mark filleted it on the deck. It took me until 12:30 to skin and cut it up in the galley.

6. I don't know if this is a great accomplishment, but since we left West Palm Beach it has been 91 days. There are 273 meals in those 91 days. 182 of those are lunch and dinner meals. We ate out 17 of those 182 meals. We never ate out for breakfast. I actually enjoyed cooking on Nancy Lu this time out. Digging in the refrigerator is still a pain, but for some reason I found enjoyment in preparing meals these last 3 months on Nancy Lu (not the norm for me). I hope it will carry over to our land home for the next few months until we head back to Nancy Lu!


1. In exchange for 2 eggs, a couple we met on S/V My Sharona at Buena Vista gave us 2 Bahamian lobster tails!! Crazy exchange, I know, but they said they had lobster in excess that had been given to them by their friends who like to hunt it, but not eat it. While we were at Cambridge Cay, I got on the VHF radio and asked another boat for suggestions on how to cook it since we don't have a grill. They suggested that we steam it. It turned out GREAT. Thanks for the cooking tip, Cat Tales!

2. We heard about fishermen bringing in their catch of stone crab, steaming them right at the government docks in Hatchet Bay, and selling them there. Mark, Dena and Myron went up there and he scored 10 claws for us.

The crab was DELICIOUS! I roasted some eggplant, one of our favs, to eat with it.

3. Dena and Myron gave us a big wahoo steak from their catch. I tried it in two of our old favorite canned tuna recipes: Tuna Salad Polynesian and Tuna Salad Crescent-wiches. I was really pleased at how they turned out!! Thanks Dena and Myron!!

4. With our catch of Mahi Mahi, I made fish tacos for lunch the day we caught it...YUM!!!!! That night, I made teriyaki Mahi fillets just guessing at how one goes about making teriyaki marinade. I was pleased at how they turned out!

Well, we weighed anchor in the Bahamas for the last time this year at Little Stirrup Cay in the Berry Island chain. We're at a marina, spending a week cleaning Nancy Lu and working on boat projects. In the past 15 months, we've spent 12 of them on Nancy Lu. We've had a wonderful winter in the Bahamas! I'm going to miss life on Nancy Lu, but I'm excited to see my family and friends back home! Arkansas and Texas, here we come!

You can leave us a comment by clicking on the word "comments" just below and to the right of this sentence.

There are more pictures in the gallery tab at the top right of the blog.


02 April 2014
As I sit here in the cockpit beginning to tap out this blog, I realize that it's been quite a while since I've updated. It's likely to be quite another while before the words that I blog here will actually be posted, due to scanty Internet where we are in the Jumentos Cays.

We LOVE LOVE LOVE it here in the far out-islands of the Bahamas! We're further south than we've ever been on the Nancy Lu--closer to Cuba than George Town, Bahamas. We hear Spanish on the VHF radio occasionally, now. Not nearly as many cruisers come down here. It's more remote with less opportunity to replenish necessities of the cruising life such as fuel for us humans (food and water), fuel to cook our food (propane), and fuel for our vessels (gasoline for the dinghy and diesel for Nancy Lu).

There's really only one small town, Duncantown, and its population is less than 100. There's been plenty of the fuel by which Nancy Lu is meant to be powered (the wind), but we've been sitting anchored in the same spot enjoying ourselves for 12 days! We're part of a small temporary community that, for the past few days, has included 7 sailboats: Nancy Lu, Discovery, Hold Fast, Krazy Lady, Andante, Amante and Journey. We're all anchored off of Hog Cay (there are several Cays called Hog; this one is part of the Jumentos Cays). Our little community will break apart tomorrow with some of us traveling together to other places and others staying here or exploring different pieces of paradise.

Before I give you a glimpse into our little community's customs and habits, I'll fill you in on how we got here.

It actually took two tries. Everything we do as cruisers is dictated by the weather (and by weather, I mean wind, its velocity, direction, and where to get protection from it). Our original plan had two parts. The first part was to participate in the Long Island Rally with its 60+ fleet of sailing vessels. This was a just-for-fun, approximately 30 mile race organized to take place after the Cruising Regatta in George Town. The second part was to sail south from Long Island to the Jumentos Cays after taking part in some of the Long Island Rally festivities, which included an awards banquet and dance held at The Island Breeze Resort. The first part of the plan took place without a hitch. In fact, we had a BLAST racing to Long Island--we came in first place in our class of 16 sailboats. We were in B class with the bulk of the boats being in C class! We got started around 7:30 am at the back of the first pack of boats to leave.

It was a lovely sight. Every time we passed a boat along the way, I would take a picture of them to share, later.

I noticed that we were passing quite a few boats, and we started to say to each other, "Hey, we might be a contender in this thing!"

We found out that we WON at the awards ceremony a few nights later!

The most fun for me that night; however, was the dancing. Sarah from S/V Mirador was a FUN dance-buddy! I have to say that Mark is pulling his weight as my main dance partner, though--true love!

Something that I was looking forward to on Long Island was seeing the new daughter of some cruisers/free dive instructors and free dive world record holder, Ashley and her husband, Ren Chapman on S/V Nila Girl. We met this interesting, sweet couple in Long Island last year while she was newly pregnant with little Ani. Before we returned to the Bahamas this year I checked in on Nila Girl's blog for an update on the baby situation. It worked out that we got to see them in Long Island,

again in George Town where they came to give a free-diving talk,

and again at Hog Cay, Jumentos!

On Long Island, along with the awards banquet and other get-togethers with the Long Island Rally participants,

we did fun hiking and beaching adventures. Most of these adventures were had on our own, but one was organized by one of our group of sailboats. One morning, S/V Silent Faith announced to the anchorage over the VHF radio that they had made a deal with a local man who owns a big box truck to take a group of us to a beach that he said was good for shelling. About 13 of us were interested, and we gathered at the road behind Long Island Breeze Resort to catch our ride. I think the trip over there is the closest I've come to the experience of being transported in a paddy wagon. Once we were off the paved road, we had to find something to put over our noses and mouths in order not to breathe in the fine dust, and I started to worry about someone falling out of the open back (not to mention one of a couple of holes in the bed of the truck) because of the bumpy ride. We all made it there safe and sound, coated with dirt, but no worse for the wear! Like a lot of the things we experience as cruisers, it was not the typical vacation tour package, or the typical price. Our driver charged us a flat rate of only $40 for all of us, but the experience was priceless!

When we would have gone on to the second part of our plan and left to sail to the Jumentos, we decided (due to weather) to join all of the other boats going back to George Town. There wasn't good protection from the predicted wind either at Long Island or the Jumentos Cays.

It turned out to be another glorious sail back to George Town, and going back ended up being a very good thing. During our stay there, we developed a new plan to head south with a few other boats that ended up being a part of our little Hog Cay community. We made a firm plan to "buddy boat" with two boats,

S/V Hold Fast and

S/V Discovery. We got reacquainted with Hold Fast, who we met briefly last year, at Beach Church in George Town after we returned from Long Island, and we met Discovery as part of the Long Island Rally. One of the single-handers, Andy, on S/V Andante, who also sailed to the Jumentos Cays with us often referred to Nancy Lu, Discovery and Hold Fast as the "Nancy Lu Posse" ☺. Another good thing about going back to George Town was finally crossing paths with Fred and Debbie on S/V Early Out who we know from our marina in Brunswick! They came over for dinner and a rousing game of Rummikub. They taught us a modification to the game that allowed me to finally break the losing streak with Mark that had recently developed ☺ !

After a haircut, a little bit of laundry, a small grocery-shopping trip (the mailboat had just come in, which meant fresh produce was available!! Some of it had not even been put on the shelves yet, but I didn't mind choosing from the box!), and a fuel run in George Town we were ready to leave for our Jumentos Cays adventure on March 18.

We made our way to our most southern destination, Hog Cay, by way of an overnight stop at Thompson Bay, Long Island;

another overnight stop at Water Cay, Jumentos;

and a couple of days stop at Raccoon Cay, Jumentos.

We got our first taste of the beautiful snorkeling that exists throughout the Jumentos while anchored at Raccoon Cay. This is also where Mark and I started to develop into more hunter-snorkelers rather than an observing-the-pretty-fish-snorkelers that we have always been! We were determined to use our pole spear to catch a spiny-lobster that the Bahamas are famous for, which was about to go out of season. Also of interest was grouper or snapper (which I hear in my mind with the melodious, lilt of the Bahamian accent as Groopah or Snahppah). I was also quite interested in a Hog Fish. These round out the good-eating fish that I'm able to identify on sight. Well, we weren't ever successful hunters on our MANY snorkeling expeditions throughout the Jumentos Cays, but we had an exciting and enjoyable time trying! Part of the excitement was due to the abundance of shark and barracuda in this more remote area where commercial Bahamian fisherman come from both faraway and nearby to fish, and they clean their catch right off their small vessels. I'm still surprised that I got used to swimming warily with these toothy fish. While snorkeling, if the shark or barracuda didn't leave after our first sighting...we did! The enjoyment was experienced for many reasons:

the beauty, the exercise (much more enjoyable than an aerobics CD),

and the camaraderie with our fellow snorkelers!

Now for the glimpse into our community:

We are a "hunter/gatherer" society. I've described the hunting part at which Mark and I are a poor example, but some in our community had some success. As for the gathering that we do,

it takes place when we hike on various marked trails to the other side of the cay where we can enjoy magnificent views and windward beaches that collect all kinds of flotsam and jetsam.

Some of these beaches are downright trashy collecting anything from buoys, nylon rope and nets to toys, bottles, crates, and any style of sandal imaginable etc.!

The trails are marked by cruisers with various interesting pieces of this trash, and it makes me giggle and take pictures as I pass by. Walking these beaches, we get a sense of the pollution of the oceans that is hard to appreciate most of the time because of the vastness of it. We rarely see any plastic or trash when we're sailing over the water, but it's out there. Back to the gathering...This trashy kind of beach is where you are most likely to find the prized sea beans that all of us beachcombers like to gather and collect. We find them among the other lightweight natural "trash" (seaweed and such) that washes up with all the other trash.

We're always happy when we find a "heart bean" that can be polished up and made into a necklace, but the most coveted sea beans are the more rare "hamburger beans" (they look just like teeny little sliders)! I had not ever found one until we came to the Jumentos Cays,

and now I've collected 5! I've learned that these beans come from South Africa and get caught in currents where most sink to the bottom of the ocean. A small percentage of them get washed up here and throughout the Caribbean. Yes, we're definitely gatherers (Bob on Discovery has the most competitive attitude toward this way of life)! We also like to gather conch from the grassy sea bottom that we find in some bays. I've tried my hand at conch salad with some of the conch I've gathered since being in the Jumentos, and it turned out pretty good!

This leads me to tell you about another custom in our little community. We really like to get together to share food. Sometimes this takes place on each other's boats as was the case when I fixed conch salad or when Bob on Discovery and Mark and I

broke down and bought some spiny lobster from some local fishermen who were fishing about 100 yards off our stern. That night we invited Hold Fast over to jointly prepare and enjoy it on Discovery (it turned out DELICIOUSLY).

Other times, our entire community will meet on the beach for a potluck dinner under a pavilion that was erected by cruisers who have come before us using various found or donated materials and decorated with signs made from flotsam and jetsam with their boat's name displayed on them.

Nancy Lu was proud to add our relic with all the others to the pavilion that serves as a civic center for our community. We had our last one of these potluck events on our last night at Hog Cay.

It took place the evening of the afternoon that I began typing this blog. Most of the time I just can't finish writing a blog entry in one sitting, and this time I had to stop to go cook my contribution to our last potluck dinner. I get to mention it; however, since it took place in the April 2 time frame in which this entry is written. (Whoa, could I be a little OCD about this blogging thing?) Anyway, another time that we made good use of our "civic center" was for a gathering arranged by Ann on S/V Krazy Lady, a single-hander who is buddy boating with Andy on S/V Andante.

She taught a few of us how to play the Chinese game, Mah-jongg, one afternoon. It was really fun!

Like other more permanent communities, a percentage of our population attends church together in order to worship their god. We had two church services while our little community was together. One was the first morning after we arrived, and we held it at the pavilion--uh, I mean, the "Hog Cay Civic Center". The last one was the next Sunday,

and it was held on the Nancy Lu. This small group's little worship service was held in honor of the One True God and His Son, Jesus! Hold Fast, Discovery, and we attended both. Myron on Hold Fast acted as preacher,

and Mark and I led music!

I'm going to miss the people of these last 7 boats to inhabit Hog Cay while Nancy Lu was still there; we decided to call ourselves "The Hog Cay Hold Outs". I enjoyed being with them and others that had been gone for a few days by the time I began writing. I'm sure other cruisers have since enjoyed the place where our community called home for a short while! I think that Vera and John of S/V Amante who we first met last year, and were thrilled to cross paths with this year are still there.

The weather and need to start heading back north in order to make it back in time for moving our Claire out of her second year at college and to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to our more permanent community in Texas dictates that we leave the Jumentos Cays.

I'll wrap this up with an exhibit of a few artifacts that I've created along the way:

Christmas tree ornaments (?) made with my Highbourne Cay sand dollar finds

Some tiny little plaques made with the sea glass I found on our box truck trip to the beach on Long Island

I decorated the cork coasters that we've been using for the last three years with the Nancy Lu "logo" and her initials

A dishrag that I knitted with some cool yarn that I found at Michael's in West Palm Beach

There are more pics in the gallery tab at the top right of the blog. You can leave us a comment by clicking on the word "comments" just below and to the right of this sentence.

Hitting The Highlights Plus 1 Check-Off My Bucket List

05 March 2014
It's hard to believe that a whole month has past since I wrote my last blog! On the other hand, so much has happened, and the scene has changed so many times that it seems like a long time ago!

From Highbourne, we sailed to Hog Cay, which is part of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

We had a mooring in a beautiful protected area that was a favorite spot for pirates back in the day. I spent one afternoon snorkeling through the whole place. It was great exercise against the swift current and also beautiful.

We did a little hiking as well, but dodging the poisonwood (like poison ivy, but a tree) got to be too much work.

From Hog Cay, we sailed to Big Majors Spot where we were just a short dinghy ride from Staniel Cay Yacht Club

where we celebrated Valentine's Day with an evening out to dinner. That was our first eating out since West Palm Beach except for lunch at Coolimae's on Great Harbour Cay. The first thing we did when we got to Big Majors Spot was dinghy over to Thunderball Grotto to snorkel.

This time I remembered to bring some green beans to feed the fish! The Sergeant Majors (Claire calls them bumblebee fish) love them! After Thunderball Grotto,

we dinghied back over to Big Majors Spot to pay a visit to the beach pigs there. We didn't bring food for them so they lost interest in us pretty quick.

After an overnight at Big Majors Spot, we sailed on to Black Point to do laundry. We only spent one night there, as well.

The next morning we set out for George Town, Great Exuma Island. Our first outing in George Town was to the clinic our first morning there. I had a very painful group of blisters on my left hand and some other sensitive patches on the same hand. I thought it might be shingles, but we also suspected poisonwood since we'd been near so much of it. The doctor didn't think it was either one. He prescribed some antibiotics for a dermal infection and a pain reliever.

It's been 2 weeks and it doesn't hurt anymore, and is clearing up. It was weird. The waiting room at the clinic was the prettiest I'd ever waited in--a bench out on the porch overlooking Elizabeth Harbour! The doctor visit plus two prescriptions was $60.

We spent the next few days getting ready for our guests, Marshall and Donna Macdonald. Marshall is a childhood friend of Mark's. We posted my last blog during that time, as well. This is the first place that we've been able to get fast enough internet for that. Well, we get it if we go up to J&K Computers. Opening night of the week long 34th Annual Cruiser's Regatta was held at Regatta Park over in George Town the night before Marshall and Donna got here.

We took the water taxi from Stocking Island across the harbor to George Town where we enjoyed a fun variety show that included acts by cruisers and Bahamians. The ladies of the Family Island Regatta provided the dinner that we purchased there and at other regatta events. All the fees for all the activities and races involved in The Cruiser's Regatta go to help fund the Family Island Regatta, which is in April. I hope we get to come back for that this year! A.J., a young man we met 2 years ago piloted the taxi back. He used to make conch salad for Chat-n-Chill. What a ride back! All the anchor lights off of Stocking Island look like NYC!! Well, maybe just a sailboat city, but a city nonetheless--and the stars in the heavens, MAN! Beautiful!

Marshall and Donna's week with us began with a pretty bumpy dinghy ride in the dark across Elizabeth Harbour to our spot at Sand Dollar Beach off of Stocking Island (they couldn't get over all the anchor lights, either)! The water taxi that we had arranged for them fell through. I had a late dinner of Tuna Salad Polynesian waiting for them when they boarded Nancy Lu to help smooth things out, and our time together was a blast from then on! The next afternoon, on our little hike across Stocking Island to the windward (big ocean) side, Donna commented that we'd already done so much in less than 24 hours!

Our first morning together was Sunday, so we attended Beach Church. I always enjoy the service there, and they did, too! It's nice to get together with believers wherever you are.

After church, we came back to Nancy Lu to change into our swimsuits. We went back to the beach (Volleyball Beach) for the weekly pig roast--YUM! The ladies make the BEST cole slaw ever with lots of garlic; I need to get their recipe! After lunch

and a visit to feed the sting rays that hang out by the conch salad bar,

we went on a little snorkeling trip in one of the three little lagoons called hurricane holes. The snorkeling there is not the greatest, but it was a little appetizer for things to come.

The windward side of the island is totally different from the leeward side where we anchor and beautiful in it's own way! The next day, we sailed downwind with our spinnaker up to Lee Stocking Island about 20 miles north.

What a treat to sail with the spinnaker!!! We had never been to Lee Stocking so it was a new adventure for both the Macdonalds and us! The next morning, we hiked to a pretty beach on the windward side of this island through the "ruins" of a defunked marine research facility that's been out of commission for a couple of years.

Donna said it was like a scene from LOST.

We met up with a couple there that we had met 2 years ago and their cute grandson, Julian. After lunch we dinghied over to the lovely and pristine Coconut Beach.

I got out and waded around in the shallow water then we dinghied on a couple of miles to another spot. On our way, we saw a couple all by themselves camping on a beach. We decided to stop and ask them for suggestions for snorkeling. It turned out to be a couple that Marshall and Donna had shared a taxi with from the airport. They were kayaking around the islands and camping out on beaches!

Marshall said that we probably looked like characters from a 007 movie to them since we were all dressed in black--me in my swimsuit and the other three in wetsuits! I hope we weren't too intimidating to them until they recognized Donna and Marshall!

We did some wonderful shallow water snorkeling at our next two stops. We saw a Scrawled Cowfish very up close and personal; it's a weird looking, colorful fish. You should look it up on the Internet because I didn't get a good picture of it. We also saw beautiful sea anemone, Trigger Fish, other pretty fish, a Barracuda, and a giant 2 ft. Horse Conch shell.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset above a calm anchorage that night,

and the next morning, we awoke to a glassy anchorage.

You could see straight to the bottom in about 20 feet of water. Without any wind, we motored back to Elizabeth Harbour. After lunch that day, we did some more awesome snorkeling! This time I saw a sea turtle just hanging out on the seabed. He was so close and clear!! I got to watch him for a while before I scared him away by calling for the others to come see. At another site, I swam upon a GIANT Nassau Grouper, about 3 ft. long--UGLY!

The next day, we spent time in town souvenir shopping at the straw market

and browsing around in the library.

That night, we were treated by Marshall and Donna to dinner and dancing at the hotel, Peace and Plenty. We spent all day the next day aboard Nancy Lu because the winds were so high. The Macdonalds were on their way home bright and early the next morning aboard the water taxi.

We were sad to see them go!

Since they've been gone, we've just been doing "living on a boat stuff"

including yoga on the beach every morning at 8:45 (only in George Town aka Cruisers Mecca) with one exciting exception---


Three of them were swimming in our new anchorage kind of close to town. Mark dinghied me out close to them and I jumped in! They played around with me and a crab that they found on the sea floor. I could have touched them many times, but I thought it would be better not to. I swam with them for about 20 minutes while Mark filmed! Don't worry about the Dolphins as the boat engine was in neutral. They would swim upside-down and watch me and swim toward me and then go around me--what a treat! I can cross that off my bucket list!!

We're probably leaving for Long Island to the south and then on further south to the Jumentos in a couple of days. The Jumentos are much more remote so... no more Beach Church (which we enjoyed again this past Sunday), dancing at Peace and Plenty, grocery shopping at Exuma Markets, Laundry at Mrs. Lee's Corner Laundromat, or yoga on the beach, but I'm sure we'll find something to do!

There are MANY more pics in the gallery tab at the top right of the blog. You can leave us a comment by clicking on the word "comments" just below and to the right of this sentence.


09 February 2014

We're back in the Bahamas, basking in the warmth of the sun, bobbing atop the singular Bahamas-blue water.

We spent about two months at our land-home basking in a different type of warmth, enjoying family, friends, church and home. There's no place like home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm a tradition-loving girl and so are my kids!

Our winter so far has been warmer than usual in West Palm Beach and The Bahamas, but we're keeping up with a MUCH colder than usual winter at home! This fact makes the separation between our two homes (boat and land) more striking.

I brought a little piece of land-home to Nancy Lu-home this winter. On the way back to Texas this November, we stopped by my parent's in Arkansas. Mama gave me some cuttings from her "Mother-In-Law's Tongue" plant that are descendants from my great-grandmother's (Mammaw's) plant. I wrote a little bit about this particular kind of plant in one of my blogs from Cat Island last year--the sentimental piece about my childhood--the one that Mama made copies of to share with my Grandmama, Great Aunt and Aunts ☺ ! Anyway, it's a special addition to Nancy Lu's décor!

We set off from Texas all packed up in our Suburban (I don't know how we could have flown!). I had been a little flu-ish a couple of days before we left and our first night on the rode, I came down with fever-not fun! I wasn't 100% during our short 6 day stay in Brunswick. It was very cold there!

We put a couple of Timmy's toys to good use blocking the air vents, which were funneling the cold air into our cabin. We had a rat in the port side vent, and a chipmunk in the starboard! Our massive Bahamas-provisioning that we did over a couple of trips was made a little uncomfortable by the cold temperatures, but we were glad to have our shopping essentially done before we got to West Palm Beach. Nancy Lu looked great. I had cleaned and treated the decks with a mold inhibitor, Boricol, before we left, and they looked really pretty! We didn't have much time before the wind turned favorable to make our 48 hour passage down to West Palm Beach, we shared a lunch with our friends Greg and Luba and our Scottish friend Geoff. You just can't beat the pork-chop sandwich at "Willie's Weenie Wagon"! We missed Linda since she was back in Scotland for a month. The morning we left, Geoff came over to help cast us off and gave me kisses goodbye-1 on each cheek (European style). Goodbye, Brunswick Landing Marina and our Suburban! It was freezing, literally, but we were cozy in our cockpit with our full enclosure up and the heater running below decks. We sailed for about 7 hours before we had to turn on the engine and that's the last time we've sailed exclusively to date---disappointing. We're in a hurry to get down to George Town since we have visitors coming. We're taking any chance to move southeast even if it means we have to motor.

On the first night of our passage, a big pelican decided to hitch a ride on our port deck. I didn't see him, but Mark did when he came on watch as it got lighter early that morning. I saw the POOP the thing left later that evening when I took Timmy out to do his business. It was much warmer by then. We were off the coast south of Cape Canaveral.

We also had a visit from our friends, the dolphins. These were really big, and it was nice to be able to go on the bow and watch them close up! I tried to wash the pelican poop down with bucket-fulls of seawater, but not much happened. The dolphins didn't seem to mind when I dropped the bucket in the water with them, but they didn't like it when I accidentally used the flash on the camera. That's when they left ☹ . The rest of our trip was fairly uneventful. We came into Lake Worth, where Rybovich Marina is located, early in the morning. We anchored out and I slept some until the tide came up enough for us to go into the marina. Our stay at Rybovich was uncharacteristically short since we were getting no work done and the weather cooperated with us to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas just 3 days later! Those days were spent cleaning pelican poop, cleaning the dinghy, doing a bit more provisioning (produce), finishing up a little knitting project that I did for each of the kids for one of their Valentine's treats, a laundromat visit, and a trip to the vet to get Timmy's papers for The Bahamas.

We left Rybovich at dusk just as the cruise ship, "Bahamas Celebration", was getting ready to cast off.

You can see on our plot charter the little ship icon that represents Nancy Lu in relation to the port where "Bahamas Celebration" was still docked behind us as we went by. We could hear from their PA system the party that was going on before their departure. They pretty much followed us to Port Lucaya. I'm sure they were going slow so that they arrived at first light just as we did.

We anchored in a little cove in the lagoon at Lucaya

after coming through Bell Channel around 7:00am. The first thing I did was change into my bathing suit since it was a BEAUTIFUL, WARM day!

Next, Mark raised our yellow quarantine flag. Soon after that, He dinghied to the town and checked us in. He asked the customs officer for 120 days and they gave us 125--nice!

When Mark got back, we took down the quarantine flag and raised our Bahamas flag!! We had scoped out our anchorage on a dinghy ride with my parents when we were here with them in January of 2012. This year, we anchored just one cove over from where we were docked at The Taino Beach Club while visiting my parents at their timeshare that January 2 years ago. The marina at which we stayed when we cleared customs that first winter in The Bahamas, "Grand Bahamas Yacht Club", is now closed. It was nice to be anchored and save the cost of a marina.

This year, our time in Lucaya was fun since our Canadian friends from our first winter in The Bahamas, George and Mariann, were also on Grand Bahama Island about 2 miles away, in Freeport. They're spending their whole winter holiday at Ocean Reef Marina & Resort docked with a bunch of other Canadians and having a big time with lots of activities at the resort each day. While Mark was checking in with customs, I heard Mariann on the VHF communicating with Ocean Reef getting their slip assignment. Mark and I spent the rest of that day just relaxing. We could get internet there thanks to our Bahamas SIM card that he purchased for that purpose. It wasn't fast internet, but it was ok. We've had super slow internet since then so I'm not sure where or when I'll be able to post this blog. That first afternoon, I EXERCISED in Nancy Lu!! I started this routine in West Palm Beach, and I hope to keep it up during our time in The Bahamas---so far so good---I want to get rid of the padding that I put on up in Maine this summer! The next day, we dinghied the 2 mile trip along the coast of Grand Bahama Island to Ocean Reef right to George and Mariann's slip for a surprise visit! It was great to see them!

We also got to meet their son Bert, who is close to our age. Over the next 5 days we saw George and Mariann all but one of those days. We had supper at their boat twice and they spent the afternoon with us and had dinner with us one evening. They walked 20 minutes from their boat to Port Lucaya Market where we had some ice cream and then went back to our boat for visiting, Rumikub, and dinner.

We stopped off at the "Ghost", a ship tied up right across from where we were anchored. It is rumored to have been used in shooting "Pirates Of The Caribbean". We saw speed boats pull tourists daily on "banana floats" over to it to play around and jump off it's decks into the water. I checked on the internet and found out from back issues from the local newspaper that it was used in a movie, but not "Pirates Of The Caribbean". It was used in a 2008 German film, an adaptation of Jack London's book, Sea Wolf, shot there on Grand Bahama Island. I feel so in-the-know!! George and I climbed aboard from our dinghy, but declined to jump off.

From Lucaya, we motor-sailed all day to Bullocks Harbour at Great Harbour Cay, an anchorage where we've spent time every winter we've been in The Bahamas.

The roosters woke us up before dawn, as usual, with their eager crowing. That sound makes me enthusiastic to start the day; I feel like they're saying they don't want me to miss a single minute of what's to come with the sun!

We always anchor in back of CoolieMae's restaurant.

This year, instead of taking our dinghy to the town dock, we tied it up right behind CoolieMae's and had the BEST meal yet--curried mutton with rice and cole slaw! It was DELICIOUS!!

We always eat out on the porch with Timmy. CoolieMae's daughter who runs the place gave me a photo Christmas card with pictures of her two daughters, The Gibson Girls. We had met cute Gabrielle, the oldest, 2 years ago. I mistook the youngest one for Gabrielle, but her mom set me straight--time flies!

After our curried mutton (scrumptious!), we walked to the school to drop off a little gift I had for the preschool, something I also did last year since Claire and I volunteered there 2 years ago. Ms. Keilan, who I'd gotten to know, had been reassigned, but I was excited to give the Do-Dot-Art markers and book that I had for them to Miss Jacks, the young, new teacher from Nassau. I used to use this product when I taught, and Miss Jacks seemed excited to try it, telling me ways she planned on using it! I have another set to give to the school in George Town where we volunteered last year. I wish we'd had time for me to volunteer this year at Bullocks Harbour Settlement, but we had to be on our way southeast!

We got underway before dawn the next morning with the accompaniment of the roosters and the stars still glittering overhead. I could see the anchor clearly with a flashlight as I raised it. It scooped up a perfect little sand dollar with the sand, but it floated off before it came out of the water. I'm counting that as the first one of the season.

We motor-sailed all day and anchored out on the shallow banks with what I call a peaches-n-cream sunset as a backdrop. We got up early the next morning again and motor-sailed on to Highbourne Cay, where Mark and I counted up, we've anchored 8 times in the last 2 years. This is our 9th time!

We arrived after motor-sailing through the shallow Fleeming Channel with me on the bow watching for the dark patches that signal coral heads. One of the first things I did after anchoring is EXERCISE--yay me! I'm still being disciplined! The next morning we had a visit by the Royal Bahamian Defense Force. We weren't alarmed since we were boarded here our first year.

Timmy certainly wasn't alarmed; he tried to help stand guard, but got lazy after a few minutes and laid down ☺ ! I took my first Bahamas swim that afternoon after I sweat buckets exercising below decks that afternoon; it felt wonderful.

We enjoyed another peaches-n-cream sunset that evening.

For our first snorkeling trip of the season, we went to Octopus Garden this morning, which we discovered last year. We dinghied over to the north shore of Highborne Cay with Timmy in tow. I took our little Kodak video camera and tried to capture the little window into sea-life that snorkeling gives you.

I couldn't quite get it, but the snorkeling was PERFECT! The waters and air are warmer this year than they've ever been. I didn't even need to wrap up in my beach towel afterwards. Timmy did; however, because after about an hour, he just couldn't stand another minute away from me and jumped right in to the ocean and swam towards me.

Mark intercepted him, and we all got back in the dinghy, I bundled his snorting, trembling self up in the beach towel and we came home for lunch! Great times! Now it's time to exercise and go for another swim around Nancy Lu!

There are MANY more pics in the gallery tab at the top right of the blog. You can leave us a comment by clicking on the word "comments" just below and to the right of this sentence.

Vessel Name: Nancy Lu
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 43
Hailing Port: Tool, Texas
Crew: Mark, Kathy, and Timmy the boat dog
About: Mark: Captain; Kathy: Chief Cook and Bottle Washer; Timmy: Security and chief tail wagger
Nancy Lu's Photos - Main
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Sailing to Mobjack Bay and the York River
20 Photos
Created 26 June 2011
Our first trip to Norfolk as new owners of the boat
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Created 25 June 2011
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Created 19 May 2011