Monday, April 6, 2009

Maggie May

I'm sitting here in Nassau Harbor watching a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantis resort which looks amazingly majestic across on Paradise Island - later on this morning our plan is to go check it out with September Song and Life's2Short.
Sunrise in Nassau

We left The Berry Islands Club on Frazer's Hog Cay on Saturday morning after a fantastic day Friday soaking up the sun on a blindingly beautiful Bahamian beach. The weather was still rocking so we made the best of it (as cruisers always do). Todd from Life's2Short went conching with a couple locals (and even learned how to clean them - yeah mon!)
Todd the Conchman

while we spent the afternoon going for a walk with Cassie and Godiva (September Song's labs). We found a wonderful salt flats area where Cassie could fish amongst the mangrove roots and Godiva could fetch the tennis ball (a thousand times).
The Salt Flats

Then it was on to a little beach further down the road (and I use the term road lightly - it was more of a gravel/rock/sand path - who needs a real road when there are only 10 people who live on the island???) The beach we came to, however, was gorgeous - crystal blue water so clear you could see the bottom forever and white powder fine sand that felt so good you just had to wiggle your toes in it! This is what we came to the Bahamas for!!!
A Bahamas Beach
Cassie and Godiva frolicking at the beach

That evening we had dinner up at the little restaurant where Herbie (aka dockmaster, chef, and bartender extraordinaire) and his beautiful fiancee Margret, a/k/a, Maggie May, made us a traditional Bahamian dinner of conch, lobster, grouper fingers, mac and cheese, and peas and rice!! They also mixed us up some more of that lethal but wonderful rum punch which made for a very entertaining evening. As we waddled back to our boats which were safely tied up to the dock, extremely full and feeling no pain, we knew we would sleep well that night!!!
Cocktail Hour at the Berry Islands Club
Dinner at the Berry Islands Club

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful so we headed back out across the Tongue of the Ocean for Nassau - what a difference a couple days make!! We had a spectacular day on the water - the seas flattened right out and the sun was shining its warmth on us so short sleeves on the flybridge ruled!! As soon as we got out to the Tongue, the fishing lines went into the water - shortly thereafter the always anticipated "fish on!!" came across the radio from Lucky Stars. John who was riding with Lucky Stars for the day (Carol really wanted to see what it was like to have two husbands for the day) caught a mahi. Then it was September Song's turn - Bob brought in a 15 pound Mahi!! On Gypsies we had so much fun just listening to Bob and Stephanie's excitement - talk about a little kid on Christmas morning, that kid had nothing on Bob!!! The boats were quiet for a little while until we heard Life's2Short talk about a weed line (where there are weeds or birds, there are likely fish - see the things we are learning out here!) so we all headed off to follow the weed line. Nothing...but soon enough we saw a pack of birds and fish breaking out of the water - game on! It was a school of tuna that our four boats and one little whaler chased for over an hour - it was like bumper boats out there with every boat for him or herself!! Colleen hooked one but it was so big it broke our line...huge bummer! But at the end of the adventure, September Song and Life's2Short had caught a couple yellow fin tuna - we were eating good that night! Next time out I just know Gypsies will be lucky!! Come on Colleen!!
The fishermen

The excitement of the day wasn't over quite yet as we still had to come in to Nassau Harbor which is an incredibly busy port - we had to radio in to Nassau Harbor Control and watch out for barges and tugs, meanwhile avoiding the numerous cruise ships and Le Grand Blue (one of the largest personal yachts in the world - it has a 74 foot sailboat and a 65 foot power boat as tenders, let alone a helicopter!!) It was very cool to steam into Nassau Harbor on our own boat - most people fly here for vacation but we made it all the way here on our own (it only took us about 7 months from ME)! On one side of the harbor is the sprawling Atlantis resort with its beautiful beach and imposing facade - the other side is taken up by numerous cruise ships, working fishing trawlers and even the mailboat (which is how John may get back to Gypsies when he leaves to head back to NH today).
Hog Island Lighthouse
Following Life's2Short and September Song into Nassau Harbor
Le Grand Bleu
The Mailboat

We tucked into our slip right behind September Song at Nassau Harbour Club and proceeded to the fish cleaning station where the the mahi and tuna soon became dinner at the hands of Bob, Todd, Colleen and Dan!!
Colleen and Todd cleaning the tuna

Dinner that evening was on September Song where all but Brenda and I tucked into the first fresh tuna sashimi of the trip (seriously I can't quite get into the raw fish thing, but....everyone else loved it!)
The first bite of sashimi

As the sun set, Bob and Stephanie blew the ceremonial conch shells to signify happy hour (too late - actually the conch is blown at sunset - if we just happen to start drinking before that, what's the harm??) From what I hear, the dinner of fresh fish was fabulous.....
Stephanie and Bob blow the conchs at sunset
Sunset in Nassau

Yesterday we got to explore Nassau - we first hit the conch shacks down on Potter's Cay where they have ice cold Kaliks and conch salad and cracked conch in little brightly painted shacks. We were just scoping things out at first - the eating would come later. We walked over to the fishing wharf and saw all the local fishermen cleaning their catch out at these little wooden stalls and the fishing trawlers loaded down with their catch.
The fish market
Cleaning the fish
The catch ready for market

This is a real working port in addition to being a vacation destination!! Next it was on to the downtown area where we passed beautiful stone churches, walked the Queen's stairs up to an old fort where the view of the city was not to be believed!! and saw really funky geckos with curved tails. We then headed down towards Government House and passed the pink and green shuttered Supreme Court and Parliament buildings - we of course tried to hit the Bacardi store and the pirate museum but both were closed on a Sunday (we'll be back)! We walked throughout the downtown harbor which has a lot of touristy shops (pretty much like any other cruise ship port) but found several places along the way to stop for a cold Kalik which you can drink right out of a brown paper bag on the street (I'm not kidding you, they give you bags at each of the stores since you can't be out on the street with a "naked" bottle or can - anything will do to cover it, coozie, bag, etc....) We were given some "free" wooden beads to make us Bahama Mamas and Mons by a local street character for a mere $5 donation to the children....yeah right... and then we ran into September Song on the back streets of downtown -- they were on an ice cream mission after having the spicy conch salad at Potters Cay. Sounded like a good idea so we headed back to the conch shacks! At Tall Boy's Conch Stand (what's your name - I go by Tall Boy....) we ordered up 3 conch salads and a cracked conch dish for me, all of which we watched him prepare with conch this old guy cut and cleaned right there - can you say fresh and wonderful!!!! We demolished it all with a couple more cold Kaliks and it was time to head back to the boat!

After a hot and sticky walk through town, what could be better than a cool dip in the pool - nothing!! We took over the floats and one section of the pool as we watched the sun set. Life's2Short and September Song soon joined us and the impromptu party was on - even Cassie and Godiva joined us!! As the evening progressed first the key lime pie came out which we all just shared with plastic forks and then Todd wandered over to Dominos for a pizza - not wanting to wait 30 minutes for a pizza, he took the canadian bacon and pineapple one that had just been cooked but that the guy who ordered it didn't want...worked for us!! We called it a night when we physically couldn't laugh anymore - OK maybe it just seemed that way. Today is after all another day......

Click here to see a Google map of our location.

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