Thursday, April 30, 2009

Compass Cay Characters

The evening drink and think.

Happy hour discussions are always interesting here on Compass. This day's group included our German friend Torsten and Giles from Corsica. Giles and his wife Martinique have been here for a few days. Giles doesn't speak English as well as Martinique so she translates. Our dry American humor does not always translates as we expect. Often we get odd looks until we explain; then we get big laughs at the absurdity. This day's pow wow was all about alcohol. Torsten likes Haitian rum and broke some out. Barbancourt is good stuff. Giles shared his Anisette which is similar to Absinthe; also good stuff.
Happy hours around here are never boring.

Crew of the Bahama Star

Our German Friends on Sandpiper

Captain Bruce of the Bahama Star

All very colorful characters we have had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know.
Bahama Star is a charter sailing boat. Bruce and Eric have crossed our path several times during our stay in the Exumas. Fun Guys.

More pics later when we find more net



PS... Thanks to Mike from Panama City for the Smoked Chicken quarters. They were very much enjoyed and totally consumed here on Compass.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What is, is...

No restaurants... No problem.

Tonight we will have Whole Roasted Yellowtail snapper with herbs. Tucker pointed out an area I could go and catch fish without being blown away by the 30kt wind. I went out in the dink and a little while later we have just what we wanted. One 2lb Yellowtail... Just what the recipe called for.

The sharks love it when you clean fish.
They are like puppies.

If you spend time here on Compass Cay you soon learn that Paradise comes at a price. No, not money but the loss of things we take for granted back home instead . Restaurants, grocery stores, unlimited internet, and cell phones are not always available. Right now the wind is blowing and the seas are rough so we just hang out and exist. Which is not bad at all. You soon come to understand... What is, is. Before you know it, you prefer it that way.

Our favorite bar is the overhang next to the dock office. You couldn't find a more interesting bunch of characters if you tried. They come from all over the world. Everyone gathers there around 4:30 or 5 and we stick around until 6 or 7. Low key to say the least.
Sometimes it's our favorite restaurant too; if we decide to do some cooking and sharing. Tonight our favorite restaurant will be on Istaboa.
Our grocery store? about a quarter of a mile behind us on Exuma Bank.
Cheap too. A wad of conch guts on a hook and now we have dinner.

Cell phones come and go as does the internet.

Tucker finally allowed me to take a look at the wireless internet network and I managed to get it back up again. The Taycom techs back home in Memphis would be proud.
All the folks here on the island are ecstatic.

We walked around the eastern side's crescent beach yesterday and we saw a few things to come back and take pictures of when the light grows warm just before sunset.

So until later...



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not much net

The Blue Hole on Long Island
This is world famous for free divers. It is 650 feet deep.

Staniel Cay Harbor from the the Thunderball side.

Our Friend Andy, on Maggie May, passed by as we were having lunch at Thunderball

Then later we were strafed by this guy. He and 5 other planes like this were terrorizing Pipe Creek.
They are Chinese training planes.

Rode over to Staniel and dropped Russ off to fly back to the states for biz.
We are at Compass again and ducking the wind which is blowin like hell. No internet in Paradise so we will be dark for a while.

Life is good.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sub-Tropical again

Another cold Kalik
Max's World Famous Conch bar at Deadman's Cay, Long Island

We left Long Island today and made way for Cave Cay. Long Island turned out to be a really cool place. We became good friends with the all the folks at Long Island Breeze. Mike, one of the owners, was still around even though they are closed. He still made us Rum drinks, shared a few with us, and also allowed us to use his internet. Nice chap from Brighton, England.
Our friends from Germany pulled into Thompson Bay yesterday. We always seem to pass each other on the way in or out.
We will return to Long Island next year.
When passing Georgetown on the way back our friends Dick and Patra, the owners of our former boat, hailed us on the radio. They are going to hang around there for the Family Island Regatta.
The National Family Island Regatta is a really big deal here. All the folks at Salt Pond were spun up about it. We would have gone but it was a bit crowded and loud. All of this peace and quiet has really spoiled us.

We are now back at Cave Cay in the Exumas. It was a pretty good run today even though the seas were a bit large. At least they were on our tail which made for a dry run.
Mel met the owner of Cave Cay Marina today and said he was a very nice guy... He just stopped by to see if we needed anything. We really hope he hurries and completes this marina. It will be a jewel.
The above pic was taken by Molly while she and Mel were hiking on our last stay here. If you enlarge the pic you can see the dingy where Russ and I were snorkeling. An absolutely beautiful spot that I mentioned in an earlier post.

So now we are working our way back north. Next we will anchor at Big Major's Spot where the wild pigs are tame and swim out to greet the boaters in hopes of a handout. Wonder what Radar will think?

Soon back to our Exuma home... Compass Cay.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

A do-nothing day

Total Return at Anchor
This is a pic of another 57 Nordhavn we are traveling with. We have known Russ and Molly for a few years. Actually met them in Tennessee at Pickwick. They were doing the Great Loop and stopped at Grand Harbor.
It's nice to have a another boat to travel with.


The Entrance to St Paul's Church

Sunrise this morning

We didn't go on the island tour with Russ and Molly yesterday. The winds were howling so we just hunkered down and had a down day. Nice to do sometimes...

Today the winds are still howling and it looks like our weather window on Monday just got smashed. The real problem is Long Island Breeze, which is the Center of the Universe here on Salt Pond, is closing. Oh No...No Net...No Pizza... No Chicken Souse...No Rum.
Oh well we will survive somehow.

Until next time... whenever that may be.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Touring Long Island

Shot from the front porch of Long Island Breeze
The sun broke through the clouds and just lit up this little rock.

We rented a car and drove around the island yesterday. It is a beautiful island. Driving down south on The Queens Highway (the only highway) to Clarence Town we spotted this church in the distance. It has some history that I googled up. It was built in 1843.

Clarence Town is twice blessed with fine churches. St Paul's Anglican Church was built by expatriate architect-priest Father Jerome. He converted to Roman Catholicism and then built St Peter's Catholic Church, also in Clarence Town.

This is not a church but a private residence that is in the final stages of being built. We like that the owners have respected Father Jerome's architecture. We would love to see this when finished.

then a stop for a cold rum drink at Max's World Famous Conch Bar. Great local color and very nice patrons.
Yesterday was a good day... amongst many good days.

More I google up about Long Island.

Long Island - beauty queen
The Atlantic side of Long Island is a dramatic rocky shoreline. The lee side is the essence of tranquillity, fringed with soft sandy beaches.

Bahamian artists consider Long Island, believed to have been visited by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the beauty queen of the country.

In the 1790s, Loyalists migrated here from the US and set up prosperous cotton plantations. More arid than most of the Bahamian islands, Long Island is noted for its sheep and goat herds. Long Island mutton is a Bahamian speciality.

Many say Long Islanders are the most physically attractive of all Bahamians. Their Afro-Euro-American genes may or may not include input from the Lucayan-Arawak-Taino aborigines who lived here in the 15th century and before. Archaeologists have found ceremonial stools, called duhos, and other evidence confirming pre-Columbian inhabitation of Long Island's magnificent caves. Today, one of the caves at the north end of the island is used for dining and parties. A network of caves with stalagmites, stalactites and tiny fruit bats lies at Deadman's Cay, six miles north of Clarence Town, the island's largest settlement.

Today we still have the rental car so we will head up Island.

More later...



Friday, April 17, 2009

Long Island

This is not a fellow from Long Island but I have yet to take any pics.
So... more interesting things from along way. This is a fellow who wanted his picture taken. I think this was at Farmer's Cay.

Star fish from the Deca Station

Compass Cay Sharks

Not much going on yet... We are having lunch at Long Island Breeze. A nice restaurant right on Thompson Bay where we are anchored. Nice folks own and operate the place. Jackie and Mike.
We hope to rent a car tomorrow and look at the interior of the island. We have heard it is a beautiful island. So far it is living up to it's reputation.
The folks are quite nice here. I bought fish this morning right off the boat. The fishermen were locals and were having a great time. Very friendly.
Fresh fish tonight and tomorrow and the day after. Hog Snapper and Nassau Grouper. Good fish!

Hope to have some good pics of the island in the next few days

Until then...



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Interesting images from along the way

Old Conch shells at Little Farmer's Cay

as the sun sinks at Cave Cay

Tiz de I-lans... Mon
click the image to enlarge

Le Grand Bleu
380' Private Yacht
If you look closely you will see this boat has a Sail Boat and a Sport Fish loaded onboard.
She was anchored in the Sound...  out from the [now defunct] Emerald Bay Marina.

Sunrise over Elizabeth Harbor in Georgetown.
This morning.

At this moment we are waiting for the tide to rise so we can begin our run to Long Island. This will probably be the last of the net for a while.
Exciting day for us. We will be crossing the Tropic of Cancer and entering the true Tropics. None of this Sub-Tropical stuff for us now. 
Actually we are on the edge of the T of C now; we are just running about 35 miles south.

So until we find bandwith....



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Codi from Compass

Codi is a fellow Compassite. She is back in Austin, Tx now and was nice enough to send us this pic of Mel, Radar, and herself. She and her boyfriend Brad along with Sidney and Alysha joined us at the famous Compass Cay happy hours every day.... Which went kinda late some nights. Very nice folks. Hope to see them again next time.
We are looking forward to Long Island but we miss Compass Cay. So does Codi and the gang.

Thanks Codi,



We arrived in Georgetown a couple of days ago. The run down was not bad; just wet as we had seas on our bow. We anchored out from Stocking Island and all was well. It was a quiet night and I only got up once to check our position to be sure the anchor was holding. It did.
Got up the next morning and the wind had picked up a bit but we were sort of protected so it was OK. 
Took Radar to the beach for a walk and discovered that, according to the gauge I was almost out of fuel. This is strange because I have a large tank and have not used the dink that much. So...
Did someone steal it in the night or is my gauge wrong??... or am I crazy and we have used the dink more than I remember?  Anyway, it is what it is. I need fuel.

For biz reasons we needed internet and the Marina in town was available so we took a slip at Exuma Docking Services. 

Georgetown is an interesting place. During the winter it is totally taken over by Sail Boaters (for the most part) and they create a rather unique style of transient society. They are mostly gone now as they leave in early spring but there are a few left over. They are typically friendly but you feel a sense of resentment wafting across the anchorage when we use fresh water [we have a watermaker] to wash off the salt on the boat. We normally offer up ice as a peace offering. They normally accept it with a smile.
If some of you don't know.... Typically, Sail Boaters and Power Boaters are a bit like cats and dogs. We, by nature, are not supposed to get along. We were once Sailors but that doesn't matter because to some we are traitors. We don't feel that way.

Some of the locals are less than friendly because they think we are all trying to get something for nothing. Again they will go into that patois speak when we ask questions. Oh well.
It took me all day and a long walk to register for internet. Then it would not work. When I called Tech Support I was told just keep trying it might work. I asked if I could get a refund if it didn't and he told me no. NO REFUNDS. I told him that was a very clever business plan and that we hope it works for him.

As you can see it does work now... kinda. But sorry no pics. It doesn't work that well.

All in all...  it was a less than great day. But it's the Islands Mon. Sometimes paradise bites a bit.

We have a weather window to run to Long Island tomorrow but not sure if we are going to take it yet. It's a small one day of lite winds then picking back up for a few days. We will see then will let you know.

As I write this the Cruiser's Net is on the VHF radio. The Cruiser's net is a organic radio program organized by the inhabitants on boats in the harbor. 
Weather, local business, and items of concern are announced and discussed. At this moment they are announcing the latest episode of the on going saga of Reggie the Rat. This is a rat hiding on some boat that has managed to remain hidden and alive for months. Every morning they add another episode of Reggie the Rat.

Until later.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Cave Cay and Musha Cay

Total Return
on the way from Compass to Black Point

Copperfield Bay on Musha Cay

It was a nice day yesterday so we left early to run to Cave Cay. Got to the entrance of Cave Cay Marina on a good rising tide and tied up for the night. Cave is a rather peculiar marina that looks as if it's under construction but we saw no workers. It is a great natural harbor that is a hole in the island. Protected from all sides. It could be a real jewel someday.
Molly and Mel went exploring and Russ and I opted for snorkeling.

Wow! the snorkeling was the most beautiful swim I have ever had. I don't have an underwater camera but I don't think a camera could convey the incredible images we saw in the most crystal clear water I have ever been in. We were on the ocean side and it was a perfect day. Flat like a lake.

Later we took the dink out for a sunset dink and drink over to Musha Cay. It is owned by the Magician David Copperfield and we read he rents it out for $345,000,000 a week. It is a beautifully manicured island and looks like paradise to be had for a price.

Then the sunset

We have had a change of mind and have decided to head to Georgetown before crossing over to Long Island.

So for now....



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Talk about a Boat dog

This is an unbelievable story that you must read. Click Here>> Castaway

We just got tied up at Cave Cay. Last night at Black Point.

More later.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Horizons

Our German Friends... Torstren and Deter onboard Sand Piper

Yesterday did turn out nicely. We went snorkeling and found Conch then came back to clean them. That turned out to be an interesting lesson that Tucker was kind enough to teach us. I am afraid we may have butchered a couple but we ate them anyway.

Today the whole Compass Crew is leaving. This is Dennis and Gail onboard Gadabaut. They are heading to the Berry islands before going home.

Russ cleaning up after cleaning his share of Conch.
Russ and Molly will be leaving with us heading for Long Island.

Mel, Radar, and Karen
Karen runs the day to day operations here at Compass. She has become a dear friend. We will miss her as well Mano, Tucker, and the rest of the crew.

Today we are leaving our favorite place in the world... Compass Cay. It's time to see some different sights and we have charted a course for Long Island. Columbus once landed here and it is said he called this, "The most beautiful island in the world". We never met Columbus so we cannot verify that but will make up our on minds when we see it for ourselves. We have never been this far south so it should be interesting.

Who knows what's next?

Until we find internet again...



Friday, April 10, 2009

Dingy ride to Staniel Cay

So yesterday we followed Russ and Molly from Total Return over to Staniel Cay to pick up some supplies and have lunch with Rich and Karen from New Horizons. Lunch was at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and was quite good. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club sounds a bit pretentious but it's not. Just a bar and restaurant.
We walked over to the Yellow Store and bought fresh baked bread and on the way passed the police station. (Pictured above)

The Yellow Store

Today the Blue store (Which is right behind the Blue Police Station) was the only one open so that's where we shopped. They had what we needed. Limes, Coconut water, Bisquick for Cracked Conch, and a few items we didn't need... just wanted.

The Pink Store
The Supermarket

Samson Cay Easter Decorations

On the way back we stopped at Sampson Cay Marina so Russ could fuel up his dink.

After leaving Samson we ran by an old abandoned US Navy outpost that folks around here call the DeCa Station for some reason unknown to us. But more on that later.

Here's to a great Good Friday!



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pipe Creek

Satellite View
Pipe Creek

Kayak day

The weather is really getting good and [as you can see] Mel is making the best of it.
She and some of the girls on the dock went out on a Kayak expedition.

When the conditions are right; you can't find a more interesting place to Kayak than here on Pipe Creek. Pipe Creek runs in between the little Cays and holds gin clear water the whole way. Coral heads are everywhere and the fish look to be suspended in air as you glide over them.

Mel and the girls had a great time and even brought back some Conch.

Today is looking to be another great day.

Who knows what it may bring.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Return to Compass Cay

We left HighBorne early putting Istaboa in Compass on a nice rising tide. Everyone was glad to see us and collect their supplies we had brought from Nassau. Tucker welcomed us home which made us feel good.
They had already put together a party and we had just enough time to make up an appetizer.

On a spring hightide at the Marina's fish cleaning station the tide rises above the walk. If you throw out a few scraps of fish the sharks will become playful and let you pet them. Sometimes they will lay across the walk to be fed and have their back scratched.

As you can see.

Mel has a deeply seated fear of Sharks. I am hoping this will ease a bit now. She says next she will get in to swim with them. We'll see.

Then everyone shows up with a dish and the party begins. Compass Cay is a great equalizer. Folks on megayachts, folks on small boats, and everything in between socialize with no prejudices. The talk is usually about some beautiful place they have in common, they have found, or they want to go. Not much about politics or the economy is uttered, which is nice. We simply don't think about those things while we're here.

So today is nice. A lite breeze is blowin and a few clouds will help keep the temps down. It looks promising.

Until later...



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back in the Exumas

Nassau was nice but busy and we are happy to be back in the Exumas. The weather is predicted to cooperate for a couple of days so the running around should be pleasant. After that a blow is expected so we will hunker down somewhere.

The above pic is, "Octopussy"; at one time the fastest Megayacht in the world. Top speed 53 knots!!
That's 60 MPH on a Yacht that is 143 feet long! I met the Captain and he told me they usually only run around 30 knots and only burn 500 to 600 gallons an hour.
Hmmm.... Istaboa usually burns 5 to 6 gallons an hour.

We are looking forward to seeing our friends at Compass and delivering their supplies. Compass is a magical place. If you can... you should Google Earth (Compass Cay, Bahamas) it is unbelievable.

Net for now but not for long.



Friday, April 3, 2009

Nassau revisited

Once again we are in Nassau. Our problem has been fixed so we now have a guest head for all of our friends who may be interested in visiting.
We have found that contrary to popular belief, you can find about anything here. I had parts shipped in only to find out the servicer I used was a dealer and had them in stock. From clothes to gourmet groceries can be procured and the prices are not that bad... sometimes better than the states.

That's why this is a major re-provisioning stop for many of the large yachts like these.
We had seen the above sailboat at Little Pipe Cay during our harrowing dingy ride back from Sampson. She's a beauty. Well over 100' ; she has a crew of 6.

This boat stops at Compass often and is a major sucker-upper of internet bandwidth while there. Oh well... Net neutrality huh... We met the crew and they were nice young folks.

I just threw this picture in because... she's beautiful. Looks to be an old Trumpy restored but we're not sure. She was coming in to Higborne Cay Marina for the night.

So anyway..... Nassau has been fun again. We got hiking sandals for the many trails we found. We got wetsuits for snorkeling at Warderick Wells. (It's still a bit chilly) We are loaded up with supplies for the Compass Cay Crew. We now have two heads. (bet that sounds funny to you non-boater types) And... last but not least we bought some fancy Rum from the Bacardi store that supposedly you cannot buy in the USA. (Tried some last night and it's really good. (I'm thinking Cuban Cigars...))

Tomorrow's weather looks like a go... so.... We are heading south to pick up where we left off.

Be back when we find bandwidth.