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December 2008

Week One:

What a relief! We made it across the stream unscathed....and now we need to continue on to a safe harbor because a very strong cold front is expected in the next day or two. So off we go again. Another 3:30am departure from the uninhabited Mangrove Cay and hopefully arriving at Green Turtle Cay for a few days rest and check in at customs. Well, deep breath, we got to Green Turtle in plenty of time, at 3pm, (low tide). Our buddies, Honeywind and Reflection were able to cruise on in to the dock and have a wonderful lobster dinner celebration, but we had to anchor out next to the Ferry dock at Treasure Cay (rocking and rolling for a time) waiting until morning and high tide. The entrances to some of the marinas here are very shallow, even too shallow for our 5ft. draft. Still we made it to the dock just in the nick of time. The wind and rain came right on in behind us. We did have a little time to bike over to the ocean and take a walk along the beach. That evening Patty from Reflection made us all a wonderful belated Thanksgiving dinner. We celebrated our arrival and the holiday royally! The customs lady did not arrive due to the bad weather, so we planned to wait another day for her. However the weather report for getting around our next obstacle "the Whale" suggested we leave in the morning otherwise it may be several days before we could cross. All hands on deck, we stowed the bikes and everything else. The customs lady arrived and we cleared in, then we loosed the lines and left with all haste. Going around the "Whale" was also an easy ride. A few large swells, but spread out and not too stomach churning. Now perhaps we can take it easy for a while. We have no more hurdles to cross and we are in semi protected waters, albeit the strong prevailing northerly winds do churn up the seas.

We arrived at Treasure Cay marina about 3 hours later. It was raining as we docked, but it was so nice to be safely in the harbor and protected from the next cold front, passing thru as I write!

We hosted supper on our arrival and it appears that we are all beginning to relax.....at last!  The following day we took a walk along one of the "10 most beautiful beaches in the world" and found a basket for Andrew's bike (one person's trash is another's treasure). As we sauntered back through the streets we met some of the part-time residents of the island and they were so hospitable. Nick and Susan, who own a lovely property on the canal gave us some frozen lobster and mahimahi to take back with us. We must have looked hungry! That night we all had dinner aboard Honeywind and said farewell to them as they are leaving their boat there whilst they go home for the hols. We hope to meet up with them again in the new year.  Reflection and Tally Ho left mid-morning for Great Guana Cay. We picked up a mooring ball for $15 and Ray played taxi driver and took us to the dock. Guana has doubled in population since we were last there (165 people now) and there is a marina there now too. However, the place seemed deserted. Not a soul (or sole) in sight.

We left Guana and sailed to Marsh Harbour the next day leaving Pat and Ray behind. They would follow in a day or two. What a reception we got upon arrival! It's all rather a blur. Lots of members of the RMHYC (Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club) were there to greet us. We were welcomed with open arms and immediately informed that cocktails would be at 5pm. Then we got the scoop on activities and so much more. Too much to absorb all at once, but it sounds like we'll be very busy here.

It's 8:00 am, time to listen to the Club news. At 8:15 the cruiser's net. Whoops it's almost 8:30am and time for the group walk. Andrew had projects to do, (oh yeah) but I went. Will go again tomorrow too.  I was hoping to RELAX! No time for that now!

Tally Ho on the way to Great Sale Cay



The biker dudes at Green Turtle Cay

Treasure Cay beach

More of Treasure Cay

Look at that water...not the Chessie!

Patti, Emery and Vanessa. Dinner on Honeywind.

Our winter base at the Abaco Beach resort in Marsh Harbour

A busy day in paradise!

What a glorious day!


Week Two:

The airline tickets have been purchased and we're really excited about seeing our new grandchildren, Chloe and Kendall for the holidays. We are updated regularly but it's not the same as seeing them in person, snuggle, hug, kiss, kiss etc. It's not long now 'til Christmas, so we have put up the decorations. It took half an hour to get them out of their hidey hole and five minutes to erect!

We are getting to know our fellow cruisers and it appears that there's quite an active community here. We are walking most mornings in a group. Not a day goes by without someone knocking on the hull to chat or give us information about something or other. There's a Xmas party this week for the RMHYC members.

Vanessa went snorkeling off the beach one day and found a couple of sand dollars but not much else. She was the only person brave enough to get into the cold waters. Actually she was the only person on the beach! The cold fronts come in so frequently that there's no time for it to warm up.

Andrew bought himself a machete (or "cutlass" as the locals say). He says it's for opening the coconuts, but I'm not too sure! It certainly does a good job. We will be eating lots of coconut and drinking lots of pina coladas.

We have been out bike riding but haven't done the grocery shopping yet. However we did notice that prices here aren't as bad as we thought they'd be. More on that later.

The winner of the "What fish is this?" contest (November's letters home) is Linda from Live Wire II. Congratulations Linda! The drink's on us next time we see you. The fish is from the mackerel family (a Cero possibly), not a barracuda as we first thought.

The Xmas party was super. We met lots more cruisers and "dirt dwellers" (they are land people) - see you learn something new all the time! Vanessa even got a hug from Santa.

The Full Moon party later in the week was fun. It was held on the beach and it was rather chilly and windy. They had a fire-pit  which was a big draw and a band playing "mowtown" Christmas music!

A hug from Santa - no gift though!

Meeting for the daily morning walk.

Now it's time for water aerobics.

Machete Man!

Our slip at Boat Harbour.

Mowtown on the beach.

Full Moon buffet.

John, Gail, Jim and Judy. Dinner on the beach.

Sharon, Santa's helper!

Chloe and Kendall - our girls!

Week Three:

 On Saturday we went to the local Christmas festival where Andrew met the Bahamian Prime Minister (Hubert Ingram) See picture. We also saw the "Army Marching Band" (Click here for small video) and sampled some of the local food.

The weather is very windy and there's not much sunshine. The boat rocks a bit in its slip when it blows over 20 knots, however it feels good not having to worry that the anchor might be dragging!

The coconuts are blowing off the trees and Andrew got a lesson from the resort landscaper on using the machete to get the coconuts out of the husk. We are now experimenting with using coconut in our cooking. We are so enjoying the community at the harbor - everyone is so friendly, we have "Game Afternoon" if the weather looks bad and the laughter is contagious.

It was the Xmas boat parade this week and the RMHYC had a private party to watch the festivities from Mangoes restaurant. Although there wasn't much to watch a good time was had by all. In keeping with the season Vanessa attached some of her sea shell collection to our onboard Xmas tree, covering the mini lights. In the dark they make a great show.

We took a day trip on Tally Ho with Pat and Ray to Tahiti Beach. The sky was grey but it was nice and warm (well not that warm) for snorkeling. There weren't too many shells to find but Vanessa found an interesting green starfish, not a keeper as it was still alive, but a find nonetheless. 

More baby pictures have arrived and we can't wait to see the little'uns in person. They look so squeezable!!! Ha, ha.


Andrew meeting the Prime Minister of the Bahamas (Hubert A. Ingraham)

Marching Band at the Christmas festival

Army Marching Band

Our Christmas tree on board

Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay

Vanessa shows Ray her find of a green starfish.

Unusual starfish.

See you soon!


Week Four:

We flew home on Monday. Vanessa was co-pilot from Marsh Harbour to Ft. Lauderdale. Both flights were delayed and it took us 12 hours from door to door. A long trip for a total of four hours in flight! Mathew picked us up at Dulles Airport.  The house is still standing and looks clean. Well done Mat!

We didn't see the rest of the family until Tuesday when Hannah and Bobby dropped the babies off and disappeared within minutes. It was the briefest greeting we've ever had! "Hi Mum and Dad, the diapers are in the bag and the milk bottles are in the fridge, see ya!"  I think they enjoyed their few hours of freedom and we certainly had a ball (one was balling nonstop!) with the girls.

We went to our neighbors house on Xmas eve and that got us into the Xmas spirit. Later that night Andrew was so spirited he fell out of bed at 2:00am and (bad dream he says) split his head open, at the same time making a hole in the bedroom wall. What a nightmare it must have been.....thoughts of dashing to the emergency room entered my head, but fortunately after a clean up all was fine and we went back to sleep before Santa came!

On Xmas day we went to Hannah's and Bobby's house, where Mat prepared the meat and Hannah did the rest of the meal, while we played with our girls and Nellie. Poor Nellie is a little left out these days but she is marvelous with the babies. It was really lovely to be all together for the day.

We will be seeing Chloe and Kendall quite a bit this week and it's going to be hard when it comes time to leave. Whoops, now I've a lump in my throat so that's it for now. More later!

Kendall on left, Chloe smiling.

Grandpa happy now that they are both quiet!