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Month: February 2019

Parrot Fish Poop

Parrot Fish Poop

February 25, 2019 Monday Rachel’s Bubble Bath, Compass Cay, Exhumas to  Belle Island, Exuma Parks, Exhumas 8.3 nautical miles.

24°18’32.6″N 76°33’06.5″W
24.309068, -76.551796
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Compass Cay Mangrove Creek


The Exumas Land and Sea Park – Plane Wreck off O’Brien Cay

The Exumas Land and Sea Park – The Aquarium off O’Brien Cay

The Exumas Land and Sea Johnny Depp’s private island – Little Hall’s Pond Cay (near O’Brien Cay)

Neighbors

This starfish looks like a cookie. It is about the size of a 12″ dinner plate.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The beautiful sandy beaches in the Bahamas are courtesy of the Parrot fish. Parrot fish poop sand. They eat algae that grows on ­coral rock, munching pieces of coral in the process which is digested and released (pooped), as much as one ton of sand a year.

The Parrot Fish Poop song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA3PqJxQkhU

Bay of Pigs and Bubble Baths

Bay of Pigs and Bubble Baths

February 24, 2019 Sunday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  to Rachel’s Bubble Bath, Compass Cay 15.5 nautical miles.

24°16’35.7″N 76°31’32.0″W
24.276593, -76.525557
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Pulling anchor

In with the Pigs …

Mary cut up all the celery in refridge up to feed the pigs and tucked it back into the plastic celery bag. Sarah bravely threw out the first piece of celery towards a pig ….. 5 feet, maybe. She and Mary were suddenly swarmed by pigs. Cowardly they ran into the water. Pigs followed. Mary yelling stop go back to the pigs as if they would listen. She “Hail Maryed” the bag of celery to Sarah. Sarah snatched it and once the pigs turned towards her she tossed it back to Mary. A game of pigs keep away. Mary and a pig raced to the bag which had landed in the water. The pig beat her to it. It snatched the plastic bag of celery and ran. Mary hotly persued the pig. Screaming at it. Mary grasped the plastic bag which the pig had firmly clenched in is snout. The tug of war over the celery bag began. Neither party was backed down. Finally the bag split in two. The pig trotted off victor with the celery end of the bag. Everyone laughing but Mary.

Truth be told there are also goats and chickens as well as pigs on Big Major Cay. When the Staniel Cay throws a fund raising or community BBQ some comes out and kills a pig or a goat. We couldn’t find the goats.

Chicken following pig

The fun wasn’t over yet. Off to Rachel’s Bubble bath and the conch walk.  For some reason the yellow and black fish in the bubble bath liked Sarah. Really liked Sarah. They kept swarming over and nibbling/biting her. Mary had to help scare them aware. Unbelievably there was no wind today. As a result very few waves broke over the rocks to create bubbles.

Conch at Rachel’s Bubble Bath
Bahamas Blues
Sarah’s toes
Coral Sunset

Neighbors

Gold Finger – Minella

Minella from Turkey –  Built in 2018 and not for charter https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-50962/minella.htm

Disambiguation

Term: Sea Level – Typically “sea level” refers to the AVERAGE MEAN Sea Level, essentially the mid point between the daily high and low tides heights. Daily sea level will vary from place to place, but roughly 3 feet or a meter is a reasonable approximation of NORMAL tide variation.

The location of the sea level datum is at Newlyn in Cornwall. It was established by the Ordnance Survey with the mean sea level calculated from hourly readings taken over a six-year period from 1915 to 1921.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The surface of the Pacific Ocean stands about 40 cm higher than the Atlantic Ocean with respect to the 1000-decibar surface, and the North Atlantic and North Pacific stand respectively about 14 and 17 cm higher than the South Atlantic and Pacific.

Bahamian Transformation

Bahamian Transformation

February 23, 2019 Saturday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  0 nautical miles.

24°10’28.7″N 76°26’47.7″W
24.174651, -76.446581
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Woo. Woo. Sarah is here for a visit. 

First stop was the only boutique store in town to get Sarah flip flops and a Kalick (Bahamas beer) t-shirt. Off with the Minnesota sweater and on with the Kalick t-shirt. Off with the Minnesota shoes and on with the flip flops.

Boutique. Handmade baskets

(Sarah is camera shy so I won’t get many pictures of her.)

Sarah had both Minnesota road salt and Bahamian sea salt on her pants. We dingyed back to the boat to complete the Bahamian transformation. Swimsuits! Then off to Thunderball Grotto.

007

We had supper at the purple restaurant Taste and Sea, the only restaurant besides the one at SCYC. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday-Saturday 11:00am to 1:00pm. She makes a noon special and feeds most of the workers on the island to go lunches in the matter of 15 minutes. When she runs out, they/you need to order from the menu.  Then there are suppers…..  Taste and Sea is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 6:00pm to 8:00pm. We got there promptly at 6:00pm like everyone else who wanted supper. The waitress went around the room and taking order from everyone at the same time then bringing them to the cook. If you ordered a baked potato you needed to wait for it to bake. All the food for tables for all the tables came out at one time.

Neighbors

Who needs TV when you can watching 100+ footers do the docking dance between other 100+ footers, catamarans and dingys. I’m surprised there isn’t more youtube on this. It’s a toss over which is more entertaining the Yacht Cub or the Fuel dock.

Antares – Charter $115,000 per week. https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-24387/antares.htm

Floccinaucinihilipilification

“We have two lives. The lives we learn with, and the life we live after that…” 
– Bernard Malamud.

Yes we are still married

Yes we are still married

February 22, 2019 Friday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  0.1 nautical miles.

24°10’28.7″N 76°26’47.7″W
24.174651, -76.446581
Elevation: 0 ft

The wind. The wind. The wind. A couple of boats pulled out of the anchorage this morning. We crept forward towards SCYC along with a couple of other boats in hopes it be in less wind and current.

Along the Way

Yes, we are still married.

Dale’s hand was in the right spot at the wrong timing helping Mary onto the dingy. A rogue wave curled around Yes Dear and smashed into us. Mary didn’t fall in but Dale’s finger was smashed into the swim deck by the dingy. It swelled. A lot. After a couple of days the swelling on the finger hadn’t gone down.  The ring had to go.

Mary’s fingers are pretty pudgy too. But that’s from getting smashed. It’s from living the good life. If she keeps that up she might have to cut her ring off too.

When we started the Loop we were warned. At the end of the Loop you will need to do 3 things:

  • join Weight Watchers
  • join AA
  • get marriage counseling.

We are good on the last bullet but the other two not so much. (NO, alcohol was not involved when Dale hurt is finger.)

Cool clean water.

The other day Howard said we could bring our containers and come get free water at his dock. We took him up on it. It isn’t so much that we couldn’t afford to buy the water at the marina for $.40 a gallon, but it was the spirit of adventure and the opportunity to visit with Howard again. Howard is really great. He knows so much about the area.

The dock is huge! Each dock post cost $1000. There were a lot of them and there were also 2 dolphin moorings. A hole into the rock had to be drilled for each post. I counted 64 posts on the dock and each dolphin had another 6. $70,000 in dock poles alone.

The owners of Marbella https://www.bradford-marine.com/yacht-for-sale/115-0-northcoast-yachts-marbella-ii/ have the dock next door to the north. No house, just a dock and a gazebo. They are trying to buy the place Howard is the caretaker for.

Marbella

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Mary often feels like she’s a voyeur sitting on our boat and looking at the boats around. She officially is one now.

Oh Canada! Do you realize you’re anchored in the middle of about 10 boats just off a dingy freeway to see pigs?

The sailboat had run aground. Nature boy put his swimsuit on and, along with another dingy went to pull the sailboat off the shoal.

The sailboat had run aground. Nature boy put his swimsuit on and, along with another dingy went to pull the sailboat off the shoal.

Dingys pulling run aground sailboat out of shallow water


Today at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC) :
Pipe Dreams – Not for charter https://www.yachtcharterfleet.pipe-dreams.htm
Yacht Mon Shari – Info about boat

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Dale counted 14 inbound planes landing in Staniel Cay by 4:00 pm and maybe he missed few. Tourism is big to fly in to Staniel Cay see the pigs and then to Compass Cay to see the nurse sharks the back to Nassau on the small charter planes. $$$$$ There are no flight controllers at the smaller cay airports.

Cay Hopping

Cay Hopping

24°10’34.8″N 76°26’50.1″W
24.176342, -76.447252
Elevation: 0 ft

February 21, 2019 Thursday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  0 nautical miles.

Along the Way

Our new Staniel Cay friends Mark and Donna picked us up on their run about for a tour of the cays. Both Mark and Donna come from a rich heritage of Bahama Loyalists. Mark lived and worked for a salvage and rescue company off Sampson cay for over 25 years. He knows everybody! Donna grew up running sailboats from the east coast to the Bahamas. She is filled with Bahamas history and lore.

First a quick drive by the pigs.

Dr. No’s house. (Actually, it’s owned by a drug lawyer from Nassau. Close enough.)

Dr. No’s house. (Actually, it’s owned by a drug lawyer from Nassau. Close enough.)

A stop at the salvage yard where Mark used to work. The Intrepid boat behind the little boat hit a coral head, flipped and tore the top off. The boat in the back on the left had side is the 100 foot salvage and rescue boat.

Lunch on Compass Key

A nurse shark swam by. You should have seen Mary scramble out of the water.

Thanks ever so much to Mark and Donna for taking us on the awesome outing exploring the cays from Staniel Cay to Compass Cay.

The Mail Boat came in today, but we weren’t there to greet it. We ran into Howard late this afternoon and he gave us the scoop. It came a day later than scheduled. The boat had been pinned down by weather on one of the islands south of here and couldn’t run. It’s actually kinda a big deal as people on the island and all the tourists depend on it for fresh produce and groceries.

Neighbors

This pilot was a mad man. Not only a short runway he started turning the minute he was off the water.

Out Rigger

WTF

The wind picks up about 5-8 mph every night between 6pm and 1am.  If it’s currently 0 mph it goes to 8 mph.  If it’s currently 10 mph it goes to 18 mph. Crazy. The Yes Dear bounces around in the wind and gusts.  Drives Dale nuts. I suppose we could move but the anchor is holding and it would be work move.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Mail Boats are subsidized by the Bahamian government for carrying mail. They also take on freight and passengers. It is an inexpensive way for Bahamians and adventurous tourists to travel around the islands.

All Mail Boats carry and extra set of props. Mail Boat captains know the waters but still even with all their experience pay the price for an error or a new shoal. Mail Boats used to go to the cays once a week. With increasing expenses they now travel 3 times a month on a published schedule.

The Bread Line

The Bread Line

February 20, 2019 Tuesday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  0 nautical miles.

24°10’34.8″N 76°26’50.1″W
24.176342, -76.447252
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

We picked up a passenger in our dingy our way in to Staniel Cay this morning. One of the neighboring sailboats hailed us and asked us for a lift in to get fuel. They didn’t have enough gas to run their dingy in. WOW.

Today we were going to walk about and to buy bread since we didn’t manage to accomplish that yesterday. We had been forewarned to get the bread early in the day, definitely before noon.

There are 3 stores in town, the yellow store (Isle General), the pink store (Pink Shell) and the blue store (Burkes). Each sells a little bit of groceries and a little bit of other stuff.

First stop was the yellow store. Another patron went to summon Vivian at here house to come down. She had customers lined up. They didn’t have bread yet and the fishing gear was not to Dale’s liking.

We got to the pink store at 10:20 am. The bread was delivered at 10:30 am and people were flocking in to buy it. Elenore, the shop keeper, told us the lady who bakes bread for the entire island will be out of town till next Tuesday. Hence, her store would be getting two deliveries of bread today. The coconut bread would be in at noon. We paid $7 for a regular loaf and prepaid $8 for a coconut loaf that she would put aside for us.  The 18oz bottle of Hunts BBQ sauce was $5. Elenore said she would hold the groceries for us until we came back. (Wonderful woman but wouldn’t let Mary take her picture.)

Pink Store

All the bread was sold out when we got back there at 1:00 pm.  10 loaves of regular bread and 10 loaves of coconut bread. There used to be another bread baker in town. Her oven broke about 3 months ago and hasn’t been baking bread since.

The blue store offered the best selection of items.

All of the stores were waiting for the Mail Boat to come in for fresh produce and other supplies.

Government dock. At the government dock we met Howard. Howard too was checking to see if the Mail Boat was in. He is 80 years old and the caretaker for one of the homes on Staniel Cay. Howard used to be the captain of the home owner’s yacht. About 2 years ago he told the ownersthat he was getting too old and wanted to retire. They said OK, we were getting old too. They sold the yacht and asked him to be the caretaker for their Staniel Cay home. Howard lives on Staniel Cay for as many months of the year in their home as he feels like. He hires and manages the caretaking staff and flies in and out a couple of times a year to check on things. He’s always there when the owners are there. His wife travels with him occasionally.

Coral House

A sign at the Government Dock said there is roller skating and a BBQ on last Friday of every month.

Green and Yellow House
Taste and Sea Restaurant (where we had supper last night)

Woo woo. We ran into Mark and Donna on the beach and visited for a while before going back to the pink store to pick up our groceries.

Staniel Cay – Dingy dock and dogs. It’s a good life for the dogs. We’ve seen the two of them all over the island wherever we’ve been walking.

SCYC
Dingy dock and dogs. It’s a good life for the dogs. We’ve seen the two of them all over the island wherever we’ve been walking.
The coconut bread is some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten. It’s a yeast bread, not a quick bread. The coconut in the loaf has been finely grated, making the loaf is moist and dense. The coconut taste is very subtle.

Neighbors

Unaffordable Housing

Yellow House on ridge. We were told it has 13 bathrooms.

The owner of the Black Hawks hockey team owns a house here on Staniel Cay. Supposedly he and the players are down here a lot. I wouldn’t recognize any of them.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The man that invented Watermakers (reverse osmosis salt water desalinater) also started the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC).  Watermakers are the source of water for all the communities in the Bahamas. Almost all of the mid-size and large sailboats and yachts have watermakers installed. (We could too for about $4k plus installation) The guy is rich. Bahamian residences and businesses pay $.04 per gallon and non-Bahamian residences pay substantially more. It will cost us $.40 per gallon to refill our potable water next week at the marina.

Two Pirates

Two Pirates

February 19, 2019 Tuesday Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  0 nautical miles.

24°10’34.8″N 76°26’50.1″W
24.176342, -76.447252
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

First a dingy about

…. then a walkabout in search of a grocery store for bread

Mary being Mary was taking pictures and admiring the quaint rental cottages. A voice from above hailed us and invited us up for a beer. You didn’t need to ask Dale twice. We met two delightful people from the North Carolina, Mark and Donna. Our walk about pretty much didn’t go much further than that.  Well, maybe about 1000 feet further to Big Dogs Bar for a beer and then to the Taste and Sea restaurant for an amazing blackened grouper supper.

Two Pirates. Mark had worked as a modern day pirate (salvage) for 25+ years off Sampson Cay about a mile north. Well, the rest of you know Dale.

By the time we got back to the dingy dock the tide had come in. Mary had to wade out almost to her naughty bits to untie it and drag it to shore. We hadn’t planned on staying in town past dark so we didn’t have any navigation lights. Good thing all the boats stop moving around at dark.

As we left the dingy dock we passed super yacht G3. Honest to gosh I swear Richie Rich was standing at the back of the yacht. A shorter, slightly pudgy blonde youth with parted, wax hair greeted us and waved.  His little brother, who looked exactly like him, came out to greet us too. Jeeves was nowhere around.

G3 – Charter $196,000 per week https://www.burgessyachts.com/

Neighbors

A pontoon?????? Where did this come from? First we one have seen in the Bahamas. (Locals call tourist boats packed with lot of people cattle boats.)

In the background of the pontoon picture there are a couple of kite boarders. We have heard Mark Zuckerberg is in the area with his super yacht Ulysses and that he and a couple of buddies are kite boarding the length of the Exumas.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Can you name the two fears you were born with?
(1)  Falling  (2)  Loud noises.  You had to learn the rest.

(no title) oopsies. I forgot

(no title) oopsies. I forgot

February 18, 2019 Monday Compass Cay, Rachels Bubble Bath, Exhumas  to  Staniel Cay, Thunderball Grotto, Exhumas  13.7 nautical miles.

24°10’34.8″N 76°26’50.1″W
24.176342, -76.447252
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Rocky Dundas and Fowl Cays by Compass Cay – We dingyed over a look before we pulled the anchor. We plan on going back next week. Mary had a quick snorkel just so she could compare it to Thunderball Grotto.

Fowl Cay is a private island. No trespassing and beware of dogs.
Crashed airplane. Emergency landing and too short of runway

We passed by Pig Beach on Big Major Cay as we pulled in to Staniel Cay. There must have been over 50 boats anchored at Pig Beach. (another day)

Once anchored we watched the world go by.

Private plane landing on Staniel Cay. It wasn’t the jet we saw earlier but it was still cool.

Fuel dock traffic jam at Staniel Cay. We just sat and watched. Fuel boat went into fuel dock just before superyacht 4 Puppies comes in for fuel. Space is tight and water is skinny. HA. For a short while I thought 4 Puppies was going to try to raft with Marbella. Eventually 4 Puppies backed into an end cap on another dock to hold.  It took more than several hours for the fuel boat to unload.

Marbella – Charter $35,000 per week plus expenses https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-37832/marbella.htm

4*Puppies – Built in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Not currently for charter.
https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-23255/4*-puppies.htm

There is a black plume of smoke over Staniel Cay and the air is filled with the lovely smell of burning garbage.  The wind changed and it is blowing straight at us. It hurts Mary’s lungs. Garbage in the Bahamas is managed by burning and burying. Everyone is encouraged to toss organic garbage into the deeper water and away from the cay shorelines.

Good Night

Moon over Thunderball Grotto

Nauti Words

This symbol wasn’t taught in our nautical classes.

Shark????????!!!!!

Non-gravitational currents.

The Green Flash

The Green Flash

February 17, 2019 Sunday Shroud Cay, Exhumas  to  Compass Cay, Rachel’s Bubble Bath, Exhumas  26.4 nautical miles.

24°16’47.2″N 76°31’30.0″W
24.279772, -76.525004
Elevation: 0 ft

We left Shroud Cay as soon as the sun wanted out. Dale wanted OUT. (He can’t fish in Exhuma Park). We set passage to the closest location outside the southern boundary of the park, the north west tip of Compass Cay and set anchor. The water is amazing.

Along the Way

Rachel’s Bubble Bath on the east side the cay. It’s caused by a crevice in the rock where waves crash through. It happened again. We met two couples from Minnesota in the middle of nowhere. They were from Mound and Chanhassen on catamaran ENCHANTMENT anchored right next to us! I’m beginning to think we should fly state flags as well as national flags on our boats.

Neighbors

Lucky Lady – Charter $300,000 to $335,000 per week https://www.charterworld.com/index.html?sub=yacht-charter&charter=my-lady-lola-1134

Good Night

Mary got it! Not a big green flash, but definitely a flash. Mary has been on the hunt for a green flash since we went to the Green Flash Bar/Restaurant on Sanibel, Island with the Hammies (see blog January 12, 2019). She has been taking pictures at every sunset just in case the universe aligned and it flashed.
The below pictures are the same – just different degrees of magnification.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Green flashes occur because the Earth’s atmosphere can cause the light from the sun to separate out into different colors.  Green flashes and green rays are meteorological optical phenomena that sometimes occur just after sunset or right before sunrise. When the conditions are right, a distinct green spot is briefly visible ; the green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. (It is doubtful that would ever see a sunrise one)

Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

February 16, 2019 Saturday Highbourne Cay, Exumas to  Shroud Cay, Exumas   14.5 nautical miles.

24°32’07.7″N 76°47’54.9″W
24.535471, -76.798592
Elevation: 0 ft

Good morning!

It’s fun to toss the wet garbage overboard to see what shows up. Today’s toss was lettuce. Today’s dinner guest was a 4 foot Cobia (aka Ling).

Pulling the anchor in 15 feet of water at Highbourne Cay.

Along the Way

Highbourne Cay Cut – Heading East

Dale caught a BIG FISH in route to our anchorage. Mary had to put the boat in reverse for a couple of seconds to help him out. The drag on Dale’s reel is set so hard he can’t pull the line out manually. But the line sang zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. After about a 5 minute adrenalin rush the 150# test line broke. ☹ The fish probably made it into some coral and it cut it.

Wax Cay Cut – Heading West

Exhuma Cays Land and Sea National Park – Shroud Cay dingy creek. The interior of Shroud Cay is a vast tidal lake that is underwater a high tide. There is a dingy creek loops through the middle of Shroud Cay with several branches. In the middle of all this we ran into another dingy filled with Minnesotans for Chisago City. Their catamaran is named GYPSY SPIRIT.

We got to the far end of the creek and headed south in the direction of our boat per our chart. Our seaman’s eye told us things didn’t look right. We pulled onto sandy cay where we could easily look around the area to see where we were.  Lost.  Lost in the Bermuda Triangle! No boats in sight. We got back into the dingy and retraced our route.

Shell pictures from the beach we pulled into to figure out where we were. 6 in queen helmet shell and 8 inch I don’t know what???

Neighbors

There are more 100 foot yachts and SUPER yachts here in the Exhumas than boats like ours. Sailboats greatly out number all the other boats. We see a few smaller motor boats, dingys off the yachts, and a few Viking fishing boats (the boats with the fishing towers). Mary is going to try really hard to not take a picture of every unaffordable boats and only take pictures of yachts over 100 feet.

Big Sky – Charter $160,000 per week plus expenses  https://www.worldwideboat.com/yachts/big-sky

Sunrays – Owned by Ravi Ruia is one of the richest people in India https://www.superyachtfan.com/superyacht_sunrays.html

Drolleries and Yuks Best boat name we heard today: Extra Bacon