Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bahamas departure

The plans were made and it was in stone... Total Return, Pendana, and Istaboa were to leave Nassau at 6:30 to run all day to Hens and Chickens; (just a couple of rocks that separate the bank and the Atlantic ocean) anchor out for the night then take off early the next morning to cross the Gulf stream to the USA.

In the rain, we left Nassau right on time. Crossing the Tongue of the Ocean to the bank was not bad at all. The rain stopped and the skies turned blue

Pendana and Total Return lead the way
(Our new Compass Cay burgee)

Then... typical of the crew Istaboa, we had a change of mind. Somewhere along the way we decided to separate from the little flotilla of Nordhavns and head south for Cat Cay Marina.
So we called Total Return and Pendana to explain our reasoning, said our see you laters, and turned to port.


Cat was a long way but we made it in just before dark and went to the bar for a drink and dinner.
Ivan, the bartender was a friend of a friend and he allowed Radar in the bar. Dinner was quite good.

The next morning was beautiful and we checked out (the dock master's name was Radar). Next stop Fort Lauderdale.

The seas were flat and it was a very nice run. Then as we spotted the 4 candy striped smoke stacks at Port Everglades; the sea turned a bit chunky... but still not bad.
But just as we were about to make the cut into Fort Lauderdale the storm hit so we slowed a bit to let it move past.
We made into Bahia Mar Marina and tied up just before the skies opened, the rain poured, and lightning streaked across horizon.

All in all, it was pretty much uneventful. Just the way we like it.

So we're back in the land of the free (water anyway). Cell phones, internet, restaurants, traffic, pollution, noise.... better stop now or we may go back to Compass.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Arrived alive

We have made it to Ft Lauderdale and are presently at Bahia Mar Marina.

We left Nassau and intended to spend the night on the Bahama Bank but became ambitious and ran all the way to Cat Cay. Left Nassau at first light and pulled it into Cat Cay at last light. A 120 mile run.... a long day for a slow boat.

We got some nice pics of the 2 other Nordhavns we were traveling with but we are too tired to post them now.

It was a nice easy run across the Gulf Steam today.

Till later.



Saturday, May 23, 2009

What a contrast

Main Street at Compass Cay

Bay Street at Nassau

It's taken a bit of getting used to but the culture shock is easing a bit now.

Kinda funny that many of the folks we said goodbye to a few days ago were either, already here, or have pulled in since our arrival. Eight of us Compassites got together yesterday and took a cab into downtown for lunch at the Bahamian Kitchen [Warning! NSFW]. Good local cuisine. Then we all did the straw market for a second before going to the Athena Cafe for a drink and appetizers. As we were leaving, the rain came pouring down in sheets and flooded Bay Street. All the cruise ship tourist were quite a site as they scrambled for cover.

The weather is a bit unsettled for now so we may leave tomorrow or wait until Monday.

Next stop will be Fort Lauderdale.



Friday, May 22, 2009

Highborne Layover

So after easing out of Compass we made way for Highborne Cay. It was a pretty nice day; not to bumpy... Radar was a happy sailor.
It's only about a 40 mile run to Highborne which made for a short easy day and the seas were on our tail which made it even shorter. As we began our approach toward the entrance to the marina we were greeted by a breezy little rain squall so we doddled a bit and let it pass.
And soon it did... the above pic is the little beach next to the Marina's office.

Our last Exuma Sunset

After we were tied up we heard our friends Don and Sharon of Bold Pursuit on the radio. They too had just left Compass and were coming into Highborne for the night. We later had drinks at the little tiki hut next to our slips. Don and Sharon have been coming to Compass Cay and the rest of the Exumas for many years. They have some great stories of how Compass became what it is today.
So our next stop is Nassau then we press on toward home. Kinda exciting... a little sad.

The marina office walls were covered with these very cool hand made quilts that are the work of a lady in the Abacos.

Our friends Dennis and Cindy, who have a quilting business in Memphis, will enjoy these.

Very pretty... very islandy

Next stop: Nassau Harbor Club Marina and our friend Peter.



Thursday, May 21, 2009

All things must pass

And so it was with our time at Compass Cay.

Our last day was a fine one though. We swam at Rachel's and I did the final tweaks to the internet then passed the torch on to Marcus.
A potluck was organized so we provided 3 slabs of Memphis style Baby back ribs that we have been hoarding . Everyone brought out their finest and it turned out to be a really good island style gourmet dinner. The ribs must have been a hit.. they didn't last long.

The next morning brought an early start so we rushed around saying our "See ya laters" and giving a few hugs too. We will miss them all, but a few of those folks... we will miss a lot. Wonderful examples of the human species.

We were sent a few pics of our departure by Ward who is onboard "Goodtimes"; a nice fellow from Bermuda. We hope to receive more pics of our friends Karin, Mano, and Tucker. We will post those when we do.

We truly loved our time at Compass. On so many levels, this is our favorite place in the world.

Till next time.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Rachel's Bubble Bath

So on this day we took the dink over to Rachel's Bubble Bath. Radar really enjoyed the hike through the tidal stream called Rachel's Falls. Warm, shallow, and clear. He had a blast.

As you can see from the picture, Rachel's Bubble Bath only happens at high tide when the sea washes over the rocks and fills up a pool on the island side. If you're there at just right time you'll find it's natural effervescence is very cool.

Natural Born Hiker, A premier hiking web blog, had this to say about it.
Rachel’s Bubble Bath is the name given to one of the best swimming holes in the Caribbean, this deep, crystal clear, blue lagoon is the perfect destination for a spectacular hike.
Click here for the whole post and more pics>>> Rachel's

Then later back at the marina I got this pic of a couple of gulls. Not sure if they are fighting or flirting... or both.

We're having a bit of unstable weather which brings nice little tropical showers in between long periods of beautiful sunshine. This makes everything smell good and Istaboa has lost it's cover of salt and the stainless is shining again.
The winds are predicted to blow for a few more days so the marina is starting to fill up. Which means we will probably be here for a while longer.

We're lovin it.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Radar's day at the beach

The winds have picked back up so no fishing but we can take the dink out and run along the lee side of the island to play on the beach. As you can see Radar loves the beach. The hot weather has been keeping him in the boat for a few days and we knew this would cheer him up.

He usually does some crazy stuff when he plays in the water. Always a funny pic or two will come out of a walk on the shore. This time was no different

Then we all walked over to Rachel's bubble bath where we were treated to a -rare- but nice little rain squall. Fresh Water... ahhhhh

Bahamian boat wash!

More about Rachel's later.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Want to own an island?

Leaf Cay's harbor

Yesterday we and some friends took a runabout over to Sampson Cay for lunch. After lunch, Don from Bold Pursuit, said, "lets go look at some real estate". So we plotted a course for Leaf Cay.

Aerial view

It turns out our friend Don was seriously considering purchasing the island (for business reasons) and has had a tour before. We hailed the caretaker and he was kind enough to give us another walk through.
Leaf Cay is, at first glance, a beautiful little island but after further inspection it's much more.
The owner has spent millions of dollars to make this island a survivalist's dream.
I have copied an excerpt from an article that ABC news did in 2007.

Jack Halcomb bought the island in 1986 for $650,000 and said he has made $25 million worth of improvements to the property since he first moved in and ran his business sometimes from the Bahamas.

He sold electronic surveillance equipment to the military and law enforcement agencies, and initially ran the company in Florida before moving the business to his island. In 1992 he sold the company, Audio Intelligence Devices, to Westinghouse. Halcomb now lives on a Kentucky ranch and has a Florida business financing aircraft, and said it is now time to sell his piece of paradise.

"I'm 79 and I had trouble with skin cancer," Halcomb said. "The doctors ordered me to get out of the sun. … They said: get rid of the island or make funeral arrangements."

The owner has stocked the island with enough food to last a couple of years and the island's cisterns will hold 175,000 gallons of water. But there is so much more. It's worth your time to read the ABC article... Click here>>Leaf Cay

Here is another article out of the LA Times>>Leaf Cay 2

This island compound reminded me of the TV series, Lost... I kept looking around for the Dharma Project logo.

The internet has been spotty so we will be back when we can.

Till then...



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lilly's view

A few days ago we walked up to Lilly's Villa. A great view of the marina and Pipe Creek.

Looking South to Pipe Creek

Looking west at the Marina

Internet is working very well right now, I am happy to say. Friends are bringing in some more wireless gear Sunday so maybe we can make the Wifi situation a bit better.

We are still not sure of future plans but sadly we realize we must be leaving soon. The rest is still an adventure though... and it will be nice to see friends in the states.

But for now...



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Walkabout again on Compass

Man the fish have been going crazy so we haven't done any blogging lately. We went early this morning and caught more than 20 fish in less than 2 hours; all between 20 to 30 lbs. I have never seen so many fish so frantic to bite bait.
The above pic is Mel and Gail. Gail is an old friend of Karen; she's from Taos, New Mexico and has flown in to visit for a few days. She, Mel, and I hiked the south end of the island.

Refrigerator Rock

Today as we were trolling for Mahi Mahi and the excitement had slowed a bit, Tucker said, "steer toward that calm stream". I didn't know what the hell he was talking about but he motioned to starboard so I went that way. Soon I saw what he meant. In the choppy seas was a calm spot. As we passed through this calm stream the fish started hitting like crazy. We had at least 2 at a time on and sometimes 3. There were 20 or so under the boat and they would hit if we were trolling or not.
Sometimes we would just jig the bait under the boat and they would strike it and run. Truly the wildest fishing trip yet.
Tucker explained that the calm spot was caused by current and held bait fish and that's what the Mahi Mahi were looking for.

Weathered rock
Years of wind and waves have eroded the terrain on the south side of the island in a peculiar way.
The fishing has been too frenzied to take any fishing pictures.
Not sure what tomorrow will bring but the weather is perfect which gives us plenty of options.

Till later.



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fishing with the King

Tucker wanted to go fishing and asked if I wanted to go along. He didn't have to bend my arm.
We went out in front of Compass Cay where the depths go from 100' to 600' like falling off a cliff. We only fished for about an hour and half but caught 5 nice sized Mahi Mahi.

I think Melonie was surprised when we returned so quickly; then she saw what we had in the box.

What a great day it was. I really enjoyed fishing with Tucker and getting to know him better. He's an interesting man.
He told me the story of how he named Refrigerator Rock. (a big rock offshore of crescent beach)
He said that when he was a kid there was a restaurant on the island and his job was to supply it with fresh fish everyday. He laughed as he told me he never had to go further than that rock. That was his refrigerator. Tucker says the rock still holds plenty of fish and lobster today.
So while I cleaned the boat, Tucker cleaned the fish and we gave everyone on the docks some. Made a lot of folks happy. Fresh fish for all

Another memorable day amongst many.