What an interesting day weather-wise. The winds came up this morning preceding the cold front & have clocked around all day. All the boats that left the harbor to island hop have come flooding back in for shelter. It made for an interesting day on the dock as even the low profile sailboats were blown around while coming into their slips. Our neighbors bumped us pretty hard twice coming in as everyone on the dock got to running to grab & tie lines. Luckily, no real harm done. Boating can be hours in a relaxed state punctuated by moments of sheer terror once again proving that Mother Nature is one strong lady to be contended with. Don’t mess with her! When checking e-mails we had quite a few from home (Birmingham and surrounding area) and most of them had one word in the subject line: Snow!! 3 to 5 inches of snow in mid Alabama is a little unusual. We talked to Brad and his family (who are living at our house) on Skype and he showed us our house & yard under a blanket of snow. (Isn’t technology wonderful? I feel like Jane Jetson when I talk to the grandchildren and we are waving at each other.) Don’t think we are unaffected by our cold front. Our balmy 78 will be a frigid 68 degrees by morning. There will be wind mixed into our sunshine! LOL! Grilling the last of our tournament Wahoo tonight. It is my new favorite fish & I’m trying to figure out where to get it in the future.
Shopping Today! We biked into town in search of anything we could come up with for our pirate outfits for the party next week. Not a parrot in sight! DANG! So we did our regular runs by the bakery, fish market, beverage shop(they will deliver to your dock for free), grocery, etc. Bought some ground conch to use in gumbo & chowder. Ran into locals and “seasonal residents” (boaters) that we know, as always in the small community. There are very few “tourist” here. The seasonal boaters stay long enough to become part of the sub culture. It gives a different feeling to the place. Will do a little cooking this afternoon. I have some great new recipes to try but here is a good and easy one “Smoke Tuna Spread” that we have used a lot. Mix together the following: 12z Soft Cream Cheese, large can tuna (drained), 2 ½ capfuls of Liquid Smoke, 2 T Worcestershire and 3 T finely chopped onion. It’s great on a saltine cracker!!!Dinner with “Good News” & “Night Star” was excellent & fun!
The winds lay down & we were anxious to see the manta rays that our friends had seen in Snake Cay. The rays had literally jumped out of the water while they were there. When we went by in the center console a few days ago, it was too shallow for us so we (Salvage Crew & Good News) planned an overnight anchorage in the big boats today and let our dinghies down for marine exploration! With “viewing buckets” in hand, we found star fish, spotted rays, mantas, some small reefs with parrot fish and a sea turtle. Trying to take underwater pictures through a viewing bucket is pretty tricky and a lot of hard work. But we did manage a few. The rays were too fast for our viewing bucket camera and so were most of the fish. We must have looked like cowboys herding cows as we zipped around in our dinghies chasing the rays with the girls standing up & hanging on to the bow lines. We were disappointed that not even one jumped into our boat! We cooked “Bubba Burgers” on the bow of Salvage Crew. Mary (from Detroit area) commented that she had never heard of “Bubba Burgers” and that must be a Southern thing. Wonder why she would think something like that?
Spent the night at anchor at Snake Cay. It was nice gently rocking and listening to the waves lap the side of the boat. Got up several times during the night to make sure our anchor was not dragging. Woke up this morning to find that we had been boarded by a pirate! He looked so wimpy in his pajamas that I had no problem taking him. He was harmless (see pictures)! The winds came back up from the North this morning so we decided to return to port rather than go shelling on Tahiti Beach as planned. It was too exposed to the North winds. As we cruised back you could look through the cuts to where the Atlantic Ocean hit the shelf of the Abacos. The depth drops from a 20 ft shelf to 1,000-2,000 ft in a short distance. Today there were huge breakers at every cut. Inside the mostly protected Sea of Abaco-it’s another beautiful day to cruise! No wonder boaters gather here every winter. At the marina, they docked a 65 ft Hatteras right behind our slip that limited our maneuvering space to almost zilch. I have to say, Captain Brad did an amazing job of leaving the dock yesterday and returning to it today. If Captain Patti had managed to squeeze “Salvage Crew” out she very likely would have caught a mooring ball in the harbor to keep from having to get that camel through the eye of that needle.
Used Joe’s scooter to scoot to town for my part of dinner. Italian night at the Sarver’s tonight.
We are in the last week of our stay here at Marsh Harbour Marina & are making plans about where to go & what to do next. We may take the big boats and spend one more night at each of the islands just to make sure we saw everything (& covered all the good restaurants)! Then we will go back through the “sometimes treacherous” Whale Cay Cut on a day when the conditions are good and stop at Green Turtle Cay for a couple of days. From there we can visit Treasure Cay and Spanish Cay. Before we leave Marsh Harbour we will check all our provisions as it could be several weeks before we see another “big” grocery store. Got a haircut and pedicure today. Can’t count on the “outer islands” having all the creature comforts! We are excited to be in planning mode again and are rested up to get back out there on the Carribean Blue Highways! Fresh Lobster on the grill tonight. I love it when lobster is the most economical meal you can plan!!!!
It’s not the World Series! It’s not the Indy 500! It’s not the Super Bowl or the Iron Bowl!! But today is a huge day in the Abacos because……The Barefoot Man is playing at Nippers on Guana Cay!!!! It’s legendary!!!! Thousands turn out from every island to hear their favorites like “Thong Gone Wrong”, “When They Cut You Off At Nippers”, and “Laying Low in Abaco”. It was a lot of old people like us having fun. Nippers reminds me a lot of Florabama done in pastels. We were not sure we could find a slip anywhere on Guana Cay because of the crowds so we walked down to town and took the 10:30 AM ferry over. It was THE place to be and everyone had a fine time. Good Food, good music, good friends, good times. Took the 5pm ferry home and the Captain was so nice he brought us all the way back to our Marsh Harbour Marina Dock. That’s the way things are here. Very accommodating and friendly, mon! Fun early, bed early!
Part of our chores today include inventory of supplies as we ready to leave Marsh Harbour next week. Exhausting your last bottle of wine usually means you are on a transient dock in a remote area where there is no chance of provisioning. We want to insure that awful fate does not befall us. As we go about daily routine here, we also notice that a crew has boarded the large sailboat at the end of the dock. They also are getting ready to voyage. Now I have friends & family that are sailors. But it seems they think with a different part of the brain. Have you read “Sailing-the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense” by Henry Beard & Roy McKee? Today I saw one more reason why I love power cruising even if the sailors do call us “Stink Pots”! (See pictures) Since this is our last Saturday night in Marsh Harbour, we decide to go to “Wally’s” for the swankiest dining in town!!