Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Bye Baha Mar
Friday, 19 September 2008
Next to an old cemetery, we met two people hacking away into some bark, which turned out to be the main ingredient in Campari.
Needless to say we had crab for dinner the following day. Ai Ai Skipper.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
We non-chalantly walked past this house and commended the workers for doing a great job restoring it. We were also secretly proud that someone has put his/her money to renovate this old cottage only to be told "oh no, no one is going to live here. At least no one living. This is going to be a mortuary" . Oh well, at least the departed will rest well. It turns out that the islands have no facilities and they have to transport bodies to Nassau for embalming before they are sent back to the island again.
From Rum our next destination was Mayaguana island lying south east of Rum and one of the truly remote islands of the Bahamas. At Rum we had been waiting for a north easterly wind which typically arrived much later that it was forecast and at that came at night when everyone had gone to bed swearing at meteorologists and the unpredictability of the wind. It was thus that we ended in Acklins; the wind was blowing a steady 15 knots from the east and we were making very good speed and not to mention that we were not heading straight into the sea. BEAM SEAS, who has ever heard of such a concept when sailing from the USA to the Caribbean. We took such a pleasure from the sail that we went through several dishes for dinner. Then the wind changed and in our recently acquired pleasure of comfortable sailing, we refused to give this precious commodity up and instead of sailing straight into Mayaguana, ergo, the waves, we changed course and decided to visit Acklins and Crooked Islands. And what a great discovery it was.
As luck would have it, sometimes it comes in abundance, we continued sailing due south and arrived too early at the entrance to the bight of Acklins. The captain heaved the boat to and waited for first light. After dawn coffee, we sailed into the shallow bight slowly doglegging around the green water, a very unsettling issue since one is used to the crystal clear water in the majority of islands. As we were about to find a good anchor spot, an enormous barracuda leapt out of the water and onto our hook. We discarded it for fear of ciguatera only to be told later that the stock in the area is perfectly safe to eat. A couple of hours of rest for the exhausted crew after a hearty breakfast was on the cards.
In the afternoon we dinghied over to the far lying docks in search of Albert town which lies on the opposite shore of the island. With the baking sun directly over our heads we made slow progress up the hills amidst numerous wandering goat herds. Close to the village we met a man skinning a goat and when we enquired about the roaming goats, he told us we could eat goat for dinner if we wanted to with the only provision being hunting one. It turns out that the goats are wild and with no natural predators the numbers have proliferated. I suppose it is less exerting to dive for conch than to spend your day with a dodgy hunting rifle in a scorcher hunting goat amidst thorny acacia trees.
Albert town is small picturesque settlement dotted with bright and luminious walls . At the centre is an old wooden church that sort of serves as a tourist attraction to the village. Judging by the response of Officer Wright, who overzealously enquired about our mission and religiously took all our details only to be miffed that we were not carrying our passports; one has to conclude that there cannot be that many tourists in the village.
At Conception, we were met by incredible beauty, unsurpussed if I have to say it myself. This is an uninhabited island of exceptional spleandour consisting of natural bays, corals and mangroves. On our second day there, whilst snorkelling with Mads, it was brought to my attention that a huge shark was just swimming past. Very close encounter indeed at about 10 metres away. In trepidation I looked at Mads for support, who then told me in sign language to just relax and sure enough the shark was gone after five minutes. We identified it as the White Tip which is not known for aggression, but hey, a shark is shark no matter what anyone tells you. Remember Jaws! OK, we know Steven S spoiled it for the shark population, not exactly good PR for the species.
We spent a couple of days at Conception (mangroves with clear water, turtles, more sharks) and left for Rum Cay some 20 miles south east of the island. We departed too late as we were entranced by the mangroves which then meant a late entrance at Rum which is literally covered in corals. We made it to the anchorage without much drama except our elevated heart beats. We swear not to do it again.
Friday, 08 August 2008
We are alright and still enjoying the Caribbean but we are almost at the end of our trip. However we will update the blog and attempt to fill you in on our meanderings in the last 3 months. or is it 4 months? Watch this space. After the carnival here on Grenada, we should be able to put time aside for sharing our experiences with you.
cheers to you all
Pamela, Mads, Afika and Thyra
Monday, 07 April 2008
We caught some barracudas off Leaf Cay but they were too big to eat anyway. Cigautera poisoning deters any fool from even trying a morsel of an oversized barracuda. Mie was our drink specialist and dish washer. Sebastian provided the entertainment.
At Leaf Cay we found our own secluded beach with iguanas who bit on anything green mistaking it for leaves. This is where we spent most of our time, snorkelling and trying tó find a way across the island.
Enjoy the pictures
It may seem we mention the word resort quite often but as a sailor it does fulfil its purpose when you are in need of some comforting and this normally coincides with the mood after a day of bad weather. Such was the fate of the Double O crew in Fernandez Bay north of the Cat Bight. We had been experiencing good weather for days in succession. We should have suspected that something was afoot. Dear Reader, if you ever have a chance to find your Atlas, find Cat Island in the eastern Bahamas and you will see it is completely exposed to the west, which is of course, true to Murphy’s Law, the wind blew a good 25 Knots straight from the Exuma Sound, the least desirable direction, leaving us all wondering when it will change direction. The wind did change direction and we were even sorrier. After two days of a howling westerly, the wind shift came upon us swiftly and demanded attention. That was the first time I heard so much traffic on the radio since our arrival on Cat Island. In 5 minutes, the wind had moved from west to true north and this shift is unfortunately not favourable for sail boats that are exposed. It was the first time I experienced the feeling of being ín a washing machine. Everything moved violently about for a few minutes and then ’settled’ to a rhythmn of a gentler, still rocking move which persisted for a day. The following morning, with dry eyes from lack of sleep, we sheepishly summoned courage and decided to brave it to the restaurant at the resort overlooking the bay. Needless to mention, we had a protracted breakfast. Muffins have never tasted nicer. It is comic to think that bars and restaurants in ships caught in bad weather make a killing as long as the undesirable weather persists (this is a trade secret, I was told by a reputable skipper of a large ferry operating in western Florida). Following copious amounts of coffee, we managed a swim and back to the boat to clean up the previous night’s remnants from a dancing boat. We ended up putting a swell bridle which in simple terms meaning you force the boat to face the direction of the swell instead of the wind. This calmed us considerably not to mention our heads and stomach acids.
Two days later we went fishing and caught us a sizeable Mutton Snapper, a fish of excellent food value. By that time we had already forgotten the havoc visited upon us by the seas. The snapper was indeed delicious and it fed us for a good three days.
The straw shop run by Mama Irene carried all sorts of goodies made of, you guessed right. Straw. Mads got himself a very durable panama hat which he still has up to this day (april). He is very grateful for a hat that can withstand the marine environment; it has survived a teething baby, submersions in sea water and being stepped on.
We sailed a few miles south to Hawk’s Nest area after being duly warned about the wild life in the area. The mangroves had their fair share of no-see-ums and mosquitos but we were clever enough to stay on the windy side to enjoy peaceful nights. Hawk’s Nest as a marina, a resort and a private airstrip where those rich enough to own or hire private planes regularly fly in for a spot of fishing for the weekend. I can imagine the conversation back at the club in New York (and I mean a real club not the one where you bob your head hoping the DJ will soon play something you like):
Charles: So Harold, what did you do last weekend?
Harold: Oh I flew down to the Bahamas for some fishing. And I caught a gigantic Wahoo, I almost could not reel it in. I think I won the fishing tournament for the weekend, my catch was a good 60kg. I returned with the boys in time for Sunday dinner at Martin’s.
Charles: That settles it then. I will have to fly my plane down next week as well, we can’t have you running around with such an ego. I promise you that I will catch a bigger one next time and I will not even use two days on it. By the way, how is the landing strip there? The madam does not like a bumpy landing…etc etc.
The great thing with the people at the resort was their friendliness, I mean they did not know who we were and yet we could just serve ourselves at the bar and use the internet. Now that is hospitality. We did not even have to put airs, trying to act like we were guests, as yachtspeople, it is almost de rigeur to have to resort to acting like part of the furniture to get a fresh water swim. It does help though with an island that does not have many visiting boats (no yacht fatigue yet). As all TV deprived children, Afika was extremely happy to find that the channel was changed to her advantage. After a few hours in the pool, she had a pre-dinner feast on cartoons and played with little Jessie.
Sunday, 06 April 2008
After locating a car rental place at Ms Crawfurd, negotiated the price down by a couple of dollars, we set off to the hermitage. At the parking area, this remarkable and modest building looks over the Exuma sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The hermitage of Father Jerome consists of a small bedroom, a kitchen, a prayer room/study and another room whose purpose we could not discern. One could just imagine the priest waking up at dawn and saying his prayers as the sun rose. This priest lived long in the Bahamas and even managed to change denomination following a visit to Europe. He is remembered chiefly for his architectural skills having built several churches throughout the Bahamas.
A forest gently unfolds around on the east and leading to limestone caves. We pottered around for a bit outside, went to look at the caves and Fika saw two snakes.
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Thursday, 03 January 2008
The meaningless terror which the bombers unleashed leaves all of us empty trying to understand the reasons why people like Steven, who try to make the world a better place, have to be killed.
We will miss him.