About Us

My photo
Our dream of cruising on a boat Around the Great Circle Loop and beyond has the drawback of leaving our friends and family far away from us for an extended time. This blog is intended to keep you up to date on our travels and adventures, and encourage you to join us for some part of our trip as we make our way around the waterways of the eastern US, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Click on the archived posts below to follow our journey. Our dog, Ben, has been helping us write this blog since he has more time!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chillin’ for Ladies Week in the Bahamas

Hi All....Ben here at Tahiti Beach,

This week Sandy and Wendy came to visit so I had three chicks waiting on me paw and paw, 24 x 7. We’re talkin’ long walks on the beach, extra beefy treats passed to me secretly under the table, and belly rubs galore.

Captain “el Jeffe” (as Wendy calls him) had pre-built an enviable agenda for Ladies Week that included island hopping to 4 different spots, beach sitting, snorkeling and scuba diving, nightly sunset wine sipping and at least one night of binge drinking at the notorious “Nippers” on Great Guana Cay. I’m down with that! I was especially looking forward to going back to Tahiti Beach.

A trip to the Abacos Islands is very nice this time of year. Just the right amount of people and dogs, along with solid sunny weather and a cool breeze. We decided there are in fact only 100 people on all of the Abacos Islands altogether, they just keep migrating by boat from one island to the next where we run into each other throughout the week.
We started our week at Marsh Harbor’s Mangoes Marina where the girls flew in to meet us.
It was here Sandy began her Culinary Conch Tour of the Bahamas

 which after just 3 days, went from enjoying the island’s best Conch Fritters, to eating a Conch sandwich, sipping conch chowder, a conch burger, conch salad, conch scouting at Tahiti Beach, and Conch shell blowing at sunset. Conch is the little animal that lives inside those big shells you see in every shell shop, and when cooked it has the consistency and taste of a bland calamari. But it’s plentiful and cheap.
Here's what one looks like in the shell.  He has a foot and a little eye sticking out looking at me.
And here's what they look like when they're out of the shell.
I don't know what part is what now...can't believe they actually eat that thing. 
On day 1, we took a day trip snorkeling to Sandy Cay. On the way out, the boat rocked back and forth.  The new crew... landlubbers… were turning a light shade of green as the boat rocked and rolled for an hour as we made our way to the reef.  Izzy was trying to catch some fish with no luck, as usual. The girls were only marginally interested in holding onto a fishing pole at this point, and they were thinking it would get better when we put down the anchor.  Ha! I knew better, but didn’t know how to tell them.

Later while I manned the helm, they quickly got in the water with their funny shoes and face masks and swam with the fish for some reason. When they got back into the boat after swimming, Wendy was nice enough to feed the fish her breakfast (if you know what I mean) while Izzy held her jacket from behind so she wouldn’t fall in. I would have offered her my halter, but I didn’t think it would fit. Guess I’m the only one hungry for lunch, aye?  At least maybe the fishing will be better now.

The seas calmed down after we motored back into the protected area behind Elbow Cay, and everyone’s color returned to that nice tannish-pink that they have been developing from the sun down here.
From there we got into the dinghy and went to Tahiti Beach at the southern end of Elbow Cay,
 where a thin white strip of sand jets out into the water, affording boaters the chance to anchor and dinghy in to enjoy a shallow sandy beach paradise right at the foot of the open ocean. This is my favorite place for dipping my toes in the crazy clear Bahamian ocean. We were here last week with Matt and Aaron, so now I’m getting used to it.

 Jeff, can you hold my beer?
Don't be drinkin' that, Pal.  I'm going to be thirsty when I'm done here doing the doggie paddle.

I had a great time romping in the water and on the soft sandy beach with Wendy and Sandy.  I'm getting used to this salt water ocean thing now, and the water feels good on my belly.  I still get a little nervous when my feet don't touch the ground.  I just need a little more practice...like Izzy needs with driving the boat! 
Back on shore, a very brazen and sand-soaked 2 year old named Jason got his kicks out of chasing me around with his sticky, sandy hands until I escaped back to the dinghy for some R & R.   Everyone else seemed much more amused at this than I was.
 I'm getting too old to run away from two year olds.  They never quit.

We got a good group shot, along with Hank and Ann, compliments of Jason's dad after that.  Guess you could say I took one for the team. 

Much to my disappointment, we jumped back into the dinghy at Tahiti Beach,
 and  took the "Izzy R" into Hope Town to a mooring for a couple nights of really great sunsets

 and really bad tacos at Captain Jacks.
We’re kind of particular about our Mexican food – being from Southern California and all. Those tacos might rate on the taste test for those tourists from Kansas or Iowa, but we’ll pass on Taco Tuesday next time.
One afternoon, Sandy and Wendy rented some bikes for a tour around the town,
then Wendy and Jeff rode out to the Abaco Inn while the rest of us hitched a ride with the van. We had a yummy lunch under the gazebo on the bluff overlooking the beautiful Atlantic side of the island.
This town is where all the cool kids go, or so I was told. But it’s mostly known for being the home of one of very few remaining traditional working light houses, built by the Brits back in 1787 to stop inbound British ships carrying gold and goods from wrecking off the coast among the undeniably confusing array of cays and hidden reefs.

Building this lighthouse seemed like a great idea to the Brits; however the locals were peeved as they actually LIKED the fact that ships crashed so they could take the booty and sell it on the mainland themselves. In fact, the introduction of the lighthouse evidently changed the local business landscape forever. 
We walked up to the top for some picture opportunities.

When we left our mooring ball at Hope Town the next day, we still had to pay the guy, so Sandy taped the money to the end of a boat pole, 

and as we passed by in the boat, she reached it over to the dock hand so he could grab the money from the  pole...pretty good trick, Sandy!

The handoff
Back at Marsh Harbor later that week the crew left me home most of the day while they went scuba diving. (as an aside they always tell me they are going to “work” when they leave – but I’m not buying this!)
 I was uneasy seeing them practice diving in the pool with those funny rubber suits and tubes hanging out of their mouths. I could hardly recognize them, and expressed my discontent by barking when they dunked their heads under the water. That just didn’t look right to me. Finally they came back up out of the water and I felt better. I think it must have been a relief to them too, because they smiled after they took off their masks.
The diving team at Dive Abaco took a total of 9 of them diving – Wendy, Sandy, Izzy and Jeff, plus Hank and Ann from “Queen Ann’s Revenge”, a young couple from Tucson and a nice gal named Heidi visiting from Switzerland… all of whom we ran into on other islands over the next couple of days. Everyone seemed to enjoy their experience (a first for Jeff, Sandy and Wendy) and all said they will do it again. I don't know why.

After one more night at Mangoes, we made our way over to Man of War Cay on Friday. Man of War is a dry island…no beer, wine or rum drinks! So I insisted we go early for lunch and shopping only.  Don't want to be stuck there when it's "5 o'clock somewhere."

Wendy found the local bread lady, Miss Lola, and hailed her golf cart so we could buy some fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and pound cake. 
The girls found a couple of stores with island style casual clothes and jewelry, and a place that made lots of things from sailcloth and canvas.  But it was here that we guys fell in love with the industrious nature of the locals… boat makers, fishermen, etc. Jeff and I found the island quite appealing and promised to return soon (with a full beer cooler, of course).  

I hope we can find our way back...
By 4 pm we moved onto Great Guana Cay, where we were more than ready for some beach time, followed by a night of rum and fun at two of the  “hottest bars” in the Bahamas -- Nippers and Grabbers.
We tied up the the dock by Grabbers and took a few pictures.

My good pal, Sandy, took me to the dock house where I got us a ride to Nippers in the golf cart.
I've been there before, so I know the way.  Yep, right up this street,

Past Milo's vegetable and conch stand,
(we had to stop here!)

up the tree-lined lane...there's the Nippers sign hiding behind the leaves
then up this sandy path

and ...voila...here's Nippers!

On the way in, Sandy rescued a hermit crab who had lost his way and was stranded up on the hill.
She took him down to the water's edge so he could find his way home again.

I like to head straight for the beach to...aaa... catch a few waves. 
 Jeff and Izzy walked on the beach for a while with me.
Now a guy like me loves walking on the beach – mainly for looking at the chicks—but I also enjoy some surfing when the water is a pleasant 80 degrees as you can see here. I’m willing to put up with a little sand in my shorts if it means fun in the sun. Here I am after “hangin’ 20” in the surf. I guess Izzy missed the picture of me ridin’ in the tube.
Watch out Bo Derek Here I Come

Here I am giving Wendy and Jeff some lessons.

Up on the deck while the gang was having a rum drink, 
 I met a Sheltie from Baltimore, the son of a sailor and a family from Denver.
 They took our picture and told Wendy it was snowing in Denver on Wednesday. Ha!
Later, Wendy and Sandy were getting into the scene at the bar. Here they are having Rum Blasters in their matching twin outfits. I wonder what was that all about.

Wendy was nice enough to share her drink with the Boar's head that was hanging on the post.

I busied myself sniffing at other dogs, and watching the geckos.
"Curly Tails" are what they call the geckos that frequent these parts, because they actually have curly tails.
 I chased a couple around but they are pretty fast when they want to be, and seeing as I’m on “island time, Mon” I usually just let ‘em go.

Here we are back at the boat, tired after a long day of playing.  My special pal Sandy snuggled up with me (and Squeeks) on my bed for a little nap.

Our last day with Wendy and Sandy was at Treasure Cay, where they had to catch their plane back to the U.S.  We had lunch at another beautiful beach there, and I took thier picture on the patio. 
So many beaches, so little time....

I'll miss you girls. Come back soon!

Off to the airport with the "fish lady."
For now, as el Jeffe likes to say, “muchas gracias – de nada.” (he’s so continental)