Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pig Roast

A big event in the islands is the PIG ROAST. Two popular "beach bars" participate in this ritual roasting. Nippers restaurant is by far the most popular. Located on Great Guana Cay, it attracts a hugh crowd. Nippers is to the Abacos what Foxys is to Jost Van Dyke and what Hussongs used to be to Ensenada. It can be wild! The crowds arrived by ferry and boat from surrounding islands. The locals joined in as well.
The parking lot was full of golf carts. No real cars allowed which is a good thing since the majority of people leaving would not pass a breathalizer test.
Nippers is located on a beautiful beach. You can swim, bodysurf or beachcomb to your hearts delight. Drinking is allowed on the beach.....big surprise.

Don't like the beach? No problem. Enjoy yourself around one of the two fresh water pools.

The food was greatly enhanced by a "cold one".

Anne tried to get Captain Clean into the "hair braiding" chair. No amount of beer could convince him but he is considering a simple pony tail!

This was one of our favorite t-shirts.

The band started up and the party really began to "swing". You tend to hear the same favorite island tunes no matter who is playing. Occasionally the band instruments will include a saw, washboard and other interesting implements that create a throbbing beat.

There was no shortage of people "doing their thing".

Plenty of "tushies" shaking it up.

By mid afternoon, there was no room left in the harbor. Many of the party revelers came by small power boats and planned to return to other islands the same way. Unfortunately, drinking and driving, whether by car or boat, is not a good mix. The conclusion of the story provides a good example:

It was dusk and the captain and crew were safely onboard playing dominoes.....truly. Over the VHF radio came the dreaded "Mayday, mayday, mayday". Seems one of the small powerboats lost a person overboard on their return voyage to their home port. Unfortunately, they were not sure when or where they lost him, but lost he was.
There is no 911 and there is no US Coast Guard in the Bahamas. There are no helicopters. It was quickly becoming dark and it was frightening to think of someone in the water being carried by the strong current and 15- 20 knot winds. The boat with the lost passenger affirmed worst fears that he was not wearing a lifejacket. The good news was however, that he was young and a good swimmer.
Emergency response in the Bahamas is handled by BASRA (Bahama Air Sea Rescue), a volunteer organization. The local volunteers manned their boats and headed out to intiate a search for the missing passenger.
The good news is the floating victim was found after about 30 minutes. He was wet and cold but otherwise in good condition. Good ending.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Shakin It Up With Da Sista and Joe

We welcomed Lisa and Joe Matulich (Anne's sister) to paradise. They arrived just in time for a pirate invasion on Green Turtle Cay. We immediately set sail for the festivities. Green Turtle Cay, like so many Caribbean Islands, have an annual Carnival. Arts, crafts, local food and the famous Goombay beat attracts boaters and islanders from afar. Goombay music is to the Bahamas what reggae is to Jamaica. It has a fast paced beat and an infectious melody.

The Goombay music instruments consist of drums (can be anything from goatskin drum to trash can), rhythm sticks, rattles, conch horns, cowbells and a loud whistle. The local guys really get into it.

And the local girls show off their talents. They have the moves!

We were also treated to the Bahamian National Band. They played beautifully while marching through the crowd. They wore handsome uniforms of white and red with leopard skins adorning a few of the musicians.

A bit of rest for the gang on the seawall.

Pirates were lurking everywhere and capture was inevitable.

As usual, the pirates ended up fighting.

Lisa and Joe auditioned for Pirates Of The Caribbean. Look out Johnny!
After the fun, Lisa and Joe were happy to see their room and bed waiting for them. In the ensuing week, many naps were taken here. Don't forget when you get home, Lisa and Joe, rum drinks and then nap!

The ring toss is a local pastime that can consume competitive people. Welcome Lisa and Joe. We are glad to report they both mastered the intricate wrist movement to secure the ring on the hook. Joe measured the apparature so he can build one in Kevin and Michelle's yard. Just make sure the bar is open before play begins.

Catching a bite at the local restaurant. The TV was on so we got to see Sub-Tropical Storm Andrea blowing on us. The seas were up to 20 feet outside the reef and the guests got to see the captain and crew sleeping in the cockpit while at anchor. Those 30 knot winds can play havoc with your anchor so sleeping down below is out of the question. Fortunately we escaped unscathed unlike the powerboat next to us who broke his mooring line and ended up on da rocks. OUCH!

Stormy seas.
Last but not least is a bit of shopping. There are very few shops malls. You have to look hard to spend your money but Lisa and Anne managed to do just that. We have the "shopping talent gene".

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fishing at Manjack Cay And Other Tall Tales

We traveled a bit further north to Manjack Cay, 26.49.15N, 77.21.85W. We decided to do some hiking on this little populated island with our friends David and Deborah (Australia). Little did we know the local residents, Bill and Leslie had organized a "beach clean up day". We were quickly conscripted into trash picker-upers and we hiked through the Mangroves to the beach with shovels, gloves, garbage bags, water and lots of bug spray...itch itch itch. There is no shortage of trash on these beautiful beaches. Where does it come from? Fishing boats, cruise ships, other islands, etc. There is lots of plastic, single shoes, lumber, fishing equipment. It is a junk swap meet! The locals claim Nike shoes are collectors items so Nike shoes are saved from the pyre.
There are no garbage dumps on these islands so trash is burned. Plastic burns real well producing a large black toxic cloud. CaptainClean was frothing at the mouth to put the fire out but the trash-picker pyro group restrained him.

We all jumped in the water and watched the fire from afar except CaptainClean who took this picture. The beach is one of the most beautiful we have seen so far. Off shore is the third largest barrier reef in the world and has spectacular snorkeling.

The fishing is also good. This particular morning we trolled for about 20 minutes before we caught this little Nassau Grouper. It was our first edible catch so we were very excited. CaptainClean did a great job filleting him for dinner.

The island offers lots of good hiking and it is a good idea to cover up for sun and bug protection. The mangroves breed mosquitos and lots, lots of No See Ums (little tiny nasty creatures that leave small red itchy bumps). There are lots of birds and lizards. We have not seen any large wild animals but there are plenty of unleashed dogs looking for adoption.
The dock Anne is standing on was reached by walking through the marsh and mangroves on a wooden platform built by local residents Bill, Leslie and visiting cruisers.

The perfect end to a perfect day at a perfect anchorage.