Sunday, June 28, 2015

When In The Islands •

• and need a gym  ≈  No problem

Hester's Livin' Large Gym¡

Lot's of changes and improvements at Compass since our last stay.

You'll never have to wait,

It's nice to be back.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Momentary Interruption

Hearing the young fellow, who's supposed to be finishing up our house project, saying, "Don't worry, it's all good. Enjoy your trip in the islands, I got this.",  didn't sit well with us. I hopped a plane and I'm now back in Jupiter. Probably a good idea I did. It wasn't bad, but all good?? Not entirely true.

I'll take this opportunity to pick up a few things while here.

Flying up to N. Eleuthera so the plane could refuel before returning to Ft. Lauderdale, we flew low over some of the shallows and uninhabited islands; it was incredible.
A nice clear day and a low tide allowed us to see that nature truly is the ultimate artist.
The patterns and colors created by current, waves, and time make for some amazing visuals.
Of course, I didn't take my good camera, but I managed to use my phone to do some video.
Using an app called Capture, (YouTube App) I easily mashed up a little video. It was fun to play with; by the time I landed in Ft Lauderdale , it was done and almost completely edited.

Bahamas Fly Over

It feels so weird to be in our new house without Mel and the boyz... like I'm staying in someone's home and they have the same tastes we do.

Won't be here long.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Island LIfe

We've been tied up at Compass for a few days now and Crew Istaboa is getting on with the business of being in the islands and what all that entails.

When at Compass Cay and part of the family, everyone pitches in. It's a family run island and sometimes the staff thins out and comes down to one or two. So all us longtime Compass Cay patrons help however we can. Tuck has a way of extracting our individual talents and using them in ways to better the island. Maybe mechanical, maybe technical, maybe helping tie up other boats when they all arrive at once. There's no payoff for these acts of kindness other than being guaranteed a slip during busy months and maybe fresh fish or lobster, but most of us chip in because we have the time and we see help needed. And, why not?

Our first day back, Tucker and I loaded up a family of folks in his Albury to take to Staniel and catch their plane back home. The kids seemed so depressed about leaving; I really felt sorry for them.
After dropping them off, we motored on to Black Point to drop off a letter. Tucker wanted to show me his home so we walked the short distance to the house where he raised his family.

A pic was from several years ago; Tuck and me going out fishing. The Albury appears to be floating above the water, huh?

Walking around these islands with Tucker Rolle is like hanging with the King. The rich man on the fine yacht or the poor man sitting quietly under a shade tree, they all smile, wave, and speak when Tucker walks by. He's a revered native of the Exumas and folks from all walks of life speak to him with respect and admiration. Tuck always takes time to kindly respond to them.
It was interesting to see his modest home, Tuck picked a few Mangoes from the trees in the back yard to take back to Mel. He then handed some money and an envelope to one of his daughters and quickly fixed the hot water heater before we left to walk back to his boat.
On the trip over, we discussed our mutual business and our thoughts on how things should be; it's interesting that two fellows from different backgrounds and worlds can think so much alike. I guess, bottom line, we want the same thing so going about making the same situation better in a similar fashion is not so odd.

So, yes... we're throttling back and easing into our island mindset... like putting on an old pair of flip-flops.

But, there may be disruption soon... we'll see.



Saturday, June 20, 2015

Re-entry: Mood Indigo

Mood Indigo.. Duke Ellington (or sort of)

You ain't seen blue; no, no, no.
You ain't seen blue,
Till you've had that mood indigo.
You ain't seen blue; no, no, no.
Bluer than blue can be.
When I get that mood indigo

We've been in the islands for a couple of weeks now, and if asked to describe what we see, one word would do it. BLUE
Crossing the Gulf Stream is blue, then crossing the Bahamas Bank is a different blue, hanging around Great Harbour Cay it got even bluer, Nassau loses a bit of color till you pull out of the harbor then — there it is again— BLUE. The further south you go, the bluer it gets
Then you get to the Exumas and the color pegs the limits of the spectrum. There should be a Crayola Crayon named Exuma Blue. It's impossible to describe... You have to see it with your own eyes.

Waking up rested, our first morning at Compass Cay, I've slept the sleep one only enjoys at home. After walking up the spiral steps to the Pilot House I turn to see what this day looks like and in my mind I say a quiet, ° wow °!

 ° wow °!

 We forget.

Just how

Beautiful it is.

A nice surprise — After crossing the bank and within 5 miles of Highborne, we hear a conversation on the radio then a sign off of, "Irianna, clear'.
Again, boat neighbors, from The Bluffs Marina this time. Tim and Valerie lived next to us for a few months after buying Irianna.
They later came by to visit us at Compass. It was interesting catching up with them and hearing about their trip to Europe. Irianna will be moving around the Bahamas so we'll probably run into them again.

MV Irianna

So, It's all good... the weather's cooperating. ESE winds make for enough breeze to stay coolish and allow for smooth water around Pipe Creek. Catching up with old friends and making new ones. Relaxation is the rule.

And more blue.



Friday, June 19, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Another sloppy run across Yellow Bank to The Exumas and Compass Cay.

It feels good to be back at Compass. It's been 3 years so there are lots of folks to catch up with.

But for now, there's a salty boat needing attention.

Then —— relaxx... zzzzz



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another Day In Nassau

The decision to leave on the high tide this morning quickly became yesterday's plan. And, as our plans usually go, things change. The good fortune to have free and consistent high speed internet at Bay Street Marina was enough incentive for us to give Nassau another day. We'll take this time to do a few fat up/downloads (update charts and insurance forms) before we head off to the Exumas where very expensive satellite internet is the only option.
And, we should know.

Game of Thrones, Yes?

Yesterday was like a cruiser's rendezvous.
Just next to us on a beautifully restored blue Tollycraft was a former Nordhavn owner whom I spoken with several times. a few years back Greg had considered buying the former Istaboa before deciding on the Tollycraft.

Next, waiting for marina transportation to the Fresh Market, Mel and I bumped in an old buddy, who for years, kept their boat just 2 slips down from us at Pickwick Lake in Tennessee.
Doug and Pam are on their new boat, 'Just In Time', which is the perfect name for a retired FedEx employee's vessel.
It was fun to see the Duncans again; we last crossed paths at Compass Cay 3 years ago.  They gave us a tour of their new boat, (yacht), and a beauty she is. It's always a special reunion when we run into old friends from the lake days.

This morning, 'Just In Time' stuck to their plan and departed Nassau for Eleuthera... I got a couple of shots as they were leaving the harbor.

Nice Boat
Nice Folks

Today, there will be more time to tie up loose ends then maybe walk down to Potters Cay for lunch.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nassau — Not Paradise

Yesterday's leg was a pretty good one. It started out kinda chunky, but eventually turned into the seas PassageWeather had predicted. We made good time, (current in our favor = 10+knt avg), and made it into Nassau Harbor around 5.

We often head to Paradise Island and Atlantis Marina, but good reports from friends on the new Bay Street Marina convinced us to check it out. ActiveCaptain Info
Never having seen the marina before and my old charts not showing it being there, we had to feel around Nassau Harbor for the entrance. It's right where they said it was.
Bay Street Marina is a very nice, new, clean marina with the Green Parrot, Luciano's, and a coffee/sandwich shop restaurant at the top. WiFi is excellent for us and I imagine it is marina wide if you have an antenna/router way of attaching to it. Nice expensive/state of the art Ruckus WiFi equipment everywhere. Again, Free WiFi (that works) with the slip. What a concept!
As we're tying up, a sharp dressed young fellow walked up to the boat to say hello. Turns out it was Trevon Rolle, son of Trever Rolle, and grandson of our old friend and Bahamian business partner, Tucker Rolle. (Tucker is the owner and operator of Compass Cay and Compass Cay Marina) The boy has grown up nicely since we saw him last; now a very handsome young man. Trevon said he overheard our name on the radio and wanted to come down to the docks and say hello. We're glad he did.
Yes, we're getting close to home. It's been 3 years since our last visit and it'll be good to see our old friends.

Mel and I always enjoy watching this interview with Tuck. It's genuine Tucker Rolle.

We'll stick around today to pick up some supplies for the folks out in the family islands then make way to the Exumas, Pipe Creek, and home to Compass Cay.

We're getting excited.

This is turning out to be an excellent trip.



Monday, June 15, 2015

Great Harbour Cay

Just one more pic... The Beach Bar
Not a Pete's Pub, not a Staniel Yacht Club, it's classic Great Harbour Cay. Like much of the island, The Beach Bar is a hold over from the modern Atomic Age days with it's rocket inspired roof atop a breeze bar with island colors. Pretty hip stuff in those days... pretty cool these days too.

Great Burgers and Fish Sandwiches + the view.

We walked/hitchhiked ( the best way to get around the island) there for breakfast on Sunday and visited the adjacent Art Shack. Picked up a couple of things for Spearfish; the proceeds go to the local school.

If our plans have worked out, we're now motoring across the, 'Tongue of the Ocean', heading for Nassau or Highborne Cay. Click here FindMeSpot

Obviously, we've enjoyed our time at Great Harbour Cay a lot and we plan to stop here on our way home. There's something magical about the marina and mysterious about the island, you come and you don't want to leave.
It's geographically the perfect location as a base to cruise the Bahamas. It would make a great Hurricane hole. An easy day run, in a boat such as Istaboa, to Nassau, The Abacos, Eleuthera, Bimini/Cat and a 14 hour trek straight back to Lake Worth Inlet and Palm Beach.
The marina is a fine facility and the staff are wonderfully hospitable. All these things make for a island/marina we'll very much look forward to revisiting often.
We've obviously explored and documented the interior of the island and we look forward to investigating the outlying area with it's hidden beaches and blue holes when we return. There's so much more to see and do.

But for now? We're heading south.

Club House Down

What I had earlier thought was the Hotel at Great Harbour Cay turns out to be the Club House that served the golf course back in the day.
We walked through the ruins and that's what it is. The Club House had it's day, but sadly, that day has long since passed.

 The Entrance

This, we think, is the Clubhouse Bar.
Contemplating the destroyed bar while standing amongst the shambles we, again, start imagining the celebrities from it's heyday sitting around the bar sipping their cocktails after a day on the links or the beach.

Street Art, but no street
   No Love 4 The Humans?
Seems graffiti, like weeds, will pop up anywhere left unattended.

The Bones

Anyway, the beat up old Club House at Great Harbour Cay was interesting to prowl through and reminiscence what once was.

These are things we do on windy days, tied up at the marina — makes for a great excuse to go to an existing bar for refreshment... which we did.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Bird's Eye View

We did a little exploring yesterday; got a few shots of the Club House ruins. I'll post some of those when done weeding through them.

After our little expedition we felt a bit parched so we meandered up to Rocky Hill for something cool to drink. Sitting around the open air bar that's overlooking the pool, we enjoyed the food and drink, but the company of the proprietors and patrons was most enjoyable. The shade, the breeze, and the conversations that ensue is a big part of the rose sniffing we enjoy so much.

Last night was Chill and Grill, but we overheard there was some kind of dust up between the Griller and the marina so the party was moved to the famous Tamboo Club. (Think, Don't Stop The Carnival)
That was even cooler, for us anyway.
Hanging out in the private Tamboo Club, we could imagine, many years ago, the likes of Cary Grant and Bridget Bardot enjoying the same space we were.
The Tamboo Club Restaurant was founded in the early 1970s by Earl Blackwell, Jim Raymond, Douglass Fairbanks Jr, and Frank Shields and was a popular hang out for celebrities such as Cary Grant, Brigitte Bardot and Walter Cronkite. 

 The Tamboo Club

As I've posted earlier, there's a lot of that kind of thing around here. Famous and some infamous.

Anyway, yesterday was quite a nice day. After months of being caught up in the projects revolving around Jupiter, we'd forgotten how much we enjoy this life.

I've got a feeling this is going to be a good trip.

Oh yeah, the bird's eye view — I found this YouTube... Drone-shot video using a GoPro. A couple of young folks did a nice job capturing the whole cay and mashing it up on one video.




The Tamboo Club Restaurant was founded in the early 1970s by Earl Blackwell, Jim Raymond, Douglass Fairbanks Jr, and Frank Shields and was a popular hang out for celebrities such as Cary Grant, Brigitte Bardot and Walter Cronkite. - See more at:

The Tamboo Club Restaurant was founded in the early 1970s by Earl Blackwell, Jim Raymond, Douglass Fairbanks Jr, and Frank Shields and was a popular hang out for celebrities such as Cary Grant, Brigitte Bardot and Walter Cronkite. - See more at:
The Tamboo Club Restaurant was founded in the early 1970s by Earl Blackwell, Jim Raymond, Douglass Fairbanks Jr, and Frank Shields and was a popular hang out for celebrities such as Cary Grant, Brigitte Bardot and Walter Cronkite. - See more at:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Those Were The Days

When you pass through the cut, literally a man-made cut through a rock cliff, and into the harbor, you get the feeling; Great Harbour Cay is going to be interesting and at one time was a pretty spectacular resort.

It's still a fine marina and the locals are some of the nicest, most accommodating folks, we've met in the Bahamas or anywhere for that matter.

If you spend a little time in Great Harbour you'll soon see and come to know it's history. It has quite a past.

In the beginning, famous and some say the infamous, including Hollywood celebrities, came to play in this idyllic environment. Cary Grant danced the night away in the clubhouse. Brigitte Bardot graced the beaches with her beauty. Jack Nicklaus had a house on a hilltop along the back nine. Earl Blackwell, author of the celebrity best dressed list, enjoyed a home on the island. Great Harbour Cay was popular with the socially elite Rockefeller clan, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Ingrid Bergman and Hugh O’Brian were regular visitors. 
Elizabeth Taylor and entourage (I'm told)

Slim Aarons Photographs
(Still for sale here)

          Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas
                       March 1973.

Mel was Googling around last night and found the official website with the island's history laid out nicely.
And, this blog was mentioned on Great Harbour Cay's Facebook Page.

Check out the architecture, Atomic Age/Mid Century, from those days we looked forward, when we thought the future was our future.  

Unfortunately, while golf carting around the island we passed by this hotel and it's a complete ruin. Later that evening, hanging with a gathering of folks at the marina, a fellow told me he had explored the hotel earlier in the day... said, even in it's present condition you can still make out the opulence that was once there. It will probably never be restored, but if it was... The bones are still there.
Maybe we'll get some pictures before we move on.

This last pic is a page from an old brochure that says it all in one word.

I bet it was.

And, it's still cool, just not as groovy as it once was. — You dig?

More on Great Harbour Cay >> Here



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2 Runs And The Berrys

Happily, there's not much to report regarding the run across the Gulf Stream. A bit chunky and wet's about all.

For those who watched our progress online, you probably noticed our wandering course. Maybe, "wondering course", is a better descriptor as we did change our minds and the day's destination several times. But in the end we settled on Cat Cay as a place to check-in. Customs and Immigrations offices are onsite making the process a simple task.

Mel went about the paperwork as I desalted Istaboa. Pizza for dinner at the only restaurant on the island then early to bed... early to rise.

In proper conditions, Cat can present a nice sunrise.

So, after more plan changes, on the fly, we pieced together a route across the bank to Great Harbour in The Berrys.

Mel had read good things on ActiveCaptain about Great Harbour and she wanted to experience it. I wanted to make it to Nassau and the Exumas so we could stop for a while.

Here we are in The Berrys.

As usual, Mel was right. It seems to be an interesting little island group and the marina's great. It kinda reminds us of the Abacos back years ago. The first restaurant we tried was just up the hill at the marina. Rocky Hill served us fresh pan fried Snapper that was truly fine. The marina here is surprisingly nice and has, (they're probably the only marina in the Bahamas offering), Free Internet. It's not incredibly fast, but it's fairly consistent and because of the huge Batelco tower at the marina we have strong cell service also. So, I guess we're back on the technology chain.

We've stopped in The Berrys before but never explored, just anchored out for a night then continued on to Cat or Florida. I think we'll like it here for a few days. And, the weather appears to be deteriorating which means we'll have time to find out.

This morning, as I look out the window at mirror like seas, I realize that today would've been a good day to run. But...  sometimes you just have to stop and smell the proverbial roses — and God knows we have a nose for roses.

So we shall.



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Damn Interesting

A great sea story and a Damn Interesting website.

The Demise of the SS Morro Castle

Always Something Else

And, that's why we come to Lauderdale to start off. As much thought as we put into provisioning and preparation, there's always something else to be done or pick up at Publix.

Yesterday I woke early to do a quick beach walk. Ft Lauderdale has a very active beach. Not like Jupiter with smiling pups running in the surf, but mostly young locals doing Cross Fit classes and having a nice time doing them.

So tomorrow we'll depart for somewhere TBD. Again, it's all weather dependent, but the weather seems to be favorable.



Classic Doonesbury

Friday, June 5, 2015

Finally! We Toss the Bowlines

Enough of the house projects for a while — now it's back to our true love; floating and traveling aboard Istaboa... It's been a while.
It felt good to crank up and head out to sea, even if only for a short run offshore to Ft Lauderdale.

Today was a bit of a shake out cruise to see how the adds and changes we've made played out in real life; everything worked as it should.
Our old pal Craig came along as he's the fellow who implemented these modifications.
Some will remember Craig from the Boatronix days back in Tennessee. He's now home in Ft Lauderdale.

So now we're tied up at Bahia Mar marina, amongst all the real yachts of Lauderdale, looking for a weather window to head to the islands. Maybe Exumas, maybe Abacos, maybe both, maybe somewhere we've never been.

Like —

The weather's the deciding factor because Istaboa's loaded with full tanks of fuel and we've got all we need, including time.

We'll see...