Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What an adventure!

Thank you so much to Janice and Al for inviting me to be part of this amazing opportunity. You have been wonderful hosts and have looked after me making me feel incredibly welcomed. Every day has been different and thrilling in its own way; from wave jumping with the dingy, exploring small island
towns, beach combing unpopulated soft sandy beaches, quietly paddling a still bay to snorkeling a beautiful reef. It has been a vacation filled with firsts; spotting a jumping stingray, speeding along with frolicking dolphins, navigating Devil's Backbone, steering the boat to taking my first ocean dive. I also want to thank Nancy and Dave - it has been a pleasure to meet you both.
Beach combing on Man Island

I wish Janice, Al and Dave a safe, happy and fun voyage home. Take care of yourselves and rest assured I don't regret any of the bruises - I wear them with pride knowing that I had the opportunity to be part of this once in a lifetime adventure.

Monday, 25 March 2013

North Eleuthera coral reefs

Al Has no problem spearing Lion Fish.  (poisonous)
We motored up to the north end of Eleuthera Saturday and anchored out just east of the Current Island cut. Dave from At Last and his guest Nancy joined us shortly after and we went out snorkelling. We found a huge coral head to explore. The water was colder than we are used to.

Exploring Current settlement on north Eleuthera

When we returned to the boat we stopped by Hullaballoo to invite Bill and Pat to join us for a walk around the settlement. After our walk everyone came back to our boat for a sundowner. Everyone had a great time sharing stories as we enjoyed our PiƱa Coladas.

Celebrating St Patrick's Day
Sunday morning Dave stopped by to give Al a hand with the auto pilot which stopped working a week ago. Al and I went for a drift dive in the afternoon then Dave and Nancy joined us for dinner and a movie.

We went to Spanish Wells to do laundry and stock up before my friend Janet joined us. The homes there are colourful and gardens well tended. Lobster fishing is the main industry in Spanish Wells and 70% of all lobstering for the Bahamas is accomplished here.

When Janet joined us we anchored out for a couple of days at Royal Island and did some snorkelling on Egg Reef. Dave and Nancy were there as well and after another attempt the auto pilot is back in working order.

Today we ventured through the devils backbone to Harbour Island. This is a narrow path through the coral reefs to the northeast side of Eleuthera. The guidebooks suggest hiring a pilot to take your boat through but we didn't have any trouble using the Garmin charts and with Nancy and I looking out for danger from the bow.

Beach Combing and found a message in a bottle
After anchoring we took a hike on Man Island and found a message in a bottle that someone had thrown off a cruise ship in Turks and Caicos.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Guest Blogger Sings Quantum's Joy

Walter and I were thrilled to spend a week aboard Quantum Joy! Al and Jan hosted us with a combination of resort quality amenities and rugged outback adventure. Starting out at Nassau we stayed overnight at Rose Island. At Allan's Cay we got to see some 20 pound iguanas whom Al assured us were herbivores. The following day we had an easy sail south to Highboune Cay where we saw some nurse sharks feeding and then promptly jumped in the water just around the point to snorkel with the fishes. 

Experiencing the local fair at Seven Seas, Gregory Town
Each meal on board QJ was a delight from blueberry pancakes for breakfast to homemade seafood chowder for lunch (made in a swinging galley under full sail in deep and high seas) to exquisite BBQ roast for dinner. Libations were plentiful and varied including local beer, rum and mixers. After Highbourne we sailed 30 nautical miles across the deep blue sea reaching depths of 5,000 feet and heights of 7 (during which the aforementioned chowder was crafted). As a 'working' holiday we shared ship maintenance and sailing tasks with our skilled hosts. Now on a run up the west side of Eleuthra Island, we shall soon disembark our adventure as better sailors and better (and somewhat heavier) people! Thank you Al and Jan for a quantum of joy. - David

Stoped at the Goverment Dock
Walked 3 miles to have lunch at Tippies on the east coast

Notice the water color, left is West side and right is East side of the island

Eleuthera, Glass window

Today we set upon a new adventure first by renting a car with no ID and no paperwork. This left us wondering if the guy just rented us some random car! On our drive we stopped at the 'glass window', named for the stone arch which once connected north and south Eleuthera. 
Glass Window

Glass Window - West Side
Fishmonger in Governor's Harbour
The arch broke during a storm some years ago but the name remains. A narrow bridge now covers the hundred foot gap between the cliffs.  Below the bridge is bedrock a couple feet above sea level which therefore still makes North and South Eleuthera a single island. When the ocean surges, the cliffs are breached and for a time a waterfall cascades from the dark blue waters of the Atlantic into the turquoise waters of the Bahama Banks. We watched pounding surf crash into this narrow window amazed at the power of water and wind. 

Remnants of an extensive farming industry

Coffee at the Front Porch in Hatchet Bay
Sundowner aboard Hullabaloo
On the humorous side we managed to get lost on an island with only one main road and when we ended up back at the restaurant at which we had just eaten lunch and from where we were trying to leave, Walter quipped "I was here the last time I was here!" 

We finished our day with a 'sundowner' on Hullabaloo, the boat anchored next to us. The owners, a lovely couple, Pat and Bill, are the proud parents of actress Jennifer Garner.

Roses, Iguanas and Sharks

David taking a turn at the Helm
 Our Guests arrived (Walter and David).  We spent two nights in Nassau then anchored at Rose island then headed south to the Exumas (Allans Cay) to show the guys the iguanas.  Next night anchored at Hybourne Cay and viewed a shark feeding before heading out the cut to sail 50 miles to Eleurthera.
Walter being himself

David enjoying the beach with our boat in the background (look close)

This is our neighbor at Hybourne Cay anchorage

Friday, 8 March 2013

Nassau again awaiting guests

Al inspects a wreck on the east end of Rose Island

Sandy Toes Resort has a great spot on Rose islands where we anchored
We sailed back to Nassau last Tuesday with Corinne and Dave from "At Last". We stocked up and took sails in for repairs then enjoyed a farewell dinner for Corinne at the Poop Deck restaurant.

We spent the next week anchored out at Rose Island. The weather went from one extreme to another so when it turned cold we took care of chores aboard and made preparations for guests. When weather permitted, we did a little snorkeling and explored the island.

We arrived back in Nassau this morning where we will pick up the sail we left with the sailmaker and meet up with guests this afternoon.

Like our birch tree only red