Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Table For Two....Staniel Cay, Exumas

We stopped here for lunch...our own little private beach! On the menu....apples & brownies. Yum.

We left Royal Island on Thursday & had another perfect 8.5hr motor sail to Highbourne Cay, Exumas. We weren't able to get off the boat at Highbourne cuz' of weather, which is fine. Highbourne Cay is ridiculously expensive. It cost $5 per bag to throw out trash. It's $15/day for internet IF you're staying at the Marina. ...unless you have cellular service like me. Yay. It's painfully slow sometimes & not always enough signal to download pics but we have had internet everywhere so far..so.... Best investment ever. It is a beautiful spot however, and there are lots of huge nurse sharks that are fun to look at. On part of that passage, (from Royal to Highbourne) the water gets pretty shallow & all of a sudden there are huge coral heads (mini reefs) that are scattered throughout the route. Someone really needs to be on the bow looking for them in case we have to veer off coarse to avoid them...which we had to do several times.

Scott on the bow looking for coral heads in our way...
This is what the little mini reefs look like.....big black patch.. This part of the passage from Eleuthera to Exumas is peppered with them...


Remember...Malaika's keel hangs 5.5 feet below the hull.

We left Highbourne Cay Saturday & had a great sail to Staniel Cay.

Staniel Cay is sooo beautiful and is world famous as it was the location where the James Bond movie "Thunderball" was filmed. There is an awesome diving scene in that movie & that site still exists. It's called the "Grotto". We dove it 2 yrs ago & again this morning. My digital underwater camera is not working but I did get some great pics on a cheapie underwater camera...just don't know where I'll get those developed. Probably when we get back home.

The "Grotto". Under that big rock is an amazing aquarium & a couple cool caves....

One of the beaches in the Staniel Cay area is home to some wild pigs. Beach pigs. Awesome.

Mamma pig is looking a little suspicious of Jib...


Rut Roh...here she comes


Saved by some other tourist who brought food to feed them.


Baby beach pigs
The Exumas...one mega yacht after another. This one had it's own matching multimillion dollar sport fisher tied to its stern. Unbelievable....


We've been here for a few days so tomorrow we're heading south again....should be in Georgetown day after tomorrow. (Thursday) We'll miss Staniel.....Just in the past 2 days around our boat we have seen sharks, giant stingrays, huge eagle ray, the biggest barracuda I've seen in a long time & some tarpon.

Big fat barracuda lurking around Malaika...


Oh....and some pirates!! ;)


Michelle, Scott & Jib


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Royal Island, Eleuthera


Smooth Sailing....

We couldn't have had a more perfect crossing yesterday from Abaco, Bahamas to Eleuthera, Bahamas. It took 9 hours but it was a very smooth ride. We had to motor sail the entire way but no matter...I was just so happy it wasn't a rolly & bumpy ride, as it has been in the past. ;) From this picture, the water looks so benign & serene but we've been in 12ft seas in these same waters...more than once.

We are now anchored inside the little bay of Royal Island. The perfect anchorage for the 30mph west winds we are expecting later today.

Our boat is pointed west....see how the island will be good protection....nobody was happier than Jib to get anchored yesterday

We will probably be "stuck" here for a couple of days due to weather but then we plan on zipping down to the Exumas (another group of islands south of Eleuthera) "Zipping" is kind of exaggerating. It will be another 10 hour day.....and then another. We're going to go as far south as we can quickly, then take our time hitting islands we want to on the way back.

Me & Jib are getting ready to explore the ruins

We spent the morning today exploring the island. Nobody lives here so I am shocked I have internet as the closest cell tower is 6 miles away. There is an old mansion here..."the ruins". It's about 75 years old & we have explored through it the past 3 years. It reminds me of that documentary "Life After People". Each year Mother Nature takes this space over more & more.


We were promptly greeted by a small snake when we entered the ruins. Yuk. He was too fast for me to get a picture. There are lots of creepy crawlies in this place




Notice the water heater is connected to the fireplace for heat...

We then walked the old road to the other side of the island to take Jib to a beach. He had not been off the boat for 3 or 4 days and was Sooooo excited.

Jib's on a mission to get to the beach



In the jungle...the mighty jungle...


There's not a whole lot to do here on Royal Island but it's not a bad place to wait out some weather either. The views are spectacular. Once the wind & seas calm down we're heading south again!

Love---Michelle, Scott & Jib


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lynard Cay, Bahamas

We had a beautiful motor-sail to Lynard Cay this morning. It only took 3.5 hrs & conditions were great.

You wouldn't know it by looking at Jib. It's sort of turning out that Jib the sailor dog doesn't really like sailing. Even on a day like today....smooth waters, etc., the whole thing just makes him nervous. Poor guy. We do what we can to comfort him. And of course he has his favorite snuggle toy & blanket..(it's really a towel but Jib treats it like his favorite blankey).

Tomorrow is a big passage day. It's the biggest passage we do all season. Crossing the Gulf Stream takes longer but North Providence Channel is big blue water that is over 15,000 ft deep in places. That tends to make big waves. We've had some rough rides on this passage despite doing our best to plan around weather. I always feel a bit anxious about it. Not anxious like we might get hurt but anxious that I might get sea sick.....which I have, on two separate occasions doing this passage.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be smooth sailing just like today. I am shocked I have internet here but....yay!! I thought I'd better do a blog since I can't remember if we had internet at Royal Island last year. We may be stuck at Royal for several days due to weather so we'll see....

We're a little bummed we're going to miss the big game today. Go Denver & Payton Manning!! ;)

Love--Michelle, Scott & Jib


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Headin' South

Jib loving life at Treasure Cay

So we've been on the move quite a bit this week. We left Green Turtle on Monday & went to Treasure Cay. About a 3 hour hop. It was a bit of a rolley ride crossing the whale (the whale is a cut we have to go through from the Sea of Abaco to the Atlantic & then back into the Sea of Abaco....it's too shallow to just cut across. You have to take the scenic route.)

Pictures NEVER do justice to waves. They weren't that big but hitting us broadside...we were rolling back & forth for a couple of hours. Jib was a wreck.

The main reason we went to Treasure was so I could get the iPad cellular internet set up at the local phone company. Our friends tried to do exactly that in Marsh Harbor (the 3rd largest city in Bahamas) but were told "initiating" service could only be done in Treasure Cay. Don't get me wrong....I love Treasure Cay. It makes the top 10 beaches in the world list every year....it's just besides hanging on the beach...there is not a lot to do there. Scott confessed to me that he really doesn't like Treasure. There isn't really any diving & I think Scott just gets bored there. Anyway....so I go to Betelco (the phone company) soon after our arrival only to find that they are all at lunch. The entire staff. Ok....I wait. What else can I do? They return from lunch & unlock the doors...I'm first in line. Things seem like they're going well. The Betelco gal is very helpful & knowledgable & understands exactly the service I am requesting. She sets everything up & then tells me it's ready to go except she can not cut my SIM card to fit the iPad cuz' their card cutter broke. The Bahamas SIM card is too large for iPads or iPhones & has to be cut to size. They have developed this little cutter...looks like a stapler...to do the job. So, now I have internet service but a SIM card that doesn't fit. She instructed me to go to Marsh Harbor to have it cut. Arrrrrgh!!!!

We ended up hanging out in Treasure Cay for a few days mostly because Scott was not feeling well. The truth is, he hadn't been feeling well for days. After pin pointing when he started feeling sick & researching his symptoms we realized Scott has been exposed to Ciguatera. Ciguatera is a bacteria that reef fish carry. It is a neuro toxin. Scott started feeling sick about 12 hours after eating a grouper sandwich at the Marina in Green Turtle. Our friend Greg ate the same thing & is also sick. It's been over a week now but the guys are still feeling ill. They both have burning & itching in their hands & feet, nausea off & on, and profound weakness/fatigue that also comes & goes. One of the symptoms is bradycardia (low heart rate), both guys have experienced that. Scott's pulse is about 50 when he's not feeling well. Greg actually fainted at dinner the other night. The research we read says if it's a mild case it should just go away in a few weeks but can sometimes last for months. It also says to avoid eating fish, nuts, & alcohol. Scott had 2 beers the other day & said his hands were "on fire" soon after. So he's avoiding all that stuff & we're crossing our fingers that his is a mild case.

This has been our gang since St Augustine.....

So as we head south we had to say goodbye to friends we've been hanging out with since St Augustine, Florida. We're all pursuing our individual Bahamas vacation....that's the nature of sailing friendships...but we feel lucky to have met these fine folks & look forward to seeing each other again. Tomorrow we leave Marsh Harbor & sail to Lynard Cay...that's our taking off point towards Eleuthera, Bahamas...another set of islands. I don't know what my internet service will be like. It could be a week or more before I have service...or I might have some right away. Ya never know. Tomorrow's trip will be about 4 hours. Monday we will cross North Providence Channel to Royal Island. It's about a 10-12 hour trip.


We spent the past 2 days doing lots of chores. Major grocery shopping & 7 weeks of laundry. The Marsh Harbor laundry mat never disappoints. 10 out of 19 washing machines were out of order. I didn't bother counting the out of order dryers. What can ya do? Nothing. Just wait your turn for a machine, then haul your stuff home on your back. 7 weeks of laundry is heavy. While I do laundry, Scott does the grocery shopping. Which is heavy too & a long walk. Even so...it's still a pretty great life.

Love & miss you all. Xxxooo

Michelle, Scott & Jib


Friday, January 10, 2014

Moving On....


I just wanted to send a quick note before we leave our "oh so easy" internet.....we are heading out of Green Turtle today. I hope to have internet by Monday. Stay tuned.....


Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014....Here We Go

Not trying to rub it in....I know it's super cold in certain parts of the USA....it's been pretty nice here in the Bahamas. A few rainy days but mostly....nice.

Red sky in the morn...sailors be warned....we woke up to 30mph winds the other morning....brrr we got our sweatshirts out


It broke.

So our biggest drama the past two days has been because of this small piece of plastic. It is a drainage cap (I think) for our raw water filter for the engine. Without it....we can not run the engine. Scott worked on it for several hours yesterday & I think he figured something out McGyver style...Im not sure cuz he didn't want to talk about it & I didn't want to push it... We may be leaving here tomorrow but maybe not. Ho hum....island time. I think Scott wants to dive some more around here....

This boat didn't fair too well on New Years Eve....


Heartbreaking.... :(

The boat pictured above sank on New Years Eve.... It had been neglected for quite some time. That's what happens to neglected boats.....they die.

Scott shaved his head today....still a cutie..


Lobster chowder in the works...

Love & miss everybody!!!

Love, m