Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moving on...

To fill in the blanks left by my last post done on an iPhone at Highborne Cay, we've decided some cruising would be fun. We quickly said goodbye to Tuck and Jamal, untied the lines, and made way. Jamal was stunned and saddened as we expected. We're not kidding about being family with these folks.
Leaving this is tough.

Highborne is always pretty and well kept. It's a very Americanized resort type of marina that can be described as upscale casual. In other words... you dress for drinks and dinner. They do a good job at what they do.

We ran across the bank today and are tied up at Nassau Yacht Haven. We decided Atlantis was just too much culture shock and we're not ready for that. 
We had lunch at the infamous Poop Deck Restaurant and the burger was as good as ever. Truly the best burger I've had in the Bahamas.

The plan for tomorrow is to run 80 miles to Little Harbor in the Abacos then see what we find upon arrival. The seas are predicted to be relatively smooth with light and variable winds. Hope those predictions turn out to be true. The pups hate rough days at sea.

With all this said, Mel and I are still carrying some strange feelings about leaving Compass. Maybe it's because we left so suddenly, could be we feel like we've left our friends behind, but it's probably because we know that no matter where we go, we won't find anywhere that life is as comfortable and beautiful as the island and our relationship with it's inhabitants. 

Now I'm feeling bad again.

Hell, we may just go back.



Happy Birthday, Silas Rui Taylor

Friday, June 29, 2012

We left.. With heavy hearts

But, we left... More later.
Dinner tonight was culture shock.
Highborne Cay is not Compass!

A Lot of Nothing

And we've been busy at it.
That's what happens here at Compass Cay, you get caught up in the islandness of the place and you don't do anything in particular, but a lot of things in general. In general we've been enjoying our island paradise and it's inhabitants.
It's always good hanging out with Tucker and his boys. We've become family over the years and they treat as such. Our boys, Radar and Mud, really love it here, they are treated as humans by everyone on the island. Everybody knows their names and watches after them. They have their favorite peeps and they tend to hang with them from time to time. Tucker has become enamored with Muddy and I've never seen him pay any attention to a dog. So Mud, the name Tuck calls him, sits at his feet when Tucker takes his afternoon siesta when a nice breeze is blowing.

Our friends from last year's stay were here when we arrived. Bart and Natalia were our dock neighbors for 2 months last summer. Nice folks on "Dusty Seas" a Viking Sport Fish.
They are leaving today, heading to the Abacos before heading home to Jupiter, FL. They're trying to talk us into doing the same and I must admit it does sound fun, We haven't been to the Abacos in a few years and we've been missing our friends there.
So we're torn... Home versus our former favorite place in the world. Hmmmm....

Tuck and I took the Kabota around the island to his Rental Houses. He's really fixed them up nicely and wanted me to do some promo shots for brochures.

 The Beach House
 The Beach House View of Crescent Beach
Mango House that overlooks Bonefish Creek

These are just proofs, I will process them later for the brochures when I have fast internet.

Speaking of internet... Word got out that I was the provider of internet service here on Compass so someone was always knocking on the boat with questions. It's not bad, I like to help out when I can.
One fellow who was Captain on a 102' Ocean Alexander, "Julia", sought me out when his boss couldn't get online. So I walked over and helped him tap into the net via his Ship Router. His boss was now happy. His mate, Carlos, was desperately trying to get online so he could Skype home. Seems he has a 2 month old child that he hasn't seen in a month. He doesn't speak English very well and I don't speak much Spanish, but we managed to get his iPod to hook up and he had Video Skype. He was so happy to see his baby. It was touching even to an old asshole such as me. Glad I could help.

That's how it is over here in the land of little. Everyone has something they bring to the island that's valuable. Mine is the internet. 

A day after I helped out the Captain and Mate of Julia the A/C on my boat died. I worked all morning trying to clean out the waterlines, but came up short. Only had one A/C that would work which was the stateroom A/C so we would be able to sleep anyway. 
I needed a circulating pump and some descaler to clean the lines. A friend suggested I ask one of the big boat guys. So I asked Joe, the Captain of Julia. He said he did have all that stuff and when he got back from taking his boss to another island he would come over and give me a hand.
A few hours later there he was with a pump, hoses, and Barnicle Buster. He and Carlos moved me out of the way and they went to work. 2 hours later all 4 units were flushed and working better than before. They wouldn't take money and said it was payback for my help getting his boss off his back about the internet. So, out of gratitude, I spent the next day making them some extra fine Memphis Style Ribs. They were ecstatic.

Julia on her way out of Compass. Hope to see them again.

I'm On A Boat
Never Say Never

We met these folks last year. Very nice people from Miami. Those who've read this blog for a while will remember the post I did last year. This is the boat that was used on a Saturday Night Live skit with Andy Samberg. If not you can see it here
The Owner/Captain gave Mel and me T-Shirts with the boat drawing on the back and on the front was a line from the rap song. Mel's said "With my swim trunks... and my flippie floppies. Mine said, Ridin on the backs of Dolphin doin jumps and shit." We will wear them with pride.

A new critter on Compass
Never had chickens before, but now there are several. Tuck doesn't like them, says they poop everywhere. Not sure if they're for eggs or eating... or like the goats, just there.

I know, I know... I've been remiss with the blog thing, but doing a lot of nothing is time consuming.

Not sure about the near future yet. May do the Abaco thing, but I hate to tell Tuck and the boys we're leaving so abruptly, I'm afraid it may hurt their feelings.
We'll see.



Friday, June 22, 2012

Jours Pluvieux dans le Paradis

Wow... not bad for an old man from Arkansas.
Rainy Days in Paradise is what we've been having. Can't complain though and if I did no one would listen,

It's kinda nice anyway... Good excuse to watch a movie or two and not feel guilty about not getting out to enjoy all this blueness.
Yesterday a huge squall popped up and stopped several boats from leaving the marina's harbor. The winds were blowing 35 knots and the rain was blinding.

These three boats are from Louisiana and always travel together, we met them last year.
It was kinda comical, from our standpoint, watching them trying to drop anchors, not run into each other, and not run aground. Glad we were tied up and not in the middle of all that.

So in between squalls we walk the dogs as quickly as we can in anticipation of another thunderstorm.
I did a couple of videos with my iPhone for my Mobli friends. Folks from all over the world are watching these Exumas videos I post on Mobli and really getting a charge out of them.

Today, the rains have relented a bit and we're taking Tuck's boat over to Staniel Cay to pick up some grocerys. I hope we don't get caught in a squall on the way, but if we do... It's fresh water and won't kill us.
The pups really like it when we let them run around free range in the rain. This is a very dog friendly marina. As long as your dogs are cool, they can wander around leashless. If they're not... you'll know.

So, that's it.  Jours Pluvieux dans le Paradis... Rainy days in Paradise.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Finally broke out the real camera...

...and found some really nice pics.

The first couple are from Atlantis and even though it does feel like Disney World, it's still pretty spectacular.

The next morning we moved on to Highborne Cay. They were booked totally so we dropped a hook out front, dinked in, and took the pups in for a walk.

That night, as stated in the previous post, was a stunning sunset, but around midnight a storm moved over the top of us and just stayed there for couple of hours. Winds puffed to 40k, but mainly around 25K and the anchor held fine.

Got some nice shots before the sun went down.

I really like the last one. So blue! That's the way it came out of the Nikon... no juice.



First night n the Zoomas

A beautiful sunset followed by huge storm.
Have a real camera pic of this shot that I haven't downloaded.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Pleasantly Uneventful Run

All the way to Nassau.
Really nothing happened to write about other than it was a nice, relatively flat, and a short cruise. 4hrs running and we were tying up at Atlantis Marina.

We passed by a couple of Manatees (Kadey Krogens that is.) and took pics for our friends Mike and Tracey... The Salty Cs crew.

After that a few Mega-Yachts and there it was... Nassau, Atlantis, and cruise ships on the horizon.

So we had my dreaded B-Day dinner at Nobu. Mel had Sea Bass, I had Lobster, and it was good. Glad to get all that 60th shit over with. Now ready to enjoy the next decade with the grace and wisdom that age has granted me, or that's what I'm told. I still think I'm that irreverent 25 year old.

There's something about Atlantis that makes me regret tying up here instead of going to Yacht Haven or Harbor Club, but I seem to do it anyway. Too much like Disney World. On the way back I think we may try the new Albany Marina.
So... Tomorrow we head to the Zoomas. Kinda like going home, especially Compass Cay where Tucker will greet us with a hug and say, "Welcome Home! Why you wait so long?"
Why did we wait so long?



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Plans are just that...

Plans... detailed proposals for doing or achieving something.
Actions and reactions, that's were the rubber hits the road.

The plan was to wake earlier and run hard to Nassau. That's what we did.  As we slowly scratched our way out of Bimini at low tide it seemed like a good strategy.

As we motored out into the Atlantic and found nothing but small swells we were still feeling pretty good about our scheme. We ran up on the Bahama Bank just north of this rock, aptly name North rock, the winds hit us on our nose and we experienced a little slop, but nothing too uncomfortable. It was that way the whole leg across the bank as the winds were blowing a constant 20+ knots. Even as we left the bank and entered the Tongue of the Ocean at Northwest Channel, all was still copacetic.
It was 3:00 PM and we still had 4.5 hours to go to Nassau... 7:30? Not bad. We could be tied up before sunset. Not a bad plan at all.

Passing Chub Cay off to port, Mel said, "That looks nice, I've always wanted to go to Chub."
Chub was our "Plan B", but I had already made reservations at Atlantis and I new they wouldn't let us out of them.... At $4.00 a foot!
So we bent our course toward Nassau and I threw on a little more steam to make an early as possible arrival.


The further out we got the bigger the seas became. The above pic is not a good representation of the way it was. See little Don Quixote's silhouette? I knew it was time to turn back to Chub when he disappeared from site. Radar's eyes also convinced me that maybe Chub Cay wasn't such a bad place at all.
4 hours in this stuff was gonna be uncomfortable and we're pleasure boaters... And what do pleasure boaters do when they have a choice of being pounded or turn and give way to an idyllic little island marina?

So, here we are at Chub Cay. Mel has always wanted to visit Chub, now she has.
It's a nice little place... quaint little restaurant that kinda reminds me of the Abaco Inn. It's all a bit pricey. but, it is what it is, and it's here.
We dined at the restaurant and sat next to a couple who had also just came in from Bimini and were on their way to Nassau and made this their bailout because of the pounding. They were also from Stuart and have plans to head to the Exumas. It's a small world after all.

In a few minutes I'll wake Mel and we'll push out of Chub and make that 4 hour run to Nassau. The winds seemed to have subsided and hopefully the seas have too. According to it should be a piece of cake. We'll see, after the last few runs I'm starting to lose faith in BuoyWeather.

I saved this last bit of info for last... Today is my birthday and I turn 60. I would have taken a bet when I was 25 that I would never see 60, but I'd have lost. Now I look 60 and still think I'm 25.
Who's that guy in the mirror?

This date also coincides with the 30th anniversary of me meeting Melonie. We haven't been apart since so I call this our real anniversary, not the official one.
In the past we always made a big deal out of our milestone birthdays. 40 for me was a surprise birthday party on our sailboat, The Otto, at Pickwick lake. 40 for Mel was surprise party at our lake house at Pickwick. 50 was at Meridian House on Elbow Cay with all our friends.
60... well, we'll just let this one slide by, have dinner in Nassau, and maybe celebrate next year.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1st Day At The Beach

Bimini has very nice beaches and we thought this would be the perfect time to let Muddy check out the seashore. Radar has always loved the water and we were hoping Mud would also. He did get a charge out of the soft sand and had lots of fun scampering around, but the surf scared him and he didn't really want to get too close.

You can almost interpret their thoughts in these next few pictures.
Seems Muddy is asking Radar, "What the hell is this?" and Radar's saying, "Be cool Kid, you'll love it. It's the beach."
Radar steps in the water and looks back at the kid. "Come on, it's the beach, it's fun!"
Then Radar tries to lead by example, but Muddy is having nothing to do with it.
So he tries coaxing him in, but nope... Not gonna do it.
Realizing the boy's not coming in, Radar relents and gives Muddy a good run. Radar loves to run in the sand almost as much as playing in the water.
Well they have that in common. Mud loves the soft sand on his feet. He can really get going, almost gets air.
Finally, I pick him up and set him in the shallow water, but the waves freak him out so he didn't stay long.
He's just a pup, even Radar doesn't like the surf as much as he does smooth water, maybe the tidal creek at Compass Cay will be more his style. We're sure little Muddy will figure it out in time.
And if he doesn't... It doesn't matter... He's such a cute little guy and he gets better everyday. How can you not love this face.

Now it's bath time.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Bimini layover

We've never pulled into Bimini before. For whatever reason we've always stopped at the next little island south, Cat Cay, if we didn't want to pull an all-nighter or needed to wait for the stream to settle before crossing back to the states.
Before pulling in I called a buddy back in the states who loves Bimini to ask his opinion on where to stay. He recommended Bimini Bay Resort and Marina. We agree.

Soon after we arrived we met 3 young Bimini kids who said they would wash the boat for $20.00.
I had just finished desalting, but thought the industrious little kids could use the money. So we said, "come tomorrow at 10:00 and if we're still here you can wash the boat."
At 10:00 sharp they were knocking on the boat. I expected that $20.00 price to turn into $20,00 apiece and I was right, but they did a nice job and quickly became our little friends. Mel hired them to run down the road to Edith's Pizza and get us a famous Bimini Bread Pizza, which they did quicker than a Domino's delivery driver,  and we all had dinner together. They are very nice kids. (If in Bimini try Edith's Pizza, it is good.)
Muddy loved the little girls chasing him in the grass on the shore in front of the Dockmaster's office. Radar just looked at them when they tried to get him to play along as if to say... "Please give me a break, I'm not a puppy."

 See, there small, but legal.
Also, shortly after arriving a fellow in a skiff came by selling fresh Conch and Lobster. We like the smallest legal lobster possible and the fisherman sold us a dozen for $30.00. Not a bad price at all.

At customs Captain Mel, (Yep when it comes time to do Customs paperwork she is Captain Mel, the rest of the time she's the Commander.) asked the customs agent where to have lunch. He pointed us to Captain Bob's Fish House.

An iPhone shot of Crab Rice with Grouper Fingers and Cracked Conch.
Truly the best Cracked Conch I've ever tasted.... The Crab Rice? We found nor tasted any Crab.

The winds are still blowing pretty hard in the wrong direction and we're sticking to that, "We have no plans." plan, so we're still here. A whole day of facing a sloppy chop on our nose is not our idea of fun so we think tomorrow could be better... if not the next day. In the meantime, we're enjoying Bimini. Nice folks, interesting place. Bimini History is worth a look... Read here

I borrowed these pics, because we've seen all this stuff so why retake the same shots.
Got lots of video on my iPhone, but haven't downloaded yet.

 This is one I took with my iPhone. Next to the bar at the resort.

Today we will walk the pups over to the beach and let them take a dip. Little Muddy has never been swimming... This should be interesting. Pics and videos if it is.

So, that's it. We're glad the weather turned us and we discovered Bimini.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Talk about an abrubt change of plans..

We realized that the winds were picking up and a night on the hook out on the bank was probably going to be uncomfortable... and it dawned on us, we really have no plans... so, we took a hard turn to starboard and are now at Bimini Bay Marina and Resort. Never been to Bimini before; it's nice and the people are very friendly.

Damn Spot Device is sporadic. If some of you are getting crazy emails please let me know.
Anyway, we think tomorrow we will try Chub Cay for the first time.

We'll see.



Incognito... for a few days

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something I posted a couple of years ago...

Things have changed somewhat... I ran across this again today and for some reason it hit home...
Click this..

Finally threw off those bow lines...

Not exactly sure about plans, but at least we're moving again. Heading south, which means some islands somewhere.
The weather wasn't exactly pleasant yesterday and it seemed we were on the edge of a squall all day. Which mean we got the rough seas, but none of the rain. Rain is always nice on a salty run. Makes clean up at the end of the day so much easier.

We hate the whole New York/ East Coast plan fell apart. The David Letterman Show actually called a couple of days ago to tell us we had 4 tickets to his show. Damn! Next Year, Dave.

We're hoping our friend Peter can make part of the trip with us to wherever. Again, we had plans that melted when it looked like weather was going to be bad enough to keep us in Ft Lauderdale, but now that system has moved on quicker than expected and we're hoping those plans can reform. Would love to show Pete the Exumas.

So now we're tied up at Los Olas City docks, our friend Karen has kindly loaned us her car so we can continue provisioning.

It's great to be moving again.
We'll keep you posted on plans as they solidify.