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Month: March 2019

Living Large

Living Large

March 21, 2019 Thursday Papa Docks, Spanish Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera  0 nautical miles.

25°32’34.7″N 76°45’38.2″W
25.542958, -76.760596
Elevation: 0 ft

Mary loves it here!

Along the Way

Living large. The owner of the Papa Docks marina where we are staying let us borrow her buggy (golf cart) for the day. Road Trip!!!!!! St. George’s Cay (a.k.a. Spanish Wells) is  ~1.5 miles long and Russell Island is ~3.5 miles long.

First we wanted to re-trace many of the places in Spanish Wells that we bicycled yesterday.

Morning rush 10am buggies, ferries, freighters and cars

Check out what’s new in the harbor. Pinder’s Taxi is being brought back on a car ferry from Eleuthera mainland.

Next stop Kathy’s Bakery

Kathy’s Bakery. Fresh loaves set out rise. Johnny Cake rising under the pastry cloth.

We bought Johnny Cake from Kathy. Johnny Cake on Spanish Wells is not like Johnny Cake in the USA as there is no corn meal in it. Johnny Cake is sold in two sizes, the traditional frying pan size and the smaller 5-6 inch size. In the USA we call the smaller size Johnny cakes English muffins!

And then off to Russell Island.

Russell Island Bridge

Russell Island Harbor

Property lines along the harbour were delineated by low rock fences and with a row of trees. There were no buildings on any of the plots.

Russell Island Harbor Entrance

Houses. The houses were neighbors. Both coral and blue.

Orchards and Agriculture

There were several men clearing land with machetes. At another location we saw a man manually digging holes in the very rocky landscape to plant banana trees.
Hard hot work!
Russell Island north – the waves are crasshing about a mile out. The water depth out to the waves is 3 feet or less (most of it less and dry in low tide).
Russell Island south

People were jumping off the Russell Island bridge when we returned to Spanish Wells.

Bridge jump. One mid air. Two on deck.

Living large. Our last adventure of the day was to find fresh lobster for supper.

Our new friend Tim from Budda’s told us to check out Deek at his dock around 2:30pm.  Score!!!! Two 3# spiny lobsters for Mary and Dale. Deek dressed them out for us.

Supper was heads and tails prepared two different ways. First course boiled heads and legs. We were surprised at how much sweet meat was in the antenna bases and the legs.

Second course barbecued tails marinated in a little olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and garlic, as Deek recommended.

The lobster was as good as it looks! They were so large we could only eat a 1/2 tail each. Left overs tomorrow!

Mary loves it here!

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Spanish Wells is the spiny lobster (langouste) capital of the Bahamas. Bahamas’ lobsters, called crawfish by the locals, are prepared and boxed for export by Ronald Seafood processing at the Spanish Wells dock. Ronald Seafood supplies the Red Lobster restaurant chain, as well as many high-end European eateries.

Crawfishing started in Spanish Wells about 20 years ago and quickly transformed the community from a hard-luck fishing village into one of the wealthiest settlements in the Caribbean.

Full Worm Moon

Full Worm Moon

March 20, 2019 Wednesday Papa Docks, Spanish Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera  0 nautical miles.

25°32’34.7″N 76°45’38.2″W
25.542958, -76.760596
Elevation: 0 ft

Mary loves it here!

Along the Way

We took the bikes off the boat and were out and about.

North West side of Spanish Well looking towards Russell Island and the Atlantic.
There is a vast area of very shallow water between the island and the reef. The dot in the middle of the picture is a man out walking around in the shallow water. Much of this is dry at low tide.

Grocery Store. As you enter there is a section where local vendors sell their wares. PostIts on the shelves identify the names of the vendors. Local breads are made by Tony, Bonnie and Marilyn. Local preserves and spices are by A&K, Lizzy and Katie .

The local cemetery was really colorful with all the plastic flowers on loved ones graves.

The anchor on this sailboat dragged last night in the big blow. Hopefully, but doubtful, with the super moon tide they will be able to get it into deeper water.

Budda’s

The lovely bartender Paige and charming patron Tim.
Budda’s is a great place!

Houses and Yards

Mary loves it here!

Neighbors

Men at work. The pig guy, Walter, Dale and the kid.
The guy in the green shirt owns the pigs on the local pig island. He has two boats on the dock next to ours. Dale and Walter were giving him advice on how to put in a fresh water pump for the pigs.

Walter and his wife have a huge catamaran on the other side the dock we are on. Walter has dual citizenship with USA and Portugal. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and French. Last year he was invited to present a paper in Lisbon, Portugal disputing San Salvador Island as the first island Columbus landed on. Walter believes Columbus first landed on Egg Island which is about ~5 miles west of Spanish Wells. (San Salvador Island is ~150 miles south east of Spanish Wells ) He has read/studied all of Columbus’s manuscript accounts in the original language and sailed around both Egg Island/Spanish Wells/North Eleuthera and San Salvador Island.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The term equinox has been derived from the Latin word Equinoxium. It means ‘equality between day and night’.  When Julius Caesar established the Julian calendar in 45 BC, he set 25 March as the date of the spring equinox.  (you probably knew this)

Now ponder this. Equinox is a phenomenon that can occur on any planet with a significant tilt to its rotational axis. Saturn gets in on the equinox action too and like Earth has an equinox every spring and autumn! The equinox places its ring system edge-on facing the Sun. With a trip around the sun taking Earth 30 years, Saturn’s equinoxes occur about every 15 years. The most recent exact equinox for Saturn was on 11 August 2009. Its next equinox will take place on 6 May 2025.

Bonus points – Tonight is the last super moon of 2019.

Traditionally , according to the The Old Famer’s Almanac, the full moon we see in March is called the Full Worm Moon. At this time of the year, the ground begins to soften enough for earthworm casts to reappear, inviting robins and birds to feed—a true sign of spring. Roots start to push their way up through the soil, and the Earth experiences a re-birth as it awakens from its winter slumber.

At the boat wash

At the boat wash

March 19, 2019 Tuesday Papa Docks, Spanish Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera  0 nautical miles.

25°32’34.7″N 76°45’38.2″W
25.542958, -76.760596
Elevation: 0 ft

Mary loves it here!

Along the Way

At the boat wash. Today was a clean the boat day. Yes Dear hadn’t had a good bath since Cape Coral, Florida. We scrubbed her down using the brackish water from the hose on the dock.

Weak minded doing brite work. It isn’t so much as Mary is working but to show you Papa Docks, the dockage we are at. It’s 3 docks behind a house on the creek. (The creek is really a narrow saltwater channel between Isle St George and Russell Island.)

Big event for the day was walking to the grocery store for milk and lunch meat.

Tire Guy

Harbor side hotel. Jim and Suzie you would love it here.

Fresh catch corral

Happy hour. We didn’t stop.

Traffic jam.

House with flowering fruit tree! and shell garden.

The reason we are in this dockage for the week arrived at 5:00 PM. Wind changed 180 degrees and picked up 30+ knots. The skys darkened. Mary reworked the spring lines while Dale battened hatches. Then it rained. And rained. Driving rain. Water surged down creek. Yes Dear rocked and the spring lines did their job.  OMG when a gust hits! Yes Dear got her fresh water rinse down from this mornings wash.

The wind is supposed to drop around 4:00 am tomorrow morning.

Mary loves it here!

Neighbors

The sailboat had a fouled mast line. I wonder how they were able to get the power company utility truck out to help.
Neighbors behind. Low tide and high tide. Approx 2.5-3 feet tide.

BTW. We here at Papa Docks for a week. $125 plus electricity. One heck of a deal. No potable water though.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

“Confronting a storm is like fighting God. All the powers in the universe seem to be against you and, in an extraordinary way, your irrelevance is at the same time both humbling and exalting.”
~ Francis LeGrande

I’m glad we are secured to a dock.

Mary loves it here!

Mary loves it here!

March 18, 2019 Monday The Bluff Settlement, Eleuthera to  Papa Docks, Spanish Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera  3.5 nautical miles.

25°32’34.7″N 76°45’38.2″W
25.542958, -76.760596
Elevation: 0 ft

Mary loves it here!

Along the Way

The Tobin’s snuck into Spanish Wells from the back door entrance.

Once through we hung a port and continued down the ‘creek’ to look for our dock.

Walk about.

Marina shipyard. Boats are pulled out on the rails and stacked on the blocks to work on them.

Shipyard Point looking across to Gun Point. Gun Point to Harbour Island is the most dangerous water in the Bahamas. Doesn’t really look that ways does it? There is a huge coral reef called “The Devil’s Backbone” that has brought down many boats. Many insurance companies require you to follow a pilot boat (~$100) the first time you navigate these waters. We are skipping this and going out another way.

Shipyard Point looking across to Gun Point.

Mary loves it here! It’s quaint. Almost every house is immaculate and freshly painted.

Transportation on the cay is primarily golf carts. Lots of them! And crazy drivers! I never new golf carts could go that fast. There are cars and other vehicles too.

Spanish Wells front door entrance.

Spanish Wells front door entrance.
Notice the garbage/recycle boat tied to the portside wall. Not sure where it is headed. We saw another one when we were in Governors Harbour.

Of course we needed to stop where the welcome sign suggested. Budda’s Snack Shack.

Dale’s Kalick beer, the free Miami Vice rum drink the bartender gave us when she made too much and Mary’s Dizzy Budda. The color is a little scary on the Dizzy Budda. Miami Vice drink??? I’ve never heard of it before I was in Eleuthera. I’ve now heard of it the second time in less than a week. Am I behind times?

Spanish Wells does have a swimming pig island. We’re not going to visit it.

Neighbors

Steve on boat FREE PRAYER is a real pirate! Traveling solo, he was a neighbor for all of 2 hours then left for the Current Cut headings towards Government Harbour. Loved the earring.

Under our boat

Unlike The Exumas and further down Eleuthera, we don’t hear or see chickens 24×7. A barking dog is a rarity. I kinda miss the chickens.

The flies, mosquitoes and no-see-ums are terrible.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Spanish Wells originated from a ship wreck off “Devil’s Backbone” in 1647. Among other, later, groups of settlers were Crown loyalists, who left the United States after the American Revolutionary War. It is noticeably more caucasian and more affluent than any town we’ve visted in the Bahamas so far, except for Nassaua.

HA! The water at Spanish Wells is not drinkable.

The Current

The Current

March 17, 2019 Sunday Glass Bridge, Eleuthera  , Eleuthera to  The Bluff Settlement, Eleuthera  24.6 nautical miles.

25°29’39.1″N 76°44’47.3″W
25.494199, -76.746484
Elevation: 0 ft

Happy St Patricks Day. No corned beef for us today.

Along the Way

Glass Bridge – Last Look

Current Cut is a very fast and strong current in a narrow 100 yard wide cut, reaching depths up to 60 feet, between Eleuthera at Current Settlement and Current Island. The water moves at speeds up to 10 knots.

We planned out all the contingencies, studied the chart, tides, and depths, and talked it through a million ways from Sunday before deciding to go ahead. As you pass through, there’s no room for error as the water churns even on calm days and slack tide.

The Current Cut considered by some to be one of the top “drift dive sites in the world. Definitely one of the top in The Bahamas

Tonight’s anchorage.

The Bluff Settlement. Yet another area of Eleuthera that could benefit from Parrot fish (the sand pooping fish).

Floccinaucinihilipilification

I am speechless.

Swiss Cheese Holes

Swiss Cheese Holes

March 16, 2019 Saturday Government Harbour, Eleuthera to  Glass Bridge, Eleuthera  24.6 nautical miles.

25°25’57.0″N 76°36’08.0″W
25.432502, -76.602232
Elevation: 0 ft

Governor Harbor pulling anchor. As close as this blow boat anchored to us they should have invited us for breakfast.

Along the Way

Alice Town Hatch Bay Harbour was our original destination for today. It has a narrow cut and a huge inside natural bay. The day was young and the weather cooperative so we wandered on, preferring not to be in a settlement (town) with other boats.
Gregory Town Pitmans Cove – The chart book says there is room for one boat to anchor. Looks like they all ready have their one.
Stalagtite Wall just north of Pitman Cove

Stairs – If there is a will there is a way. Imagine all that work! All that labor moving rock, laying cement, building stairs. $$$$$   Further more, what are you going to do when you get down to the water? No beach, no dock. Nothing but Swiss cheese rocks.

Glass Bridge – The Glass Bridge high is the narrowest point on Eleuthera. Only 30 feet of rock separate rich blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calm Bight of Eleuthera. The weather was cooperating with us. The spectacular beauty of waves were not. When winds are from the east waves surge through under the bridge. Not today.

The original Glass Bridge was destroyed in March 2018 by high waves from Winter Storm Riley and replace later that year. Pretty ugly bridge, huh?  Next time it is replaced hopefully it will benefit from some civil engineering design.

Glass Bridge

Glass Bridge Bar.

There is a lot of communication and electrical cable on the bottom of the water through out The Bahamas. Many anchorages have cautions and instruct you to watch where you anchor. This area was heavily laden with cable.

Swiss Cheese rocks

Queens Bath Bahamas Heritage Site (Queens Swiss cheese) – Cooperative Weather != Spectacular beauty of Waves.

So long old friends. I doubt you will be able to last through another walk with the bottoms falling off and Swiss cheese holes through the soles.

Neighbors

Lenny Kravitz has a place just south of where we are anchored. You’d have gotten a picture had I known it when we when by.  The beach on his property is the local nude beach.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

A conch shell is 95% calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is not broken down by biological processes. This explains why there are so many mounds of old conch shells.

Fish Fry

Fish Fry

March 15, 2019 Friday Rock Sound, Eleuthera to  Government Harbour, Eleuthera  0 nautical miles.

25°11’36.5″N 76°14’55.0″W
25.193475, -76.248615
Elevation: 0 ft

Getting ready to pull anchor. Anchor chain and drag pattern in 8 feet of water. We moved around a lot before the wind settled down.

Along the Way

Mary’s bummed that has to wear more clothes in the Eleuthera than she did in the Exumas. In the Exumas she was overdressed when she wore her swimsuit and beach cover-up, primarily because her beach cover-up really did cover her up. Here in Eleuthera she needs to put on shorts and shirt. Civilization!

Government Harbor Bay

Governors Harbor harbor looking north from Cupids Cay. Governors Harbor town is on the right. Yes Dear is on the left.

Cupids Cay – Home of the first Parliament

Site of the First Consulate General of the United States of America. Established in July 1789

Government Harbor town

Movie Theater. Sign in window ways ‘No Movie having technical problems.’ There probably hasn’t been movies here in years! I heard you can get a good hamburger here.
Haynes Library. Built by Governor William Frederick Haynes Smith in 1897. It is the oldest Government Complex on the Eleuthera
Provincial Governor’s Mansion. Currently and administration building. Why are government buildings always pink?

The conchs are from The Exhumas. Per the Conch Ninja, it is illegal to harvest conch on the Caribbean side of Eleuthera.

There are more chickens here than on a poultry farm!

Neighbors

Fish Fry and Conch Ninja – The part was here on the beach tonight (and every Friday night from 6pm to 1am). There were several hundred people here.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The word yacht is of Dutch origin, meaning hunter, and referred to the type of vessel that was preferred for local pirates and brigands—handy for quickly seizing goods and making an escape.

Fishing and Shelling vs Catching and Finding

Fishing and Shelling vs Catching and Finding

March 13/14, 2019 Wednesday/Thursday Rock Sound, Eleuthera to Tarpum Head  7.9 nautical miles.

24°54’58.9″N 76°12’28.4″W
24.916366, -76.207880
Elevation: 0 ft

I’ll take Thursday. Wednesday was a bust. It was so windy we didn’t leave the boat even for a short dingy ride to the dingy dock.  Thursday was windy too but not as bad as Wednesday. Mary MADE Dale take her into shore Thursday. Dale had a severe case of boat fever (like cabin fever) and Mary needed to get him off the boat!

Dale was back to his wonderful self by the end of the day.

Along the Way

Top o’ the Morning in search of the Boiling Hole and Catherdral Cave Bahamas National Trust eco park about .6 mile south of town.
The Boiling Hole is a blue hole that connects to Rock Sound Harbor near sea level. It wasn’t boiling today because the wind was from dead east, the wrong direction.
The Signing Tree

Cathedral Cave Entrance

We were amazed to see the wooden rails and stair cases. This ‘park’ is part of the Bahamas National Trust. Explains why…

Boiling Hole and Cathedral Cave are part of the Bahamas National Trust.
Next stop Groceries at the north end of town! OMG. Dale thumbed a ride.

Around town

Frigate’s restaurant

Dale again succumbed to Mary’s nagging moved Yes Dear to a different anchorage out side the harbour where we could dingy to a beach Mary could walk.

Mary was in her glory walking the beach looking for shells and anything else she could find in the water. Dale obligingly yes dear followed here with his fishing pole. The afternoon was spent fishing and shelling, sadly not catching and finding.

Top and bottom. There were colonies of palm sized starfish. Most of the were red with a few of this type mixed in. Red ones didn’t have the highly defined feet.

Mary’ had some great pictures but she managed to fry the underwater camera so that’s over and done with ☹

HA. When we got back to the boat Dale said he had a great day.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Eleuthera has a lot of caves.  It also has a lot of cenotes (“ocean holes”) and thousands of sinkholes. Eleuthera is kinda like the land of swiss cheese. Very sharp swiss cheese. The Lucayan people (early Bahamians) believed that caves were the gateway to the afterlife, and thus buried their dead in caves.  Centuries-old Indian remains are still occasionally discovered in remote caves.

Shall we stay or shall we go?

Shall we stay or shall we go?

March 12, 2019 Tuesday Highbourne Cay, Exhumas to  Rock Sound, Eleuthera   41.1 nautical miles.

24°51’42.7″N 76°09’36.6″W
24.861869, -76.160160
Elevation: 0 ft

Shall we stay or shall we go?  We shall stay in the Bahamas and not go back to the US, yet. The transmission and the generator are purring. Good bye to the Tongue of the Ocean and The Exhumas. Hello Exuma Sound,
Eleuthera Bight and Rock Sound Eleuthera.

Along the Way

Fate was with us. We has a smooth passage all the way to Eleuthera.

Exhuma Sound – Unbelievably blue water at over 1000 feet deep
Davis Channel is the only safe route from Exuma Sound to the Bight of Eleuthera. The water through this passages is 9-14 feet. We could see fish and nurse sharks as we traveled through.
Duecy Rocks Welcoming Committee. The only other time we saw dolphins in The Bahamas was when we were in the Berries.
Rock Sound looks more like a town from the harbor than what it is really is.
Fresh fish sale at the dingy dock. Lots of people were diving their cars down to buy fresh grouper. When we walked by the first time the table was mounded with grouper. They cleaned and sold fish the entire time we walked around town.

Goodnight

No green flash tonight as we are looking across land on the west side of the bay.
OMG. Rock Sound has street lights!

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Captain William Sayles and a group of Puritans, known as the Eleutheran Adventurers, sailed from Bermuda in search of religious freedom. Along the way, they found this beautiful gem of an island and named it Eleuthera. From the Greek word “eleuthero” or “eleuther”, Eleuthera means “free” or “freedom.”

Disambiguation

Just about anything bigger than a rubber raft or a surf board can be called a boat. Submarines are always called boats.

Any yacht can be called a boat (but you might offend the owner). There are plenty of boats that can not be called yachts.

A boat becomes a yacht when it is capable of sustaining one or more people, for several days and nights in “relative” comfort.
IE. The boat has an enclosed cabin or interior space (safe from the weather) that has accommodations for:
– space and at least minimum necessary equipment for sleeping for one or more people;
– space and at least minimum necessary equipment for cooking and preparing meals and storage for food and water;
– space and at least minimum necessary equipment/facilities for taking care of bathroom needs and storage thereof.

Yes Dear is a yacht. (Mary thinks it sounds pretentious)

A yacht is a mega-yacht at the point where the skipper, deck officers and the engineer need a proper qualification.

There are no mega-yachts in here in Rock Point Harbour. There are twenty-one sailing vessels and one other motor vessel.

Love the Days – Hate the nights

Love the Days – Hate the nights

March 11, 2019 Monday Normans Cay , Exhumas to  Highbourne Cay, Exhumas 11.3 nautical miles.

24°42’50.2″N 76°49’48.0″W
24.713933, -76.830007
Elevation: 0 ft

Wow. We completely missed daylight savings yesterday. No wonder Mary was confused between the tide charts and the seman’s eye.

Along the Way

Iguanas at Allan’s Cay.

Shelling. Dang they were alive so I couldn’t keep them ☹

Tulip Shell

Helmet Shell – I hope it makes it.  The tide was out and it was frying on the beach. Mary carried it out to deeper water.

Snorking around the anchorage. It’s really hard to take good pictures of fish.

Neighbors

Electric Hydrofoil Surfboard

So what’s it really like being in Bahamas?

Love the days and hate the nights.

I’ve mentioned this before and have to do it again. It is windy here! There is either too much or too little. Rarely is there a happy medium.

The water is beautiful and there is always a place to explore. The wind may be annoying sometimes but never a kill joy.

Now for the nights, it’s a different story. When it’s windy Dale doesn’t like the rollies when we sleep in the aft cabin. Mary doesn’t like the thumpwacking wave noise of the fore cabin when we sleep up there.

It is plain old Minnesota hot and sticky when there is no wind so hard to sleep. There is no crispness to the sheets. The humidity makes them stick to you. The hatch in the fore cabin does make it a bit cooler.

Water and batteries are ongoing challenges. Yes Dear is currently not set-up to be a long term Bahamas boat. It would be nice to have solar panels to keep the batteries topped off when anchoring in the same location for more than a night. The house battery completely depletes if we sit and the generator can’t run all the time. Essentials like the refrigerator, head (toilet) motors and water heater are battery draining. We use the solar lights at night and apply the rule “If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down”. Mary uses one head and the Dale the other.  

We try to limit the generator under 3 hours a day when we need to sit in one location for more than a day.  Running the boat engines about 2+ hours everyday keeps the batteries near the sweet spot.

Then there is the water thing. Great showers, drain the water heater showers, are not an option if you’d like potable water for cooking, doing dishes, washing hands and brushing teeth. The best we get is a spong bath or a wash in the the salt water then a rinse from the outdoor shower. Just like planning for fuel we need to plan for where we can get water.

From what I can see  it’s about the same for many of the other ‘normal people’ boats too. The $$$ boats I’m sure don’t have these ‘normal people’ issues.

Are we still having Fun? Absolutely.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Mary’s Boat Demographics SWAGs (Single Wild Ass Guesses)

**** Boat Length **** ( MV = motor vessel )  
MV Yacht >200 0.5%
MV Yacht 100-200 4.5%
MV Yacht 50-100 4.0%
MV Yacht <50 2.0%
Sailing Vessels 89.0%
Total 100.0%
**** Sailing Vessels ****  
Catamaranas 30%
Other sailboats 70%
Total 100%
**** Port of Origin ****  
Canada 60%
US 35%
Other 5%
Total 100%

Disambiguation

Vessel vs Boat vs Yacht vs Ship???? It’s confusing. Definitions for Vessels, Boats, Yachts and Ships vary from source to source.

On occasion, State law enforcement agencies, manufacturers or other interested parties will ask the Coast Guard what laws and regulations apply to a particular device being used, or considered for use, on the water. The Coast Guard’s first step is to determine whether or not the particular device in question is a “vessel”. The process begins with the definition of the word vessel found in 1 USC 3, which is: “The word “vessel” includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”

The following have been determined to be vessels by the Coast Guard.

  • Paddleboard
  • Argo-Amphibious ATV
  • Kiteboard
  • Float Tubes
  • Gold Dredges

Interestingly, this determination is limited to the application of regulations administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and does not reflect the opinion of any other department or agency of the federal government.   One dictionary source I looked at simply defines vessel as a ship or large boat.

U.S. Coast Guard §174.3 provides definitions for Vessel Types. (You can look that up). Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard defines a yacht as a vessel over 26 feet in length.

In another other definition I found, yacht lengths range from 10 metres (33 ft) up to dozens of meters (hundreds of feet). A luxury craft smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply a cruiser.