Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Goodbye Exumas, Hello Berrys

Well we have left the Exumas and while it was a sad day, we know we have many more adventures and great new places to find! But not before we revisit some of our favorite places on the way back - after biblical thunder and lightning storms Monday night (great while we were out on anchor at Rose Island - NOT), on Tuesday morning (I checked a calendar because I rarely know what day it is anymore) we headed into the Nassau Harbor Club and were greeted by a smiling Peter who was there to help with our lines. It was actually fun returning to a port we'd already been through because we knew exactly what we wanted to do. The cats as you can see are also very at home here in Nassau - can they look any more relaxed or cuter???
"More mahi, please"
Boy, that cruising is tiring!
After filling up with a little fuel, September Song and Gypsies went off to do some shopping - hitting the marine stores (always the first place we go), the liquor store and the grocery store! After provisioning it was off to Potter's Cay to get our conch fix - the little shacks they have along the harbor sell conch just about any way you want it (our favorite is cracked conch) and they cut the conch out of the shell once you order so you know it's fresh!!! We wanted to go back to Tall Boy's Shack but they had sent the oil out to get cleaned and we were told it would be an hour - no worries mon (although we should have realized we are on island time mon). So we walked along the docks and were fascinated to see all the activity - we were told that the mail boats leave on Wednesday to deliver mail and other goods to the outer islands so Tuesday everyone brings all the supplies down to the docks to load onto the boats. As we saw in the Exumas, the islands are very dependent on these mail boats - everything on the islands gets imported from Nassau - and sometimes the boats come on the day they are supposed to and sometimes not, sometimes they contain the mail and what the islanders need and sometimes not. We still haven't found Stephanie and Bob's mail that they had shipped form the States over 8 weeks ago (we think that one's a lost cause!!) We saw everything being loaded on the boats from mattresses and appliances to food and booze - one particular pallet we saw containing cases of Bacardi and Corona we told them we would be happy to have them load on Gypsies - we weren't too far down the dock!!!
I'm sure the dinghy is "very safe"!
Interesting variety of stuff!
Now this is more like it! "Please load this directly onto Gypsies!"

On our way back to Tall Boys we saw this great funky bar called Big Daddy's Seaside Lounge and of course had to stop in for a cold Kalik - how could we possibly not!!!
Big Daddy's Seaside Lounge
Then it was on to fisherman's row where Stephanie was in search of a really large conch (stop it - it was to make a horn...) She found a beauty at one of the stalls!
Stephanie and Tammy surveying the conch stalls
Then it was finally on to Tall Boy's but the oil wasn't back - just another 20 minutes mon...I don't think so! So we wandered the shacks passing some great veggie stands as we went - the Bahamian women can be shy but this lady obviously didn't want her picture taken!
Don't take my picture, mon!
So we found another hopping shack (we learned to hit the shacks where there are lots of people - the food is better!) and ordered our cracked conch and conch fritters and of course a couple cold Kaliks.
McKenzie's Conch Stand
We hung out and chatted with some locals as we waited for our order which was fantastic!! Fresh conch is something I will definitely miss - but then again there will be lots to miss once we leave the Bahamas!! That afternoon we hung out by the pool (for old times sake - that's what we did every afternoon we were there before) and in that tradition, we demolished a key lime pie poolside (hold the plates just pass the pie and give us each a fork!!) Can't believe we ate the whole thing!!!

Click here to see a Google map of our Nassau location.

The next morning after lots of boat chores we headed out through Nassau Harbor, past all the cruise ships, headed for Frazers Hog Cay in the Berry Islands in search of Herbie's rum punch!! Excitement was in the air as we had a long run and we were out of the Park so the dolphin slayers could fish!!! Bummer - they got skunked!! But we pulled up to the dock at the Berry Islands Club and Herbie was filleting a beautiful mahi which turned out to be our dinner for the evening anyways! On the dock we were entertained by 3 nurse sharks and 2 reef sharks that were in a feeding frenzy as Herbie would toss the mahi skin and carcass in the water. Several of the sharks had remoras attached to them (a type of fish that has almost like suction cups for feet that attach themselves to a shark or ray and eat what falls from the shark's mouth...very weird sight!)
Nurse Shark
We also saw a bunch of lionfish around the docks which are poisonous - we all agreed that there would be no swimming that evening although we did try a little cast fishing off the dock and the boats trying to land some of the snapper floating around the docks - Stephanie caught a couple little ones but had to throw them back (although Bootsie tried to convince her otherwise). That evening, sporting bright Hawaiian shirts (Bob looks great in colors!!), we dined on conch fritters and mahi along with several of Herbie's killer rum punches, after which Stephanie gave Herbie a little computer tutorial while we watched Weekend at Bernie's on the TV (juvenile I know but very funny!)
Bob and Doug enjoy Herbie's Rum Punch
Herbie's conch fritters rival his rum punches

Click here to see a Google map of our Frazers Hog Cay location.

The next morning we were off again - this time to head somewhere new - we were going to drop anchor further up in the Berry Islands off Soldier Cay. But the real excitement of the day was that the dolphin slayers got a chance to redeem themselves - we could fish the whole way! No sooner had the poles gone in the water when we heard Bob exclaim "fish on" - unfortunately it was a barracuda and went back over the side. Bob did manage to grab a small blackfin tuna, but he and I both lost "the big ones" - mine took the lure and everything - huge bummer!!

As we made the turn into our anchorage Doug smelled something in the engine room and we immediately had to shut down our starboard engine as coolant was spewing out and causing smoke as it hit the hot engines. UGH - I really hate having to moor or anchor on one engine, but at least we had the place to ourselves. We got the hook down and Bob came over to help - the boys got it fixed (at least temporarily) so we'll be good to go again when we want - it's great to travel with friends!! Especially when they save you from having to eat hot dogs because you were skunked fishing again - September Song had us over for fresh tuna sushi and tuna steaks on the grill!!! Boy was that blackfin tuna good!!! We all sat out on the foredeck having cinnamon pinwheels (my grandmother's recipe) and glasses of rum under the stars - now that's the way to finish off a great day!

The next morning we were off to explore the Berry Islands in the family car - Hobos and Half Note have a date with the dogs to explore and find lots of beaches!!

Click here to see a Google map of our Soldier Cay location.

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