Sunday, March 31, 2013

“Reckless in the extreme”

For those that were baffled by the tallship Bounty’s taking a course into Hurricane Sandy last fall with the loss of the ship, Captain and one crew, CNN has an in-depth article on the Coast Guard inquiry. A notable quote from the story:  Captain of the Pride of Baltimore II, Miles summed up Walbridge's actions in four words: "reckless in the extreme."  The article is Life and Death on the Bounty

Friday, March 29, 2013

I forgot the Piggy shot

These pigs live on BIg Majors Spot island. Looks like there’s about 4 of them. They live high-on-the-hog by getting fed from boats and tourists. They’ll swim out to your dinghy when you arrive looking for goodies.  We brought our galley organics in, thinking they’d slop it up. Turns out these are really picky oinkers.  They wanted nothing to do with our kitchen waste. I guess we don’t eat well enough on Georgia. They were over-the-top pleased with the large bag of onion rings that the boat in the picture brought.

The Bahamas are pretty mellow cruising grounds. Good charting, easy anchorages and lots of other cruisers around. Things still go terribly wrong on occasion. We listened to a radio Pan-Pan the other day. A Pan-Pan call is an emergency, but less eminent than a Mayday call.  Two couples off two boats went for a walk on the trails on Hog Cay. This is basically a small island 100 yards off Warderick Wells. The trails are washed out limestone on these islands. This means they are pocked with 3 inch to 6 feet holes all along. One of the women tripped in a hole and hit chest first and then head down. The hikers did not bring a handheld VHF radio with them, so one had to hike back to the dinghy to get the radio. The radio call indicated that she was in and out of consicousness and had difficulty breathing.  A number of boaters close by and the Exumas Park personnel went to her aide. Eventually after a long period of CPR, a helicopter from a near-by private island, Bell, arrived and took her into Nassau. Unfortunately she could not be revived. Our condolences from Georgia.

We, or should I say I, am/are in Stanial Cay area. Chris has gone back to San Diego for 10-days to check on her parents who are having some health issues. I get to stay and play in the water – if it would just get warm again. Right now it is 77*. I’m holding out for 80.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Meghan and Tyler Show

We put this ray in the picture so you could see how long Meghan is when she's stretched out diving.
We sailed back to New Providence Island (where Nassau is) and went to the south side into Coral Harbour Canal. Ex-cruisers, Nick and Carolyn Wardle, own a house there on the canal. They have a long bulkhead where they rent out slips to cruisers. Very reasonable, at $25 a night. Nick picked up Meghan(daughter) and Tyler(boyfriend and geek) after their flight from Bellingham, WA (for an additional $10). After buying a bag of stone crabs off one of the fishing boats in the canal, we headed off the next day back to the Exumas.
These are some serious sized crab claws.

We did one long sail from New Providence to Allen Cay in the Exumas and then the rest of the vacation consisted of lots of short, easy sails between the islands capped by hours of great snorkeling.

A friendly shark visit – to keep everyone honest.

Tyler diving the plane wreck near Cambridge Cay.

A big lobster who knows full well they are in a no-take zone within the park. What a tease.

An impressive staghorn coral.

Getting ready for a swim step shower – showers had to be earned by doing a dive.

A spotted eagle ray. Don’t you think these would make a really cool pair of cowboy boots?

Eagle rays in flight.

A fish.

Chris swimming into the Thunderball cave through a phalanx of guard fishies.

Barracuda, these things bug me when I’m diving as I’m convinced that at heart they are all psychotic.

Placing the carved driftwood with Georgia on it on BooBoo Hill in Warderick Wells. Meghan is holding a photo of our old Springer spaniel named  Warderick Wells aka Wardy.

And the close up.

Dinghy adventuring in Shroud Cay.

We had a really great time over the 10-days that Meghan and Tyler visited. They were pretty soggy when they left – but tanned and relaxed too.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hanging in Staniel Cay

Looks a little like the Lonely Monterrey Pine in Big Sur

We spent 4 or 5 days hanging in the cut between Big Major and Little Major Cays, hiding from a strong cold front that blew some howling  NW winds the whole time. This gave us a chance to go into Staniel Cay to stock up. We had two choices of stores to go to, the Blue store and the Pink store. The Blue store was closed.
stanialIMG_2175 Here’s Chris stocking up inside the Pink Store with two hard yellow tomatoes, a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread. We had a nice conversation with the proprietor. This is when she explained to us that the Exumas has the most beautiful waters in all the Bahamas with the water having all 4 colors. When we look at the waters here, we run out of adjectives to differentiate between the different shades. I always end up with just calling it taupe, because no one knows what that color really is. Sounds like the locals have it simplified.
Speaking of stores, Chris dug out this bag of organic figs from a locker. The expiration date is not till Nov. 2013. This was one of our Costco investments from Ft Lauderdale. The bag was so tight with gasses it was scary to hold. I carefully attacked it with a sharp kitchen knife and managed to safely defuse the explosives inside.
There’s a lot of hotel/cottages on these islands that cater to the wealthy. The staff uses the VHF radio to order food from their kitchens and take them to the cottages. Heard over the VHF: The kitchen trying to clarify a lunch order: “Do dey want da Bahamian Real Meal or da White Man Salad?”
We’re working our way north in the Exuma islands so we can get back to Nassau to pick up our daughter Meghan and her boyfriend Tyler for a snorkeling vacation next week.