January 15-31, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

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Jan 15 - If you didn't read about our crossing over to the Bahamas, you should click on the previous log above and read it. We had a rough and wonderful crossing.

Yes, we are in Nassau. I thought you might enjoy this picture that I took of a picture just so you could try and figure out where we've anchored. We are at the top left. I don't think you can actually see us since the book was printed before we arrived....

Today we dinghy'd in and walked what seemed like the entire length of the island and almost was. We went from the far end up top to the bottom. Along the way, we went by all the tourist places that seem like are at every town, near every pier where a cruise ship stops. I guess it is good for the island since that is how they make money, tourists. I'm just tired of seeing the same thing in every port.


On the walk up, we saw this sign and thought it was a tourist information place. Nope, it was for information about the government. I apologized, although they did give us a map and we went on our merry way.

However, I began thinking about little Jimmy Buffett, our Senegal Parrot we left behind in Key West. On the way back, I thought why not stop in again and see if we kept him on the boat, would he officially need to be checked into the Bahamas?

To me this was a good question because this is where it all begins. If they consider him always on US soil, then I don't have to have his passport stamped leaving the US which means I don't have to stamp him back in. The key is, is that the way they see it?

The nice lady who was the receptionist at the counter didn't know. However, she did call an Information Officer and he came out from his office to help.

Eric was the gentleman who came out to help. What a great guy. Initially, he thought the same as I did about Jimmy Buffett. However, he said "let me make some calls for you to see who we can get to answer this for us." It seems I'm the first person to walk in with this question. Eric made at least three calls to different agencies before he found the right one. He then called them and got through to a person who could answer the question and handed the phone to me. Pretty cool wasn't it. Great Service! Of course I didn't get the answer I wanted. Instead, because we own a Senegal Parrot, we do have to get an import permit and then an export permit and of course have the CITES passport. This means I would have to have his passport stamped leaving the US and then we would have to go through some sort of quarantine coming back. I left the office and guess who came running out for me? Eric, I had thought he went back to the office but he wanted to know the answer so he could help someone else someday. Again, what a great guy and as everyone knows, I love customer service and a person that truly takes his job seriously. Thanks Eric.

I guess we will simply have to resign ourselves to either going through the quarantine or leaving him with the same pet shop in Key West or with our friend Peggy in Norfolk. Oh well, I guess now we know.

So off I went to meet up with Deb, Bill and Christy at the Green Parrot. Great end to the story isn't it? After talking about a green parrot going to the Green Parrot. Well, we didn't stay long because they hadn't served them for 10 minutes. However, on the way out, we saw these palm trees and growing off of them, was this branch with what looked like seeds or ???? I guess that is how palm trees continue their species.

We went on to the next place which was the Poop Deck and had a great lunch. Deb and I split something but we had this great view. Of course the first thing I noticed was we could see our boat anchored out there. You can see it too in the middle of the picture. Still where we left it, that's a good thing by the way.

If you don't think that Nassau is a boating town, all you have to do is look at the pictures below. Boats are everywhere!

After our late lunch, we went back to the boat and I then went off to the Hurricane Harbor of the Atlantis Resort. I just wanted to find out if we could pull our dinghy's in and go pay our fees to go to the resort. I met the greatest guy, Stevie is the dockmaster and he said, No problem mon. Just come in and park at 56 or 57 and if anyone asks, tell them you know Stevie. Pretty cool, now I'm on the in with the dockmaster of one of the most exclusive resorts in the Bahamas. I let Stevie know we would be back in a couple of days and thanked him. I think Stevie learned the Golden Rule, I hope I can pay him back someday.

Jan 17 - We took off for our visit to Atlantis. The complex is HUGE and as you will see, very impressive. It is over the top, decadent, expensive, and all the other names you would associate with an upscale luxury resort. What I didn't find out until this morning, thanks for the thought Bernie, was they had a room sale on and I could have gotten a room there for a night at $179 plus tax I'm pretty sure and beat the system. Oh well, it was cool regardless. So here is the story.

As you already know, we were able to dinghy into the Hurricane Hole Marina and tie up at one of the docks. Thanks again Stevie. From there we walked over to Atlantis. Now came the first shock. We had heard you could get a pass for about $25 or 30. We went in expecting that and found out instead that it costs $32 per person to see the aquarium and the "Dig" or $55 for the beaches, or $105 for a day pass - per person. The day pass lets you use everything in the complex. Well, I already knew we weren't spending $210 to hang out for a day so after talking to Deb, she elected to spend her 32 bucks in the casino and look at my pictures of the aquarium and the Dig. So that is exactly what we did and we both had a good time. She likes to play video poker (I hate it,) and I like to see all the fish and get good pictures for the website.

You can get an idea of the complex in the picture to the right. This is about 1/4th of the complex. The pool at the bottom is actually part of one of the aquariums. The pictures at the bottom are more of the detail they have put into this facility.

Atlantis reminded me of the best Vegas hotels, the Opreyland hotel in Nashville (before they butchered the gardens) and of course Disney World. I have no clue what such a complex would cost and I can only dream of the thousands and thousands of people that are necessary to maintain it.

After paying for our wrist bands, we walked down a path next to one of the first fish ponds. The water was clear and the fish were easy to observe but you found yourself being in awe of the facility while at the same time looking at all of the species of fish you will find in the ocean.

After walking down the walkways above the aquarium, we entered the viewing tunnel. At first, I thought it would be a fairly short viewing area. Afterall, we went to the national aquarium in Washington D.C. and what a disappointment that was, so I figured this one would be better but didn't know how much.

Of course the problem I ran into was that shooting pictures through the glass didn't get as clear of pictures as I would like. I also had to post process them some by increasing the contrast and decreasing the brightness on each one. Regardless, they came out better than I thought and I'm sure, or I hope, I won't be getting as close to the sharks as we did here.

In some parts of the aquarium, they used the tubes that you can walk through so you get the entire experience as if you were diving. What I was also impressed with was when we walked past the water park area and they had tubes you could ride though their lazy river, wave machine and ultimately through a tube in an aquarium. Of course for that, you need a different wrist band.

After we exited one of the tunnels, we were able to walk above one of the fish ponds. Of course the details of simulated coral with all of the waterfalls added to the fish viewing experience.

We were able to see sea turtles and of course the unique looking hammerhead sharks. I was amazed at how shallow the water was the hammerhead swims in.

More paths to walk down and ultimately we reached the entrance of "The Dig." This is a simulated archeological dig for the lost continent Atlantis. They went through the so called findings and of course the feature element was another aquarium.

They did a nice job simulating what might have been the culture and history. I'm sure this was something a bunch of creative people did over too many beers one evening. When they were done, the statement was probably made - lets see if they will buy that? If they do, we will be rich! Buy it they did and I'll bet the designers are rich.

We took a tour of "The Dig" which was nice because the tour guide was very informed about the different species of fish.

They had three LARGE rays in this aquarium and one of them had a wing span of 14 feet. It was very impressive.

In the middle of "The Dig," they had a hands on area and you could touch the starfish and the conch's. If you didn't know what a conch looked like, you can see the close up to the left. The black things in the middle are the conch's eyes. I didn't get the picture of the nail or horn that is at the end of the "body" which the conch uses to drag itself across the bottom of the ocean.

Outside, I was able to get a picture of the two largest rays and again, they just swam so effortlessly.

In addition, there is a dolphin experience you could also pay for. I didn't price that one... If you do it, they will put you in groups of about 8, where you will put on a wetsuit and then after a briefing you can go with one of the handlers to their dolphin pond. At the designated time, you give the signal they taught you and off the dolphin goes to do the specified trick. You might be able to see the dolphin in the air on the left side of the picture below. Of course before this happens, the dolphins have come right up to you and you've been able to pet them.

If you are looking for a great time, perhaps you might consider a visit to the Atlantis instead of a cruise. Especially if you can get a deal on a room.

After talking things over, Deb wasn't ready to leave Nassau yet and to be honest, I could use a few down days. So, Bill and Christy went on down towards the Exumas with a short weather option and we decided to move to a more out of the way anchorage. As you can see in the picture to the right, we were very close to the channel.

We moved to a more central anchorage and put out two anchors again for the upcoming fronts. Right now, we don't know if we are leaving Saturday or if we will wait for the next opportunity later in the week. It depends on a couple of factors and the primary one is the wind on Saturday. Secondary, is we are going to need propane by the end of next week and we are going to see about getting a tank filled before we leave. Regardless, we really don't care. We've made it and now we want to experience it all. I want to sample some authentic Bahamian cuisine instead of tourist food and we've also been told we have to go to the "Fish Fry" which is held in the evenings with live music and Junkanoo dancing. I guess you will just have to check back to see what happens next.

Jan 18 - I made this mistake a few days ago! Big mistake! I took Deb shopping. Now I always thought shopping was to walk around and look for things. I thought that if you go shopping you don't come back with anything, instead you are just shopping around. Now I've come to know that for Deb, shopping may mean buying. We keep having this discussion over and over. If you buy something, you either have to eat it, drink it or throw something else away. Otherwise we will sink the boat.

After we went shopping, Deb decided she just had to have a new backpack to replace the one she is wearing to the right. She said the one she has is heavy (my thought is take some junk out of it) and it isn't as nice as the one she gave up to the ocean (how do you argue that?) when she fell in at Titusville. So off we went yesterday walking to The straw market to bargain for this bag. I tutored her, coached her and really did think she would bargain without just giving in. We already had a price for the new bag at 35 bucks and I figured she could get it for 25-30. Of course I'm still looking for one similar that could be purchased for even less when I see her pulling out a 20, 10 and 5 and handing it over. Oops. didn't she hear the market went down 300 points and what happened to bargaining? Oh well, picture later after my tears dry out.

I met her then at Senior Frogs and of course they were having a good time as you can see below.

Below right is where we are anchored right now. This is a commercial harbor and  we are anchored right off of where the shipping boats come and go all day. Pretty cool. Also, we are more out of the current here so even though it is rougher than a typical anchorage, we do stay pointed into the wind.

Yesterday it was my complete focus to get some native cuisine. So off we went to the Bahamian Kitchen. It has been in operation for over 30 years and came recommended by several people we met. The food was really good and different. We split a seafood platter and in addition to the fried seafood, you have rice and peas (I think they are black eyed peas), macaroni and cheese (but it wasn't the noodles, it was more like lasagna), and finally some fried bananas that are grown on the island (I didn't write down the local name.) These were spiced with some local spices and it was all very good. They didn't over do the fish, instead they lightly breaded it instead of the heavy breading typical in the states. Overall, I give it an A and I hope to sample more at the other islands.

Next, we had to find out about getting propane. At lunch we met one of the owners of the Bahamian Kitchen and he found out a source from a friend having lunch there too. It was to be easy. Call a number, the guy will answer and arrange to bring his truck and fill you up. Easy right? Nope! We headed back to the Green Parrot because that is where we could use a phone and a good place to wait. I called the three numbers and finally got someone who was to call someone else and call me back. We waited, waited, waited, waited, waited and I then called him back. No problem Mon, he'll call you. We waited, waited, waited, waited and then I just thought I'll ask the bar tender if he has a car. After all, we know it will cost 45 bucks to get a cab so I can get propane so I have a starting price. I also knew that you can sometimes leave the tank at a marina and it will be filled the next day. However, the marina said the guy wasn't reliable and he may or may not do it for 2-4 days. So, back to the bartender. He started the conversation by asking if the guy had called back and I said no and then went on my fishing expedition to see if he might have a car. He said sure Mon and I can fill the tank for you tonight and bring it back tomorrow on my way to work. Oh my gosh, another great person. So, we made the deal and he said he really didn't want anything, he was just helping me out. Well, I went out to the boat and got my tank and then ran into another cruiser who needed his tank filled. Then another cruiser. So in the end, I loaded Richie up with 3 tanks and told the rest of the cruisers that they should tip him well! Next morning, Richie ran into some delays at the gas fill station but came in at about 10 am and we were there to pay him and get our tanks. I tipped him and thanked him many times. It is always great to run into nice people and I'm really liking the people in the Bahamas.

Remember the Atlantis? I found out from Tom, one of the owners of the Bahamian Kitchen, that they have 6,000 employees. Wow, what a great thing for Nassau. I also found out that the Bahamas is part of the Commonwealth similar to Canada. The Queen has to approve the leaders here. In addition, they do not have income tax. Rather, they have a value added tax which is applied at customs. This can range from low for food, to very high for luxury items. An example would be a $20,000 car may have a tax of 30 percent while a $100,000 car would have a tax of 100 percent. I guess they figure if you have it, we want our share too.

This morning, while waiting for Richie to arrive with the propane, I looked down at the cruise ship dock and there are 5 ships in town today. I'll bet the place is a zoo down in the shopping area and over at Atlantis. We've decided to stick around the boat most of the day and get out this afternoon to head down to the Fish Fry. It should be an interesting evening and I'll try to get an update in tonight.

We may be off tomorrow for the islands of the Exumas but we really don't know yet. There is a huge cold front coming and with it winds at 30 knots (35 mph.) They are supposed to get here sometime between Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. However, the strength and time of arrival has been changing so we won't have a good forecast until tomorrow morning at about 6:30 and I'll make the decision at that time if we are pulling anchors then, waiting until Sunday or waiting until later in the week to leave. It will all depend on wind direction and strength. I don't want to go straight into a strong wind but I'm ready to go if it will be lighter and off to our side. I guess we will just have to see. Such is sailing and living with the environment.

 Jan 20 - We went to the Fish Fry on Friday night and had a great time. To get there, we took walked about a half a mile to catch the number 10 bus. There were several of them but what I noticed was the guy on the street saying "you want the 10 bus? Take this one" well he was getting paid off by the bus driver. The rest of them were empty. I guess they are private buses and they have their own fillers. We had a wild ride over and then we ate well and walked around and looked at all of the different buildings. We were too early for the Junkanoo dancing however. We will have to do that next time we are in Nassau. Regardless, we had a great meal at one of the places that was highly recommended by many of the Bahamians we have met, The Twin Brothers Restaurant.

Deb and I are splitting almost every meal these days because typically people serve you too much food and we are getting into eating smaller portions. Here, we ordered the steamed snapper, peas and rice, fried plantain (bananas) and the macaroni and cheese. When it all came, we were happy we were splitting this meal! What took Deb awhile to get was the fact that the fish came with the head on. I guess she figured they would filet it like in the states but no. They cleaned it and removed the skin, steamed the fish and that was the way it came. It was delicious. Of course we had had the other dishes before but these were actually better and there was more than at the other restaurant.


 Of course we were told that we had to have the conch salad and you can see it piled high to the left. We were told it was raw and we didn't ask. I'm thinking it was. It was very good and "hot" from a spice stand point. I asked if they were Jalapeno peppers and she said no, they were Golden Peppers. I haven't found golden peppers yet but will look again today before the BIG wind event comes in. After we were finished at the Fish Fry we had two choices, take a bus back and then walk the rest of the way or a cab. We negotiated a $10 cab ride and Deb was happy.

Yes, we are still in Nassau but who cares. I went over and talked to one of the people at BASRA which is the Bahamas Sea Rescue Association, about Allen's Cay (by the way, Cay is pronounced Key) and Normans Cay to see if we could be sheltered enough there from the 30 knot, gale force, winds that are coming. He said if you've been here and your anchors are set, you are more protected. So, I thought what are a few more days in Nassau. Latest forecast is we may be out of here on Tuesday about mid morning but again, we will have to wait to see. Regardless, we will tie down our sails today and get ready for the wind which is to arrive sometime this evening. We won't leave the boat until it is over. This kind of reminds us of being in Key West again with the fronts moving through. The difference in this one is that a weather forecaster, Chris Parker, that I listen to on Shortwave said this is the largest front to move through this winter and typically you only get one or two of them this strong in a winter season. So, here we are waiting for number one.

I'm sure all is well where you are and you have different problems such as cold to worry about. Stay warm and we will try to stay anchored.

 Ok, a last minute update. I heard all of these gulls outside our boat. I knew Jimmy Buffett didn't call them so I thought they had come to roost. Nope, there were fish feeding on the little fish that were hanging out under our Cat. Well, it didn't take me long to grab my small spinning rod and try the lure that was on it. No luck. Changed to a shrimp lure. No luck. Went to a small spoon and on the first fast, I had a fish on and you can see it to the right. This was identified as a Frigate Mackerel which according to my book is poor eating. Oh well, it sure is fun catching them. I caught and released about 10 of them laughing the entire time. The book says they are good for bait so now I know what I'll do when I get out to the islands. Try to catch a few of these, cut them up and then put out my bottom rig to catch the good eating ones. You know, you just shouldn't be able to have this much fun at 8 am.

By the way for those fishing people, you had to have it moving fast on the surface for them to strike. That way they didn't get a great look at it. When it was below the surface, they would turn there nose up and laugh at me. I had the last laugh however.


 Jan 20 - So what are you to do? Our latest forecast said we might be able to leave on Tuesday. So, instead of waiting until Tuesday to do laundry, we took off late morning on Sunday to get the laundry done and now all we have to do is not drag. Well, as the laundry was in the dryer, you could see the DARK clouds approaching Nassau. Here we were away from the boat and obviously the rain was going to come down. I felt the cold air come in and there is one thing I know! When you have the air filled with moisture and the cold front comes, something is coming down. We are too far south for snow so it has to be rain. I told Deb to pull the laundry from the dryer and we were leaving. Ok, it only had about 5 minutes to go but it wasn't dry. Didn't matter, we were leaving. There is always wind when these things happen. So, we were in the dinghy and off to our boat which was about a mile away. The rain started just as we were 100 feet from the boat and by the time we got the laundry in and Deb on-board, the rain came down, and down, and down.

Now I see this as an opportunity because we hadn't been able to wash our boat with all the salt on it. Besides, all the sand and diesel particulates were making it dirty. We had fresh water being provided from above and all we really needed was a bit of soap and some labor. With my rain jacket on, I'm out cleaning the boat and believe me, it needed it. I finished in the rain and over the rest of the day, the rain rinsed the boat off to what I was pleased to say is now a clean boat.

You just have to take advantage of situations.

We are now on anchor watch (3:30 on Sunday) and have moved about 5 feet since we are pulling on the 22 pound delta and taking up slack. The wind is supposed to shift tonight in about 6 hours about 60 degrees to our starboard and we will be pulling more on the Rocna than the Delta. I have the GPS alarm set and will probably stay in the salon to check everything every hour. Hopefully we won't have to do something in the middle of the night. However, if we do, we have our headsets ready so Deb can hear what I need done.

So far, I've seen people dragging in the 20 knot winds and there are some fisherman coming in to anchor so they are out of the storm. It's going to be the storm of the winter - sounds like fun doesn't it?


 Another update. (I have too much time on my hands when all we do is sit on the boat, play cards and make sure we aren't going anywhere in an anchorage called "poor holding.")

As we were hanging out, we noticed this fishing boat come in. Deb said, "what is he throwing overboard?" I looked in the binoculars and he was throwing conch shells over. You can actually see some splashing in the water. The guy is bent over a dark pile on top of the front of the boat.

I'm sure they went out today and they collected bunches of conch, cleaned them and put the meat into a cooler and then put the shells on front of the boat. Now when they got back, they throw out an anchor in front and back into a spot so they can tie up. Here is something somebody may try to help me with. The water depth here isn't infinite. Therefore, if everytime they return and throw conch shells over, at some point, where will they dock? Afterall, it seems to me that they will be filling up their stall. Ok, I know, use logic daily and be frustrated.

So goes an afternoon on anchor watch.


 Right now it is blowing between 20 and 25 knots. I thought it might be interesting for the non-sailors to know how I know if I'm ok or not. Besides looking out the window at a bridge and saying I'm ok, I actually have a better way aboard. With all of the new GPS's, you have a thing called tracks. To the left you can see some of our tracks. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I basically use tracks for two reasons. First is when I arrive at an anchorage and I want to leave the next day before daylight. Afterall, if I got in without running around, then I should be able to get out on the same track. That is one reason. Another reason it to see if my anchor is holding or not. Basically, I leave on the GPS after anchoring, have a glass of wine, and let the GPS make some tracks. Then during the night if the wind comes up, I can see if I'm dragging or not. There are some variables however. First is that over here in the Bahamas, I've used two anchors almost every night. In addition, I also use a kellet, which means that on my bridle I have a 15 pound anchor hanging from it so it will keep the pull lower. Now if the wind dies a bit, then the kellet anchor will pull the boat forward and if the wind picks up, the boat goes back. That is one of the reasons the lines aren't perfectly in line. You can see that there are basically three lines on the left. The first is about 5 feet to the right of the triangle on the screen. These are the first tracks I plotted about 3 days ago. The second series which is were the triangle is in this picture, is where the boat blows back and forth in about 20 knots of wind. The third, the furthest to the left, is the plot I had this afternoon late which I originally thought was because the anchor might have dragged a bit. However, we came back to the middle plot and are about there now. I'm not completely sure why we are back but it means that we didn't drag. I think it could be one of two reasons - first was the gps signal was off a bit and second was that based on the direction of the wind, direction of the current, and the amount of wind, I simply was about 5-10 feet further back. I actually think it was the current and wind strength. Regardless, it seems that we are holding and right now we have 25 knots of wind.

I know I'm giving too much detail here but it kind of shows the analysis I use as I encounter different situations as we move along. I actually enjoy things like this because I like to understand why the boat does certain things and learn from it.

Jan 21 - Deb just told me this is our 432nd day at sea or I should say since October 15th 2006 when we dropped the lines from our dock at Kentucky Lake and went cruising. Just another day and night in paradise.

We spent the night last night jumping in and out of bed everytime the anchor alarm went off on the GPS. I set it very tight - 50 feet which means when the boat swings with changing winds or the current, it sets the alarm off. However, we are only 50 yards from shore so that would equate to about 150 feet. Not much time if we really had a problem plus the bank is rock and concrete.

I showed you the tracks from last night and this is what we had this morning. You can see where we spent most of our time, but when the current changed we also moved around our anchors. I actually didn't think the current would have that much effect in 25-30 knot winds, but it did. Regardless, we awoke in the same place this morning. Again, this normally isn't a big deal with this level of winds except the chart says this is poor holding and after looking at it with my bucket, I would have to concur. I'm looking forward to looking at the anchors before we pull them to see how they really did. More pictures......


One of the reasons we really like the position we are in right now is the line of boats in front of us when the tide is going out. All of those boats are northeast of us and that is where the winds are coming from. I know they have helped us. We see 4 other boats drag and have to move since we started all of this 18 hours ago. I don't know, honestly, if it is because we selected the right place and anchored well or, if we were just lucky.

I guess in the end, it doesn't matter as long as we stay put.

Today it is just more of the same. Lots of wind and cleaning up places on the boat we typically haven't gotten to. Our latest weather update says this will all pass by tomorrow afternoon, settle down and we will be out of here on Wednesday. We will spend the night at Allen's Cay and then move on Thursday for another anchorage again protected from north winds. Looks like another strong front is coming through on Thursday night. Don't you love it? Excitement! Adventure! Life at the fullest! Having a blast with each other!

 I just finished the above and this guy on the right had to re-anchor, again. He was dragging, again. You can just make him out on the front deck. I hope he is ok this time because it appears he is in the way of those big boats you see above.  
 More on that last update... Nope, he wasn't ok. The next time, he was close to us and I went forward on our boat and tried to get his attention to no avail. Next I screamed, it is very windy and noisy, CAPTAIN! Ok, he turned his head. I screamed again, I had two anchors down and he was almost on top of them. For the next hour he provided entertainment and fear. The entertainment was here is a guy in his underwear trying to anchor. After the next 4 times, he then tried to put out two anchors. This he did for another 3 times. Everytime was about the same. He would be dragging, then he would put the engine in gear and run up on the anchors. Next he would try to get his windlass to work and pull one of them up but there are two out. He would drag that one around for awhile and I had flashbacks of the guy in Key West who cut a sailors anchor line. I just knew he was going to pull either one of my anchors out or somebody else's. By the way, the person behind me had their engine fail so if he drug their's out, they are on the bank. On and on it went. Finally, he ran below and put on some black shorts. (Not shown in pictures.) And at long last, he decided to try a different place. Hooray! The picture below is him leaving. I feel sorry for the people downwind of us but now I can finally warm back up the lunch I was about to eat when this all started.

 Jan 23 - Just when we thought the dragging had ended, off went another boat dragging down on the catamaran you see in the picture on the right. The captain of the boat to the right went forward and took up some chain hoping the anchor had reset. I thought, I would go ahead and re-anchor since we only had about 30-45 min of daylight left. Well, wouldn't you know it, an hour later he was out pulling up the anchors because he was dragging again. Then he left. I don't know where he went but I guess he figured he wasn't going to get his anchors to set there.

I'm really happy I bought that new anchor! So far so good although we are still getting our confidence built up with it. I've talked to people who have drug and in each case they had the "knock off" Bruce anchors just like we did before. Given the current in this anchorage, it seems you have to have a sharp anchor to get it to set. The Bruce just isn't, it is dull. Great for almost every other anchorage but not these.

The picture below is Nassau as we were leaving. We had called the harbor control and got permission to leave. As we looked out to sea, we wondered if we would be having a few of the showers come down on our trip to Allen's Cay.


As we were crossing the Yellow Bank, we saw numerous charted coral heads. You can see them on the chart to the left as a plus sign and a circle around it. We never saw one that came up far from the bottom. However, I spent about 30 minutes standing on front of the boat just starring at the bottom.

The pictures below were taken in 20 feet of water with about a 1 foot chop on the water in 10 knots of wind. I tell you all of that to emphasize how clear the water is. It truly helps to have polarized sunglasses out here. The dark spots are coral heads and if they were actually rising up from the bottom very far, you sure wouldn't want to hit them.

We met Lou and Jane aboard Rippled Effect and it ended up they were crossing over to Allen's Cay today too. We had talked a number of times at the Green Parrot about everything from investments to Skype. They are also on their first trip in this area.

As we approached Allen's Cay, it wasn't exactly easy to see the entrance from 4 miles out but it was clearly there. It is interesting that since the islands are so low, they seem to blend together. In this case, we are going to anchor in the center of 4 larger islands and numerous small ones. In the picture to the right, you can see some of the coral that is coming above the surface. We are turning in front of that to move up into our anchorage.

When we arrived, there were 3 other boats in the area but that would increase as the afternoon went on.

As we were working up to the anchorage, we got our first glimpse of the Iguanas that are protected on the island. I quickly threw the engine on the dinghy because I wanted to get ashore and visit these unique creatures. After it was over, Deb said "This was one of the coolest things I've done in my life." Well, if that is the case, then I thought she should write about it. Since you don't hear much from Deb, here she is!

I have traveled a great deal during my life and seen many things. I've never been to the Pyramids of Egypt, or the Great Wall of China, but I have seen a herd of baby dinosaurs. On Allens Cay, just a day from Nassau, there are beaches filled with Iguanas. It was one of the most unique experiences I've had. You are not supposed to feed them, however, when we arrived at the beach, another couple was feeding them lettuce. As you walk, they creep after you with claws that could be prehistoric.


It was truly spectacular with the back drop of crystal clear aqua water, coral bluffs, and bright sun shine accenting the colors of the little creatures. They all seemed to be different, with unique markings and an array of sizes and colors. This is a day that I will always remember.


While we were looking at the Iguanas, we were also looking back at the water to see what was back there. Of course, it just happened there was a Ray swimming by at the time. We also found a number of Conch. Some were just shells and others were alive.

The Iguanas will run toward you but it is said that they don't have good eyesight. I guess they haven't heard of glasses or perhaps they ran out of material or maybe the great Iguana just doesn't want any of them to see very well.

Cute little guy isn't he.

We could walk around and they would run at us. It was pretty funny because Deb was right at the ocean and anytime one would run at you, she would retrench into the water. Of course just then another two Rays swam by. Perhaps it was an agreement. Today you get to eat one of the tourists and tomorrow we will.

The picture on the lower right shows some of the rock/coral that makes up this island. In the morning, we found the Iguanas laying on the coral and when the sun came up full, they would move to the beach and just lay in the sun hoping some more tourists would come by and feed them. By the way, it is illegal to harass or feed the Iguanas but you can tell they get fed all the time. At one point, we saw a "go fast" boat with a bunch of people from Nassau pull up to the beach. Before he beached the boat, he blew his horn. I'm sure that is a dinner bell.

It started to rain so we went back to the boa and the Iguanas went back under the bushes. They came out again later however.

After the rain quit, we took a dinghy tour of the islands. There were more beaches and more Iguanas. After we got back, we had a great dinner and were ready to take another tour tomorrow then off to Normans Cay. We could have spent another day here but 25 knot winds are coming on Thursday night so we want to be someplace where we will be more protected.

By the way, we are sitting down here at a temperature of about 80 degrees before this next cold front gets here and we just heard in St. Louis they were having a day at 20 degrees. Pretty cold up there!

Jan 24 - Last night, we had a Great Night. It was beautiful with a full moon as you can see to the right. We grilled some beef that we acquired in those vacuum packed packages and it was actually very good. Deb made a great salad and we settled into a great evening with just the two of us. Sounds romantic doesn't it!

Full moon, good food, ....... enough said.

We had a great evening and of course that meant that Deb just had to watch an X-File or two. Of course I just go to sleep.

The next morning we got up because Deb wanted to head in and see those Iguanas again. While she was over talking to them on the beach, I waded around and got this picture of them on the coral. I don't know if you can make them out but there are seven of them sunning on the coral.

Next I dropped Deb off and headed back into shore. I just had to get up to the top of the little hill and see the remains of a concrete house that was there. I also had to get a picture of our boat in paradise as well.


 Above, you can see the remains of the house that collapsed in a hurricane, I guess. the center picture is of a bird that just wouldn't shut up. He was just singing away and didn't care that I was there. Made me miss our little buddy Jimmy Buffett.

Of course if you are in Paradise, you just have to take a picture of it. Looks beautiful doesn't it. It is! The water is so CLEAR it just amazes me. It really is the color you see in the pictures. Drop everything and just get out there and see it for yourself!

Of course I had to get another great shot of our boat. So far, it has taken care of us very well and we do appreciate that.

We left at 10 am and headed out for the "long" trip to Norman's Cay. This trip took us 2 hours and 45 minutes. Did I mention that we have arrived in Paradise and we are going SLOW! Yes, we are going slow and love it. We got our anchor set and boy did it set. It was stuck in 6 inches and you can see how well it is set in the picture.

By the way, the reason you see a round picture is that we purchased a bucket with a piece of round plexi in the bottom. When you hold the bucket under the water it is just like looking through your mask when snorkeling. Deb likes this more than snorkeling. Give her time.

Speaking of snorkeling, Normans Cay you may have heard of. It was once one of the key islands for drug smuggling. They had their own airport, radio antennas, and the story goes that if you were cruising in those days and anchored here, you just might not live to tell about it. The times have changed and we took our dinghy over to the airplane that didn't make the airfield. this was a twin engine plane and I put on my snorkel gear and hopped in.

Fish were all hanging out under the fuselage. 


 Now I had this theory, that if Deb sat up front that I could climb into the back of the dinghy from the water using the engines plate as a step. All theories need to be tested so this was as good a time as any since I really didn't want to swim back the 200 or so yards to our boat.

Ultimately, I got back in the dinghy and figured out that I needed to shorten up that rope I'm trying to pull on  with my right hand. It was really pretty cool because I didn't get much water in the boat and it worked just the way I saw it in my head. I'm seeing things again, what's up with that?

As the day went on, more and more boats have anchored here at Normans Cay. I think we are all awaiting the front to come through. So far the barometer has only dropped .3 so it doesn't look too bad yet. However, things are supposed to move through in the morning so we will see. We have some places we want to explore which includes some caves and actually a new restaurant that is supposed to be open on the island. We will probably spend a couple of days here and then make the next huge trip south. I think about 9 miles. Did I mention slow?


Jan 25 - I know it has to be frustrating for you because it is for me. Don't we take those Internet Connections for granted? Well, I've been updating my site each day even though I can't upload it because if I didn't, I would have to spend a full day or more on the boat just doing website stuff. We are seeing so many things that we would never see unless we were on our own boat. In addition, we are meeting tons of new people and having many conversations. I think this is why we went cruising. So hopefully, those reading this at work will get something done today with the huge updates we've been doing. Let me know what you think!

After I cleaned the bottom of the boat and then went snorkeling on the plane, we decided to go to a small island that was all our own. You can see Deb giving the Conch a critical inspection. In other words, IS THIS THING ALIVE? Ultimately, we found one that wasn't and it is such a nice looking shell too.

On this little island there was one palm tree and I just had to get a picture of Deb in paradise. We also took a picture of the very flat water before the front that was to move through.

As we walked around the island, I saw this starfish that was in very shallow water. What we are seeing is amazing to me because I have only seen much of it in books.

Then we sat around for the sunset. Someone had placed a nice little bench under that palm tree and we took advantage of it. Of course as we were sitting there the land started moving! Hermit Crabs had taken up residence and were running around everywhere. It provided a cool place to see the sunset.

Hopefully, I have captured some of the wonderful moments for you.

I'm getting almost tired of talking about our anchor. I like it. As I write this, we are in 25 or so knots of wind with white caps and some of the waves slapping the bottom of our boat. So far, the boat hasn't moved an inch. Yep, we've seen one of the other boats re-anchor because they were dragging. I think I'm about done talking about the Rocna and I am pleased with the purchase even though it took us over budget last month. I'm sleeping really good with it down.

Today, as I said, we've been sitting on the boat with all the winds. On the radio, one of our new friends called and told us that they people were sick of being on the boats all day and heading to the same island we went to yesterday. We were ready to get off the boat and we had already proven it wasn't going anywhere so off we went.

We arrived at a much lower tide than we saw yesterday. What we found was Conch Beach. There were Conch everywhere and they were alive. Deb didn't see the Conch at Atlantis so she hadn't seen that claw they drag themselves around with. She saw one today!

I climbed across rocks, sand and through the overgrowth to the old house you see below. Then I climbed up on the wall and took the picture to the lower left of our boats at anchor. You can see some of the whitecaps too. It is going to be rough going back to the boat!

As we walked back over the beach, we noticed the sand dollars under the sand. They were dark and I think that meant they were alive. You can see two of them in the picture to the right. Isn't it amazing the types of life on this planet. I'm just happy I can be out here appreciating it.

I tried to get a picture of the entire area from that window I was hanging off of. You can see there are a bunch of us anchored here and all trying to stay out of the brunt of the weather.

Yes, this is a picture of a gaggle of dinghy's or should I say a bunch of dingy's. These are the cars, trucks, bikes or any other form of transportation you want to think of when you are in the islands. They take us to each others boats, to town, to get food and of course, to the beach just to get together for a little walk after being on the boat all day ensuring our boats don't drag.

It is a dinghy parade at times.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the front should be through and there is a restaurant on the other side of the island we will probably walk to. Hopefully, we will get a wi-fi signal over there and we can upload all this stuff I've been writing.

We will probably be going down to Hawskbill Cay on Sunday. We heard there is a mailbox on top of a hill that you put your boats name in. We want to find out if that is the case and put the name of Freedom in the mailbox! After that, we will be loafing down the islands and now we are planning on being in Little Farmers Cay on Thursday. Why? Because they are having a festival next Friday. Wonderful! More great entertainment and food from the Bahamas. Of course, you can read and see it here as soon as I get a connection.

Jan 26 - "Normans Cay (remember, it's pronounced Key) gained its notoriety during the late 1970's and early 1980's when it was used as a base for a very profitable cocaine smuggling operation. The only reminders are the bullet holes in some of the buildings on the south end of the cay and the airplane that rests in the anchorage." quoted from The Exuma Guide by Stephen J. Pavlidis.  Pavlidis further writes, "In January of 1979 a newly registered Bahamian company called International Dutch Resources Ltd. bought half of the 650 acre island. The $900,000 purchase price included the old Norman's Cay Yacht Club with its dock, airstrip, grocery and liquor store, and 10 rental units. A Columbian of German ancestry, Carlos Lehder, was the controlling shareholder of International Dutch Resources Ltd. Lehder first appeared on Norman's Cay in 1977 and shortly thereafter purchased a villa. He systematically began purchasing other properties, threatening and intimidating when he could not get his way. After he purchased the marina and airstrip he sank over $5 million into renovations, lengthening the airstrip and enlarging the dock. He had already been smuggling Madellin Cartel cocaine from Norman's since 1978 to airstrips in Florida and south Georgia. Boaters and visitors to the cay were discouraged, often chased away by gun toting guards. The airstrip soon became a hub of activity and aroused suspicions."

"The DEA organized a task force called Operation Caribe and targeted Carlos Lehder. A September 14, 1979 raid by Bahamian police officers netted 33 Germans, Americans, and Colombians. Lehder was apprehended attempting to flee in a small boat. Lehder was released uncharged after he turned over a suitcase that is said to have contained $250,000. A DEA official stated that Lehder not only owned Norman's Cay, he owned "... the whole damned country." The DEA began to choke off Lehder's cash flow by arresting his pilots and confiscating his shipments. By 1983, Lehder had seriously curtailed his activities on Normans Cay. After his indictments from the US, Lehder began living in Columbia until he was captured by Colombian authorities and then extradited to the US. On May 19, 1988, Carlos Lehder was convicted and sentenced to life without parole plus 135 years.

Fast Forward to today. Meet the wonderful people who now run the Norman Cay Club (this was Mc Duff's). They have recently renovated the restaurant, rooms and the area around their new establishment. To the left are Beth and Stefan. They are justly proud of the renovations and the food is wonderful.

We gathered in a very ad hoc manner with three other cruising couples. It is amazing to me how small this cruising community really is! We had previously met two of the couples before. Jim and Dorrell, we met in Stuart, FL and Steve and Judy we met in Marathon when we were at the dance lessons. Again, we didn't plan this get together, it just happened. We were early for lunch so we spent some time at the beach and returned at noon when they opened for lunch. Luckily, we were able to get seats and were the first group to order. You have to remember, you are in the islands and everything has to be brought in. It isn't like you can just run down to the store to pick up a few supplies. There isn't a store here! So, you have to be prepared to pay more than you would when going out to lunch in the states. At the same time, it was delicious and they also had a free wi-fi connection where I updated my website with the updates I've been faithfully typing in (that wi-fi connection has to be worth something.).

If you are getting the idea that you are sitting above the tropical lushness of an island in paradise, you have the right idea.

The airstrip is still here and I just kept thinking it would be fun to land my old airplane here. The strip was lined by trees which might make it interesting on approach but when below the tree line, it would be smooth landing. The seaplane you see on the bottom right landed as we were having lunch.

We walked back to the beach where we had left our dinghy and saw the "expanded dock" that Lehder and installed. I could just imagine a Miami Vice kind of scene where guys with ozzies were walking around making sure nobody got close. I think I would have skipped this island in the late 70's if I was cruising!

We had planned on leaving tomorrow but there is a new "unscheduled" front coming through. We decided to stay here because we are protected from the West, Northwest and North winds which are supposed to blow at about 20 or so knots depending on the possible squalls that may be coming through.

Our agenda is still to see several more islands on the way south and then arrive in Little Farmers Cay on Thursday for their festival which I think is on Friday and Saturday. (By the way, the entire trip is only about 45 miles.) We are getting into that island spirit! Sounds like fun doesn't it!

 So here we are heading over to Bill and Linda's boat anchored about 75 yards to our south. They have a cool double ender which was designed for offshore work. This is also their first trip into the Bahamas.

As we were leaving, I saw these two shapes that were moving. I thought, wow moving coral heads. Then I thought, are you stupid or what? These had to be rays swimming in the shallow water searching for dinner. I put the dinghy in chase mode and then drove up a bit past them and stood up in our dinghy to take pictures. The one to the right is the best one. Now, you can't tell how big this guy is but I estimate the wing span at somewhere between four and five feet. Yep, that is big and the two of them are swimming through our anchorage.

Hopefully the wind stays down tomorrow as predicted and we can go see some caves.


 Jan 27 - This morning we took off for a long dinghy ride. We went from the south of Normans Cay up, out to the ocean and then back into the "pond" where there were supposed to be caves. Wow I thought, now we are talking exploration. This wasn't as big a deal as what you might read about in a guide. The three caves are shown to the right and below.

Oh well, we had a good dinghy ride. I think it was about 4 miles up and back. We were able to blow the cobwebs out of the dinghy engine after idling so much. Overall, we are very happy with our Port-a-boat as a dinghy. I don't know of another dinghy that can go as fast as Deb and I can with a 5 hp engine. Besides, it drives like a boat and doesn't slide around.

The ride was good for my water reading skills. We chose to go up at high tide so we would have and extra, almost, 3 feet of water. This made it ok to make the run. We found very shallow sand, coral heads, deep holes and overall just interesting water all around. We also ran into the people we had lunch with yesterday who were anchored up in the "pond."

Overall, a good morning and we are getting ready to go in and make one more site update before we will return to the boat for another front. Latest is it will hit tonight with winds peaking around 26 knots. Tomorrow when they die a bit and shift to the north more, we will head south to Hawksbill Cay for the evening.


 Jan 28 - Last night the boat you see to the right was in front of us. Now this is a Catana 471. In other words, it is a big boat. You would think a boat that is that has almost as much space as half of our old townhouse would have and anchor that would keep him in one place. Not.

When the wind shifted so that he was no longer in front of us, I quit worrying. We watched a movie and missed the drama. During the time we were watching the TV, he drug down on another boat and then had to re anchor. Well, I said I would quit talking about our anchor but by now we have gone in circles twice and still exactly where we started. I'm pleased.

Deb was still asleep so I went to shore for a walk where she would not have wanted to go. Up a hill through brush. Up to the Drug Lord's house to see if I could find the bullet holes in the wall. I just didn't know I would find a sign that said "Welcome DEA." I'm not positive they are bullet holes but according to our guide books, there are bullet holes in the walls. You decide.

I also just had to take this picture of our wonderful Gemini 105 that has taken us anywhere we want to go.


Next, I wondered, where do they get their water? The water comes off of the roof, into the gutters, through a pipe and then into a cistern. In other words, they drink rain water. Of course today, people on the islands drink R. O. (reverse osmosis) water. Ok, that is a technical term and it means that you make drinking water from sea water with a high pressure pump along with a membrane (yes, there is a bit more but that is basically it.)

Below, you can see the interior quarters. What was cool about this was that this was built on the highest hill on the southernmost part of the island. There was also about an 80 foot tower out back that was used for communication with the airplanes that were landing the drugs.


We took off at about 9:15 when I returned and stored everything. I had listened to the weather and found that it was going to be WINDY today but in the direction we wanted. Yes, today was going to be a sailing day! We don't have many of those.

So with 15-20 knot winds we went south and bypassed our intended anchorage. Instead, we went to Wardrick Wells which is the home of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. 

As you can see in the pictures below, we were sailing and the one to the right was to prove it. The wind was changing as it always does, but we made anywhere from 5 knots to 7.5 knots during the day.

In the end, we had to motor into our mooring assignment. You can see in the pictures to the left and lower left that we are indeed in paradise. The water is just so clear I thought we were in a postcard.

They set up moorings in the deep water of the channel so more people can get in during a day. Now is a good time to talk about reading water. As you can see in the lower left, the white water is shallow and the darker water is deeper. Pretty simple but you would be surprised how many people just don't get it.

After we picked up our mooring, I pulled the engine out for the dinghy and we dinghy'd in to pay our 15 bucks for the night. We picked up some information about the trails and off we went. I'm absolutely sure that if Deb knew how long and were we were going, she would have stayed behind. However, I said it was only about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how fast we walked. That was true but she didn't know we would be walking on pointed rock half the time.

She also hadn't figured out that along the way there would be sink holes that didn't have guards around them. As a matter of fact, in one of them there was a ladder. I'm guessing that was in case you fell in. It was deep.

I will digress here. Can you imagine, no I'm serious, can you even imagine walking around in the US where there are no guards and you can fall into a hole with nobody around to find you? The litigious society we live in, in the U.S., removes the ability to share in the experiences we saw today.

After walking across this little bridge, we were off to the other side of the island.

Along the way, we were able to see both sides. To the right is the one that shows the sound side. The bottom left shows the mooring field. Our boat is the one on the bottom. Of course the one to the lower right is just paradise.

And there is more paradise.

Deb wouldn't get within 20 feet of the side of this bluff. Ok, after I stepped off of one of the pointed rocky steps almost onto a 2 1/2 to 3 foot snake, I wondered about walking next to the edge too. By the way, I don't know if snakes here are poisonous or not.

On the eastern side of the island, it is clear this isn't where you want to loose control of your ship. There is a story about a ship that went down loosing all souls on board on this side. The story goes on that if you go up on the hill on a full moon, you can hear them moaning.

The moaning may be Deb after the walk we took!

Mangroves are everywhere in the Keys and in the Bahamas. We learned that the pointed things that you see to the right are the roots of a mangrove tree. The purpose being that when the salt water comes in, they reach above the water so they can get air. Interesting how mother nature works.

The pictures at the bottom are the ones of a "blow hole." Evidently there is a hole down by the ocean and the outlet is right in my picture. I'm sure on a big wind day out of the east, the spray is amazing.


 As we were walking back (Deb is complaining about the distance at this point) we saw a number of lizards. The one you see in the picture to the left has his tail curled up. All I could think of is, don't scorpions have curled tails? Makes you wonder.

At the end of our trek, we saw the bones of a Sperm Whale that went ashore in 1995. This is a big creature!

Of course what Deb was the most interested in was the fact that you could feed the Bananaquits (birds) from your hand. Of course the reason was that this was sugar and thousands upon thousands have done this before us. Regardless, it was pretty cool.

I don't know if you've figured it out yet but this really made Deb miss Jimmy Buffett. Here are wild birds eating out of your hand. Yep, we do miss Jimmy Buffett.


Jan 30 - We left Wardrick Wells at about 9 am on our way to Staniel Cay. Winds weren't what they were yesterday so we motorsailed along at about 6.5 knots. It is interesting in the Bahamas because you can't just go straight to someplace like you do in most areas in the states. Rather, in addition to coral heads, which you've seen, there are many areas of very shallow water. In a way, it reminded me somewhat of the Chesapeake. However, here if you make a mistake it can really hurt your boat. We haven't yet.

To the right and below you can see us entering Staniel Cay. The colorful houses on the right side of the pictures are places for rent at Staniel Cay Club Marina. By the way, this is also where you can get free wi-fi. The picture on the bottom right shows us entering the water where we decided to anchor. We anchored at high tide in 7.5 feet of water which meant we would have about 3.5 - 4 foot when the tide when out. Don't you love those shallow draft vessels?

We anchored next to another Gemini and it ended up they had just purchased theirs. They are from England and after this tour of the Bahamas, they are taking their boat back across the "big" pond. Pretty cool, just not for Deb.


 We took the dinghy to shore to walk around an after finding the dinghy dock, we got some pictures of the sharks you see to the left. It was amazing how they were just hanging around until I figured out they feed them every day. I guess everyone has their own desires for a pet.

Some of the local fisherman had brought in their catch of lobster and I'm guessing they were the special at the restaurant tonight.

I was able to get the picture below of one of those sharks. This is in the water and to get an idea of how big the shark is, you can look at the sheepshead fish in front of the shark. I guess they just hang out waiting for that meal.

We walked around town and found where I could get a propane bottle filled. When we got back to the boat I switched tanks and then went back by dinghy to the store to drop off my tank. I'll pick it up tomorrow.

Next, the tide was almost down so I wanted to go snorkel the Thunderball Grotto. The entrance, is that area that might be a hole in the right picture. I figured this had to be the place since this is where the little dinghy mooring balls are. Deb stayed in the boat but I got ready and went over the side of the dinghy.

In we went to the opening. You can quickly figure out why you want to enter this at low tide. If the water was two feet higher, this wouldn't be something you would swim into the first time without knowing where you would get a good breath again!

I made it in and as you looked up, there were several openings in the "roof" of the grotto. It would be spectacular at high noon but that is high tide right now rather than low. The picture to the lower left is one I stole off of Bill's website. I have to have my pictures developed and he must have gone with someone with a digital camera. (Thanks Bill) There were a number of openings to swim through and I went through the one on the other side of the grotto. On the ocean side, the coral was beautiful and fish were abundant. They, fortunately, have a no fishing rule around the grotto. Ultimately, I snorkeled around the island and back to the dinghy.

People have asked about getting in and out of a Port-a-boat when snorkeling. After the first time, I've learned you need to attach two ropes to the seat. One is tied short so you have something to pull on and the second is tied long so you have a step. I put my right foot on the rope step, then the left foot on the side of the dinghy engine, put a knee on the transom and then I'm in.

Of course Deb or someone has to be in the front of the dinghy for this to really work. I've also figured out that two can dive from the boat as long as one of the people just hangs onto the front of the dinghy while the other climbs into the back.

The water is the beauty of the Bahamas. The people are also the beauty. We haven't met anyone yet that isn't friendly. I'm not sure this is just because they want our tourist dollars either! I think they are just nice people.

 Jan 31 - I took off this morning to see if our propane tank was filled. Fortunately, it was and I was the last person until Wednesday to get it filled. They ran out of gas. Well, that is what happens in the islands. The picture to the right is one of the Isle Grocery Store, which is on the bottom and on top is the Isles Inn. Yes, you can rent rooms from the owner and have the convenience of a small grocery store just downstairs.

Below you can see the owner Vivian Rolle. She was very nice to us and lives next door to the Inn and store. They also have a dock out front for medium to small sized boats.

I got my propane tank and paid the $35 for the fill on my 20 pound tank and went back to the boat. Next, I dinghy'd in for my walk to the dump to get rid of a bag of trash. When I arrived at the dock, I took the picture of the sharks mouth/teeth that was laying out to dry. Do you remember the two sharks swimming around in my pictures yesterday? Now there is just one! Yes, somebody decided to catch one of them and now the jaws are for sale. Huh!


 At Staniel Cay you can get rid of your trash in two ways. First is to take it in and pay the Stainel Cay Club Marina $2.50 per bag to dispose of it for you - or - walk to the dump. Now I have to tell you that I wasn't trying to be cheap but I did need to take a walk and I wanted to see more of the island. So, the bag of trash went into my pack and off I went. On the way I was amazed at the number of homes that had been started and then stopped. We later learned people just ran out of money. After hearing the prices, no wonder.

As I was approaching the dump, I saw the house to the left on top of the hill with a great view. Guess what one of the views were? Yes, the dump you see to the lower left. How would you like to buy that house and look at a dump? I'll bet they pull their shades on that side and concentrate on the Exuma Bank.

As I was walking back I just had to take the picture of how you run water to your home. Yes, it is above ground! You can even see the water meter here too.


After my dump walk, I went back to the boat and Deb and I went on a dinghy ride to try and see the wild pigs. No luck, thus no pictures.... We then ate lunch and went back to town for another walk. The picture to the right is one of an Inn where you can also rent rooms.

Below are the pictures I took of their school. In many of our conversations with some of the residents, we learned that for a period of time that there was an effort by the government to limit education of the children. They said, the reason was to limit the opposition to the ideas being presented by those in power. However, the elite sent their children to private schools and then off to college in the States. Next the children kicked them out of office and started better education in the islands. I didn't research it but below you can see the "All-Age School" for the island of Staniel Cay.

We walked by the Baptist church and had to get the picture of the manually rung bell and since the doors were open, the inside of the church. It looked very nice! I particularly liked the PA system, drums, stained glass windows and the beautiful ceiling. Overall, I thought this was one of the nicest buildings we've seen on the island.

Then back down the road towards the "shopping district." The building in the picture on the lower right is a boutique that is located in someone's home. I admire them for taking their living room to try and make a living.

We walked by another house where the person was selling bread out of their home and then past the purple building where you could pick up a piece of art. On both days we've waked here, nobody was there so we couldn't go in. However, I'm not sure we could actually find a place to hand a piece of art on our boat anyway.

Right around the corner is Staniel Cay Club Marina and the buildings you see below are their rental units.

On of the sites for me was the two telephone booths. I don't know if there are phones in all the homes or if people have just gone to cell phones. One thing I did notice is that it seems that every home has a VHF antenna on their roof to use a marine radio.

The pictures I have taken are fairly complementary of the island. What I didn't take were the homes that need repair, the homes that are unfinished, the overgrown areas, and some of the junk just sitting around. Believe me, the island is beautiful however, you could have a million dollar place sitting next to a run down place or just junk. There isn't zoning and I'm betting there are no resources to enforce something like that anyway. What they have is the water and that is the primary resource. The people are great too.

The pictures to the right and lower left are those that were taken during the making of Thunderball in 1964. I thought it was pretty cool to see the old time wetsuit the guy below has on. I'm sure in it's day it was state of the art. Of course, when people read my website in 40 years, they will be laughing at what we were wearing too.

We have heard that the Festival down at Farmers Cay is THE place to be this weekend. Supposedly there will be music and dancing plus lots of other fun stuff too. I guess we are going to find out. We leave in the morning and hopefully we will be sailing most of the way.

This has to be the biggest half month web update I've ever done. I'm sure I won't have a good wi-fi connection from our boat in Little Farmers, however, we will find one before we leave to update on the festival. That means we start next month with a party, imagine that!

 Jan 31 - We arrived at our anchorage at Little Farmers Cay and after trying to anchor a bit further north, we decided to head further south because it looked like there was more sand. We found a great spot and st the hook. After we kicked back for about an hour watching how the boat was sitting, I saw a boat with what looked like other boats behind it. Well, it was!

There was a boat towing the sailboats that will make up part of the C class of the race this weekend. It looked to me that they were essentially the same type of boats and they were obviously the same length.

You can see they are hooked together with lines so they were towed up from from a post where their mast would have been located. If you take a look at the boat to the right, the Cyndy Ann, you will see the masts and the booms which are being transported as well.



As it ended up, they towed these boats between our boat and another one just to the south of us. Of course I'm sitting on the boat and figured that it is time to put the engine on the dinghy. After all, what if they would like some help?

Yes, I love to help. So, off I went in the dinghy to see if they would like some help. Little did I know one guy said Yes.

I loved it. They took my line and on the Cyndy Ann I went. Next thing I know, I'm helping to pick up one of the masts and then hopping up on top of the boat to help lift the mast up and then into the hole to receive it in the first sailboat.

I have to stop. When we started, the guys on the boat just kind of looked at me like a white guy tourist. As a matter of fact, they called me the white guy. It didn't bother me, that's who I was. I was the only white guy out of an entire harbor of people who had come to this festival who came to help. Isn't it kind of cool to be the lone white guy? I thought so but I didn't quite figure out why others didn't want to help.

At this point, the guys on the boat were still a bit dubious about my helping. However, after stepping the mast, I jumped into my dinghy and then helped to tow the boat over and out of the way. So it went. We had a system, I would help lift the mast up to the guys on top of the boat. Then I would jump up to the top of the boat to help them step the mast. Next, I would jump back down and into my dinghy and then Mr T. would hand me a line so I could tow the boat that just got stepped off to anchor.

And on and on it went. I was having a great time. At one point, one of the guys said that the White Guy was working the hardest. That was a complement and I appreciated it.

We stepped more masts, towed more boats and in the end, I met new people who gave me appreciation for helping. We stared out with them looking at me like I was just a tourist, we ended with them shaking my hand and thanking me for helping out. Don't you just love life! I do, if you help out with a common goal, you can find a common space.

I was over with the owner of Fugitive and he had lost a pin for his rigging. I saw in his box that he had a shackle. I told him we can make that shackle work. He said "what?" I showed him what I was thinking and he got out his hammer and clawed an opening and we used the shackle to replace the pin. He told me three times, I never would have thought of that. I was just happy to help and in the end, I had a great time helping all these guys on their boats.

After I helped him with his rigging, he showed me a spot on his boat where he had been hit last weekend. I said, It looks like you have someone to pay back. Afterall, there was a hole in his boat and it was patched with some 5200. He said, the guy just helped step my mast but when we are on the water, it gets personal.

They take their sailing serious in the Bahamas! I'll be out cheering for them in the race.

I went back to our boat and couldn't help myself talking about the experience. My back was already sore but who cares about that bad disc. Deb was proud of herself too because she caught all of the pictures you've seen. Ultimately, we decided to head into town. By the way, the town is one of 90 people and as we learned, 90 percent are men, 5 percent women and 5 percent children.

As we were heading in, we saw the crew unloading the sound system. I'm looking forward to hooking up with the DJ tomorrow, he was a cool guy.

When we got to shore, Deb wasn't even out of the dinghy when the little guy to the left had her hand and said, "you want to catch a crab?" Off she went with her hand on her leader. I think they were about the same size and that made them friends for life.

Next we went to the smallest bar on the island, picked up a $10 bottle of wine and kicked back with some locals and some cruisers. To the lower left is the crew of Scandia. Now you have to understand we've heard Scandia all over the east coast. We've now met them and they are great people and of all things, they are from Kansas City. Small world.

Deb also got to experience a unique lobster which I think was a shovel lobster. Who knows. The people here are great and so are the cruisers. Tomorrow the party begins.

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