Monday, July 24, 2017

Catchin' Up

Over a cup of coffee on a peaceful Sunday morning I realized it's been a while since our last post. There hasn't been anything unusual to speak of, almost everything we did we've done before and written about it, but there are a few photos to share so I'll just write around them.

We're now back in the USA... nothing's changed here and we won't go into that, it is nice to be back; it always is. We sometimes complain, but there really is no place like home.

Our first stop was Ft Lauderdale.
Istaboa's been kind to us on this trip, however there were (as always) some minor fixes needing to be done and we can always count on Craig at Hogan Marine to knock 'em out quickly — so Bahia Mar was our first stop. We did a little technical work there at the marina and caught up with old friends — then to take advantage of flat seas, we eased north.

Now, temporally home at Old Port Cove and continuing on with those fixes: the cook range needs attention, this time of year the ACs can always stand a flush , and some technical stuff.
We've been experimenting with a new powerful onboard cellular network and it's feasibility in the islands and offshore. Heading to Ft Lauderdale from Cat Cay we saw Verizon Wireless at about 15 miles out from the US coast and connected at 12. Not too bad. This same system hooked us up well at Great Harbour, Highbourne, Nassau, and Cat Cay where we enjoyed fast and relatively expensive internet most of the time. (It is Batelco)

This trip has been both interesting and entertaining. Compass, for the most part, was peaceful little Compass, though while there we observed the most chaotic 4th of July we've ever experienced at any marina. It seems the marina was double booked and all the boats showed up at the same time.
Needless to say many unhappy folks, mostly mega-yachts, who thought they had reservations, were turned away. Forced to anchor wherever, the radio was buzzing with heated exchanges, expletives, then finally resignation as the long boats faded into a stunning Exuma sunset... later the real fireworks started — Literally.

"Freedom", a very large yacht we've known for sometime eased in and tied up. As soon as they were secure the crew started unloading fireworks. That night, to the delight of those with a slip at the marina, a massive fireworks display took place.

The Real Stars of Compass Cay

Compass is like a third-world fishbowl. The haves, the havealots, and the havemores, all spend time together enjoying Compass's simple and primitive beauty. However, all that comes without any modern conveniences other than electricity and water; no restaurants, no store, no bars here, but if you ever wanted to swim with sharks...

                             Jamal Rolle
The locals from Black Point who help out at the marina are mostly affable fellows who have learned an attentive attitude accompanied by a smiling face is compensated handsomely. They treat us all the same; sports stars, movie stars, super models, and plain folks like us are all tourists to these guys.
The young man to the left is Jamal, son of Tucker Rolle. Everybody likes Jamal.

Our old friend, Tucker.
This man is not only a legend in the Exumas, he's known and loved by many all over the world. When the rich and powerful, famous and infamous come to the Exumas they make it a point to stop by Compass Cay to spend time with Tucker.

Tuck's a quiet reserved man who can be hard to get to know, though once he learns to trust you, all agree, he's a hell of a nice guy.  His island is your island if you respect it. With that respect, you will become family.

Leaving Compass, we followed our tracks back to Highbourne. We stayed there for 3 or 4 days before  moving on to Nassau.
Highbourne, a nice resort, is a good way to start the inevitable process of re-acclimating to civilization. It's a remote little island, although there is a little grocery, a restaurant, and a few killer beaches.

Next stop, Nassau with all the trappings of a large city. We like Nassau, in many ways it reminds us of Memphis.

I'll stop here for now, there's several more photos to post. So more later.

No, not done yet. We'll start heading north soon — not sure where that will take us — as far as we want.



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Exumas From Above

Flying out of Staniel Cay on a clear day - The Blues!

A post shared by Bob Taylor ~ (@istaboa_pics) on

A post shared by Bob Taylor ~ (@istaboa_pics) on

Big Major's Spot Anchorage
A post shared by Bob Taylor ~ (@istaboa_pics) on

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Photos and Thoughts of Compass Cay

Yes, we're still in the Exumas and, yep, life remains pretty good.

There are probably those who wonder how we maintain our sanity while hanging out static, tied up at Compass for weeks, even months. And we admit, sanity is subjective, but this thing we all do on boats is not exactly rational behavior. — is it?  So we do what makes us happy at the moment.


We've said it before. One must be conscious of what it is to be at Compass Cay. It's an acquired taste if you're lucky enough. We're down with that, we do feel fortunate to be here and we're always sad to leave. Those who have put in extended time here at Compass will understand.

This trip has had several unavoidable diversions, forcing us to redraw our cruising plans.
Future plans? Nothing is off the table yet - everything is back on - like rebooting, we're mulling over our intentions for the next few months with fresh eyes wide open.

But, while here we've been busy; island busy, anyway.
Good news for those who cruise this area. A whole new source of less expensive and relatively fast island communications has become available so we're puzzling over how to extend that out to the family island marinas.

In the meantime, the sky has offered up some spectacular vistas and island time has allowed me the opportunity to get out and use my camera.

Last night was such an occasion. The bugs made it an adventure, but I quickly snapped a few photos before seeking protection in the boat.

This week starts with an early flight back to Ft Lauderdale for a meeting with the new owners of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. An exciting opportunity that's worth pursuing.

Next week, we may be forced to compile existing data and make a decision on when and where to head next. There's another island wanting our services so that's a factor. Another consideration: we've still got a hankering to do some cruising up the east coast.

As always, no decision will be made before it's time.

Happy Problems

Yes, as previously stated • Life's good

A little work, some play, island zen, and we end our days with scenes like these.

Who could complain?

And meanwhile
Summer turns to fall
Roses bloom and fade
Life goes on - You can measure it all
By the difference that it made
Mac McAnally


Monday, June 19, 2017

Exumas Return ~ Exhale...

It's nice to be back; though there was a disturbing moment as we walked onto the boat hearing a highwater alarm.  But, barring a faulty primary bilge pump, a quick look revealed all was well.
Yeah, but still -

Our stay in Jupiter was longer than we had expected. After all that had happened there was a lot to be taken care of and high-speed internet / reliable cell phone service certainly made life more manageable.

Finally, after a week's stay, we caught a ride to Ft Lauderdale and hopped a little Watermakers plane back to Staniel Cay. Tucker had dispatched a small boat to pick us up and the last leg was a beautiful ride back to Compass and Istaboa.

Crew Istaboa - Happily boarding the Watermakers flight back to the Exumas
(Thanks to Norman, from Chicken Cay, for the pic)

So, literally, at the end of the day, we're back on the boat; a bit tired, but happy to be home. For the first time in more than a week we've stopped to take a breath. Then an apt finale to a week that has only gradually improved — we look out to the west where another amazing Exuma sunset was painting a sky that would've made Maxfield Parrish envious.


It's going to take a couple of days to re-acclimate and the wind is puffing up a good blow — so we'll be here a while.

After that?
Who knows...

It's nice to be back

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Islands Interuptus

Just as we'd eased into the restful state of mind that being in the Exumas brings about, the phone rings and reality says hello.

Life's been good. Lots of old acquaintances have surfaced, some we see often around Jupiter, others we haven't caught up with in years. The weather's been nice, hot, but better than you'd expect for June.

And to keep my mind from lulling into total cognitive atrophy, we've enjoyed taking on a little technology refresh project on a nearby island.

 The famous "Pickle Barrel Houses" 

Of course a stay at Compass Cay wouldn't be complete without a visit by Beacon Won. Capt Bruce and Sheila brought in a charter crew from Memphis. It was interesting to see folks from home all the way down here in the Exumas. They were shocked to see homeys as well.

From aboard Beacon Won... another stunning Compass Cay Sunset

As always, Capt. Bruce invited us over for a Fried Turkey Dinner... and as always a feast aboard Beacon Won was enjoyed

Just as we were about to say how life couldn't possibly get any better... Reality rings.

I'm awfully sad to write, Mel's mom has passed away. Not a tragedy, more of a blessing, but sad all the same.
Oddly enough, here on Compass, just a few years back, I got the same phone call regarding my own mother.
As we did then, we'll do now... Friends will run us down Pipe Creek to Staniel Cay where we'll catch a plane back to the states to take care of what we must.

So it's off to Florida where we'll switch gears and clothes then drive up the coast to Brunswick, Ga for services.

Life goes on ±

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dylan Speaks

And articulates like he sings — his words like his lyrics — draw images

Truly worth your time to listen to in it's entirety - 

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Exumas

Been a while, but it still feels like home.

After pulling out of Ft Lauderdale, early, in the dark, we eased away from Port Everglades cut and pointed east toward Great Harbour Cay. We didn't get much help from the Gulf Stream so I pushed the throttle a bit and saw 10+ knots. Our course computer calculated we'd make it in around 6:30PM, but we beat that by about 30 minutes and motored through the rock cut leading to the marina only to find the place empty.
No problem finding a slip.
After tying up and washing a layer of salt off Istaboa, we walked up the stone steps past the still drained pool to Rocky Hills Bar and there enjoyed a pleasant dinner of pan fried fresh Wahoo. It was excellent and as always the company and conversations were too.

The next morning came with a fresh breeze and we could tell it was going to be a bit lumpy out, but we knew the wind was going to get worse before getting better — so we slogged into the rough on the east side of the Berrys and took it on our nose.
After a couple of hours the seas did settle into a moderate chop and we motored past New Providence then made way across White Bank, straight for Highborne Cay. Again, pushing, we made it into the marina around 6:00 and eagerly tied up. We booked 2 nights so the next day was a short but enjoyable respite on the island. We enjoyed it so much we booked another one.

We haven't been to Highbourne in years. The place has become so popular we couldn't get in unless we made reservations well in advance... and we just don't roll that way.

Highbourne is a beautifully manicured little island that still manages to hold on to the barefoot ambience of the Bahamas. The other boaters here are friendly and we made new friends as well as caught up with old ones. Some interesting tales we're told and enjoyed as we sat in the shade of the little gazebos located at the end of each dock. The sunsets, as usual, were quite nice.

Gallant Lady - Anchored off Highbourne Cay.

So today the plan is to run south to Compass Cay and continue indulging our infatuation with the Exumas.
The good news is the winds are a bit puffy which will keep things cool and hold the bugs at bay.
The bad news is the winds are a bit puffy which will make for a messy day.

We'll take the good with the bad. (as if we have a choice)