More Friends Visit Us in Paradise: April 19 2015
We did a last bit of organizing and provisioning so that we can go anywhere when our friends arrive. While filling the larder I found a new food source in Prime Island Meats just outside of George Town. It is not new but I have never been. The location is a short cab ride or a carpool in the back of the store’s pick-up truck. The square footage is small but they have beautiful deli meats and cheeses for sandwiches sliced perfectly while you wait…combined with a loaf of soft Bahamian bread and we are ready for any adventure at any time table (Apr 7).
Yippee – new visitors in paradise (Apr 10)! Lino and Phyllis arrived at the George Town airport right on time. We were smiling and waving as they walked down the stairs from the plane onto the double-duty asphalt runway and luggage collection spot. Leslie of Taxi 12 whisked us back to town and dropped us at the dinghy dock. The dinghy ride across the harbor was a bit of a baptism – holy roller style with a complete dousing. However, Lino and Phyllis took it in stride and quickly changed for drinks at the nearby Chat N Chill. The Chat N Chill is an institution with boater shirts and flags stapled to anything that does not move. Drinks and basic bar food are the norm with weekly pig roasts and dance parties thrown in for good measure. It was goombay smashes all around as we sat with toes in the sand at a picnic table under the shade of casuarina trees. We caught up on each others comings and goings for the last few months then moved the party back to the top deck of the boat for sundowners.
The next day we had arranged for a visit to Melanie and Paul’s island (Apr 11). We felt like old hands on our return visit but the landscaped beauty they have created is still humbling. That night we were all invited to a pot luck dinner at the house and a parking slip for the boat. Melanie made a crispy and succulent roast chicken and veggies and we contributed an artichoke cheese dip and Dr Martin’s mix side. The parking spot inside the protected mangrove lagoon was a welcome calm after a bouncy anchorage; however, light winds means still air and a hotter night. You cannot have it all.
Good weather the next morning meant that we tossed the lines at 8am from Top of the World in order to make the run from George Town, outside to the Atlantic Ocean, then back in at Galliot Cut and finally anchoring along Great Guana Cay (Apr 12). Our anchor spot in Isaac Bay seemed pretty good and we liked being the only boat…until…the sun went down and the ocean rollers started coming in and making it a very bumpy night. Maybe the boats anchored at Bay Rush Bay knew something we didn’t know?! Well, no need to daudle – we had the anchor up at 7am and were off to Big Majors (Apr 13).
The next few days slowly clipped along as we explored Thunderball Grotto, Staniel Cay and Big Majors. The sharks and remora are still around the anchorage so swimming off the boat always involved a spotter…but the critters did not stop the boys from jumping off the top deck. Great fun!
With a few days left we made a run to Warderick Wells for two nights (Apr 15). The isolated beaches and gin clear water awed our friends and still amaze us. We were too nervous to bring the boat into the horseshoe mooring ball area of the Park; however, the rolly anchorage out near Emerald Rock had us pick up a mooring ball so that we could get as close as possible to shore. Our proximity to shore helped but there was still a bit of swell and movement. This spot is a National Park with nothing more than a ranger station and more natural beauty than we have seen in one spot. We dinghied to snorkel spots scattered around the area where we spotted colorful fish and swaying coral…and even saw a stingray buried below the sand in such a way that only his eyes and tail gave him away. We walked to the top of Boo Boo Hill for unparalleled panoramic views. Days ended with evenings on deck after dinner where the sun set and we hunted the elusive green flash. One more day and we gathered snacks and adult beverages and tunes for a beach party for four. Honestly, as far as the eye could see it was just us and more shades of blue water than we could count. Wow – Mother Nature has outdone herself in this corner of the planet.
Back to Staniel Cay for our friend’s departure reminded us that things in the Bahamas work on island time. The Staniel Cay airport was abruptly closed for runway repairs which diverted flights to nearby Black Point. No problem and we got to check out a new community. The settlement on Black Point is not as touristy as others with a real small, tight knit feel. People are all smiles and very friendly. As luck would have it the island elementary school was having a fund raiser the day we scoped out the airport. Scoping out the airport was straight forward. We found that we simply needed to walk to the airport after dinghying to the town dock – sorted. This quick re-con meant we had time to join in the fund raising efforts. We each had a big lunch thanks to the school BBQ. For $10 you got BBQ ribs or roasted chicken, peas and rice with crab (land crab) and a choice of side (mac and cheese, cole slaw or potato salad). Our Styrofoam boxes were piled high…but we still came back for brownies and cake. It was delicious and we were stuffed! The money was to help the school fund a trip to Florida so the kids could see a place beyond the islands.
The usual shenanigans with Flamingo Air cut “scheduled” departure and arrival times closer than desired with nail biting to the bitter end; however, the Nassau connection was made and our friends were back in Boston with great new tans. So long Lino and Phyllis – we’ll see you back in Boston in a couple of months. There was nothing left on our schedule so we started to meander back north (Apr 19).
Dr Martin's Mix (from the I Hate to Cook Cookbook by Peg Bracken)
Dr Martin is a busy man. Crumble 1 to 1.5 lbs of pork sausage (hamburger will do) into a skillet and brown it. Pour off a little of the fat. Then add: 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 green pepper, chopped; 2 green onions, chopped; 2 or 3 celery stalks, chopped; 1 cup raw rice; 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce; and 2 cups chicken boullion. Dr Martin stirs until well blended then he puts the lid on and lets it simmer at the lowest possible heat while he goes out and sets another fracture. When he comes back in about an hour, his dinner is ready.