Friday, March 27, 2009

Ahaa! We found a way.

To post pics.
These are pics of our dock friends (here at Compass) leaving for points south. Some really nice boats. Nice folks as well.

It's a quiet little island

Everyone has left and It's really quiet around here. But that's kinda nice. It has not made much difference with the internet though. Still no bandwidth. So no pics.

The wind has really picked up so we're glad we decided to stay tied up at the marina. Looks like a good day to read.

There may be a plan formulating... Maybe back to Highborne on Sunday then head back across to Nassau on Monday. Weather is looking that way.
After we finish our business in Nassau we will head back over here to what we hope is better weather. We really want to do some snorkeling and more hiking.

So that's all for now. Not much going on.

Maybe pics later.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jammin on Compass Cay

I can't believe it... I actually got out my old guitar and played and sang a bit last night. We had a little impromptu jam session at Happy Hour. The other fellow playing is Hal onboard Blue Gil. Hal is very good. It was fun and we didn't sound too bad at times. Everyone on the dock got a kick out of it. Even Tucker seemed to enjoy himself.

The wind has been blowing like hell here for a few days and Compass is nicely protected. So we have enjoyed our safe harbor here.

Yesterday we took the dink over to Sampson Cay via Pipe Creek. It was pretty rough crossing pass the inlet so after a nice lunch we decided to go back taking the safe and long route.
That was not a good idea. The winds had really picked up while we were on Sampson and we got the crap beat out of us. Then as we were trying to negotiate some short cuts our new little Garmin Chartplotter lost satellite signal.
If you're not familiar with these little Cays; they all look alike and can be a bit confusing. But we managed and arrived back to Istaboa safely but very wet.

A lot of the dock folks left today heading south. We have decided to make a quick run back to Nassau to pick up a part for the head system. But for now we are just going to kick back and enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of Compass Cay.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Walkabout on Compass Cay

So today we started with brunch consisting of Spinach, peppers, and eggs with Mimosas.
Nice way to start the day.
After that Radar led us up and over the hill to the beach. He can always find a beach.

This place is truly beautiful. The owner and proprietor's name is Tucker Rolle. He keeps this place naturally pristine. No upscale development here.

Mel and Radar at the ruins of a house overlooking the beach and Exuma Sound.

We think we may stay here a few days... Too pretty to leave unexplored.



Paradise Found

And it's right where many have said.
Not much bandwidth here... so no pics for now.
Compass Cay is truly a very special place. Click on the link; it's worth your time.

More later.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Warderick Wells Cay

Warderick Wells Cay is a beautiful place. The weather has been perfect and life is great.
We dinked in to sign up with the Exumas Land and Sea Park folks and saw this reconstructed whale skeleton. It's real. The sign said that the whale was killed by swallowing man made plastic products.

As we were walking about we saw this guy landing his seaplane in the harbor.

The view from Boo Boo Hill
The Emerald Rock Mooring Field

Later we took to one of the hiking trails and walked up to the peak of Boo Boo Hill. It's said that on a full moon night one can hear the singing of hymns from some ghostly choir. We heard nothing... We we're watching the NCAA basketball tournament. Go Memphis!!

Many boaters who stay here hike this trail and leave something memorable at the peak of Boo Boo Hill. This pic is just a small portion of the monumental pile of Flotsam and jetsam with the names of boats and/or their crew painted or engraved.

Yesterday was a postcard day here at Warderick Wells. When the weather is right this place is paradise and yesterday we were Paradisians. The colors are what one dreams of when imagining the ideal Caribbean isle.

Today we are leaving for Compass Cay Marina. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse... but maybe not so bad... we hope. The safety of a marina for the upcoming blow might not be a bad thing.

So for now,



Down the chain of the Exumas

There's not much at Norman's Cay... but click on the link and read about it's violent past as the drug smuggling headquarters of Carlos Lehder.
Now there is just the landing strip and McDuff's restaurant; and a beautiful and peaceful island of course.

We wondered how many billions of dollars of contraband passed through this little landing strip.

A quote from Wikipedia about Norman's

With the Bahamian authorities looking the other way and the local inhabitants scared off, the island became a haven of debauchery for Lehder and his associates. Carlos Toro remembers, "Norman's Cay was a playground. I have a vivid picture of being picked up in a Land Rover with the top down and naked women driving to come and welcome me from my airplane...

Click on this link to see more photos of Carlos' operation or rather what's left of it.

Then we dinked around to the other side of the island. This would have been a much better place to have dropped anchor but we were already committed to our spot on the west side.

Remains of an old drug smuggling plane in the shallows. We wondered if their ditch was as successful as the recent one in New York.

Night before last was a very bumpy one anchored out from Norman's Cay. A front of some kind blew past and kicked up 4' swells. But the anchor held and at around 4:00 AM the wind stopped and the sunrise was as beautiful as the sunset the previous day.

We are now at Warderick Wells on a mooring buoy around Emerald Rock. It's beautiful here and the weather is supposed to be good for a couple of days.
More on Exumas Land and Sea Park later.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Spring... Part 3 of 3

If you care to read this in sequence, start down at The Exumas...Finally and work up.
Shark we passed on the way back from Highborne.

So after the Iguanas, we dink back to Highborne and barter with a young fellow there.
You clean two fish and you get one free.

He agreed

The sharks love the fish cleaning area. They always hang around and when someone walks up to the fish cleaning station they swim over to collect any scraps thrown in.

So then the Spring.

All the folks here at the marina have said, "you must see the Spring." So off we go. "Just follow the signs", they said.
The Marina dog, Mr. Wilson, actually led the way.

So down a dusty trail of coral bones and limestone, we see the second sign.

After a 2 mile walk down a dusty trail, we find the spring.
Bahamian Humor.

Even Mr. Wilson seemed to be in on the joke

So back to the boat we went, chuckling to ourselves, this is all part of the experience. Mr. Wilson walked back with us only to return to his original spot.
Job well done, Mr. Wilson.

The weather was perfect and it was a great day. Now for tomorrow.



Allens Cay and the Iguanas... Part 2 of 3

After walking to the beach we decided to take the dink and run over to Allens Cay to see the infamous Iguanas.
As we get close to the beach, sure enough, we see twenty or so Iguanas run to the shore in hopes of a handout.

Like in all other social cultures; there must be a pecking order here also. The big lizard always got the bread and shared it if he wanted. The others had to scramble for a few nibbles.

While dinking around, some guys on a sport fish asked if we would take one of their buddies to shore with his video camera to take pics of his children playing with the Iguanas. We said we would for a beer. (we were very thirsty and had no beer with us.)
They did us one better and gave us 2 beers and 2 fish. You can't beat that.

My Catch
Fresh fish tonight.

The Exumas.... Finally... Part 1 of 3

For years we have been cruising to the Bahamas and for years folks have asked; Have you been to the Exumas?
Our intentions were always to travel north to south. Start with the Abacos and work our way down to the Exumas before heading back to the US and the Keys. But it never worked out that way. Either weather or good times and friends kept us in the Abacos. But not this year. The picture above is our first night at anchor just off Highborne Cay

The Sailing Catamaran "Diamond Girl".
They are from Jackson, TN

Yesterday we dicided to go into the Marina at Highborne Cay and this little fellow was our first visitor. He just flew in and sang us a short song and left.
(He just paid us another visit as I am writing this)

There is a short road next to the marina. Take a left and go to the beach... to the right is the famous "Spring". more on that later.
So we went to the beach; and a beautiful beach it is.

I am going to break this day up into a couple more post. Lots of pics.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DIngy day in Nassau

So we decided to stay a couple more days in the big city. We did last minute shopping and later put the dink in the water to explore Nassau and Atlantis. Atlantis made us think of Disney World with boats.

If these folks are worrying about a recession they're not showing it.

We dinked over to the Green Parrot and had Jerk Chicken Wings. When we pulled up to the dingy dock there a fellow shouted out... Radar! He had met Radar in Palm Beach and remembered him.
He didn't remember us.

Tomorrow we're off to the Exumas and Highborne Cay. We probably won't have internet for a while but we will catch up with the blog when we do. We promise lots of pics.

Bamba yay,


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two Sides of Nassau Harbor

As you can see... Nassau has no shortage of Mega Yachts. The above picture is of Hurricane Hole Marina with Atlantis in the background. Both of these marinas are very upscale and pricey.

But across the way is where we are tied up. As I said earlier Nassau Harbour Club Marina is a bit funky but cool. It's kinda a shame that the place is so disheveled because they are in a great location. Just across the street is a shopping center with everything one needs and the prices are reasonable. Even diesel was the same price as Fort Lauderdale. The marina staff are very helpful and kind. Peter the Harbor Master is a good fellow and knows how to get things done.

Craig from Boatronix has flown in to solve my Inverter problem. It was actually cheaper for Craig to fly in and bring the part as it was to have it shipped. Plus, Craig could install it. So our big problem got smaller and Craig got to spend a couple of days in the islands. A win-win for everyone. There is a 45% duty that must be paid. Peter explained to us how to manipulate that system a bit to get the part here quickly, so that helped some too.

This morning I got up before dawn and it was raining. Normally not much rain in the Bahamas this time of year and the locals love it. Our old friend Mort from Marathon called this a "Bahamian Boat Wash."

As you can see from the above picture this is a Red Sky Morn. So should we stay or should we go on down to the Exumas today as planned? Guess it's time to study weather and charts to find out.

Adios... Bamba yay


Thursday, March 12, 2009


Mel in Downtown Nassau

Yesterday took the bus into downtown Nassau. Again, very busy but fun. We got our Batelco Cell phone reactivated and had lunch. Before lunch we met this fellow who was a barber. So I took advantage of the situation and got a trim. Most interesting hair cut ever. The walls were lined with Junkanoo headdresses and Masks. Tiki was a nice fellow. Everyone there was a native and when we walked in they start talking in a thick Patois accent that we cannot understand. We don't think they were talking about us; they just didn't want us in on their conversations. We respect that.

Mel and Tiki the barber

Bamba Yay, (look it up)


The Bank and Nassau

Following Total Return as the sun rises over the Great Bahama Bank.

The trip across the Gulf Stream was a piece of cake. A little bumpy at first but settled down to almost flat.
We entered the Great Bahama Bank just north of Bimini close to Hen and Chickens. The Bank was even more flat. We plotted a course for Russel Beacon where we were to meet our friends Russ and Molly onboard "Total Return". We got there about 5:30 and were dropping the anchor when everything went black. No AC electrical power at all. To make a long story short; we had lost our Inverter. I want go into what that is, just understand it's important. No AC on a boat like this is a bad thing. But the boat will still run. (I know some will say, just use your generator, but unfortunately it's not that simple.)
Total Return and New Horizons found us and anchored close by. We were all up before the Sun and made way across the Bank for Nassau.

Pulling into Nassau was exciting. We have never been here before. It's very busy, especially now because of Spring Break. The above pic is Atlantis. We are not staying there.

We are staying at Nassau Harbour Club. Funky but cool.

The above pic is the full moon rising above Nassau Harbor.

When we got in I made a few calls and managed to temporarily fix the AC issue. We now have AC electrical power.

More about Nassau soon.



The finishing touches

Just before leaving Palm Beach We found Boggy; a master teak varnisher. So we decided to put the 4 finishing coats of AwlBrite over the really beautiful varnish job we got in Panama CIty. It came out great. As you can see in the next shot.

It is so bright it's almost like a mirror.
Boggy did a great job.
Our friend Ben from home will be proud. He always gave me a hard time about our teak.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009


We have made it to Nassau where we will stay for a few days. Nassau is different from most places in the Bahamas. Not bad just different... and... it's Spring Break. Crowded and loud. 
Pics soon.



Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Emerald City

So this evening we are in Fort Lauderdale. We promised our friend Karen we would stop and have dinner, so we did. We love Fort Lauderdale... if you are a boat person you probably understand. This place is all things boats. You see boats from everwhere. All the incredible boats you see in magazines are here. We think the best thing about Fort Lauderdale is that no matter how big your boat is... you just disappear into the mass. No one is any big deal here.

At night from Pier 66, the city lights up beautifully. In the foreground of this picture is a beautiful 200' sailing vessel named "Athena" from Greece, flanked by a 100' freighter from the Marshal Islands . The backdrop is the skyline of Fort Lauderdale night lights. The action is created up by the lights of the many small pleasure bosts that pass through this picture like the gondolas of Venice.

The day may bring a different picture but tonight we're drinking so let us fantasize...OK!

Tomorrow we take off for the islands. We will be dark for a couple of days... then we promise plenty of good pics of the clear turquoise, azure waters of the Bahama Bank and Nassau when we get settled and find bandwidth.
Life is good...



On the move

This morning we are leaving Palm Beach and working our way south to Ft Lauderdale. We think for only a night but who knows.
The plan is to cross over the Gulf Stream Monday and spend the night on the Bahama Bank. Meet up with some friends out there and make way for Nassau on Tuesday where we will spend a couple of days.
Istaboa is provisioned up nicely. We should eat and drink well while in the islands.
Again... say a prayer to the weather gods.



Sunday, March 1, 2009

Boat Dogs

Some of our favorite pup pics from along the way. If any of you friends have any (pup pics) to add please email them to us. We will keep updating this and post it again from time to time.