Thursday, February 27, 2014

We'll call it our snow day….

Today was supposed to be flat, calm, sunny and wonderful if you were to read the forecast from three different sources. Now, all three sources may get their data from one source as we heard from a fourth source that the weather was going to be bumpy. Well, the fourth source was right and the other three were way off.

So, we are calling it our snow day…the weather should have made us stay home, but we need to leave in order to find calmer waters, and a new home.

Instead of calm seas, we had large waves lapping our boat from 1:30am on and we decided to leave at 7:00am. Our friends from Northern Phoenix ( decided to leave from Black Point and head to Georgetown. After they left, they passed through the cut and were into calm waters, in the ocean. We left about thirty minutes after them…here is them leaving…..

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happier hour - BBQ ribs and rum punch

This afternoon, we arrived at Black Point. Not really though, because I'm writing this a week from when I'm pretending to be writing this. But I am pretending to be writing this on Monday February 24th, so I will continue with calling it today. Anyway, today we arrived at Black Point.

(this is where I'd put a google earth image of Black Point, but wifi here is too slow to download such an image. Google it yourself if you're honestly curious )

Here we met up with our friends the Haases (link), whom I've already mentioned in one of these posts or another. If you are an avid reader, you already know who they are, and if you aren't an avid reader, please go back and read all of my blog posts in chronological order, because they are really well written. Anyways, I'm off topic again. After arriving in Black Point and meeting up with our friends the Haases (blog link two sentences ago), we made plans with them for dinner.

You see, they had obtained some Mahi Mahi filets by trading a half bottle of rum and a new box of Triscuits with a guy who ha caught the fish earlier. Because that is what you do in the Bahamas. We had obtained several lobster tails from a local fisherman by trading him several pieces of paper that have numbers on them and can be exchanged for goods and/or services. Like lobster. So, since we had lobster and they had fish, we got together and cooked it. The Mahi we had fried. The lobster we broiled. After eating most of both of them, they went back to their boat (which is called the Northern Phoeinix in case you didn't click that blog link one paragraph and two sentences ago), and we went to bed.

At this point, I'm going to begin pretending that it is currently Tuesday February 25th, as opposed to Monday March 3rd, which it actually is currently. I hope this does not cause anyone any confusion.

Today we didn't really do much. Kimmy Kenny Corey and Katie got haircuts at the local barber who works out of a laundromat. Because that is what you do in the Bahamas. I didn't because I had buzzed my hair a week or so ago. This I also mentioned in a previous blog post, so, avid readers, I'm sorry to be repeating myself, and non avid readers, please read my instructions from 2 paragraphs and 1 sentence ago. As such, I took a nap. After being forced awake and being forced to do an hour of homework (it really does amaze me that my friends back home go to school for like 7 hours a day), we went to the beach with the Haases (the blog link is in the first sentence of the second paragraph) and another family who live on the boat "Quartet" (this is where I would put a link to their blog, except I'm not sure if they have one). I strung a hammock between two palm trees.

Because that is what you do in the bahamas

After going to the beach, we went to dinner (there was actually some time between these two events, but I don't know what we did with it, because my memory is horrible and this all happened a week ago) at a bar called Scorpio's. They had been advertising their BBQ special on the VHF radio on channel 16 (the hailing channel). While I'm not sure whether or not that's acutally perfectly legal, I'm glad they did, because they make some half decent ribs (Mmmmmm, ribs). On top of the BBQ special to which I previously alluded, we showed up during "Happier Hour".

I guess happy just wasn't good enough?
While I make no claim to be an expert in alcohol pricing models, I'm pretty sure it works like this. During happy hour, drinks are half off (or 2 for 1, there isn't much difference [well, it's a little different, but the bill comes out to the same in the end {if you ordered an even number of drinks}]). During happiER hour, the drinks are both half off, and contain double the rum. Please don't take my description as fact, as I mentioned earlier, I'm no expert in the field.

After some very good BBQ ribs, which came beside some very good macaroni and cheese (If you'll excuse me, I'm just gonna go on a little rant here. If you aren't interested in my political views on mac&cheese, please proceed to the end of this parenthetical grouping of text. Here we go. Have you guys ever had Kraft Dinner (or KD, as it's now been rebranded)? Since most of you are Canadian [google told me this. I'm taking it as fact], I'm assuming that you have, since Canadians eat more of it per Capita than any other country on Earth. On this trip, I learned why it is that we Canucks consume so much of this staple. Allow me to share that with you: there are two kinds of Kraft dinner. One is the normal kind that we are all used to, that says "Kraft Dinner" on the box. This is the Canadian version. The other kind is called "Kraft Mac and Cheese", and that is what the rest of the world is stuck with. This second version tastes like shame and broken promises. The worst part is, that is all that we have been able to purchase on this trip. We had to beg some friends who were coming down to visit us to smuggle in some Candian KD because we were suffering from withdrawl symptoms. I just want you all to be aware of this, whenever you think that life down here is all sunshine and beach parties. Whenever you think that winter is tough, try to imagine a life without KD. That is what we are trying to cope with right now).

Right, I got lost again. Where was I? Oh right, after dinner, we went back to the boat and went to bed. We woke up early the next morning, but Kenny's blog post will explain that. Bye!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The difference between.....

"The difference between a good haircut and a great haircut is a couple of days" ....or in this case maybe a couple of weeks .....

Today was domestic chore day - laundry and haircuts.  Both sometimes just can't be put off any longer and need to be done.  In Black Point interestingly,  the same amazing woman is involved in both.  Ida runs the Laundermat (yup,  that is how it is spelled here) and between the washer and dryer she cuts hair.  Your choice - scissors or the clippers. After 4 of us (Aaron already has his buzzed remember) were done, I'm not sure we chose optimally..... 

But it's done, we can all see again and hair grows.  Laundry was fast and efficient and for chore day - you simply can't beat the view.  It was a good day. 

View from the laundermat

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Boyfriend is Amazing… Like Actually

I remember it like it was yesterday, because it feels like it was. The snow was falling sideways, ice coated the roads as the taxi slid its way down the road to the airport, I was so excited to get out of the sub-zero temperatures and find SeaMorr somewhere in the warmth of the Bahamas, oh and to see my wonderful boyfriend.

Norman's Cay:
- By Julia

After being delayed a day in New Providence due to weather (there is no schedule, so why rush into big waves?) we headed to Norman's Cay. This cay used to be home to an infamous drug operation in the 1980's with drugs being flown into the cay from South America then flown into south Florida. Anyways that got shut down and the cay is now private. We went snorkelling on the wreck on one of those drug smuggling planes, a C46 twin turboprop cargo plane that crashed just off the south end of the runway. Finding the plane was easy for our experienced (and handsome) dinghy driver who anchored us perfectly on the first try.

For dinner we made reservations at the small restaurant on the cay and were joined by friends of SeaMorr, the crew of the motor vessel Steadfast. It just so happened this little restaurant had satellite tv so we could spectate on the Olympics. Dinner was amazing at the suggestion of my incredible boyfriend, I had Mahi-Mahi and I can honestly say it was "best fish i've ever had at this restaurant". The hamburgers and other dishes looked equally as appetizing.

Today was just the start of what was to be an amazing (and well timed) break from winter. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Jonathan, A-Aron, chop, Mr. & Mrs. Morrison and of course the most amazing guy in the whole world… I'm so lucky to have him, even after I gave him a cold… anyways time to head back north on "Flamingo Air". No, you don't fly on an actual flamingo, but that might be safer… anyways until next time, this is Julio and goodnight.

Julia may or may not have had any influence on this blog post. I claim no responsibility over these written works and fully release any rights I may have over them. JULIA (<- that's kinda a signature)

Safe Travels

We said au revoir to Julia and Jonathan this morning - Flamingo Air - what can we say - it has awesome luggage tags!!

We then watched Canada win GOLD in the mens hockey with all the other Canadians here - too cool to be in a bar in the Bahamas watching hockey (but we did decide it was a little early for the daiquiris…..)

and spent the rest of the day just hanging out , said au revoir aussi to the fishes in the grotto, the pigs on the beach and sharks under the boat and planned for our trip further south tomorrow.

Kenny's favourite is Tony - squealing though doesn't mean he wants to be picked up!

Lie down for a nap with the piglets
Until one starts eating your pants!

This is taken from the bow of the dingy in front of SeaMorr
They feel like sandpaper!

As an added bonus we saw our first true "green flash" at sunset - (and yes I was too busy watching it to take a picture…) but it was truly beautiful!

We miss you Julio & Jonny!  Thanks for coming to visit - come back any time!

Medal Standings….

So, this is what I am thinking…..

The standings (depending on if you are looking at CBC, TSN or NBC), every country is ranked by the number of gold medals the country has won or the number of total medals. As Canada has more gold medals than the US, we rank higher than the US on TSN. On NBC, the US is higher than Canada as they have more medals, just not as many gold or silver ones as Canada.

As this is a major controversy (at least in my mind), I have figured out a way to make this all fair and seemingly more worthwhile.

We should truly look at the TOTAL number of medals that the country received.

The way I count it, Canada is bringing home an additional 25 gold medals for the mens hockey and 25 gold medals for the women hockey.

So the stats shown below are total incorrect as Canada should have 50+ more gold medals. Well done Canada.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pigs are cute. Also scary.

Today is the last day that we will have Johnathon and Julio with us. Very sad. As such, we tried to make it a memorable day, starting just after breakfast (we had Raisin Bran, JSYK), with us going, by dinghy, to Big Majors Cay, the home of the swimming pigs. That's not a football team, I mean actual living, breathing, cuddly, curly tailed pigs.

This is Brenda, she loves watermelon and she says she has
 a bunch of bacon available…..yum, bacon.

They are also vicious. If they see you holding food, they come up to you and beg. Then, if they don't get food, they nudge you. Then, if you still don't feed them, they start head butting you. And if you run, they will chase you. This is them chasing me...

After narrowly escaping with our lives, we headed back to SeaMorr, where we watched an episode of  Lost, a confusing show that we recently got hooked on, before going to lunch at the Marina restaurant. They have good sandwiches. And onion rings. After lunch, we bombed around the island on a golf cart (Dad is a scary driver), and went to a beach. Beaches are awesome.

Please keep the golf cart off the runway...

After the beach, and a very interesting drive on what is probably a jogging track, we returned to SeaMorr. The kids played "Things" (link) with some other kids from Ohio (That's in America) while the parents went to the restaurant/bar thing. After a very interesting Things game and subsequent discussion of the differences between our two countries (they were shocked that we used $'s, not £'s), the parents returned, we said goodbye to our new met American friends. Then, to celebrate Jonathan's and Julios imminent departure, we had ribs.

It was a good day.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Grotto, Doing It ThunderBall Style

Today we visited the Thunderball Grotto. For all of you how have not seen "James Bond ThunderBall", it is an excellent movie, part of it filmed in the ThunderBall Grotto (obviously named after the film).

About the movie...... 

Thunderball finds James Bond matching wits with the sinister espionage organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E, (which stands for Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). This time, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. hijacks a NATO nuclear bomber, hiding the bombs under the ocean depths and threatening to detonate the weapons unless a ransom of 100,000,000 pounds is paid. The mastermind behind this scheme is international business executive Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who maintains a pool full of sharks for the purpose of eliminating enemies and those henchmen who fail to come up to standard. Dispatched to the Bahamas, lucky Mr. Bond enjoys the attentions of three nubile ladies: Largo's mistress Domino Derval (Claudine Auger), British spy Paula Caplan (Martine Beswick, previously seen as a gypsy girl in the 1962 Bond epic From Russia With Love) and enemy agent Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi).

About the Grotto...........

 The Grotto is a small, partially underwater cavern with a sky-light, you can see pictures from the filming of the movie at the Staniel Cay Yatch club bar. Getting inside the grotto is at first a little intimidating, but if you go at low tide you don’t even have to put your head under water to gain entrance, just find the opening and guide yourself in using your hands as a brace against the sides of the rocky cave. Once you are inside Thunderball you will be amazed! Any fear you might have had will instantly be replaced by awe when you enter the interior. Inside the cave the light beams down from the opening in the roof, illuminating the crystal clear blue water below. The light beam penetrates the surface of the water and dances all the way to the ocean floor 20 feet below, a cloud of tropical fish dart in and out of the light, which greet you in a very friendly way, their bright colors flashing in the sun.  Among the colorful parade are queen angelfish, sergeant majors, rock beauties, grouper, blue chromis, snapper, and parrotfish.All in all the Grotto is truly amazing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Caves and Bumpy Dinghy Rides - Cambridge Cay

After departing Norman's Cay, we headed south to the Land & Sea Park's mooring field on Cambridge Cay. As Johnon or Johnan or Jonathan (3rd time's the charm?) mentioned we visited to the "aquarium" just north of Brien's cay on the first day. Seeking something a little more adventurous, we loaded up the dinghy with snorkelling stuff and headed across the cut to Rocky Dundas and the caves within. The ride was kinda rough, with various individuals freaking out by the size of the waves we were surfing/crashing through. See picture below.

Once tying up to the park's mooring balls and attaching a tag line (a line that floats behind the dinghy you can grab if the current/waves are too strong for you), we swam into the cave. It took a little practice to time the surge through the mouth of the cave, but we all made it in (and out) safely.

On the return trip to SeaMorr, some individuals felt the need to stand on dry land again, so we stopped off at a nice sandy beach and walked across the cay to Honeymoon beach. This beach is one of the nicest beaches we've been to (so far). The sand had the same consistency as pancake mix, yet firm enough your feet won't sink into, when walking on it. The sun was shining and the waves were gently crashing on the beach. The sun might of been shining too much for some. Apparently in Canada, the sun hasn't been out too much recently and Johnon or Jonathan (still guessing there) got a little sunburnt… but "that's better than being pale" according to him.

That night we started watching James Bond: Tunderball in anticipation for swimming at the grotto the next day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Aquarium

We started off the day in Norman's Cay and made our way south to Cambridge Cay. We made a sharp turn at a cut with rather large waves where Aaron believed it was a absolutely genius idea to be up on the bow for the rather bumpy part of our cruise that day.

After our arrival in Cambridge Cay we made a short dinghy/tube ride over to the Aquarium. The Aquarium, contrary to what you might think is actually a live coral reef with plenty of fish. There, we didn't feed the fish and went snorkeling with the multiple varieties of underwater life. 

After arriving back at SeaMorr we went to Bell Rock Beach which was supposedly a beautiful beach but was somewhat anticlimactic considering it was pure rock all around and the only interesting thing was the blow hole in one of the many rocks there and a few pictures that were interesting.

After the small photo shoot on the beach, we headed back to SeaMorr for a delightful meal of chicken we played a very interesting game of Things, mostly involving some of the recent incidents in Napanee and hinting at many of the interesting events happening back home. After that very very inappropriate game of Things we proceeded to go to bed. 

I have to say. It was a good day in paradise.

P.S. I want to say a huge thank you to the Morrison Family for having me on such an amazing trip. I would do this trip again any day and I enjoyed myself greatly. I count myself lucky to be friends with this family and happy to be considered an 'Adopted' Morrison, but apparently I look like Kenn? According to a lady in the Bahamas…..she thought that Kim was a MOM to us all - including Kenn! I don't know but I'm scared to be in public now. Anyways as I said a big thanks and have a good rest of the trip!

(not Johnathan, Jonathon, Johnathon or Jonathin.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

28 years later.....

As we have headed back to Nassau and stayed at Atlantis for a couple days (make sure you say 'hi' to Monsieur Louis), we used the internet machine to find Dwayne Roker. Dwayne and I went to high school together and we had gone our separate ways in 1986 after graduating. (That was back in the days when there wasn't internet and you actually looked at someone and talked to them). Nowadays, you hop on Facebook, send a message and presto, you are off to The Poop Deck for dinner. Dwayne looks the exact same and it was kind of cool to just pick up where you left off, 28 years earlier!

So, if you want to widen the silo, definitely go for the Mahi Mahi (also known locally as dolphin, but not the dolphin you are thinking of), as it is awesome. We did try the cracked conch fritters and we all agree, cracked conch fritters are way better than the conch salad.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

You can't beat this day….nothing compares…you can't beat it...

Today was an interesting day and totally a Bahamas day. We are now fitting in with the locals here in Spanish Wells as we have been here for five days. Spanish Wells is a small town that supplies a ton of lobster to Red Lobster, so it is a fishing town that is industriuos and everyone is connected to everyone (chances are their last name is 'Pinder').

We decided that we would travel the island of Eleuthera as today was going to be windy and a great day to be on land. So we spoke to the ferry driver yesterday and told him we would take his ferry over to Eleuthera, however we wanted a car to rent on the other side. He called his boss who co-ordinated the whole rental. We teased him that we didn't really care what the vehicle was, as long as it was blue. Well guess what, we had a blue 2007 Dodge Caravan waiting for us after our 8 minute ferry ride.

If you are going to rent a vehicle, don't worry about doing a walk around (that is only a Budget or Avis thing). Here all you do is pay the $80, fill out the duplicate form and you are now renting…they don't check if you have a license as that doesn't seem to matter.

The vehicle was made with air bags, however someone decided that that type of technology is not required or even warranted. In fact, the steering wheel had been cut open, the horn and air bag removed and then the wound was healed with some epoxy. We aren't sure if there was a recall from Chrysler or if the car was in an accident and the air bag went off and it was easier to just seal the wound.

NOTE: the seat belt, check engine, temperature, door ajar and coolant lights all worked
 (or more importantly stayed on the whole time we drove this beast).
As we drove, there was a constant pulling to the left…we weren't sure if there was a problem with the tires, the ball joints, tie-rods or something else, however we did notice the vehicle had 80% of the nuts on the front left tire and more importantly, there were two OEM nuts that were on the rim. Not bad to have 19 of 20 nuts on all four wheels - that is 95% of them!

We also noticed that the Caravan was probably imported from the land of snow and ice as the two front tires were actually snow tires…this is NOT a joke! The Blizzak tires held the road well when we traveled all over the place - the traction was excellent on sand, water and of course palm trees.

Winter Blizzak tires on the front of our van..only in the Bahamas!

Our first trip was to Preacher's Caves. These caves were the home to the natives as well as the English who had their ship break apart at Devil's Backbone. They landed in 1647 as they had left the US for religious freedoms. The way to the Caves is somewhat difficult to find, so we had to do some off roading and the tires and wheel nuts handled well.

Preacher's Caves where Americans left in the 1600's to start a new in the Bahamas.
After leaving the caves, we headed south (past the rental company), however now that we were driving, we kept to the posted speed limits. As we headed south, we crossed the Glass Window which has the dark blue Atlantic and the gorgeous blues of the Exuma Banks connect.

Rumor has it the hurricane moved the bridge 8' and
they just re-concreted where the hurricane left it...
From here we kept heading south and started to get a little parched. As we have been testing different daiquiris throughout our trip, we had to stop at Two Brothers. They are known for awesome daiquiri's and we needed to give them a try.

A Bahamian Miami Vice…kind of looks like a candy cane, however a whole lot better!
We then visited Lee's Café in James Cistern. We had a great lunch of fried chicken and home made mashed potatoes. The meal was awesome and to add to the great meal, we learned that our cook had no known communicable diseases.

As of Jan 15, 2014, our cook did not have any known communicable diseases.
We then drove south to Governor's Harbour, Palmetto Point, Savannah Sound, Tarpum Bay and ended up in Rock Sound. There is a really cool Blue Hole in Rock Sound that is similar to the one we saw at Hoffman's Cay, however this one had fish in it. You aren't supposed to feed the fish, however people that were there just before us fed them some plain Ruffles Chips (you could tell as they had the ridges on them).

Here we are watching the fish eat the Ruffles Chips.

Here are the fish eating 16% of their daily fat intake...

As it was getting later in the day, we needed to turn around and start back north again. However, before we did that, we decided we needed to go check out where the "Club Med" see, it was destroyed in a hurricane several years ago, but we wanted to see what was left. As we headed down one sketchy road, we go to a smaller road that eventually turned into a single sandy road. This is where Club Med used to be…all that is left is a foundation and a sandy road.

Here we are hanging out at Club Med.

We headed back, returned the "vehicle" to the rental company. We were driven back to the dock and at 65mph, I decided to put my seat belt on…(it was the only one that worked - all others were broken). The max speed our driver had that thing going was 76mph…and again, we didn't have all the nuts on the wheels, it pulled to the left, the air bag was non- existent and there was a huge dent in the bumper (non of the damage was from us!)

After we got back to the boat, we decided that we had an exciting day, and that we would head to Bubbas. When was the last time you purchased your food from a school bus, headed into their house to purchase alcohol (and hit the washroom) and then sit back down to eat? 

The food was pretty good - burgers, hot dogs and even Chinese food tonight!

Here I am ordering some burgers and hot dogs.
After settling up at Bubba's, I asked if they knew a friend of ours from Palm Cay (the dock master). You see, Brooks lived in Spanish Wells and he told us everyone would know him…well guess what…after mentioning his name, Bubbas had a frozen sheep tongue for Brooks…as we were going to see him tomorrow, we decided that we would take it to him!