02 April 2013 | Hoffman Cay, Berry Islands
19 March 2013 | Darby Is. Exumas
25 February 2013 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
06 February 2013 | Salt Pond, Long Is.
28 January 2013 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
01 January 2013 | Georgetown
12 December 2012 | Georgetown
22 November 2012 | Norman's Cay
16 November 2012 | Hurricane Harbour, Key Biscayne
04 November 2012 | Titusville
16 April 2012 | West End, Grand Bahama
31 March 2012 | Bullock's Harbour, Berry Is.
09 March 2012 | Nassau, Bahamas
18 February 2012 | Georgetown, Exumas
26 January 2012 | Salt Pond, Long Is.
01 January 2012 | Georgetown, Exumas
31 December 2011 | Georgetown, Exumas
08 December 2011 | Lee Stocking Is., Exumas
Exumas and Berries
02 April 2013 | Hoffman Cay, Berry Islands
We had a really good stay between the Darby Islands, fishing and walking the beaches. We found a spot where all kinds of fish traps and floats seemed to get washed onto the beach and the sandbars. I was really excited and optimistic that I’d fine a glass float as it looked as though no-one had been there in years!! Just wishful thinking though, I think, as again we got skunked! Bruce did some spear fishing while we were there as well. Although it is always nice to be in the company of our friends, it was really good to just be the two of us for a change. One evening, in the peace and quiet, a turtle came to visit us. It was a bit shy and didn’t come too close, but it stuck around for quite a while and would keep lifting up it’s head to peep at us.
On the 22nd (Friday) March, we anchored close to Johnny Depp’s island, Little Halls Pond Cay, where we were last year with Kirsty and Shawn. Two things we didn’t see this time though, were the massive hammerhead shark as we anchored, or Johnny’s boat VaJoLiRoJa. There was another sail boat anchored there instead, and if it is his I really do hope he puts some work into it as it looked a bit sad and neglected! I felt like sending him an e-mail! Bruce and I went for a walk to the beach where last year he found me a beautiful, perfect shell. This year we really didn’t find anything, but we did have a good walk. The following day found us anchored at the North end of Highbourne Cay after a wonderful spinnaker run. Many, many years ago this was one of our favourite anchorages. Highbourne has changed so much though since those days – now it is for the big spenders and their monstrous boats – although this anchorage is still nice, if a bit busier than before. We decided that the next day we would go into Nassau to escape another front and spend two nights at the Nassau Yacht Haven and hopefully get to see John and Doreen again. Once we were settled into the marina and had a cold beer in hand, we sent an e-mail to Doreen to see if they could come to the boat for a Chinese take-out supper, or meet us at the restaurant. We didn’t realize that Doreen doesn’t check her e-mail on a Sunday figuring that if anyone really needed to contact her they would phone. So obviously we didn’t see them that night, although Bruce and I went ahead with the Chinese and had enough left over to take back to the boat for another night! That restaurant makes some of the best Chinese food we have ever had. In fact we’d put it on par with the Chinese restaurant on the Leeds road that we went to years ago in England with Mum and Dad. We did hear from Doreen the next day though, and that evening we were picked up by John and taken to their home for a steak BBQ. We had a lovely dinner and a great evening. It was good to see Jenny there as well. We may yet see John and Doreen in Nova Scotia for a visit!
The next morning we made it out of the Yacht Haven safely, (Bruce’s expertise at the helm), and we made our way to West Bottom Harbour, Rose Island, where we planned to stay for a few days. We found quite few sailboats in there sheltering from the wind and weather, just as we were doing. By the way, Happy 1st Birthday Sebastian Higham! (March 27th) Beautiful boy!
We left Rose Island on the 28th heading for the Berry Islands, and we caught a Mahi – Mahi on the way there. Using my new fish lure of course! We spent a day at Bonds Cay and then moved onto Hoffmans where we met up by chance with our friends Dick and Nancy from the sail boat ‘Blue Bay’. We had first met them through Barry and Susan Wilson of ‘Nighthawk’, while in the Ragged Islands. We went fishing with Dick and Nancy and I guess Dick was just in the right place at the right time as on a little shallow head just off the beach he got two huge crawfish! No others were there! We went over to ‘Blue Bay’ that evening for cocktails and warm lobster dip. We really don’t just drink rum and eat all season long no matter what this blog says!! We returned to Little Harbour for one night as we expected a big storm – which never materialized - and went up to Flo’s conch house again for a beer and conch fritters as we did last season. Chester, who runs Flo’s, (she was his mum), makes the very best conch fritters and we can’t go there without having some! After riding out the storm that didn’t happen (!) we returned to Hoffmans, but the northern most bay this time, and went fishing again to quite a large reef at the northern end of the island. We went with Dick and Nancy and another couple called John and Mary-Jo who sail on a mono- hull called ‘Eponimondus’ which is a replica of ‘The Bounty’ – obviously a lot smaller though.
Tomorrow we are planning on sailing on to Great Harbour Cay. Yet another front is on its’ way!
19 March 2013 | Darby Is. Exumas
The last of our days, for this season, in the Jumento’s and Ragged Islands have come to an end. We had a fantastic time there with our friends. But, I’ll bring you up to date with all our activities before we left there.
One day Bruce and I went walking on the beach collecting ‘treasures’ and that evening had Sam the Skull and Bernie from Countess Cosel over for supper. We had a very fun evening and Bernie invited us all over to his boat for supper in a couple of days time. On our anniversary, March 1st (33yrs.), we went to a hot dog BBQ on the beach for one of the boaters - Dave from M/V Dyad (he is the one who organizes the web site “bigdumboat.com” which I spelled wrong for you last time, You’ll have more luck getting onto it now!) His birthday is on the 2nd of March Mum, like yours, but the weather was going to turn bad so his wife organized it for the day before. It was a good time! We all took a side dish of some sort to have with the hot dogs, then we even had birthday cake. Of course there was a little drinking too! We toasted ourselves for our anniversary and also said “Happy Birthday!” to you too Mum and we hope you had as good a time as we did.
The next day we went back around to South Side Bay in preparation for the bad weather coming. Before it rolled in, Bruce and I went exploring the coastline in the dinghy, which we hadn’t done before. There are quite a lot of interesting caves along there – easy to imagine pirate treasure and skeletons guarding it! Bruce did a little fishing along the way and I tried to get some pictures of it all as I rowed along following him. We didn’t get over to Bernie’s for supper that evening as planned because of the rough weather, even though he wasn’t anchored too far away from us. He didn’t mind, as it was sauerkraut and bratwurst for supper and he said that the more times you cook it and heat it up the better it is! It is easier to get into Duncantown from South Side Bay, so in we went the next day. We were very lucky to get a ride in and even a ride out of town, as it is quite a long way to walk. People are very good at giving rides to the cruisers if they see them walking along the road. We tried to use the internet while we were there but it was really pretty useless! Tried again to go to supper with Bernie that evening, but with the wind coming up again it didn’t work out. Next day we headed back around to Hog Cay - at fairly low tide – with Countess Cosel following us. Bernie was afraid we’d go aground and then he’d be there to pull us off. Why he thought that, we really don’t know as his draft is a litle deeper than ours and he usually goes his usual deeper water route. You guessed it! Bernie went aground! We bumped once and tried to radio him to warn him, but he was on the wrong channel. He’d been listening to radio chatter and forgotten to switch back to the hailing channel – so we watched him go hard aground and couldn’t do anything about it!! Luckily it was a rising tide and with a little bit of maneuvering he came off the sandbank quite easily. That evening we, and Sam the Skull finally got to go and have the sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato supper – with chocolate for dessert!! Delicious! We gradually started making our way north, up the Jumento’s in preparation for heading home.
Barbara (Anderson – ‘Sam the Skull) and I went for another long (!) walk on Buena Vista Cay which was only faintly reminiscent to our marathon effort last season on Nurse Cay. I tend to poke about on these walks looking at everything in case I might see something I just can’t do without! Barbara tends to have something in mind and just “keeps on truckin’”! As a result we sometimes lose each other. There I am walking around calling BARBARA…………BARBARA! The goats answer me but Barbara doesn’t hear me and I am left picturing her on the ground somewhere bleeding out! So on I go poking around. Then I hear VALERIE………VALERIE………where are you?! - (In that Glaswegian accent). I don’t know if the goats understand her to answer! Anyway it was a great beach walk/bush climb and we did get palms for our straw work. I really appreciate my new knee on these long walks. All season we have been looking for the old glass ball fishing floats that can sometimes be found on the beaches – we didn’t find a one though!
Mother’s Day (UK) found us all (Sam the Skull, Windrush and Countess Cosell) at Low Water Harbour Cay at the south side of Buena Vista Cay trying to escape the rolly water so that we could be comfortable. Happy Mother’s Day my Mum! That evening we had drinks on our boat and said good-bye to Bernie from the Countess. Assurances were made that we would see him next season. Hugs all around! Early the next morning STS and Windrush left for Flamingo Cay – a great sail with us making 7-8 knots all the way. The next day we did the same thing all the way to Great Exuma and we anchored for the first time ever in Redshanks, near Georgetown. More bad weather and high winds expected and we figured we would be comfortable and safe there for those winds. We found we were near ‘Puddlejumper’ (Bill and Mara) and they were kind enough to invite us over for drinks and supper - bring your own meat for the BBQ – and we all had a very pleasant evening. Just before we went over to Puddlejumper we had a fantastic e-mail from Kirsty to say that Shawn had proposed to her and that of course she had said yes!! (The proposal was on Monday March 11th.) At supper that evening we made the announcement and they were well toasted. The next day STS and Bruce and I went into Georgetown to the liquor store to get a bottle of champagne and do the job right!! Congratulations Kirsty and Shawn! Wonderful news!!
While anchored at Redshanks we did discover the new launderette at Cheeters that has really good internet and we skyped with lots of family while we waited for the laundry to get finished. A great find – we will go there again. Also received the news that our good friends John and Doreen Peters were going to be able to fly from Nassau and stay with us on the boat for the week-end. They arrived on Friday 15th and stayed until yesterday, Monday the 18th. It really was a wonderful week-end and it was a pleasure having them with us. We stayed around Great Exuma as they really weren’t with us enough days to go further afield. We did go to Big D’s for lunch one day though and then to the Chat and Chill on the Sunday for their weekly Sunday Pig Roast – you’d have enjoyed it Dad!! We didn’t only eat and drink though, we also went on dinghy rides, and while John and Bruce walked up the big hill to the monument Doreen and I walked over to the beach and collected shells. On one of our dinghy rides through Redshanks we went under this amazing bridge that just didn’t seem to lead to anywhere! It looked like it belonged in an old English village or something. We did get some pictures of it and they will be attached to this blog. We also saw that ‘Feral Cat’, another PDQ belonging to our friend Rich Tanner who had arrived in Georgetown from the Jumento’s. We dropped by for a visit and to introduce John and Doreen. It was sad to see John and Doreen go – we think they had a good time and we really enjoyed it. They say that they will stay with us longer next time despite having to climb over each other in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom!!
After seeing John and Doreen safely on their way to the airport we lifted the anchor and set sail for Lee Stocking Island and our favourite anchorage at ‘Ray Bay’. (We didn’t manage to get together with John and Barabara to say goodbye before we set sail and were really quite unhappy about that!! I guess we’ll just have to hook up online when we can.) It turns out that this anchorage is also one of Rich’s favourite places to drop the hook, (although he calls it by it’s real name which is unknown to us!). Rich had invited us to come over to Feral Cat for supper that evening, which of course we did, and ate large quantities of his special recipe of chicken and rice with olives, along with large quantities of rum punch and red wine!! The next morning (today) we rather blearily lifted the anchor, said goodbye to Rich and set sail for a new anchorage to us between the Big and Little Darby Cays. Very skinny water into the anchorage –in and out has to be done on a rising tide – but well worth going in there. It was soooo peaceful and no one else could get in there, except for those of us with a very shallow draft. We were all alone…………..and able to steal internet access from Faith Hill and Tim McGraw whose island (!) was just next to us. We figure we will stay here for a couple of days. Thanks Faith and Tim.
The lost are found
25 February 2013 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
So, we raised the anchor to leave Salt Pond, Long Island a bit later than planned, as the propane man didn't arrive until almost 2pm instead of noon - no surprise there. Island time mon!! By the time we motor sailed to Dollar Harbour and dropped the anchor it was dark and we were both a little nervous. No problems though. We were anxious to start the sail back to the Jumentos and Ragged Islands the next day and got a good early start with high hopes of catching Mahi Mahi as we trolled on the way. Around this time last year we had caught big Mahi Mahi on the way, but luck wasn't with us this time and all we caught was a baby barracuda and a plastic bag!! We really did try to catch you a big fish for your birthday Kirsty! Quite disappointed, we anchored for the night at Flamingo Cay where we were able to make contact with Sam the Skull on the radio. They were heading back to our favourite Bahamian cruising grounds from their visit to Georgetown and we arranged to meet up with them the following afternoon at Double Breasted Cay.
"The gang's all here" - Nighthawk, Sam the Skull and Windrush, back together at Double Breasted Cay in the Raggeds. That evening we gathered on Windrush for drinks and snacks and to catch up on news. By bedtime we were tired, but it was fun to see everyone again. Next day whilst listening to the cruisers net, we learned that 3 young men were missing from Duncantown, Ragged Island. One of them was the son of Maxine, the lady who runs the grocery store in Duncantown and is a great help to the cruisers in bringing in supplies for them. She also is the main organizer for the annual Valentine party held by the people of Duncantown on Hog Cay for the cruisers. It is also a fundraiser for the Duncantown school. The 3 men were in an open 'go-fast' boat returning from a trip to Nassau. The last contact with them was at 10:30pm the following evening as they were going through the cut between Great and Little Exuma. So they should have arrived back in Duncantown later that night, but obviously they hadn't shown up and efforts to contact them hadn't been successful. So, the waiting game began.
Before the men went missing, Maxine who owned Hog Cay, decided that she wanted a proper building built on the beach of Hog Cay in time for the Valentines day party. Not a closed in building, more of a large Tiki hut that could be used to serve the food in at the party and also for people to use for get togethers when anchored there. She put her brother Edward (not Edwin, which is what everyone had previously thought he was called)in charge of the construction and had wood shipped in from Nassau. The cruisers were also set to help him. Bruce went to see what was going on one day after returning from fishing and found himself up on the roof with Edward hammering in nails! He was pretty tired that evening when he finally got back to the boat!
We decided the next day to go to Raccoon for a couple of days. The boys wanted new fishing grounds, also the winds had changed and we were rolling quite a bit at the anchorage. While at Raccoon, I took some good pics of Bruce feeding 3 reef sharks off the back steps while cleaning conch. They got a bit too inquisitive so he hit one of them with a conch shell (threw it!) and off it went.......for a moment! No swimming then! Each morning we'd listen to the net (they have a web site - bigdumbboat.com - where you can listen to audio of where we are plus many other neat things to do with the cruisers in this area) to hear about the missing men. Still nothing heard of them though. After a couple of days we island hopped back to Double Breasted. I started getting serious about weaving something with the palm fronds and did make a coozie (a sleeve to put around drink cans or wine bottles etc.) to fit a wine bottle - not bad for a first effort. Then I made a little container with a lid to keep our toothpicks in - exciting stuff!! Haven't done much jewelry so far this trip as I can't seem to get in the mood - although I have been keeping my eyes open for sea glass and have found one or two good pieces, which I should be able to make something with. I have also been trying out my 'Dremel' tool. We used it to make a conch horn with - one for us and one for Barbara and John - they actually work! Now we have to practice. Besides all these crafty things I have gone beach walking with the girls and also with Bruce when he and the boys are tired of fishing together.
Valentines day (and my birthday) finally came around. I had a lovely day. I was given a new hat and a box of pecan caramel chocolates from Bruce - both of which were the 2 things I had asked for. Also he gave me a bright new fishing lure guaranteed to catch Mahi Mahi the next time we tried!! For lunch I had delicious BBQ'd ribs, which my loving husband made for me. We went on a beach walk together around the end of the island and back and returned to the boat in time for a bit of a rest before company came over to Windrush for a birthday get together. Nighthawk and Sam the Skull came. Also Bob and Vicki from 'First Look' who Bruce and I had just met. The best news of the day though, was that the 3 missing men had been found, safe and well!
Bad weather was approaching. High winds and rain were expected to hit on the evening of the 16th (Saturday). Time for the Valentines day party though the day before it was due to arrive. Nighthawk headed off to an anchorage a little further north ready to ride out the storm, instead of staying for the party. Sam the skull and Windrush stayed to party! It was a really good time. The townspeople provided (with a government grant), turkey, ham, peas 'n rice, yellow rice, mac 'n cheese, salad, coleslaw, dessert and free beer. All for $20 per person! I think all the townspeople were there, including the children. We had music and everything, and a great time was had by all. Early the next morning almost all the boats set out for a more sheltered, safer anchorage. A lot of the boats went to South Side Bay at the end of Ragged Island - us included. The storm started later that evening and continued through the night and it remained quite windy the next day. It was an interesting night, to say the least! A couple of boats dragged their anchors and there was a collision. One boat collided with 2 others. It made for interesting listening on the radio! We were in no danger though and our anchor held well. Bruce usually goes down and checks the anchor if we arte expecting high winds. We stayed in South Side Bay for 2 days and nights and then the wind changed a bit and we started rolling, so we moved just around the corner to Coco Bay. A couple of days later when the weather was back to normal we lifted the anchor again and Sam the Skull and Windrush sailed to Buena Vista Cay for a while. We met a new couple there that John and Barbara had met last year in Georgetown. An English couple from London called Barbara (a popular name) and Andy on the sailing cat. 'Ptarmigan'. Ptarmigan was planning to go to Cuba with one of the boats involved in the collision at South Side Bay, but were in the process of changing their minds about travelling with them as they found they didn't get on too well together after all. We had dinner on Sam the Skull one evening - Beef tenderloin and then a couple of days later we all had dinner on Ptarmigan - BBQ'd pork. Both dinners were delicious and a nice change from seafood! Mum and Dad, on your anniversary I actually went Kayaking with the 2 Barbaras. I borrowed a Kayak from Ptarmigan, and had a great time!! A kayak is now on my wish list. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of me in the kayak. We all toasted you on your anniversary - 62 years and still going strong!
Well, that's all for now. I will try and update again soon. We are safe and well and still enjoying ourselves!
Another day in Paradise
06 February 2013 | Salt Pond, Long Is.
Bruce and I on Windrush and John & Barbara on Sam the Skull left Hog Island together on January 29th and sailed to Buenavista Cay and then the next day to Water Cay. On the Thursday we parted ways for a short time - Sam the Skull for Georgetown and Windrush to Long Island. Bruce and I really wanted to get on Skype and contact family, we were almost desperate to hear and see them and we knew that at the Long Island Breeze Resort at Salt Pond, Long Island we would be able to! We also needed to take care of some other business on the internet, which we hadn't been able to do even on the 3G Kindle. So we arrived there safe and sound on Thursday 31st January. We did have to motor sail part of the way, but not too much which was great. First thing we did after dropping the anchor was to go ashore to 'The Breeze' and have a couple of lovely cold beers (Kalik of course) and get online! We managed to have a great chat with my Mum and Dad while we were ashore - oh it was lovely to see them looking so well!! Hugs and Kisses Mum and Dad!! No one else was online at that time so we walked over to the grocery store to get some fresh fruit and veg. and then returned to the boat. We found that we could still get the internet on the boat just offshore from 'The Breeze' and had a good chat with George too, although the connection wasn't good enough just then to be able to see him. George had just returned a couple of days prior to this from a trip to see Bill in Phoenix and then travelled with him to meet up with Adam, Ryan and Liz, Cindy and Mel in Las Vegas to celebrate Mel's 21st birthday. Happy Birthday Mel!! We have seen some pictures and you look fantastic! The following day we managed to contact Gill and Malcolm and heard all about Helen's visit home and her "Vegan Extrvaganza" meal! Any Skyping then had to be put on hold for a couple of days as another 'front' was moving in and we had to move Windrush to a different anchorage and unfortunately couldn't get internet there.
Sunday 3rd Feb was the "Superbowl" in the USA. Last year we went to a 'Superbowl' party held at the Fishermans Lodge in Duncantown. This year there was a big party at 'The Breeze'. There was 75-100 people there and 3 big screen TV's set up so that people could see the action. We had a good time and met some new people on other cruising boats. Even though I don't know the first thing about football, it was still a good time! Bruce and I had steak and chips for dinner and I drank more Kaliks than I think I ever have at one time. We even won a free drink and almost(!) won $50 in the pool.
Yesterday we did more Skyping and talked again to Mum and Dad, George, Gill, Shawn, Kirsty when she was on her break and then later Geoff! Kirsty is still enjoying her new job and is now off orientation, and Geoff & Emily had just gotten home from their first pre-natal class. Fantastic!! So life goes on......
Today we finished picking up fresh supplies (and rum!) and supplies for our cruising friends in the Jumentos, did the laundry, updated the bog (as you see) and Bruce is at present filling the spare gas jugs as tomorrow we are leaving Long Island. The plan is to get the 2nd propane tank filled when the truck comes around tomorrow lunchtime and then head out to a place called 'Dollar Harbour' which we enjoyed last season. Then on Thursday (Happy Birthday our Kirsty, we'll be thinking of you!!)) we will sail on the ocean side back to the Jumentos (Water Cay or Flamingo Cay) fishing for Mahi Mahi on the way. So this is it for the blog for a while until we get internet access again somewhere around the end of this month.
Bye for now!..................
Back to the Jumentoes & Raggeds
28 January 2013 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
We started the New Year off well by making bread on New Years Day - always a popular occasion on Windrush once the sweaty work of it is over! It smells sooooo good and we tend to overdo it a bit eating the fresh bread rolls. Early the next morning saw us heading out of Georgetown along with 'Sam the Skull' and 'Countess Cosel' (Bernie, a German friend who as a young man escaped over the Berlin Wall to start a new life in the West) heading for the Jumentos. We had a great sail and arrived in time for the guys to go fishing - of course - afterwards congregating on Windrush for drinks and eventually all staying for a supper of freshly caught hogfish. Buenavista Cay the next day where we met up with our friends Bill and Mara from the big sailing cat 'Puddlejumper' who came over for drinks - nice to see them again, and the first time this season. We ended up staying in BVC for 3 days - what's the hurry?! Barbara and I amusing ourselves with swimming, beach walks and burning garbage and making bread - a very satisfying way to pass the time of day! The guys of course went fishing when they could and when they couldn't we did boat chores and always gathered in the evening for drinks. The next week we headed for Hog Cay ( now into the Ragged Islands south of the Jumentos). Hog Cay is the last island before the Ragged Island where Duncantown is the only town in the Jumentos/Raggeds chain. Bruce taught a class there at the school last season. Unfortunately Ragged Island and the school, were hit quite hard by Hurricane Sandy - but as always, they are survivors.
Our first day at Hog Cay, our friends Barry and Susan on 'Nighthawk' arrived. They had made the decision not to come cruising this season and stay at home in BC. But the weather there hadn't been very good so after some particularly bad weather they said "the hell with this" and were soon on their way south! Before Christmas there had been very few boats in the Jumentos besides Sam the Skull and ourselves, but now the crowds were starting to arrive and we met up with friends and acquaintances from last season. And so the time goes by....... drinks on this boat or that boat, gatherings on the beach for garbage burns (AKA cocktails and snacks) etc. Bruce and I left the group for a few days to go up the islands to Raccoon Cay to spend a little time by ourselves. It was a fantastic sail up to our new anchorage, which we had all to ourselves for a couple of hours! Our rum supply was replenished while we were there. The sailboats 'Discovery and 'Synergy' arrived from Long Island where they have a liquor store, so as we were getting low on rum we had asked Karl and Marilyn on Discovery to pick some up for us, which they very kindly did. Bruce and I went spearfishing together one day, which was lovely. I shot a nice crawfish - unfortunately we didn't take a picture of it before we ate it! Later that day, we had 2 visitors to the anchorage who arrived while Bruce was going after a lovely big grouper on a small coral head right by the boat - 2 big bull sharks! Luckily Bruce did hear me yelling to him in warning from the boat and he got safely out of the water. They did circle our boat and around the other boats in the anchorage for quite a while, so we warned the others boaters in the anchorage of their presence. We decided to give up on the grouper and let it live a little longer. A few days later off Double Breasted Cay, Bruce shot a very big crawfish - said he just couldn't pass it up! It was big enough to cook the legs and body as well as the tail to make a very tasty crawfish salad for sandwiches.
The following day we arrived back at Hog Cay just in time for me to attend a get together on the beach for anyone who wanted to learn how to make baskets etc by weaving palm fronds. I had learned how to do this last season but never really got into it, so I decided to try again this year. Bruce and I left the group again after a couple of days and dropped the anchor at the south end of Ragged Island in South Side Bay. It was lovely there. Very peaceful and only 2 other boats! We got together on Windrush with Mary and Dick, a couple from one of the other boats - 'Blue Bay'.
I made us all conch fritters as a snack - tasty, but I still don't have the recipe quite right. I guess I'll just have to keep on trying! Bruce and I went fishing together quite a bit, but this time I rowed the dinghy and Bruce did the fishing. Good exercise for me and I can keep an eye out for Bruce. No bull sharks this time, just an inquisitive small reef shark. It was really great fishing around this anchorage. Loads of crawfish, though Bruce didn't shoot many as we really didn't have room to keep them. He did get a lovely big Margate though which we shared with Nighthawk and Sam the Skull one evening after returning to Hog. We dinghied into shore after a couple of days in Southside and walked through the bush to the road and then walked to Duncantown to try and use the internet - we weren't too successful though. While we were there, who should appear but our friends John and Barbara from Sam the Skull. They had received some bad news from home in Scotland. Barbara's Dad had died and they had tried to get to Georgetown for her to catch a flight home, but because of the bad weather they'd had to turn back, and so they were in Duncantown trying to contact family. They didn't manage it on the internet but did get through on the phone at the new Batelco station. After another couple of rainy, windy days in Southside we returned to Hog Cay in time for a cook out on shore which was fun. Two days ago, as the wind had settled down we were able to have a haircutting session on deck - now we both feel and look much smarter and cooler! Bruce and I then went ashore together and had a long walk over to the ocean side to see the waves which were still in 'rage' from the stormy weather. Yesterday, Barbara and I went ashore to look for the right kind of palm fronds to do our basketry with, so that was another long walk. Last evening John & Barbara (Sam the Skull) and Barry & Susan (Nighthawk) came over to Windrush for supper and we ate the big Margate Bruce caught in Southside. It was a lovely evening together.
Tomorrow, quite early, Windrush and Sam the Skull are pulling up the anchors and moving on.
Christmas with family
01 January 2013 | Georgetown
We were picked up early on the morning of December 13th by Elvis in the water taxi and delivered over to Georgetown where Junior was waiting with his taxi to take us to the airport. We were very excited to be starting our journey home to Nova Scotia for Chrismas with the 'kids' and George. Unlike our trip home for Christmas last year, everything went according to schedule and we arrived in Halifax quite late that night and were met at the airport by a smiling Kirsty and Shawn. So good to see them!
It was very strange this year in that we weren't going home to our own house! We alternated between Kirsty and Shawn's house in Chester and Geoff and Emily's house in Middle LaHave. We spent the first night with Kirsty and Shawn - a very late night going to bed as we were so excited to be home and spent quite a bit if time just chatting and catching up on news and plans for the holidays etc. It wasn't long before we saw Geoff and Emily too as the following day we went Christmas tree hunting! We piled into Kirsty's car and picked up Emily from her house, then met Geoff after school at our home in New Germany. We had arranged with Tanya (our house sitter) that we would drop[ in to the house to pick up a few things before going for the tree. It was fantastic to all be together again. We stayed another night with Kirsty and Shawn. We spent the evening putting up and decorating their Christmas tree - as per usual Lilo promptly took up residence underneath it. Bella was very good and left both the tree with it's decorations and Lilo alone! Kirsty and Shawn both had to work the next day so we moved on to Geoff and Emily's house. It was a relief on our arrival home to see how well Emily had recovered from her surgery and looking so good with her 'baby bump'. Geoff had been working hard on their house and was now trying to get he and Emily's bedroom completed so that they could move into it in time for Christmas. Bruce was happy to be able t help him with it.
It was a very busy time before Christmas as usual, trying to get shopping completed. It was lovely though to be spending time with all the kids in their homes and really getting to know Shawn and Emily better. It was wonderful! I spent part of one day shopping with Emily and all of one day shopping with Kirsty. I also spent a day in the city shopping with Bruce. Shopping, shopping, shopping!! Finally it was pretty much all done! Geoff hadn't done any of his shopping - said he wasn't even thinking about it until the bedroom was finished! He finally did it all on Christmas Eve Day - how did he do that?!! I think Emily must have done a lot of it! George arrived on Dec. 23rd. (Happy Birthday my Dad, wish we were with you too!) and spent his first night with us at Kirsty and Shawn's house. The next day, Christmas Eve day the 3 of us moved over to Geoff and Emily's. Kirsty and Shawn came over that evening as well and we continued our tradition of having a lovely lobster feast! Bruce and Shawn got the lobster from one of Shawn's contacts - lovely big lobster with great big claws! After supper Kirsty and Shawn went to visit Shawns mum and Dad and then returned again the next day, Christmas morning (!!) at 07:30am to open presents - I really don't think they got much sleep! It was a lovely Christmas morning and Santa was very good to us all. Amongst other things, the kids got us a much needed new BBQ between them, for the boat - it will be lovely to have a BBQ on board again! We also received many lovely presents from England. When left the boat to go home for Christmas we had just one bag (just carry on) between us. On our return journey we had 2 carry on bags and one check-in bag! We are spoiled for sure!! After opening gifts, Kirsty and Shawn headed for Shawn's parents home to open presents and then to his Nanny's for Christmas lunch. Geoff and Emily went to Em's Mum and Dads to have Christmas dinner there. Bruce, George and I dropped into Michael and Linda's a little later for a quick bit of Christmas cheer before going back to Kirsty and Shawn's where we were once again spending a couple of days. After having Christmas lunch with Shawn's family K & S returned and later that evening Jeff and Nancy (Shawn's Mum and Dad arrived and we all had a lovely steak BBQ for Christmas Day supper. We had a lovely evening and of course ate too much. Boxing day was another big day! Kirsty and I got going in the kitchen as Geoff and Emily and Nancy and Jeff were all coming over for Christmas dinner with us. Between us Kirsty and I made a turkey with all the trimmings - Kirsty's first year for hosting Christmas dinner and it all went very well. We even managed to seat all 9 of us without too much of a squeeze!
All too soon our Christmas was over and it was time to go back to the boat. Their was a storm of course just before we left, but it meant that George got to stay with us all for an extra day which was lovely. We managed to contact my Mum and Dad, Gill and Malcolm, Tim and Honey, Katie, Beetle and little Seb and even Bill and Aneda by Skype several times over the holiday which made everything fantastic! George left us on Friday the 28th and we drove with him as far as New Germany where we had to do one last check of the mail before heading back to the Bahamas. We spent our last night in Nova Scotia with Geoff and Emily and then early the next morning (about 03:30am) the two of them took us to the airport to catch our 07:30 flight! It had been a very tearful goodbye at Kirsty's the previous day and it was tearful again at the airport with Geoff and Em. I hate goodbyes!! It won't be too long though before we see them all again and we did have a wonderful Christmas with everyone. It really was great staying with the children - we are very lucky.
Our journey back to the Bahamas was problem free!! No delays!! Junior was at the airport to meet us in his taxi and John, Barbara and Bernie were all waiting for us at the Exuma market to give us and all our luggage a ride back to Windrush. We settled up with Bob at Cavalli house (who didn't charge us as much as expected for leaving Windrush on one of his moorings) and moved back to anchor off Monument Beach again. Yesterday was New Years Eve. It was a bit cold and windy as a front was passing through, but Barbara and I went swimming anyway. We decided it was our version of Canada's New Years Day polar bear swim! Later on John and Barbara came over and we all had supper together and brought in the New Year. We actually all managed to stay up until after midnight - it was fun! It is hard to believe that today is the first day of the year 2013! Hopefully it will be as great a year and as good to us all as 2012 was. We have much to look forward to!