Monday, July 6, 2015

Stupid Can Openers | Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

Cans are a wonderful thing. Inside their metal bodies they hold the secret to happiness. Food.

Food like sauerkraut, beans, potatoes, corn and tomatoes. We eat a surprising amount of canned tomatoes. For some strange reason, Scott will only eat cooked tomatoes. He turns his nose up at fresh tomatoes. Weird, huh? But, I don't like avocados, so maybe that makes me weird too.

When you live on a boat or in an RV (or are some sort of prepper getting ready for the apocalypse), then cans are a wonderful thing. Food stuffed in metal cans lasts forever. You can eat cans of tomatoes you stocked up on ten years ago when they were on sale and they're still good. Apparently, Twinkies have the same longevity. Remember Twinkies? Imagine how much longer they would last if they were stuffed into cans. When I was growing up, we weren't allowed to eat processed food at home. So, I secretly ate Twinkies at my friends' houses. That's probably what stunted my growth.

The only problem with cans, whether they're stuffed with tomatoes or Twinkies, is that they need to be opened. And you need a special tool to do so - the magic can opener. Otherwise, you're going to go very, very hungry.

I don't know if this happens to you with your partner/spouse, but, sometimes, the things I say to Scott come back to bite me. For years, I've been harping on about how important it is to have a back-up can opener, safely sealed in a Ziploc bag to protect it from rusting. Just in case of the unlikely event that the primary can opener breaks.

Like many husbands, Scott has mastered the art of pretending to listen to me and seeming deeply interested in what I am talking about. He nods at the appropriate time and repeats back bits of what I've said to him. "Yeah, sure Ellen. Can openers, Ziploc bags and Twinkies. Important stuff. Fascinating." All the while, he is daydreaming about racing, sail trim and what's for dinner.

One day, tragedy stuck. Our can opener broke. Tired of life and not able to bear the thought of opening another can, it just fell apart on the counter into pieces. I cried out in anguish, "Scott! What are we going to do about dinner?"

"No problem, Ellen. Just dig out that spare can opener sealed up in a Ziploc bag." Turns out this was the one time he had actually been listening to me. He knew all about my obsession with spare can openers. 

Hmm...guess what we didn't have on the boat.

Guess who rubbed it in.

Right about this time, our pals from S/V Wild Blue, Charlie and Jane, popped by for happy hour. Not only did they bring beer, but they also brought a can of bean salad. "Ellen, pass up a can opener and a bowl and we can snack on this with our beers." Charlie ended up opening the can with a screwdriver. It seemed like a real hassle. Fortunately, we had something else to eat that night for dinner which didn't require a can opener or a screwdriver.

This all happened while we were anchored in Marsh Habour. I can't say that we loved the place. Honestly, I'm not even sure why we anchored there three nights. But we did for some reason. It's a big harbor with plenty of room for lots of boats. Seems like a really popular place. For us, though, it didn't have the charm of some of the other places we've visited in the Abacos, like Green Turtle Cay and Hopetown. We don't even have any pictures of Marsh Harbour, which tells you something.

Marsh Harbour is a big town. And the good thing about big towns is that they have big stores. Like Maxwell's, a large grocery store similar to what you would find in the States. They have everything you could possibly need, including can openers for $6. It seemed like a lot of money for a can opener, but needs must and all that. So, we forked it over. 

Speaking of forking money over, did you know that Bahamian money and American money are interchangeable? The Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar so the exchange rate is fixed at 1:1. You can pay for stuff in US dollars, in Bahamian dollars or in a mix of the two. The Bahamian pennies have starfish on them. Much prettier than ours. Sorry, Abe.

We used our new can opener that night. I'm pretty sure we had pasta with tomato sauce. The second night I went to use the can opener. It broke. The brand spanking new can opener. Broken. The only way we could open cans was for Scott to use our brand spanking new can opener as some sort of stabbing device to pierce the lid open. Slow and tedious, but better than a screwdriver.

By this point, we had left Marsh Harbour and were anchored at nearby Matt Lowes's Cay. Otherwise, we would have returned the stupid can opener and got our $6 back - in either US or Bahamian dollars. 

When we got back to the States, guess what one of the first things I did was. Yep, bought a new can opener. Guess what's on my list of things to buy for the boat. Yep, a spare can opener. Or two. Maybe even three. I don't think you can have too many onboard.

LOGBOOK NOTES | Monday, 25 May - Thursday, 28 May 2015

Nautical Miles - 15
Anchor Up - Elbow Cay (outside of Hopetown)
Snorkeling Stop - Garden Cay
Anchorage #1 - Marsh Harbour (three nights)
Anchorage #2 - Matt Lowe's Cay (one night)
Number of Stupid Can Openers - 2
Cost of Laundry in Marsh Harbour - $2.50 (top tip - don't use Bahamian coins in the washer, it jams it up, stick with American coins)
Cost of Bread - $3 (cheap as chips for the Bahamas)
Free Trash - down the street from the Union Jack dinghy dock

Next time on the blog...we make it through the Whale Cay Passage and head back to Green Turtle Cay. We didn't see one single whale along the way. I think that's probably a good thing when you're going through a cut with lumpy seas.

Friday, July 3, 2015

June In Numbers

It's time for our usual monthly recap in numbers. We continued our shakedown cruise in the Bahamas during the first part of June and then returned to Indiantown, Florida, where we plan on living on our boat during hurricane season.

  • 6 - Number of days we spent in the Bahamas during June.
  • Nil - Number of cookies I ate on our Gulf Stream crossing from the Bahamas to Florida. For those of you know how much I dread sailing in the dark, this is a huge surprise. The secret to night passages is to eat lots of cookies. They distract you from the scary stuff like freighters and icebergs. Turns out crossing the Gulf Stream wasn't so scary after all.
  • $13.99 - Average cost per night for our boat. This number will go up next month as we live aboard our boat at the marina during hurricane season.
  • 8 - Number of days anchored out in the Bahamas.
  • 2 - Number of days anchored out in Florida
  • 22 - Number of days as liveaboards at Indiantown Marina, Florida.
  • 2 - The number of times we had takeaway pizza from Dee Stefanos in Indiantown. On Mondays and Tuesdays you can get a medium cheese for under ten bucks. While it might not be the best pizza we've ever had, it sure beats cooking and it's relatively cheap.
  • 4 - Number of days we laid around like useless slugs doing absolutely nothing. The heat at Indiantown has been insane. If we had been actual slugs, we would have melted into little pools of slime. Instead, we sweated water out faster then we could replenish it and kept saying to each other, "Don't touch me, you're hot!"
  • 1 - The number of air conditioners we bought for our boat. I don't think I've ever been so excited about anything in my life. Seriously, spending the summer in southern Florida, where the real feel temp is routinely 100F/38C and above, is just unthinkable without air conditioning. I don't think I'm ever going to leave the boat again. It's just too dang hot out there.
  • 1 - Number of sad farewells. At the end of June, Scott headed back to Scotland for a while to take care of some work and other stuff.
  • 1 - Number of cats I want to sneak aboard our boat. His name is Sylvester and he's one of the marina cats. Black and white, adorable and loves cuddles (on his terms, of course). Scott absolutely doesn't want a boat cat, but since he's gone, he'll never know if I secretly adopt Sylvester.
Here are some of our favorite posts during June that you may have missed:

Bahamian Bits & Bobs
Sailing in the Dark & Eating Mediocre Cookie
Wearing a Toaster on my Head & Disappointing Pigs | No Name Cay

Hope you had a great (and cool) June and are having an even more amazing July!

Want to follow along with our eccentric travel adventures? Like us on Facebook, follow us via Google+ or add us to your Bloglovin' or Feedly feeds. We're also on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also sign up to get our posts via email - just submit your email address in the box on the right hand side of our blog page. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Square Mac N'Cheese & A Striped Lighthouse | Hopetown, Bahamas

I have a confession to make. I'm not really a big fan of mac n'cheese. Which, for an American, borders a bit on heresy. The stuff is chucked on trays in school cafeterias around the country and the kiddies lap it up. Then as adults, they cook up a pot of the yellow, gooey stuff as the ultimate go to comfort food. Seeing one of those Kraft blue mac n'cheese boxes brings back fond childhood memories for many. But for me, it does nothing. I don't hate the stuff. It isn't something I have to politely choke down when someone serves it for dinner (unlike the dreaded beetroot and sweet potato/kumara). I just don't love it. I certainly don't crave it. And I certainly wouldn't ask for seconds.

But what I do crave is a square of Bahamian mac n'cheese. Yes, you read that right, a square. Those Bahamians know how to do things right. They bake it up in some sort of casserole and cut into squares. This is the type of thing I want seconds and third of. Heaven forbid if someone tries to get the last square. I'd probably stab a fork into the back of their hand, grab the last square and sign contentedly. And gloat. I'd definitely gloat.

I had my first square in Hopetown at a little snack shack. My stomach was grumbling and I spied a sign which promised mac n'cheese for only $4. Everything costs way more than $4 in the Bahamas, even bread. I'm all about value, so mac n'cheese it was. And it was good. Beyond good. It was delicious. 

If you're a frugal traveler like we are and ever find yourself in Hopetown, head to the snack shack across from Vernon's  Grocery Store & Bakery. If you don't like mac n'cheese (What?!! You must not be American!), there's plenty of other things to choose from and everything is so much cheaper then if you eat in a proper sit down restaurant. I don't know the name of the place, but everyone knows Vernon's, ask for directions and they'll point you in the right direction.

We bought a loaf of coconut bread at Vernon's. Fascinating place, for a grocery store that is. Vernon is a direct descendant of the founder of Hopetown settlement, so he probably knows the ultimate recipe for Bahamian mac n'cheese. Sadly, I forgot to ask him. What he definitely knows about is key lime pie. He's famous for it. Our pals, Charlie and Jane from S/V Wild Blue, bought a pie and shared some with us. I'd never had key lime pie before. Turns out it is a lot like lemon meringue pie, but with limes. Go figure. It was good, but one slice was enough. I didn't feel the need to stab anyone in the back of the hand to get another slice.

In addition to running the shop, Vernon is also a Methodist minister. As you walk around the store, you'll find all sorts of inspirational and humorous sayings posted on little scraps of paper on the shelves, walls, windows, cash register - everywhere. You can spend hours discovering them as you look at the wares for sale and you're bound to find one that resonates with you or tickles your funny bone. 

Hopetown is a cute little town located on Elbow Cay in the Abacos. The place is full of energy, the pastel houses sparkle in the sunlight, the people stop to chat and everyone seems happy. Must be the mac n'cheese. 

Hopetown is probably best known for its red and white striped lighthouse. It kind of looks like a giant candy cane. It's adorable. Stripes do have that effect. I think the lighthouse would look even better with polka dots, but that would probably take a lot of effort to repaint it.

I don't know about those people climbing up the steps. They look like troublemakers.

There are a lot of steps you have to climb up to get to the top. We met a woman coming down who is scared to death of heights. She was shaking and trembling, but so proud of herself for making it to the top, as she should be. She totally deserved a giant piece of mac n'cheese as a reward for her courage.

See the sign that says, "Danger - Do Not Touch"? Doesn't that just make you want to touch them, whatever they are? My guess is some sort of still.

As you make your way up the stairs, stop to catch your breath and peek out the window at the harbor.

Keep climbing. It is so worth it with amazing views like these.

The Hopetownians (what do you call someone from Hopetown?) are rightly proud of their lighthouse. They've even incorporated it into the Fire & Rescue logo.

The only downside of eating mac n'cheese is that it goes directly to your tummy and sticks to it like glue, creating these unpleasant bulges that make it difficult to zip up your shorts at times. So, we went for a stroll around Hopetown to try to work off some of those calories. Everywhere you look you see some sort of boat.

I love these old fishing doo-dads. All the different colors and shapes. They kind of look like giant hard candies. All this talk of candy is making me hungry. Sorry, need to go now and see if I can whip up some mac n'cheese.

Want to know more about Hopetown? Check out this site here.

LOGBOOK NOTES | Friday 22 May - Sunday 24 May 2015

Total Nautical Miles - 4
Total Time - I have absolutely no idea (note to self, keep better notes)
Anchor Up - Man O'War Cay
Anchor Down - Elbow Cay, outside of Hopetown Harbour
Best Coconut Bread Ever - Vernon's 
Number of Mediocre Dinners - 1 (overpriced for what we got)
Number of Awesome Squares of Mac N'Cheese - 1 (perfectly priced)

Next time on the blog...we take a little break for our usual monthly roundup in numbers. But right after that, we get back to our Bahamian adventures with some thoughts on stupid can openers and why three days in Marsh Harbour is three days too many.

Linked up with Albom Adventures Reflections Enroute, TheCrowdedPlanet, ContentedTraveller, Safari254, Families Go! & Malaysian Meanders at Weekend Travel Inspiration.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Clones Of Man O'War Cay, Bahamas

I'm kind of a sci-fi geek so everything I know about human cloning comes from books like Frank Herbert's Dune (don't trust Duncan Idaho), movies like Star Wars (don't trust the stormtroopers) and TV shoes like Star Trek: TNG (don't trust the Mariposans). Do you detect a theme here? Clones are clearly not to be trusted. 

Of course, you shouldn't believe everything you read or see in the movies or on tv, so when I heard we were going to head to Man O'War Cay, I was excited to see real live clones up close and personal and find out if they really are evil. Of course, I was also a bit apprehensive, because if they did turn out to be evil, then they might capture me and do unspeakable things, like force me to eat conch fitters.

Have you been to Man O'War Cay? It's a small island in the Abacos, about two miles long, which was first settled in the 1798 by folks who commuted from Marsh Harbour to farm on the island. In 1820, after being shipwrecked on the island, Benjamin Albury decided to stay and marry. Make note of this name - Albury. We had heard that a large portion of the 300 folks living on Man O'War Cay today is an Albury, married to an Albury or can trace their family history back to the Albury clan (you can see the family tree here).

We took a walk up to the cemetery to see how many Albury headstones we could find. We actually did walk up. I think it was the first hill I had seen in the Bahamas. Hill might be a bit of an exaggeration, but things have been so flat in the Bahamas that you notice even the slightest incline. 

It's a pretty little cemetery, tidy and well taken care of.

This was our favorite Albury grave - love the nautical theme.

With such a small population, you can see why the residents of Man O'War Cay may have turned to cloning. If you get too many Alburys marrying and having children with too many other Alburys, then you might run into some problems. Cloning is the obvious solution.

For those of you who have been to Man O'War Cay, you might not have noticed the clones. You have to look closely. When we went and visited the Albury Sail Shop, I noticed that the ladies sewing the colorful bags for sale all looked suspiciously the same. Granted, I wasn't wearing my glasses, but I'm thinking they were clones. Which is smart - why train new ladies to sew, when you can just clone folks with proven sewing expertise? Okay, maybe they were all just cousins, but I'm not so sure.

The clones residents of Man O'War are a reserved bunch. I've read elsewhere that they don't care too much for outsiders. Which doesn't make too much sense. You think they would actively court outsiders as it might eliminate the need for cloning if they could entice some of them to stay. It's a pretty conservative place - folks are religious and the island is dry. They don't mind if you drink on your boat and you can BYOB when you eat out, but the types of folks who get smashed and then wander the streets singing Miley Cyrus songs loudly (and off-key) in the early hours of the morning are frowned upon. 

It's an interesting island to putter around for a day or two. The prices at the grocery stores aren't too unreasonable (yes, there are two grocery stores on such a tiny island), there's a pretty beach to walk on, you can check out the local boat builders and there are plenty of quaint houses and colorful flowers to admire. We only stayed one night, in part because we didn't want to pay for a mooring again and in part because we felt like we had seen and done all there was to do pretty quickly.

The Man O'War harbor is pretty much a mooring field and the holding is supposed to be poor, so we opted to pick up a mooring ball. Our pals managed to anchor in the harbor amongst the moorings, which was a smart move because when you pay for a mooring ball, all you get is the mooring ball. The sign at the marina dinghy dock makes things clear - all facilities are reserved for boat owners who spend big bucks on a slip. If you're on a mooring, you can't even drop off your trash without paying a fee.

Would I come back to Man O'War Cay? Maybe. It's a pleasant enough place with a well protected harbor, but it lacked something which I can't really put my finger on. But am I glad I visited Man O'War Cay? Absolutely. It was an interesting place to explore and now I know that clones aren't all evil. They are some perfectly nice ones living in this little corner of the Abacos. 

LOGBOOK NOTES | Thursday 21 May - Friday 22 May 2015

Total Nautical Miles - 21
Total Time - approx 4 hours
Anchor Up - No Name Cay
Anchor Down - mooring ball at Man O'War Cay 
Number of Clones Spotted - at least 4
Number of Clones Lurking in Secret, Underground Chambers - unknown
Groceries Bought - tortillas (note to self, bring more next time) 
Cost of a Mooring Ball - $21.50

Next time on the blog...we head to Hopetown, where I discover the utter deliciousness of Bahamian mac n'cheese. A gazillion times better than that stuff that comes in a blue box. 

Want to follow along with our eccentric travel adventures? Like us on Facebook, follow us via Google+ or add us to your Bloglovin' or Feedly feeds. We're also on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also sign up to get our posts via email - just submit your email address in the box on the right hand side of our blog page. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wearing A Toaster On My Head & Disappointing Pigs | No Name Cay, Bahamas

"Do you remember that night you wore a toaster on your head?", asked Jane, my pal from SV Wild Blue. If my other pal from SV Wild Blue, Charlie, had asked this, I would have dismissed it as some sort of random nonsense. From time to time, Charlie says (and texts) some peculiar and very funny things. Often rum is involved. But this was Jane speaking. Jane is sensible and coherent when she talks. I was confused.

"What are you talking about Jane?", I asked with a very perplexed look on my face.

"You know. It was that night you guys couldn't find your boat." It was all starting to come back vaguely to me. Then she showed me a picture. Yes, indeed. I was wearing a toaster on my head. I have no idea why. Maybe I was trying to look like the Duchess of Cambridge with all of her stylish hats and fascinators. Maybe this will be the next big thing at all of the royal weddings and christenings - ladies wearing small appliances on their heads.

It was an interesting toaster. Not your usual plug in, two-slice kind of toaster you can buy at Target or Walmart. No, this was the kind of toaster that doesn't require electricity, with four sides to place bread on so that you can make toast on the burner of your propane stove.

Just in case you were wondering, of course I'm not going to publish the picture. I look stupid in it. After all, I'm wearing a toaster on my head. 

Instead here's a picture of Jane and Charlie. I'm sharing this as a sort of preemptive strike, as I have this feeling that the picture of me with the toaster on my head is going to show up on their blog one of these days.

Oh, by the way, we found our boat. And, yes, there was rum involved. 

This all took place at No Name Cay. We went there after our time at Green Turtle Cay in search of pigs. Well, I might have been the only one chomping at the bit to see the pigs. I had seen all of these pictures of the famous swimming pigs in the Exumas and thought they were adorable. Have a look yourself here - aren't they cute? We weren't anywhere near the Exumas and, a bit like Veruca Salt demanding her golden goose, I wanted to see my own adorable, swimming pigs now!

Turns out they weren't adorable. And they don't swim. So disappointing. We left our offerings of old food from our fridge in the designated trough, stared at the boring pigs for a while and then left. Not a single picture taken.

Later we went snorkeling. Fish are much more interesting. And they swim. 

Much, much later, I wore a toaster on my head. A word of warning - if anyone ever offers you multiple glasses of Nassau Royale rum liqueur while holding a small appliance in their hands, just say no. Or, at the very least, make sure there aren't any cameras onboard. 

LOGBOOK NOTES | Wednesday 20 May 2015

Total Nautical Miles - 5
Anchor Up - Green Turtle Cay
Anchor Down - No Name Cay
Total Time - 45 minutes
Number of Glasses of Nassau Royale Drunk - apparently too many 
Pigs vs Fish Smackdown - no question, fish rule

Next up on the Man O'War Cay populated by clones?

Want to follow along with our eccentric travel adventures? Like us on Facebook, follow us via Google+ or add us to your Bloglovin' or Feedly feeds. We're also on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also sign up to get our posts via email - just submit your email address in the box on the right hand side of our blog page.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Goombay Smash & Clearing In | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Can you imagine flying into a foreign country and spending six days there before you show Customs & Immigration your passport and get it stamped? It just baffles me that when you arrive in the Bahamas by sailboat, you can sail around for days on end before you clear in. Of course, you aren't supposed to step onto land until you've forked over some money in exchange for a cruising permit. But you can go snorkeling, watch the sunset from your boat and have happy hour with your pals on their boat. Land might be a bit overrated. 

Eventually, there does come a time in every cruiser's life when you need groceries and rum punch. Not necessarily in that order. We had to find ourselves an island that had three things: (1) a Customs & Immigration office (without a surcharge like Spanish Cay); (2) a grocery store and (3) plenty of Goombay Smash. We found it all at Green Turtle Cay. 

In the Bahamas, only the Captain can go onshore to clear the boat and crew in. Scott is our Captain, so he drew the short straw and had to deal with all the paperwork and bureaucracy. Two things he really loves. 

First stop, the dinghy dock at New Plymouth. 

Next stop, the Customs & Immigration office in this cute pink building, which also houses the post office and public toilets. Always important to note the locations of public toilets when you're middle-aged. You never know when you're going to need one.

Scott filled out some forms, gave the nice lady $150 and she gave him a 90-day cruising permit. It pays to have a relatively tiny boat (34.5') . If ours had been a few inches bigger, it would have cost us $300. After forking over the money, Scott headed back to the boat. The whole process from lowering the dingy, doing the paperwork and zipping back to the boat took less than an hour. I've waited in passport control lines far longer than that at certain airports. Much nicer in the Bahamas - the sun is shining, the officials are smiling, there aren't any police officers with guns and dogs scrutinizing everyone and, best of all, the place that sells Goombay Smash rum punch is just around the corner.

Scott, being a dutiful husband, came back to the boat to collect me before he had a Goombay Smash. He could have gotten away with it so easily. "Sorry, I've been gone so long. You just wouldn't believe the lines at the Customs & Immigration office. It was horrendous! And all the paperwork I had to fill out. And then, I had to go through a full body scanner, followed by some more paperwork. And then they sent me to another office to pay the fees. It was hell." I wouldn't have known any different being back on the boat. Of course, while Scott was clearing in, I may have had a beer. Don't tell him. 

We poked around New Plymouth for a while before our Goombay Smashes. I love all the brightly colored houses, flowers and the narrow streets. 

Then it was off to find a grocery store. Founded in the 18th century, New Plymouth is the main settlement on the island. You can find pretty much everything you need there including groceries. We went into one grocery store and asked if they had coconut bread. Their response, "Coconut bread is just white bread with coconut in it." We moved on to the next store down the road - Sid's Food Store. They will gladly sell you a loaf of coconut bread. They understand that coconut bread is more than just white bread with coconut in it. It's happiness wrapped up in a brown paper bag, just waiting to be devoured for breakfast in the form of French toast. 

Finally, we made it to the Blue Bee bar, the home of Miss Emily's famous Goombay Smash. Although Miss Emily is no longer with us, fortunately her daughter Violet knows the secret recipe and blend of coconut, pineapple and rum. People leave autographed t-shirts, boat cards and business cards on the walls to memorialize their time at the Blue Bee. And some of them write things on the wall that they probably wish they hadn't after one too many Goombay Smashes. You know, because they got themselves all smashed on Goombay Smash.

After cutting ourselves off (while we still could), we walked around to check if our boat was still anchored safely. Good news - the boat was still there and the crew from S/V Wild Blue had arrived. Guess what that meant? After they cleared in, we went back to the Blue Bee for more Goombay Smashes. Any excuse will do.

The next day, we went for a dinghy tour of Black Sound and White Sound. Many boats choose to dock or pick up a mooring ball at one of the marinas in these sheltered sounds, like the Green Turtle Club where we tied up our dinghy. The Green Turtle Club is a pretty posh place, but the folks there are friendly and we snagged a little bit of their free WiFi while sipping on Kalik beer (thanks Charlie!). 

We also got five gallons of drinking water at the marina. Earlier in the day, we ran into some folks we had met at Indiantown. We were comparing stories of our water woes. Turns out that while we had been getting by with a gallon per person a day or less (and that includes bathing, cooking, drinking etc), they were going through 20 something gallons per person a day. Imagine the showers you could have with that much water! No wonder they smelled better than us.

Green Turtle Cay was a smash hit with us. The Goombay Smash at Blue Bee probably had something to do with it, but so did the friendly people, the picturesque buildings and the laid back way of life.

LOGBOOK NOTES | Monday 18 May - Tuesday 19 May 2015

Total Nautical Miles - 4
Anchor Up - Manjack Cay (Coconut Tree Beach)
Anchor Down - Green Turtle Cay (off of New Plymouth)
Goombay Smashes - 5 
Days Flying the Q Flag - 6 
Gallons of Drinking Water Bought - 5

Next up on the blog...disappointing pigs and wearing a toaster on my head.

Linked up with Albom Adventures Reflections Enroute, TheCrowdedPlanet, ContentedTraveller, Safari254, Families Go! & Malaysian Meanders at Weekend Travel Inspiration

Linked up with Bonnie Rose at Travel Tuesday

Monday, June 22, 2015

Crazy Cats, Coconut Bread & Coconut Beach | Spanish Cay & Manjack Cay, Bahamas

We love the folks on this boat. They sure are some crazy cats. I'm talking about the people on board, not the three cats that live there with them (although they're a little crazy in their own way). 

We had met Charlie and Jane from S/V Wild Blue at Indiantown Marina and we ran into them again at Spanish Cay, where we hoping to clear into the Bahamas. It was a surprise to see them. We thought they were a day ahead of us, but there they were, anchored right outside the breakwater of the marina. We dropped our hook right behind them. There was no way we were going to dock at the marina - $108 plus tax and not including water. No thanks. I'll take fabulously free anchoring any day. 

Scott took the dinghy and went to check about clearing in at the marina. Turns out that if you aren't staying at the marina, there is an additional $50 charge to clear in at Spanish Cay. Ah, yeah, I don't think so. I'd rather invest my $50 in more worthwhile causes - like groceries. So we decided to keep flying our Q flag for a few days longer and clear in at Green Turtle Cay. 

While we weren't willing to fork over $108, if you do have some spare change in your pocket, then Spanish Cay looks like a nice place to spend it (keep in mind the charges are per foot, your costs may be higher). The owners and staff are friendly, there are three adorable dogs who will slobber all over you, they have free Wi-Fi (and you have no idea how important this is until you spend some time in the Bahamas!), the bar looks nice and, most importantly, they sell coconut bread. 

Have you ever had coconut bread? I knew very little about the Bahamas before we left, but the one thing I read about constantly was the coconut bread. Scott picked up a loaf and the stories are true, it is delicious. Turn it into French toast, cover it in maple syrup (or the faux Aunt Jemima version) and you have a winner. Scott loved it so much that we ate it pretty much every morning we were in the Bahamas. I'd like to think it was a testament to my cooking skills, but you really can't mess up fried bread that you then drown in a giant puddle of maple flavored sugar syrup.

Although we didn't end up clearing-in at Spanish Cay, we anchored there overnight. I'm not sure what we ended up doing that night. Oh, wait, I remember. We were with Charlie and Jane, so I'm pretty sure we had a few beers on one of our boats. We ended up having a number of beers, rums, rum liqueurs and wine with Charlie and Jane on both of our boats during our time in the Bahamas, so I can't be sure whose boat we were on that night. But one thing I am sure about, it was a fun night. Because Charlie and Jane are fabulously fun. So fabulously fun that we ended up heading to Manjack Cay the next day with them.

Manjack Cay is an uninhabited island with a few anchorages you can drop the hook at. Of course, we picked the one that is reported to have difficult holding - Coconut Tree Beach. If we had read our guidebook, we might have known this. We didn't. 

Charlie and Jane had reached Manjack before we did and were sitting out on their deck sipping on their beers when we arrived. It's always good to have some entertainment when you drinking beer - maybe listening to some music, watching the sun go down or laughing at folks dragging anchor. Those folks would be us. Just in case you were wondering.

We all hung out at Manjack for a couple of nights - drank some beer, worked on boat things and went snorkeling. Now, I know what all the fuss about the Bahamas is - the water is warm and there's pretty fish to look at!

LOGBOOK NOTES | Friday 15 May - Sunday 17 May 2015

Total Nautical Miles - 56
Total Time - 7 hours 40 mins (15 May) & 4 hours (16 May)
Anchorages - Spanish Cay (outside marina breakwater) & Manjack Cay (Coconut Tree Beach)
Price of Coconut Bread - $6 (at Spanish Cay)
Days in the Bahamas Flying the Q Flag - 5 

Next time on the blog...we finally clear in at Green Turtle Cay. Hands down, my favorite inhabited island in the Abacos. The Goombay Smash may have something to do with it.

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