Monday, February 28, 2011

Breezin' on Long Island...

Monday, 28 February, 2011

Scott and I are now anchored off lovely Long Island,  due east of George Town.  We motor-sailed over here Wednesday along with our friends on Skedaddle, Spartina, and Messenger, to name a few of the boats.  This is a wonderful anchorage, made even more special because of the existence of the Long Island Breeze resort here.  Run by Mike from Britain and Jackie from Louisiana, it is a beautiful facility with a restaurant, pool and huge deck overlooking the bay and fast, free wi-fi.  We have thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at the Breeze, meeting other cruisers, playing cards and just loving the setting and great food there.  Much to our delight, on Thursday we were treated to a talk by Monty and Sara Lewis, the founders of Explorer Charts.  They talked of their travels to the Turks and Caicos and about Long Island and all there is to do here.  We enjoyed their sharing and knowledge very much and it was great meeting them.

Thursday, Scott and trekked to one of the beautiful beaches here and he found another sea bean!  These transit the Atlantic from Africa and land on the eastern beaches here and are *very* hard to find.  So now we have 2 heart beans and one hamburger bean.  There is a wonderful weathered limestone rock formation just off the beach and it's very dramatic standing watch over the point.

On Friday, we rented a van along with Sarah and Ken from Skedaddle and Sarah and Phil from Spartina.  We had a great time exploring alot of the island and went over most of the 80 miles from north to south.  We stopped at the Stella Maris resort up north and had coffee for awhile and then walked around the property then we headed south.  Lunch was at "Rowdy Boys" in Clarence Town....a beautiful facility with excellent food and great cottages for rent and an adorable, sweet Boston bull terrier who loved having his tummy scratched.

Later, we stopped off at a roadside straw goods shop and made some good purchases from the lovely lady there.  Then we went in search of the local flamingoes, slogging through mangrove mud until we all agreed it was too much trouble to continue given that we didn't even know if the flamingoes were currently in residence.  We had some good laughs though as we got mired in the mud.  Spartina Sarah had thoughtfully brought along a gallon of water for washing off the mud and some paper towels but our shoes all ended up in a trash bag since they smelled pretty yucky from the mud.  Fun times!!

Today, we're catching up on internet and will go to the local grocery (very nice and well-stocked) for some more provisions.  Tonight we're all heading for the local buffet put on by Trifina at Thompson Bay Club.  We're told it's quite the Bahamian feast so we're looking forward to it.

Glad to hear the weather at home is warming up and March will hopefully be lovely.  Take good care and we'll blog again soon.

Monty and Sara Lewis, talking about the Turks and Caicos and their Explorer Charts of the area.

The Long Island Breeze resort from the pool deck.
 View of the anchorage from the pool deck.  Amazing views!!
 Mike, the friendly owner of the resort.  He does a "cruiser's net" on the VHF every morning, complete with humorous readings at the end with his wonderful British accent.

This is a tidal pool at the Stella Maris resort where you can swim in salt water.  There's an opening at either end for the tidal surge.

The view from the balcony of the Breeze resort.

Inside the Breeze.  Co-owner Jackie is in the pink-and-white striped top.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trivial Pursuit, bridge and rainbows in George Town

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

Scott and I are still having a good time here in George Town after our 10 days here.  The cruisers who stay here all season organize various and sundry outings and lessons and we have partaken of but a few offerings while here.  We took a "field trip" to the island's one and only high school on Friday and were treated to the local cuisine plus a tour of the school's classrooms.  The students and teachers were lovely....very friendly and happy to show us cruisers around the grounds.  After lunch, the school's small marching (or not) band serenaded us with a few tunes.  Not bad, considering some of their instruments looked like they were quite old and beat up.  Part of the fun of the trip was seeing the island from the windows of our school bus transport.  Some beautiful coastal scenery for sure.

We've also played trivial pursuit twice at the St. Francis resort here.  It's a fun evening with lots of laughter and good spirits.  Scott and I were fortunate to come in second place last week with our partners, Dee and Ed from Sea Fox 10.  This week we weren't so lucky but it was still a good time.

We also took beginning bridge lessons from wonderful, patient Stuart on Union Jack last week and have played once with our friends from Skedaddle, Sarah and Ken.  I think bridge is one of those games you have to play for a LONG time before you get the hang of it!!

Friday night, it rained "cats and dogs" in the harbour and Scott and I, along with the other cruisers, were treated to a beautiful rainbow over Volleyball beach.  We love the beach there since it's home to the Chat 'n ultra-laid-back beach bar and restaurant with the always-friendly bartender Kendall.  We've had several of their cheeseburgers there and the ambience can't be beat!  Their colorful plastic adirondack chairs just beg to be sat in while you dig your feet into the sand and just......CHILL>

Today is a "reprovisioning, upping our water tanks by schlepping water in jerry jugs from the town dock and getting our extension on our immigration done" day.  Tomorrow, since the weather looks promising, we'll head out early for Long Island, due east of here.  Our friends on Skedaddle and Messenger, along with many other boats will be heading out with us so it should be a fun sailing day.

We'll see what the internet offerings are on Long Island but we hope to be able to continue updating our blog there.  In the meantime, stay safe and warm!

The band at the local high school serenaded us after lunch last Friday.

A beautiful rainbow over Volleyball beach Friday night

Wonderful, friendly Kendall, the bartender at the Chat 'n Chill.  Note the hanging t-shirts all over the place

The beach entrance to the Chat 'n Chill

Scott, relaxing on the beach in front of the volleyball courts.

 Another great sign....this one is maintained by the cruisers.
 Those oh-so-inviting pastel beach chairs along the shore.  Hard to resist!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Superbowl, festivals and barracuda

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011 we are in beautiful Georgetown, Exumas and it's taken this long to gain access to internet such that we can update our blog.  Sorry for the delay but that's how it is here in Paradise :)

Scott and I watched the Superbowl in Black Point settlement, along with about 48 other cruisers from all over.  We all packed into Lorraine's cafe (see pix) and had a sample of her wonderful Bahamian cooking and music provided by a local guitarist and 2 lovely singers.  Lorraine served us ribs, chicken, potato salad, peas and rice (a Bahamian staple), macaroni and cheese (another staple of their diet) and then yummy cheesecake for dessert.  Believe it or not, our weather that evening was HOT....I couldn't even stand to put on my Steelers jersey because it was way too warm.....imagine that!  So, even though the Steelers didn't win the game, we had a wonderful evening with friendly cruisers and Lorraine's wonderful hospitality.

The Thursday before Superbowl, we'd sailed down from Black Point to Farmer's Cay for their 5F's festival....First Friday in February Festival at Farmer's Cay.  Basically, there's local food and Class C races with the Bahamian sloops competing.  These are medium-sized racing sloops with HUGE mainsails and long boards called "pries" which allow crewmembers to crawl out on the boards and act as ballast.  The pix here are of one of the sloops being loaded back onto the mailboat at the end of the first day.  We sailed back up to Black Point after the festival on Friday, since we had the reservations at Lorraine's for her Superbowl party.

After we left Black Point yet again on the 8th, we motored down to a remote anchorage where I was dying for a swim in the wonderful blue waters.  But, alas, a very large barracuda decided to take up residence under our boat and our dinghy, back and forth, all the live long day.  No swimming for me! On the 9th, we slogged through a rolly sea down to Emerald Bay, near Georgetown.  It was one of the rougher days we've had and we were both glad to get to the marina at Emerald Bay and tie up in a slip next to Georgia E, our friends from Canada.  Emerald Bay is a wonderful, modern resort now owned by Sandals and we thoroughly enjoyed their *free* showers, *free* laundry facilities and wonderful clubhouse.  This was the first time since being in the Bahamas that we've felt we were in a resort-type location.  Pure Heaven!!

Friday morning, we'd finished doing our laundry and were ready to head on down to Georgetown so we motored down behind our friends, Steve and June on Windrose.  They'd been having engine problems so they were happy to have a buddy boat along.  It was such a gorgeous, calm day that I was able to sit up on the bow of the boat for much of the trip and even saw a WHALE not far away from us!  It was coming up and broaching repeatedly.  We moved a distance away from it in case it was telling us we were too close.....what a thrill to finally see a whale!

About 1:30, we reached Georgetown after an uneventful trip and we anchored near our friends, Tony and Tess on Endurance.  The anchorage here is HUGE,  wide and gorgeous blue.  There are over 200 boats already here all along Stocking Island and we're told there will be lots more before the regatta in a month.  We have been to town a couple of times to explore, reprovision somewhat and get our propane tank filled.  Yesterday, we took a bridge lesson on the beach from Stuart on Union Jack.  He's a very pleasant, patient Englishman and we enjoyed learning the basics on bidding, etc. for the game.  Our friends Ken and Sara from Skedaddle were our partners and it was a great afternoon. 

All in all, we're enjoying the anchorage here and all the activities offered on the beach near the Chat n Chill bar/restaurant and at St. Francis resort.  We'll be here at least until late February since we have to go back to Customs and get our last 3 months' permission for cruising.  Until that time, we'll keep meeting nice cruisers here and enjoy  limin' on the beach.

Take good care, stay warm and we'll update this with even more pix when we can.
Until then.....cheerio!~

Here is Lorraine's Cafe where we were for the Superbowl party
 A good picture of sweet Lorraine, a wonderful lady and superb cook
 A typical sunset in Black Point settlement.

 We had a gorgeous sail down to Farmer's Cay from Black Point
 Our friend, Tess, from s/v Endurance with a young Farmer's Cay boy who loved her sunglasses with their fancy lanyard
 One of the Bahamian racing sloops at Farmer's Cay.  This one is named "More Fire"  Note how the man is perched atop the boat as it's lowered onto the mailboat
 Tony, Tess and their daughter, Allison, me and Scott atop a peak on Stocking Island.  We hiked there Monday, Valentine's Day with them and then over to the beach on the ocean side.  Note all the boats in the background.

Here is another view of the anchorage from atop the hill.  There are hundreds of other boats further up the coast from here.