Apr 01 to Apr 08 2012

April 01, 2012

Happy April Fool’s Day everyone!! Lucky for us Diana didn’t play any pranks on us but a fish did. Steve caught a big fish today. It bit the entire lure with hook right off the line. It jumped several times out of the water in an attempt to shake the hook free. Too bad for us, lucky for the fish - it was a BIG one too!!!

It was a cloudy and potentially rainy morning but within a couple of hours the sky cleared completely and it was sunny for the rest of the day. We left around 0730hrs just as a Carnival cruise ship was pulling in and second one was on the horizon making the turn to Eleuthera. All these cruise ships signal we are out of the “off the beaten” path section of the Bahamas. I’m looking forward to slightly more developed towns and a little more traffic…Steve, not so much.

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Carnival Cruise ship arriving at Little San Salvador to spend the day…cloudy morning

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A HUGE ship called the Crown Victoria anchored at East End Point, Eleuthera. They deployed some of the life boats and used them to ferry people to shore!

We motor-sailed all day; it was a noisy ride but it gave the batteries a change to get a strong charge. It was a calm but uneventful sail which is good for a change. We arrived in Rock Sound, Eleuthera around 1600hrs.

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View from the anchorage at Rock Sound, Eleuthera

It’s Sunday, meaning everything is closed on land so there is no point in venturing this afternoon.

Another quiet and lovely evening spent on Diana in the Bahamas.

April 02, 2012

After the weather forecast, Steve and I spent the morning going over charts in an attempt to make a plan for our time in the Eleuthera. So far, we will stay in Rock Sound for a few days to provision, do laundry and top up our fuel and water. Our tentative plan for the next couple of weeks is as follows: Next stop is Governors Harbour to spend a few days with a visit to Cupid’s Cay. The guide says “Governors Harbour was once the capital of the Bahamas and ran the country for a time. It has beautiful homes with bougainvillea cascading over garden walls enhancing the architecturally charming community. A walk about in town is so pleasing to the eye that you’ll hardly notice that you’ve climbed a 142 foot hill” Sounds like an interesting stop. From there we will go to Spanish Wells to spend a week or so, then to Harbour Island to visit Dunmore Town. From Harbour Island we will jump to the Abacos.

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A dock ruin with a bird on every post – I think they are gulls of some sort. It is nice to see birds again

Dingle’s is the place where every cruiser stops in Rock Sound. It is a convenience store, fuel station, laundry drop off and internet source. They will also call you a cab, arrange transportation to a restaurant across the island and answer any questions about services available in Rock Sound. Steve and I took some time to walk around town after getting our internet password and laundry info from Dingles.

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One of the many ruins in Rock Sound. There are chickens with a bunch of little chicks on the left… 

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Colourful flowers along the fence of a home

There are many abandoned homes in the area which is common in the Bahamas. Steve and I wonder why they aren’t torn down as the property must be valuable and belong to someone. The homes that aren’t in ruin are well-tended; appear to be freshly painted in Island flavour pastels and have big gardens full of colourful flowers. The flowers stand out and are so pretty Steve couldn’t help but take pictures of them.

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Flowers along a turquoise painted fence

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View from Government Dock of Rock Sound harbour – Diana is the boat closest to Steve

We walked a little out of town to make a much needed stop at the liquor store for beer then picked up a few things at the grocery store. I like to scope these places out before I make a big order. The Market Place Grocery as everything!! The shelves are a little bare in spots and the produce is lacking but the mail boat will be in tomorrow so the shelves will be full again by Wednesday AKA Grocery Day.

We made our way back into town to go to Sammy’s Restaurant – it was recommended in the guide book so we thought we would give it a try. On our way a man introduced himself as Richard and asked us where we were from. We started chatting and he let us know his mom Neda runs a “take-away” restaurant beside Sammy’s. He said Sammy’s is a great restaurant but he said him mom’s cooking is the best. That’s all the convincing we needed. We followed Richard to Neda’s Take-Away and Snacks to meet his mom.

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Richard, me and Neda in the back in the kitchen working really hard!

Neda has been cooking her whole life and is a mom to 10 kids and a bunch of little grandkids. She is in her seventies and is FULL of energy. She shared her secret to her success – “Be aggressive and work hard”. Richard and his mom are both warm, friendly and matter of fact - we instantly liked them J Neda was busy preparing the lunches for the primary school in town. It was only 1130hrs and she didn’t have much prepared for lunch yet – we told her we would come back some other time and not to worry. Although we didn’t each lunch, Neda had us try Guava Duff made by her daughter Sheena, who is a chef. Guava Duff is pastry rolled with the guava fruit topped with a creamy sweet sauce – delicious!!

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Guava Duff – very yummy – I don’t mind having desert first…

Neda is also very busy getting ready for the Home Coming Festival which begins tomorrow.  The Home Coming Festival is a big party with lots of food, games and music. Neda has a booth there so we promised to go and try out her cooking. We are told she makes a mean conch fritter – I cannot wait to eat them! The festival is a time where family members who are spread out over all the islands and North America come home for a great reunion. Richard’s sister Tasha is one of the event organizers who we also met on our way out. Neda adopted us and said she will take care of us at the festival. We may have to stay a few extra days J

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Richard and Steve in front of Neda’s Take Away and Snacks (the purple and turquoise building in the back)

Anybody visiting Rock Sound should stop at Neda’s for lunch, the warm hospitality and quality eats is well worth the stop. We said our goodbyes and promised to find them at the festival on Wednesday. We continued down the road to Sammy’s Restaurant and had a wonderful lunch.

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Steve had the conch burger I had the salad (on the left) and we both had Bahamian potato salad, coleslaw and mac’n cheese as sides. We will never go hungry here!!

Sammy’s is another great stop, friendly service, tasty home cooking at reasonable rates. With full bellies we made our way back to the boat stopping at Dingle’s for load of ice.

We spent the afternoon catching up on emails and chatting with family on Skype sipping cold drinks J

April 03, 2012

I had my first long run in the Eleuthera and it was perfect…and flat! The morning was cool and there was no one on the road - my favorite kind of morning. The rest of the day was spent working – kinda boring actually:  ·         We dropped off our laundry – it will be ready by tomorrow morning – a first time for us to have someone else do our laundry. We think we like it J  ·         We hauled water and fuel to the boat topping off our tanks. Steve hurt his back a little lifting the water tanks…muscle relaxants and rum are on the menu tonight.

 ·         Filled the boat with groceries. The market here is great. They had everything we needed except for Diet Pepsi which is a rare find in the Bahamas. We even got a ride back to our dinghy from one of the employees – bonus!

Everyone seems to be really excited about the HomeComing Festival starting on tomorrow. Family is visiting and kids are coming home from school in Nassau. We can feel the vibe. The Home Coming grounds are small with about 8 stalls for food and a little beach. We were told by one of the grocery ladies that Friday night will be the best night. Everyone will be there celebrating with food and music. Too bad we aren’t staying until Saturday. We hope to catch a little of it tomorrow evening.

We spent the afternoon gorging ourselves on internet; surfing, chatting with family and emailing. We working on our rum buzz then settled in for a movie.

April 04, 2012

After another feel-good run this morning I stopped by Dingles to pick up our laundry. It was ready and it only cost 24$ for four loads!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I didn’t have to do it!! This day is shaping up to be a good one.

We had a big breakfast which counteracted my run but who’s counting! Steve needs to rest his back - he thinks he pinched a nerve. I am happy to spend the mid-afternoon veg’ing out with him - another quiet afternoon on Diana in the Bahamas.

There is another weather front moving in on Friday. We need to be in an anchorage with S-W-N protection. We could stay here until next Tuesday but we don’t really want to so we took some time to review charts to see if we can find some protection further north. Governor’s Harbour does not meet those requirements so we may spend a few days in Hackett’s Bay with its all around protection before going to Governors.

We went into town by late afternoon to check out the festival but nothing was happening. We turned the dinghy around and went to Pascal’s for a drink where we met numerous cruisers who convinced us it was probably best to stay here through the front as the anchorages further north are not as good as this one. And the festival really doesn’t get started until Thursday or Friday AND we could still explore the Exuma Sound side. So, there is plenty to keep us busy for the next few days if we can manage to get off the boat.

We were only going to stay for one drink but then Pascal brought out complementary conch fritters for appetizers – that and our new friends were all we needed to stick around for one more.  The fritters we very tasty – on my top five best fritters of the Bahamas!

We made it back to the boat before dark in time to drug Steve up before bed.  

April 05, 2012

We’ve decided to stick around until the front passes on Sunday or Monday. It will give Steve’s back a chance to recover and us a chance to check out the Homecoming Festival on the weekend.

Steve took it easy on board while I ran a couple of errands. The winds are up and made for a very wet dinghy ride for me.

BIRTHDAY ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! It is Steve’s son’s boyfriend, Dan’s 23rd birthday today J

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Bonne Fete Dan! Rock Sound, Eleuthera (pic taken on April 07 when we could finally get to the beach)

I picked up 10 movies for 40$ - only in the Bahamas can you buy pirated movies with the pirate’s name and address written on the label ha!

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and getting the boat ready organized to weather the front. It is supposed to move in by tomorrow afternoon with winds building to 25 kts with chance of squalls packing winds anywhere from 40 to 60 kts – EEKS!!

April 06, 2012

We are not moving anywhere today!! There are white caps in the bay and to get to shore would mean a very wet ride – no thanks. Steve and I settled in with books and movies. The storms rolled by beside us around 1930hrs delivering a lightning show to remember. The lightening stretched across the sky in spider web formation. We did not get hit by it at all. We had hard rain around 0400hrs but other than that we survived another front unscathed in the Bahamas.

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Wall of thunderstorms crossing Rock Sound

April 07, 2012

We woke up to calm waters this morning so I was out for my run before 0730hrs. I stopped at Dingle’s to inquire about the Homecoming festivities which do not get started until the afternoon. We made a date to visit the festival after lunch at the Northside Restaurant. It is located on the Exuma Sound side about 3-4 miles from downtown, Rock Sound. Some fellow cruiser’s recommended this place. It is owned and operated by Rosie who does all the cooking and she even comes into town to pick us up J I made a reservation for noon.

We met Rosie at Dingle’s promptly at noon. From the very first moment we met we instantly liked her. She is warm, friendly and like most of the Bahamians we’ve met - made us feel like family. She knows everybody and everybody knows her. She honks, waves and talks to everyone. She laughs easy and ‘LOVES’ politics. Getting in a car with her proved to be an adventure as she stops to pick up locals to drive them home. We arrived at her restaurant which she has owned and operated for 12 years. The walls are decorated with flotsam and driftwood from the beach and her tables are also made from pieces of wood she found along the beach. She also has resort with six units available.

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Rosie showing Steve around

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The main seating area; the ceiling and windows are lined with fishing nets she found along the beach. She has decorated the nets with fishing lures – very cute! 

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View of the Exuma Sound from the patio

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Steve’s grouper dinner – another tasty Bahamian specialty with the best fried plantains I have ever tasted!!

This is another must stop if visiting Rock Sound. We went for a little walk along the beach after lunch before Rosie gave us a ride back into town.

The town was buzzing with festivities when we returned.

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Home Coming Party…stage is on the left, food shack along the right and beer tent at the back – it’s a Bahamian Highland Games ;)

We weren’t there long before we started to run into some fellow cruisers – all happy to be off their boats too!!

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From left to right: Rob and Holly on s/v Hampshire Rose, Ingo and Jerry on s/v Ladyhawk…and I think you know the good looking guy on the right ;)

There was a Sands beer tent trying to get people to participate in a sculling race. If you sign up you get a free t-shirt and a beer (so we heard). Since Steve’s back was out, Holly and I went to check out the boats. Neither one of us has “sculled” before but we would do just about anything for a free t-shirt and a beer ;) We immediately discovered we were way out of our league. The boats weighed 600lbs and the paddles weighed 35 lbs.’; we couldn’t even get the boat moving forward!

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I couldn’t even get it to move ha! ha!

Holly and I decided it was best to leave the racing to those who knew how to paddle.

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Three brave young men trying their best to round the mark…

Turns out, sculling is hard for a lot of people!! If the guys were able to round the mark, they had a strong head wind to row against to the finish line. Most of them needed rescuing as the winds were pushing the boats out to sea!

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The lead boat needing a rescue by a Seadoo as he couldn’t paddle against the head wind!

One young man did show us all how it was done and won the heat. Also, it wasn’t A beer every participant got it was a CASE of beer. Darn it!

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Steve and one of the sculling boats

We stopped in at Neda’s booth to say hello and check out what she was selling. WE got warms hugs from her and big smiles from Rickard and his sisters. We ate my guava duff (my new favorite Bahamian Dessert) and some conch fritters. The fritters were very good – light and fluffy – I sure love conch fritters J

We heard lots of music and the DJ was blaring music all day. People were dancing and having a great time.         

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A group of ladies doing the Electric Slide – fun!!

The Police Band is playing tonight at 2200hrs followed by fireworks at midnight…by 1830hrs Steve and I knew we weren’t going to make it. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the music is so loud we can hear it crystal clear from the boat and the fireworks will be easy to see from Diana as well. Time for a nap!

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Evening sky in Rock Sound

We are making our way to Governor’s Harbour tomorrow for a few days, and then heading to Spanish Wells.

April 08, 2012

We left Rock Sound around 1000hrs. We sailed to Governor’s Harbour in NE winds about 20 kts; a little higher than expected. At one point, we were beating into the waves for about an hour or so. Thankfully, the water calmed down the closer we got to our destination as it would have been an uncomfortable ride otherwise.

We rounded Cupid’s Cay into Governor’s Harbour around 1500hrs. The shoreline of the Eleuthera is very different than the other islands. It is mostly uninviting rocky cliffs with very few beaches offering little opportunity to get to shore. The holding in Governor’s Harbour is supposed to be really poor but we got lucky and our anchor set on the first try!

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The rocky shoreline of Cupid’s Cay

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View of Governor’s Harbour from our anchorage