Wind, Water, and Waves

 The Bahamas experienced strong winds and some heavy rains this week, just for a day or two. Our friends in Georgetown, in the Exumas, had a much rougher go of it (gusts over 50 knots with a reported 100+ knots by Chris Parker in Spanish Wells) than we did in protected Hope Town. We are just glad to hear that our boat buddies are all ok and survived the ordeal, and with humor.

It was “blowing a houlie” here as our Brit sailing friend, Sue, on san cles says (I love that phrase although I have no idea what a “houlie” is) We saw constant mid 20s with gusts in the 30s, in the protected harbor. There was a moored boat here in the harbor that dragged and hit two other boats, so we heard.

The rains, they came a pourin’ down. Al had removed the sunshade (aka water collection tarp) because of those high winds, but then decided to put it back up. Free water, you know? Our tanks were half full after 5 weeks in the Bahamas so we still had about 125 gallons left.

Putting that tarp back up again, even though it is already raining. Determined guy.

Putting that tarp back up again, even though it is already raining. Determined guy.

filling water tanks

Setting the system back up again. Dan loaned Al another hose to improve the collection system. Throughout the day of rain, Al would change into his wet nylon shorts, run outside, check everything, also pour buckets of collected water into the tanks, and then return and change back into dry shorts. Result = another 70-75 gallons added to the tanks.

We were stuck on our boats for two days, unless you had a desperate reason to go to shore (like a dog to walk) or couldn’t take any more “together time” in small quarters. We did fine, but by evening, we braved the elements just for a change in companionship. One night we went to Cutting Class for dinner, and on the second evening, Sam and Kayda joined us for my leftover “deconstructed lasagna.” Good friends don’t mind leftovers. 😉

My "deconstructed lasagna" = ziti instead of flat lasagna noodles, turkey, veggies with all of the cheeses dumped in and stirred lightly. Bake in oven. That only works on a cooler day on a boat. Sam and Kayda brave the elements to join us for dinner.

My “deconstructed lasagna” = rotini instead of flat lasagna noodles, turkey, veggies with all of the cheeses dumped in and stirred lightly. Baked in oven. That only works on a cool day on a boat.
Sam and Kayda brave the elements to join us for dinner.

The next morning was a different and much improved weather story – sunny and no humidity. A great day for a bike ride – get some exercise and take a look at the ocean side of things. We biked south to Abaco Inn and Sea Spray Marina. I took many photos of the ocean waves from there, which were big and rough. No boats would be going through any cuts today. The Whale, Man O War, Tiloo, North Cut were all declared to be unsafe for passage by the Cruisers’ Net. Somehow the photos don’t show the power and majesty of the ocean’s waves. And the sound!

View from the road's edge near Abaco Inn. The block are cut from coral.

View from the road’s edge near Abaco Inn. The blocks are cut from coral.

distant view

You can see how the winds are blowing the the top of the waves off.

You can see how the winds are blowing the the top of the waves off.

My favorite photos are closer looks at the “curls”. These pics are zoomed in.

good curl 2 good2

It's easy to forget how powerful Mother Nature can be. Very glad that we weren't out in any of it.

It’s easy to forget how powerful Mother Nature can be. Very glad that we weren’t out in any of it.

Al walked down to the sand to get a closer look and found this little plastic boat washed ashore. He tried to send it back into the ocean water. Wonder how it fared?

Al walked down to the sand to get a closer look and found this little plastic boat washed ashore. He tried to send it back into the ocean water. Wonder how it fared?

The Abaco Inn, where we had our Christmas dinner.

The Abaco Inn, where we had our Christmas dinner.

This little curly tail lizard stops on a doorsill. Biggest one I have ever seen, and chubbiest. He must get some good meals hanging around here.

This little curly tail lizard stopped on a door sill. Biggest curlytail I have ever seen, and the chubbiest. He must get some good meals hanging around here.

On the way past Sea Spray - ~A dock that extends out to White Sound ~ a line of conch shells decorate the edge of Sea Spray ~ this sailor culture sits up on a deck of house and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean

On the way past Sea Spray –
~A dock that extends out to White Sound.
~ A line of conch shells decorate the edge of Sea Spray.
~ This sailor sculpture sits on the deck of a house and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

Al take this own look out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Al takes this own look out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Biking along on a road cut out of the rock.

Biking along on a road cut out of the rock.

 We never made it to PapaNasty’s barbecue on our first trip. When we heard he was closing up and returning to the states in January, a group of us made a trip out to it before Christmas. Yum. Yum. While we were biking down that way, why not stop one more time for another barbecue?

PapaNasty's - Yes, this little "shack" is an awesome barbecue joint!

PapaNasty’s – Yes, this little “shack” is an awesome barbecue joint!

Al had a hamburger. My pulled pork sandwiches delicious again. That's the barbecue smoker - doesn't look like much but it sure tastes good.

Al had a hamburger. My pulled pork sandwich was delicious, again. (Of course  there had to be a food shot for the blog.)
That’s the barbecue smoker – doesn’t look like much but the food it produces sure tastes good.

AL had replaced a tire on his bike a couple of weeks ago, but the other tire didn't like the bumpy ride we took today. We had to stop along the road so that he could add some more air.

Al had replaced a tire on his bike a couple of weeks ago, but the other tire didn’t like the bumpy ride we took today. We had to stop along the road so that he could add some more air.

One of the sounds I love about mornings here is the crowing of the roosters. I really like it. On our ride back to the harbor, I spotted this rooster on a lawn. He is really quite handsome. For a rooster.

I love the crowing of the roosters in the morning. I really like it. On our ride back to the harbor, I spotted this rooster on a lawn. He is really quite handsome. For a rooster.

There's Kindred Spirit on her mooring, with the Bahamas flag flying in the foreground.

We returned to the harbor to see our Kindred Spirit on her mooring, with the Bahamas flag flying in the foreground.

 

Swimming with the Fishes

One of the things I like the most about the Bahamas is the water. I love sailing and boating during the New England summers, but the northern water cannot compare to this water –turquoise, aqua, teal colors and so clear. Should I also mention warm?? 78-80 degrees. It is a delight to swim in this water where you can see so much. We snorkeled often through the holiday week. The winds had died down and the sun was “out” more than it was “in.” Our three snorkeling adventures were extra special because Dan brought his GoPro camera along and generously shared the photos. This blog post will be mostly photos, LOTS of photos —  Thank you so much, Dan, for sharing them so that I can preserve these memories!

Only a picture can describe the beautiful water. Out near Johnny's Cay.

Only a picture can describe the beautiful water. Out near Johnny’s Cay.

On Christmas Day we dinghied out to Johnny’s Cay where Dan and Marcia showed us a little underwater arch.

The arch southeast of Johnny's Cay.

The “arch,”  southeast of Johnny’s Cay.

That's us, through the arch.

That’s us, through the arch.

Marcia and Dan

Marcia and Dan (I got to use the GoPro that time. No viewfinder, you just point and click, and hope for the best.)

That's us again.

That’s us again.

On New Year’s Day, we began 2016 with another snorkel around a nearby coral head that usually has some nice fish. Al showed me a very curious large fish hiding in one of the holes – big white lips, bug eyes and a fat face. We aren’t sure what it was; perhaps a grouper??

Even the dinghy looks pretty cool from below. Nic clean bottom!

Even the dinghy looks pretty cool from below. Nice clean bottom!

Dan photographed the three of us from below.

Dan photographed the three of us from below. What a shame he couldn’t do an underwater group selfie!

Dan, laying on the bottom waving back at us. He can dive deeper than any of us!!

Dan, laying on the bottom waving back at us. He can dive deeper than any of us!! We swear he has gills.

Al and me, swimming around (Marcia's legs also.)

Al and me, swimming around (Marcia’s legs also.)

Do we look like surprised frogs??

Do we look like surprised frogs??

Me

Me, trying to dive a little below the surface.

On January 2nd, we took advantage of the calm seas, very light wind, and blue skies to travel to Fowl Cays National Park. A rare (this season) perfect day for snorkeling. Instead of a dinghy trip, the four of us all went on Kindred Spirit, 7.5 nautical miles northwest of Elbow Cay, and just beyond Man O War. The underwater pictures  are so much better because of these terrific weather and sea conditions.

The highlighted green area shows the The Fowl Cays National Park, a new 1,920-acre reserve.

The highlighted green area shows the The Fowl Cays National Park, a new 1,920-acre reserve.

Fowl Cays

Fowl Cays National Park

Fowl Cay National Park

We anchored Kindred Spirit on the west side of the National Park and dinghied over tot he reefs.

We anchored Kindred Spirit on the west side of the National Park and dinghied over to the reefs.

Getting ready to snorkel.

Getting ready to snorkel.

I am including all of my favorite photos that Dan shared from the GoPro camera. Take a deep breath and go under with us.

Sergeant majors swimming about. There's always a lot of them.

Sergeant majors swimming about. There’s always a lot of them.

AL swimming with the

Al is swimming with what looks like blue tangs or blue parrotfish?

Al, with me in the distance

Al, with me in the distance, and a few fish of unknown type.

Snorkeling around the reef

Marcia, with Al and me in the background, snorkeling around the reef.

Edge of the reef

Edge of the reef

Coral and fish

Coral and fish

A school of little blue fishes swimming by.

A school of little blue fishes swimming by.

Stoplight parrotfish - blue one is mature with accents of many colors. The reddish speckled on his an immature stoplight parrotfish.

Stoplight parrotfish – blue one is mature with accents of many colors. The reddish & speckled one is an immature stoplight parrotfish.

Blue tangs?

Blue tangs? Or blue parrotfish?

A beautiful purple fan coral. It was amazing to see so much of this coral alive and well.

A beautiful purple fan coral. It was amazing to see so much of this coral alive and well.

A shy yellow pencil fish hiding in the coral.

A shy yellow pencil fish hiding in the coral.

Marcia and me, both wearing pink today (so no one mistakes us for the fish?)

Marcia and me, both wearing pink today (so no one mistakes us for the fish?)

A yellow tail snapper swimming away.

A yellow tail snapper swimming away.

A southern stingray has covered himself in sand and lies on the bottom. So cool to see!!

A southern stingray has covered himself in sand and lies on the bottom. So cool to see!!

On our way back to Kindred Spirit on the other side of Fowl Cay

On our way back to Kindred Spirit on the other side of Fowl Cay

A group selfie after the snorkeling.

A group selfie after the snorkeling. What a day!!

Let the photos speak for themselves because I can’t describe how cool this was, especially the Follow Cays National Park – best snorkeling here!

I wish I could identify fish better. I tried to visually memorize as many as possible so that I could check a fish guide afterwards and find their names. (We really need to get our own fish guide.) Then I googled each name and downloaded a photo so that I could record them here and make my own personal guide and record.

Blue tangs Blue hamlets

Blue tangs
Blue hamlets

French grunts Blue stripe grunts I cannot tell the difference!

French grunts
Blue stripe grunts
I cannot tell the difference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stoplight parrotfish, immature and mature

Stoplight parrotfish, immature and mature

Sergeant major Squirrelfish

Sergeant major
Squirrelfish

 

Yellowed wrasse Bluehead wrasse

Yellowed wrasse
Bluehead wrasse

Schoolmaster snapper Yellowtail snapper

Schoolmaster snapper
Yellowtail snapper

Long skinny pencil fish

Long skinny pencil fish

Southern stingray, not covered with sand

Southern stingray, not covered with sand

 

Welcoming 2016

It takes us older folks more days to say good by to one year and ring in a new year, so we began on December 30th.

The morning of the eve of New Year’s Eve began with a beautiful rainbow, every color was clearly visible – purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, right over the marina.

The morning of the eve of New Year’s Eve began with a beautiful rainbow, every color was clearly visible – purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, right over the marina.

I saw the advertisement for the concert on Hope Town's Facebook page and heard it announced onto morning VHF Cruisers Net. Sounded like a neat thing to do and for a good cause.

I saw the advertisement for the concert on Hope Town’s Facebook page and heard it announced onto morning VHF Cruisers Net. Sounded like a neat thing to do and for a good cause.

Crazy night people that we are, we began the 2015 Farewell/ 2016 Welcome that evening with a benefit concert, “Giving Rhythm”, that was held outdoors at the Hope Town Harbor Lodge, and began at 6:00 pm. Tickets were reasonable and for the benefit of Every Child Counts in Marsh Harbor.

Lynn and Truman Major adopted twin boys at the age of 3 1/2 years, and soon discovered that they had severe developmental delays and would require special education. With no school that could meet these needs on Abaco, the Majors, with other parents, founded Every Child Counts, “a school for special children, making a difference one by one.”

 

 

Marcia and Dan, and us at the concert. Magnus and Charlotte joined us later.

Marcia and Dan, with us at the concert. Magnus and Charlotte joined us later.

The Hope Town Harbor Lodge was quite the island setting for this concert - outdoors around a pool with palm trees swaying in the moonlight. Nice.

The Hope Town Harbor Lodge was quite the island setting for this concert – outdoors around a pool with palm trees swaying in the moonlight. Nice.

I am going to be totally honest here. When I read the poster for “Giving Rhythm”, I recognized one name – Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band that my sons liked back in their teens. And that’s all I knew. I wrote to both boys to tell them about the concert, and they wrote back, “Will Farrell or Chad Smith???” I was completely confused until they patiently explained to me that Chad Smith, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, strongly resembles the comedian Will Farrell (I do know who he is.) The boys told me to check out the Will Farrell and Chad Smith  “Drum Off” from the Jimmy Fallon Show (on YouTube.) I did, even with the limited internet – funny!

Dan Bailey Tribe was the featured band with Chad Smith as the guest drummer. Bailey was born and raised in Montauk, the far end of Long Island, near our home waters. His music is a mix of soul funk, reggae rhythms and drums, “inspired by the wanderlust of an endless summer.”

The concert drew a huge crowd (I had no idea there were this many people on Elbow Cay, although I suspect that most were holiday visitors and that many came by boat from other islands.) Although I only recognized one number, the music was good. Charlotte and I worked our way close enough to the band so that I could try and take a few photos.

Dan Bailey Tribe with Chad Smith as guest drummer.

Dan Bailey Tribe with Chad Smith as guest drummer.

 

 

 

Top photo - Dan Bailey Bottom photo - Will Ferrell or Chad Smith????? You be the judge. They really do look like twins!

Top photo – Dan Bailey
Bottom photo – Will Ferrell or Chad Smith????? You be the judge.
But they really do look like twins!

New Year’s Eve Day had a special treat in store for me. Before resigning myself to a 3-6 month wait to have a functioning MacBook again, I half-heartedly decided to call Apple Support and see what advice they could impart, but not expecting that there was anything that could be done from afar. The Hope Town Inn and Marina is very generous with their phone and allowed me to make the call to Apple in the states. (We don’t have any phone at all while we are here in the Bahamas.) Once I maneuvered my way through the voice questions and commands, I was connected to a real person, an “Advisor,” named Shemeka. I explained my situation and my location, none of which appeared to concern or stump her. Short version of the story: After 30 minutes, my Mac Attack was over and this MacBook Pro was alive and and functioning again!! Happy New Year!! Hallelujah! Praise Be! I was so happy I was close to tears. When Shemeka asked me if I was satisfied, I could only say “that would be a gross understatement.” What did she have me do?? A series of keystrokes, holding certain ones for specified number of seconds, with dialog boxes appearing and all kinds of techno stuff. She did send me a link with what we did. That’s a good thing because I sure don’t remember it all. When I asked what was wrong with the Mac, she said she had no idea, but I think she is a genius!

While I was sitting in the marina's office, working with Shemeka, Al snapped this photo with his iPad and posted it on his Facebook page.

While I was sitting in the marina’s office, working with Shemeka, Al snapped this photo with his iPad and posted it on his Facebook page.

As if that weren’t enough excitement for one day, the Hope Town Primary School’s Junior Junkanoo was that afternoon.  Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes in many towns across the Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day.  Although this certainly wasn’t the biggest or fanciest Junkanoo in the  islands, it’s special because it is all children, all from right here.

The official Hope Town Junkanoo photo posted on Facebook.

The official Hope Town Junkanoo photo posted on Facebook. Great theme – “Fire and Water”

The parade of children (and the adults who worked with them) was such fun to watch, even in the hot sun of mid-day. Girls dancing and boys drumming, color, rhythm and happy sounds.

The parade of children (and the adults who worked with them) was such fun to watch, even in the hot sun of mid-day. Girls dancing and boys drumming, color, rhythm and happy sounds.

A little nap and we were ready for another fine dinner – lobster tacos. Al’s two lobsters and one of Dan’s combined to make a delicious New Year’s Eve dinner for the four of us.

Al speared his second lobster last week. It joined the first one in the freezer to wait for a night like this.

Al speared his second lobster last week. It joined the first one in the freezer to wait for a night like this. From sea to table………………..

New Year's Eve dinner: grilled lobster with mango salsa.

New Year’s Eve dinner: Lobster tacos – grilled lobster with mango salsa.

Because we have to pace ourselves with all of these activities, we were in bed by 9 pm. But wait, don’t laugh yet. The alarm was set for 11:45 pm so that we would be sure to wake up and see the fireworks at midnight (I imagine we wouldn’t have been able to slept through it.) We watched the show from the flybridge. Not bad for a little island. Not bad at all.
fireworks 2 fireworks 3 fireworksHappy New Year! Hard to believe it is now 2016. We started the new year off with a day of snorkeling in the morning. In the afternoon, Al, Dan, and Magnus went out to hunt for lobsters while Marcia, Charlotte, and I hung out at the pool. I’m saving the snorkeling and lobstering for another post.

On my mother’s side of the family, the New Year’s Day tradition is pork and sauerkraut, with mashed potatoes. My Pop-Pop (my mother’s father) taught us that many years ago. The tradition is German, in origin, where pork is a sign of well-being, nourishment, progression, and good luck. Sauerkraut is seen as a sign of longevity, wealth and happiness. We were all so indoctrinated that the thought of not eating this meal on January 1st is inconceivable, so we cook and eat pork and sauerkraut, including my sons, no matter where we might be. Even in the Bahamas.

Al tried a group selfie before we dove into he pork and sauerkraut. We managed to squeeze in dessert, too - gingerbread topped with hot grilled apples.

Al tried a group selfie before we dove into the pork and sauerkraut. We managed to squeeze in dessert, too – gingerbread topped with hot grilled apples.

Happy New Year from Hope Town! May 2016 be a year of peace, kindness, and love.

Happy New Year from Hope Town! May 2016 be a year of peace, kindness, and love.

The New Year is filled with celebrations, parties, and feasting.  On a different note, here’s a thought for another new year ~~  “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”. ~ Hal Borland