Feb 17 to Feb 22 2012

February 17, 2012

I started my day around 0730hrs with a 4 mile run with a 2 miles walk. The road around Victoria Lake is 1 mile, so I basically do laps until I’m tired. My morning jog gets a lot of attention from the local men who are out and about early in the morning. I don’t know why; I’m disgustingly sweaty, breathing heavy, read faced with a general look of discomfort. Oh well, sometimes they shout encouraging words like “You go girl” or “Looking good!” “You’re in great shape mon!” (if they only knew!) A particular group of men hang out across from the grocery store; one has two big Tupperware containers with him and the rest are hanging out, chatting and telling jokes. They watch me do my laps and I say good morning or nod my head every time or sometimes I count the laps with them – it’s fun. A few days ago, one man from the group joined me on my last walking lap, his name is Wilton. He was born and raised in the Exumas. We shared our stories and had a nice chat. It was nice to have the company and Wilton enjoyed the walk – he said he hasn’t walked around the lake since he was in grade school!!

When we were having the boat repaired, I found out from Enoch (our repair guy) that the man with the Tupperware is the bread man J On my second last walking lap this morning, I let him know I was interested in some bread. I jokingly asked if he was joining me on my last lap – all the guys sort of laughed but he came for the walk!! His name is Donald and his wife makes all the bread. She makes everything from cinnamon rolls, Johnny Cakes, sweet breads, corn breads, cakes and regular breads. Their bakery is called “Watson’s Bakery”. His wife gets up at 11pm every night and gets to work baking breads for most of the restaurants in town. Donald sells her doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cornbread and regular bread from the Tupperware containers on the side of the road in front of the market every morning. They do good business and the bakery is their main source of income. He works as a butcher in the market and in construction – busy people! When he said he had cinnamon rolls – I had to get a couple of those too. This is why I’m out of shape. I just can’t say no to baked goods.

I did some more running around and went back to the boat where Steve was hard at work readjusting the rig and redoing the mast boot. When I brought back cinnamon rolls, he quickly took a break and we gobbled them down with a hot cup of coffee – yummy!!

The rest of the day was spent doing the last loads of laundry, picking up the last few things at the grocery store, getting fuel and topping up our water. We will get access to these essential in Long Island but it is good practice to top up when leaving one place because sometimes these essentials are not available at the next one.

Pic of the day!!

Feb_17_View_of_Elizabeth_Harbour_from_Govt_Point_resized.jpg

View from the Government Dock in George Town

Correction – we are not leaving George Town on Saturday – we are leaving on Sunday. Steve and I had our days all mixed up…which happens quite regularly since we haven’t looked at a calendar in five months ha!

We bought a new auto helm this afternoon a Ray Marine wheel auto pilot. It is being sent to Long Island so hopefully it will make it there.

We went back to the boat for a nice spaghetti supper and enjoyed the sunset.

February 18, 2012

Donald joined me on my last lap again this morning where he shared stories of his mother, daughter and granddaughter who still live in Long Island. He made sure to give me their names and the house where his mother lives so if we are by chance in the area to stop in. Very sweet!! I bought a couple more cinnamon rolls from him this morning and said my good byes.

I got back to the boat where Steve was able to get in touch with our friends Mary and Lance on Amanzi to make a date for lunch. George Town is as far south as they are going and are waiting for Lance’s sister to arrive here next week. His sister and her husband will be joining them on their trip back to Florida. We had a great lunch at Peace and Plenty, Steve and I had blackened mahi-mahi sandwiches – another fish I discovered I like very much!! The company was fantastic – as usual J We will miss bumping into them and sharing our misadventures together.

Feb_18_Lunch_with_Lance_and_Mary_resized.jpg

Steve, me, Lance and Mary at Peace and Plenty enjoying our Kaliks

At the dock we were able to say a quick good bye to Jan and Bruce from Celtic Rover - we hope to run into them in Long Island J

Steve and I did one last internet check then headed back to the boat to plot our course for tomorrow. It’s approximately 34 miles to Indian Hole Point. We need to leave at 0530hrs to get through the cut into the Exuma Sound at slack tide. We will be anchoring in Thompson Bay near the Long Island Breezes resort in Salt Pond, Long Island where hopefully our new auto pilot will meet us next week.

­­February 19, 2012

The alarm didn’t go off this morning so we were an hour later getting to the cut. Luckily the winds were calm and the cut was a breeze!! We hoisted all the sails and sailed all the way to Thompson Bay, Long Island. This the first time we have not turned on the motor for a passage on this trip!! It was really nice to say the least J

As soon as we were in the Exuma Sound, Steve put out his fishing line. We got some advice from some fellow cruisers to use as black and red or a blue and silver lure – we were using green and hadn’t caught a thing so it was worth a try. While in George Town we picked up a few new lures.

Feb_19_Steve_and_Fishing_Rod_close_up_of_Lure_resized.jpg

The new lure!

Within the first few hours of our trip, during a really tricky spot too with lots of coral heads to watch for – Steve got a hit and pulled this guy in…

Feb_19_Steve_and_Yellow_Tail_Jack_resized.jpg

We are having fish tonight!!! This is a yellow tail Jack

Not only did we catch supper but we also saw more dolphins!! This is great news for us and perhaps we will see more and more wildlife the further south we go – away from the real busy areas.

Feb_19_Thompson_Bay_Anchorage_resized.jpg

Anchorage in Thompson Bay – only about 20 boats here – what a difference from George Town! 

Speaking of George Town – we were so busy getting sorted out that I forgot to mention a few things

1.    The boat count while we were there was over 288 boats! When the regatta is happening they will get up and around 600 boats - madness!!

2.    While I was at the clinic the young woman doing my intake looked at me funny when I gave her my birthdate. Apparently, being born on the last day of the month is bad luck. When I spelled my last name D-U-C-R-O-S-S, she flinched again! I guess having CROSS in my last name is bad luck too! Isn’t that funny!?!? I’ve been cursed!!

3.    We were in George Town 11 Days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s true that one can lose track of time while there.

That said, we are VERY happy to be away from the hussle and bussle of George Town – we can finally go swimming at anchor!!

February 20, 2012

Exploration Day! We got lucky this morning with an internet connection right at our anchorage. We checked our email and sent messages. This place is perfect!

We headed into town to check out where things were – also to scout out a potential running route for me, fishing and snorkeling spots. There is a dingy landing not far from the boat which leads to the main road. The walk into town is probably about 2.5. miles.

While on our dingy tour, we saw dolphins AGAIN - four of them fishing around the dinghy!! We like it here already J We landed the dinghy and took a walk into town.

Feb_20_Church_1_resized.jpg

Church with a view of the Thompson Bay – we are anchored in the bay in the back

Feb_20_Thompson_Bay_sign_and_Amanda_resized.jpg

The border of Thompson Bay and Salt Pond

Feb_20_View_of_Thomspon_Bay_from_Road_3_resized.jpg

Another view of Thompson Bay – just spectacular!

Feb_20_Flowers_3_resized.jpg

Pretty flowers in someone’s garden

We didn’t make it all the way into town. We got as far as an entrance to a beach on the Exuma Sound side. We were looking for some potential snorkeling areas with perhaps a few areas to fish for lobster.

Feb_20_Road_to_Beach_Exuama_Sound_resized.jpg

A salt pond on the left, the Exuma Sound at the back and a dirt road leading to the beach.

It’s surprisingly hilly here with lots of vegetation – and it’s hot out!! Since we have arrived in the Exumas, the sun is MUCH hotter and the water MUCH warmer – it is so wonderful!! AND it is going to get warmer the further south we go J

Feb_20_Beach_Exuama_Sound_1_resized.jpg

We came over the hill to see this magnificent sight! I don’t think seeing this will ever get old…

Feb_20_Beach_Exuama_Sound_3_resized.jpg

All those dark areas are reefs!! We are going to have some fun here this week J

On our way back, we stopped at a little bar and grill for a cold beer and some lunch. Steve had his new favorite - Conch Burger and I had a Fish Burger made with Grouper – delicious. While there, we chit chatted with a nice young man by the name of Jared. He works at the Long Island Breeze Resort (where we are having our package shipped) and was kind enough to offer some lobstering tips. He warned us of tiger sharks in the area and recommended to go out to the reefs at low tide because it is too shallow for the sharks to swim in. Can you believe it!?!?! Tiger Sharks – yikes!! I will keep a CLOSE eye out for those bad boys!!

Once back on the boat, we threw our snorkel gear into the dinghy and headed out to look for conch at a reef nearby. We didn’t find anything and the water was clouded with silt. We did see some Nassau Grouper and lots of babies – too cute. They are protected and we cannot fish them this time of year. It’s a good thing since I find them quite tasty ;)

We settled in for an early night with rum, excited to chat with family and friends. Sadly, the internet connection we were able to pick up this morning was gone!!! So, no more internet from the boat – we are very disappointed as it has been some time since we have connected through Skype. I guess we will be chasing WiFi tomorrow L

February 21, 2012

Salt Pond is a really hilly part of Long Island!! My run was up and down hills for four miles – it was fantastic!! I may have earned myself some conch fritters later ;)

The front moved in last night delivering some North to North East winds at about 15 to 20 kts. No big deal at all and the winds are supposed to be relatively light for the rest of the week. In our quest for WIFI, we re-anchored near the Long Island Breezes Resort. What a beautiful place!!

Feb_21_Anchorage_Long_Island_Breezes_Resort_resizsed.jpg

View from our new anchorage – the resort is the blue building on the right

This is the view from the patio...

Feb_21_Long_Island_Breezes_Resort_View_1_resized.jpg

View from the patio at the Long Island Breezes Resort with fresh water pool J Diana is on the left side of the motor boat…

If anyone is looking for a nice place to stay in Long Island – this place would be my pick. The view is amazing! The place is really clean with free WiFi and laundry readily available. Long Island is about 80 miles long with many beaches to explore. I think anyone looking for pristine beaches, quiet and friendly people – Long Island would definitely be it.

When we sat down, the owner asked us is we were “Diana”, we said “yes”.  He told us Fed Ex in Nassau called to say our package had arrived and they needed a copy of our cruising permit in order for it to continue on its way to Long Island. Can you believe it?!?!? We ordered in on Thursday!!! We could very likely get it in a couple of days!! We will be well on our way to the Raggeds at this rate by next week –if the weather permits of course J

The winds turned east by the afternoon making the Exuma Sound side a little rough for snorkeling. I think we will do that tomorrow instead. So, we spent the rest of the afternoon, catching up on emails, Skyping and working on the website.

Just another day in paradise…gotta run my conch fritters are getting cold!

February 22, 2012

Beach day!! From the Long Island Beach Resort, there is a road leading to the Exuma Sound Beach. The proximity is perfect since walking back to the first beach we found would be rather long and we are feeling lazy today.

We packed our snorkel gear, towels, books, snacks and drinks then made our way to the beach. We are feeling optimistic that today will be the day we catch a lobster or fish or something. Steve is determined…hence the bucket in the below picture.

Feb_22_Going_Fishing_Steve_with_Gear_on_Road_resized.jpg

Steve with our gear heading to the beach down this long steep hill

We could not have asked for a prettier beach to hang out in for the day…

Feb_22_Beach_all_to_ourselves_resized.jpg

And we had it ALL to ourselves for the whole day…bathing suits were optional ;)

Feb_22_Beach_Rock_and_Amanda_1_reszied.jpg

As I delicately have my picture taken beside the landscape…

Feb_22_Beach_Rock_Steve_on_top_resized.jpg

Steve chose to conquer it – he’s such a boy!

I worked on my tan and went for quick dips to cool off while Steve hunted. We were skunked again but are optimistic we will find something at the first reef from the other day. We intend to explore it tomorrow. Instead, we packed up and went for a walk along the coastline.

Feb_22_Cave_from_inside_resized.jpg

We found a little cave…more like a crevasse…but neat just the same  

Feb_22_View_of_Beach_with_Steve_resized.jpg

And climbed a hill for this stunning view

Sunburnt and tired we headed back to Long Island Breeze Resort for a cold one before heading back to the boat.

We ran into Jared (the young man we met a few days ago who gave us some lobstering tips) at the restaurant. He was cooking today and the special was Lasagna – Steve’s FAVORITE so he ordered it. I had pan seared snapper on a garden salad – both were DELICIOUS!!! We had a chance to chit chat with Jared and compliment him on his lasagna.

The owner of the resort, Mike, let us know our package was in Long Island as FEDEX had contacted him advising that there was a 25$ duty fee. We said we may get our package by tomorrow J We gave him the 25$ so he wouldn’t be out the money if we weren’t there when the FEDEX guy showed up.

Steve has been reading the manual for our new Auto Helm online and so far it seems to be a relatively simple installation – should take him a day once we receive it J Then, we can finally get on our way.