Thursday, February 28, 2008

Movin' South

We spent a few days at Rum Cay to weather a cold front. It is never cold by the time the front gets to us but there can be alot of wind.
Rum Cay was most likely named after the Isle of Rum in Scotland or was it named after the Indiaman that ran aground here with a cargo of rum? Either way, they do not make rum here nor do they make much of anything. The island was once thriving with tourism and had big plans for a large new resort development. Hard times drove the developer away and left ugly scars in their wake.
Despite this blemish the island is beautiful. We rented golf carts and set out for some backcountry touring.
The inhabitants are not wealthy but they do their best with the resources available.

The view from the road was breathtaking. We use the term "road" liberally. This was one of the better roads we traveled.

We found a great little place to eat our lunch.

Our next port of call was Mayaguana. It would take us south east again and require an overnight passage. Overnight passages can mean brilliant stars, bright moon and all the romance of a Daniel Steele novel. It can also be a Stephen King novel with a wicked twist. Such was our trip to Mayaguana and it took us a few days to recover. Once we got our stomachs back, we visited the locals. This out-island has very little tourism. The local hang out was a bar...surprise.

The local grocery store had a few staples and friendly staff.

The locals fish and hunt conch. They do not hunt lobster. That means there is alot of lobster here. Good News! Steve has a new pole spear and we decided to go out on the shallow reef to try our luck.
Steve turned out to have a deadly aim and once we figured out where the lobsters liked to hang out we were in business. We presented our first catch, 5.5 lbs of lobster, to Jim on Dawn Dancer. Jim and Roxanne would transform out catch into a fine evening meal for 10.

We ended up with about 10 pounds of lobster. For reference, the small middle lobster weighed in at 1 lb.

It was quite a feast.

Our next stop was Turks and Caicos Islands. These islands are not part of the Bahamas. They are a territory belonging to England. It is also considered the beginning of the Caribbean. More to come.
Until we meet again,
Captain and Crew
Steve and Anne
S/V Fine Line

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fish Story

We left Georgetown Bahamas with about 50 other boats. Once a good weather window comes along the cruisers pick up anchor and move on.

We had a nice sail over to Long Island. The wind was on our beam at 10-15 knots. It was nice to be moving again. The fishing pole was up and a nice yellow/green skirted lure was out looking for a Mahi Mahi.
We came up empty on our fishing line but the beautiful bay at Long Island made us forget all about it. Calabash Bay has incredible sand and clear water. It has been named one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. There is a small resort on the bay with little cottages for rent. We managed to find the local resort bar and joined our traveling friends for Happy Hour.

People swear you can see a "green flash" as the sun sets. How may beers does it take?
We left Calabash Bay for Conception Island the next day. We were again favored with some decent winds and after leaving the island lee we raised the sails and moved along at 7 knots. The fishing line was out again! We were having a discussion on changing the lure when we heard a loud zinnnnnng and out went the line...way out! Steve grabbed the line and Anne let the sails loose to slow down the boat. We had something big on the line. 45 minutes later we reeled in a big Wahoo. It was our first big catch. The Wahoo measured 55 inches and topped the hand held scale at 50 pounds.

We anchored off the sandy shore of Conception Island and showed off our catch. Deborah from Water Music came onboard with her tools and showed us how to remove every morsel of flesh from the Wahoo.

It was not an easy job cleaning this big fish on our side deck. We don't have a dedicated fish cleaning station on the boat.
We got enough Wahoo to feed our friends and put steaks in the freezer.Later in the evening, our friends on Dawn Dancer hosted a grand buffet with Wahoo cooked many different ways. It was a delightful way to end the day.We also celebrated fellow cruiser Cody's 8 year birthday. Conception Island is a Bahamian National Park. The beaches are pristine and surrounded by shallow reef easily explored with mask and snorkle. The mangrove creeks are fun to explore at high tide. Turtles favor these warm waters but are very camera shy.
This cute little Trunk Fish would visit when we did our dishes. He especially liked scrambled eggs.

We picked up anchor and headed southeast the next morning bound for Rum Cay. It was a nice sail and we anchored off another beautiful shore.
Stay tuned for our Rum Cay visit and the our lobster adventure in Mayaguan.
Ahoy Friends
Captain Clean and Crew
S/V Fine Line

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What's Happening On Your Island?

We have been in Georgetown for over a month now. It was not our intention to stay here so long but here we are still. It began with the VHF radio not receiving. You can see the hole in our navigation desk. The radio had to be sent to Bellingham WA for repair. It is not an easy thing to send a package from here to there. Between customs, planes, and trucks, it took 3 weeks for the radio to arrive back on our boat. But now it works and we are happy and ready to move on. With our radio on an international travel plan, we decided to do some traveling of our own.....on land. We rented a car and drove up-island and down-island, all in one day. The island may be lacking in historical sites but the beaches and restaurants are easy to find.

Deborah and David on Water Music. Anne and Steve on Fine Line. Kathy and Fred on Makai.
Santana is the Proprietress of the Santana Bar and Grill. She does know how to cook!! She is one of 9 children. Her mom is famous, known on the island as "Mom" the baker. The lobster and ribs were great.Next door is the famous Mom's Bakery (Santana's Mom). Mom bakes bread for almost the entire island. Not only do you get a great loaf of bread, Mom dispenses free hugs to all her customers. Mom's van can be seen in various spots on the island delivering bread. She is parked in Georgetown on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The boaters flock ashore to enjoy her goodies.

When we are not out and about exploring, we do have daily tasks just like at home. Going to the market is a little trickier here than at home. We have a 1.5 mile ride in our small dinghy across the harbor to the market. If the weather is calm it is a nice ride. If the wind is blowing, we get wet. To get to the market we have to pass under this little bridge. Sometimes there are waves breaking in the entrance and we have alot of fun as we try to surf in without falling out....ha ha.The grocery store here is nice. It is similar to a small town market. Sometimes they have things you need and sometimes they don't. It depends on when the supply ship comes in. Food prices are very high here. There is a 35% duty on all goods brought into the country. We pay $4.75 for 1/2 gallon of milk. We are happy just to get our hands on it whatever the price.The beaches and the water here more than make up for the extravagant prices. You are surrounded by water. The bay is usually calm. A short walk takes you to the ocean.There is alot of reef offshore but unless the Atlantic is dead calm, it is very hard to swim out and snorkle. We do try.

There is plenty of beach for long walks.
Good company.
Cold fronts come through the area at least once per week during winter. It usually does not get cold but it does get windy.

The fronts move fast and good weather is never far behind.
The sand is spectacular like a sugar beach.
After a long walk on the beach there is nothing more refreshing than a visit to the local pub at St. Francis. The bartender makes a great Rum Punch and the beer is ice cold.The staff is very friendly.Trivial Pursuit is a happening event once a week.

Impromptu beach parties are almost nightly events with very authentic "island" decor and music.

Parties here usually means BYOB and bring a munchie. With free music and lots of food you can bet a crowd will show up.

Lots of people stay here for months at a time. There is plenty of reasons to never leave but the adventure of a new port is tantalizing.

Ahoy from Captain and Crew

Fine Line