Friday, April 21, 2017

April 17-21, 2017 Preparations for guests

Easter Monday was a legal holiday in the Bahamas.  Everything in town was closed.  So we continued our boat projects. 

All week-There is always cleaning and laundry to do between guests.  Plus there were some projects that needed attention.  Joe and Erin had brought some boat parts for us.  So Dave worked on several things this week.

We decided to buy the Portland Pudgy boat.  We stopped at Spanish Wells Marine and Hardware and talked to Edmond.  He said to come back in a few hours after his mechanic had tested the Mercury motor. 

We walked to a new restaurant to us, the Vault Shack.  There was a window to place your order.  Then they had tables outside with a tent covering them.  We tried their special, the Vault burger.  It was by far the best hamburger we have had in the Bahamas.  It had their special sauce, lettuce, tomato, french fried onions, cheese and bacon on a fresh bun.  Way too big, but very good. 

Back at SW Marine and Hardware, we filled diesel and gas cans before finalizing the deal for the boat.   The mechanic had the motor running in a water bath especially for that purpose.  He thought it was good.  Dave and a couple other guys lifted the boat onto a fork lift made for boats.  Then they mounted the motor onto the boat.  Dave climbed in, and they took him over the water and lowered him into the water.  It was funny to watch. 


We were glad to see the boat floating.  As Dave was starting the motor, he realized the drain plug wasn’t in.  So he had to deal with that right away without drifting into another boat.  He motored it over to our other dinghy at the fuel dock. 

After we finished with our financial transactions, he took a life vest and the hand bilge pump and headed to our boat.  I followed him back.  Halfway there, his motor died.  Luckily, he figured out that the gas tank needed a little air.  Once he loosened the cap, it ran fine. 

Now we have to figure out how we are going to stow it on our boat.  Dave in now the captain of our 3 boat fleet!

We hand washed laundry and hung it out on 3 different days.  A young German couple saw it hanging out and stopped by our boat to ask about laundry in Spanish Wells.  They had two bags in their boat and couldn’t find any public laundry in town.  We didn’t think there was any either.  Earlier this year, there was a small grocery store with one washer and dryer for the public.  But that store was closing, so we were assuming the machines were no longer available.  They figured they would end up hand washing, too.  Just wanted to ask.  We go through about 10 gallons of water per load (5 gallons to wash and 5 to rinse).  If we didn’t have a water maker, that would be a lot of water to haul to our boat in 5 gallon jerry cans.

It was interesting to talk to the German couple.  They looked like they were around 30 years old.  They had a smaller boat than ours.  They sailed from Baltic Sea area to the Caribbean last November.  Then they spent the winter/spring traveling up the Caribbean.  Now they are headed to Bermuda and back to Germany and back to their jobs.  They thought crossing the ocean was no big deal and encouraged us to sail to Europe.

We went back into town to check with Edmond on some additional parts that he had for the boat.  They were stored at his son’s house.  He still hadn’t located them and said to check back this afternoon. 

We decided to go back for another Vault burger.  We decided we must have been real hungry when we first tried these burgers.  Today they seemed extra large.  We will probably share one if we return. 

We were walking off our hamburgers on the way to the grocery store when an older gentleman stopped and offered us a ride in his golf cart.  He was known as Captain Burg.  When he found out we were from SD, he said he went to Wisconsin during “the war” to work on a dairy farm.  We were assuming WWII.  He said the US recruited Bahamians to work in the US because all their men fighting in the the war.  He said the white men went to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to work on dairy farms.  And the black men went to the south to work on fruit farms.  We meet the most interesting people.

We picked up non perishable groceries today.  We’ll stop back on Saturday, after our next guests arrive.  We’ll get our perishable items then.  Also it’s interesting for people to see what’s available.  We let them decide if there is something they particularly like.

We walked across the island to the dock side.  I sat with the groceries while Dave walked back to the dingy.  Still nursing that shoulder.  Dave also stopped to talk to Edmond.  He still hasn’t located the missing parts.  He said they were straps for hanging the Pudgy on the davits.  He’ll keep looking.   

Back at the boat, Dave got out the sewing machine to repair a few spots on our bimini.  There is always some work involved with storing food once we return to the boat.  Then I finally spent some time on the computer updating this blog.  We will have a busy month with 3 sets of guests.  So stay tuned. 

We spent the day on last minute clean up, projects and cooking for guests.  I remembered how Torben, from Denmark, really liked Rice Krispie Treats when they visited us in SD.  You don’t want to know how much Rice Krispies and marshmallows cost in the Bahamas.  But I did find them.  Can’t find pretzels in Spanish Wells or canned potatoes.  No rhyme or reason on what they stock from island to island. 

Dave went to town for more fuel and to buy additional gas cans.  We have been using our Honda generator more often, which uses gas.  And now we have a second dinghy with another gas motor.  We will want to carry a gas can in that dinghy. 

Dave invited the German couple over to give them some fresh water.  They are leaving for Europe soon and the water in Spanish Wells is salty.  So we gave them water that we make with our water maker.  They stayed and visited for about an hour.  Long enough to have fresh bread out of the oven.  They gave me some hints on how to get a nice hard crust like German breads.  They recommended wetting the surface with water (I had tried that once) AND starting at a higher heat and then lowering it to normal.  That I am going to try. 

The day went by too fast.  We may have to get up early to finish preparing for our guests.  They arrive about 1:30 tomorrow. 

April 16, 2017 Happy Easter from Spanish Wells

Happy Easter Sunday!  What a glorious day!

There isn’t a catholic church in Spanish Wells.  I think this is the first time in my life I have not been able to go to a catholic church on Easter Sunday.  Over the last couple days in Spanish Wells, I checked out the churches and their time of service.  I found 3, and the Methodist was the one I was most familiar with.  The other two were Gospel Chapel and People’s church.

Dave volunteered to go with me.  I always enjoy it when he joins me.  And it was nice to have his help to handle the dinghy and try to stay clean.  He thought he would trim his beard on Saturday, but he had the wrong setting on his razor and ended up shaving off his beard.  That doesn’t happen very often.

The grounds surrounding the church were beautifully landscaped.  And the church itself was very well maintained.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.  They had about 15 people in the choir, and they wore robes.  Dave thought they sounded like a middle school choir.  I just thought they had a lot of spirit.  During the service, they had the children come forward for a song and special blessing.  There were about 8 ranging in age from about 3-7.  They sang a song along with a recording and used hand gestures.  Really cute.  One poor little guy stood off to the side and turned around.  He did not want to be there. 

One thing I have never seen, and I’ve been to other Methodist churches, was a separation of the congregation at the end of the service for those wishing to stay for communion.  An announcement was made that anyone wishing to leave should do so during the fourth verse of this song.  We decided to leave at that time.  Well, I think 3/4 of the church left.  Not sure what that was all about. 

As we were leaving, an older gentleman on a golf cart asked us if we wanted a ride.  We decided to take up his offer.  We were about 16 blocks from the dinghy.  He told us he was retired and loved helping people out with rides.  He gave us his phone number and told us to call him anytime.  He would even give us a tour of the island.  This really is a friendly community.

Back at the boat, we had a really nice ham dinner.

April 15, 2017 Easter Fish Fry at Salt and Peppa, Spanish Wells

We went back into town to look at the Portland Pudgy with Edmond Pinder.  He is a Mercury dealer, so he will have his employees check out the motor, 3.5hp 4 stroke.  But since it is the Easter Holiday weekend, he wants us to come back on Tuesday.

We headed back to the boat and returned to town about 4:00 for an Easter Fish Fry at Salt and Peppa.  This restaurant was recently opened and this was their first Fish Fry.  It was awesome.  Dave had a whole fried snapper, head and all.  I had the grilled snapper.  It was in foil with onion, tomato and peppers and a hot spice.  They were both great.  We also shared a conch salad.  I had to try their guava daiquiri made with locally fresh guavas.  It’s always fun to try the local food.  Everyone had a little different twist.  
beautiful landscaping in Spanish Wells

such vibrant colors

interesting yard

no watering or mowing here

fish fry grill

Susan and her guava daiquiri

the fried fish with mac and cheese

the grilled fish and vegetables

we passed this dock where they were skinning a hog

April 14, 2017 Pinder's Ferry/Taxi airport service, Spanish Wells, Eleuthera

We brought Joe and Erin in to Spanish Wells to catch their ferry and taxi to the airport.  Calvin Pinder has a transportation business to shuttle people.  He takes them by boat to the mainland.  Then they take a van to the airport.  He charges $15/person.  It was $30 for Stephanie to take a taxi in Georgetown. 
we watched this car be loaded onto a barge
the car must be going over to the main land of Eleuthera
waiting for ferry at Pinder's supermarket
bags are loaded
that's the ferry to the mainland.  then they take a van to the airport

We spent some time looking at a used Portland Pudgy that is for sail.  The owner of the business is out of town, so we will return tomorrow.  We have been researching this boat to use as a life boat.  The company makes several attachments that make it into a life boat that you can also sail.  We would not replace our existing dinghy, but have it as an additional dingy/life boat.

Arpil 13, 2017 Exloring Spanish Wells by golfcart

Today Joe and Erin rented a golf cart for the day.  We drove to both ends of Russel Island, which is attached to Spanish Wells with a bridge.  We saw bananas, oranges, guava, and mangos.  We also saw chickens and goats. 

Spanish Wells is on St George’s Island.  We drove the whole length, 30 blocks in no time.  We decided to eat our way around the island.  We stopped at a tent outside of the grocery store.  We had one order of lobster salad and lobster Thermidor and shared them between the 4 of us.  Later we stopped at another place so Joe and Erin could try souse.  We again shared 2 orders, one with ham and one with sausage.  Their sausage was similar to bologna. 

We spent some time searching different hardware stores for a shower head for of stern shower.  Then we went to the grocery store to pick up heavier items, since we had the cart. 
We went to Budda’s about 4:00.  We parked the golf cart and just left our groceries in the cart.  No one bothered them.  We were planning to meet a Brazilian couple and their two children after 5:00.  So we enjoyed a beverage and visited.  Later Rodrigo, Rachel, Luca, and Bruno joined us.  We first saw their boat in Clarence Town, Long Island, then in Black Point in the Exumas.  We wanted to give them a Brazilian flag and a couple pirate scarves, but we kept missing them.  We stopped by their boat earlier and gave them the items.  So they decided to join us here at 5:00. 

The Brazilians are home schooling their boys, 8 & 10 year olds.  They are going to travel on their boat for a couple years and decide where to settle and go back to work.  They don’t plan to return to Brazil.  Very nice couple and interesting.  Cute boys, too

you'd think it would be hard to  hang out with someone so cute.  But Erin is such a sweetheart and we have lots of fun together

bridge connecting Russel Island to St George's Island


bonefisherman as the tide is going out

Joe and Erin taking a stroll on the sandbar at low tide

you see this similar view down every street to the beach

some bunny loves you!!

April 12, 2017 Spanish Wells scouting trip

Joe, Erin and I went into Spanish Wells to explore the town.  We double checked with Pinder’s to be sure they were scheduled for the ferry and taxi to take them to the airport on Friday.  We walked around one end of the town and did a little shopping.  We lined up a golf cart for tomorrow to explore the island. 
we covered ourselves with garbage bags to stay drive while Joe is driving

We made home made pizza on the boat tonight.  I made the sauce.  Dave and Erin made the dough.  Joe put together all the toppings and monitored the cooking.  It was a great success. 

April 11, 2017 snorkel north of Royal Island

Today we moved the boat to the south side of Russel Island in front of the Sand Bar.  Joe, Erin and I went snorkeling off Royal Island.  It was windy and rough, but great when you were in the water.  A little cloudy for good photos today.
We went to shore by dingy to have dinner at the Sand Bar.  A few people have told that they really liked this place.  There was just one building with the kitchen and a window that opened up for the bar.  Then there was a separate covered area with tables.  There were a few tables in the grass and a couple hammocks.  It looked like it might rain, so we sat in the covered area. 

We were really impressed with the menu, the prices and the different drinks.  I had a drink with jalapeƱo tequila, lime juice and cucumbers.  Joe had a guava mojito, and Erin had a fruity martini with alcohol soaked pineapple.  Dave enjoyed a couple Guinness.  The meals were excellent.  I would definitely recommend this place.  And I am sure we will be back with other guests.
unusual white plant under the sea fan

another 3 foot stingray
this was actually taken a couple days later

April 10, 2017 Egg Island bonfire

Today we had a bonfire on beach on Egg Island.  We went to shore in the afternoon to collect firewood.  We started the fire before sunset.  Then shortly after sunset, we covered the fire with sand and headed back to the boat before the bugs come out.  We hate putting on bug spray. 

buried the fire in sand

this was supposed to be a pink full moon