Some of the many local signs in Hope Town
So sorry, but just a few highlights from the holiday season (seems like forever ago now). After arriving in the Bahamas, we headed to Hope Town and visited with the friends that we have made over the past couple of years. We were early enough to see the annual BoxCar Derby, which was a real hoot. Kids and adults took part and they close one of the more hilly roads. It was a good way to spend an afternoon and see a different part of the island – also a good reason to drink beer on a sunny afternoon!
This was our second Thanksgiving in the Bahamas – last year we didn’t cross until the Saturday of Thanksgiving week. We celebrated in Hope Town with Sue & Garth, and our friends Will & Muffin, who are also from Annapolis. Since there is no way a turkey will fit in our oven, we grilled Cornish hens instead – super yummy. Dessert was Key Lime Pie from the local baker – Vernon, who runs a little grocery store and bakery in Hope Town. So not exactly traditional fare, but everyone loved it. We can seat six very comfortably in our cockpit – nothing like eating Thanksgiving dinner outside. Make that seven – Hobie was hoping for some Cornish hen too!
Moira and Mike flew into Marsh Harbor on December 4th; she wanted to be in the Bahamas to celebrate a “big” birthday on December 11. We quickly took advantage of a good weather window to get us north. We went to one of our favorite spots in the Abacos – Powell Cay – where Gary proceeded to get THIRTEEN lobsters. It was work to get them all into our very packed freezer, but I made it happen. Got to get them while you can.
Moira had never been on a golf cart before, so we rented one for the day and buzzed around the island.
One of our favorite stops is Pineapples – a bar located in the town of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. Not sure if I have mentioned this before (I really need to re-read my blog from the beginning to check I’m not repeating myself!), but most of the bars and restaurants connected with the resorts have pools and they have no problem with you using the pool even if you’re not staying there. Moira and I enjoyed sipping our Goombay Smash and sitting poolside.
We took Moira and Mike back to Marsh Harbor where they reluctantly returned to the cold weather in Rochester. Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco Island is a great place to get provisions, fishing supplies, and hardware needs and is only a short hope from Hope Town. When we went ashore to the fishing store one day, we could hear the Abaconian Amazon parrots flying around. After looking up in the general vicinity of the squawking, I found one of them sitting in a palm tree chowing down on the red berries almost right over our heads. It holds special meaning to both of us to find a wild Amazon parrot, mainly because they are endangered almost everywhere (there’s about 50 different kinds of Amazon parrots), but also because Webster was an Amazon (double-yellow headed) who I had for 34 years. So wonderful to see them in the wild!
Dick and Kay arrived, bringing with them tons of fabulous meat for Christmas and New Year’s – steaks, chops, tenderloins, etc., and some great cheeses. Not to mention a bunch of boat stuff (as did Moira and Mike)! Getting stuff delivered to the Bahamas directly is a real palaver (knew I would get that word worked into my blog eventually!), and it costs a fortune. So we are very thankful when people visit and bring stuff with them. Gary had to repack the entire freezer to get everything, and ice cubes were the sacrificial offering to make more room. But we got it all in, thank goodness. Dick and Kay had a real scare when they were flying from Nassau to Marsh Harbor (they flew Toronto to Nassau and then had a layover); after they had taken off, the pilot came on and told the passengers that not all the luggage had made it and some of it wouldn’t arrive till the next day. Kay was in a panic thinking about all the defrosting meat!! They were so relieved when it arrived with them.
Of course we had to have yet another visit to Pineapples to visit the bartender, Yvonne. She wears the most amazing make-up! For Christmas she had red and green eye make-up and lipstick!
Christmas is a wonderful season in the Abacos. We went caroling around the town and visited the Christmas Village. They had set up an “ice” rink for the kids (and Santa!) to skate on. In reality, it was something akin to something called Starboard – basically a big sheet of very heavy duty plastic. With a little fake snow swirling around, it really set the scene!
One day in Hope Town harbor, Kay, Sue and I were sitting in the cockpit making sea glass jewelry when a SEAPLANE came motoring into the harbor!!! What a racket!! And such a juxtaposition to see a plane right in the midst of all the boats and houses. It calmly pulled up to one of the mooring balls, tied up, and then the captain and crew went ashore in one of the local boats. Pretty amazing!
Christmas dinner was surf and turf, with steaks from Toronto and lobsters caught by Gary. Dinners on the holidays here are $98 a person, NOT including any drinks!! So we are happy to have our feast on the boat. Hobie made sure that I was making the Christmas napkins correctly.
We joined in the street party on New Year’s Eve and then watched the New Year’s Eve Fireworks on Garth and Sue’s boat in Hope Town harbor, since they had the best seat in the house.
On New Year’s Day, we had another great surf and turf dinner to celebrate Sue’s birthday. Seems like all we do is eat and drink!! (Am I complaining??)
On January 2, we rented a power boat and the six of us zipped down to Tahiti Beach and down to Little Harbor for lunch. It was a good way to visit there without taking the sailboats down there, and it was great to have six people split the rental fee!
One day, while the boys were snorkeling, Kay and I took a beautiful long beach walk on Powell Cay. Along the shore, we found a “semi-conscious” Spotted Sea Hare (having never seen one before, I could barely tell if it was dead or alive!). We didn’t know what it was – it looked like a big yellowy-green slug with spots. Kay ran off and got me a stick (just in case it was poisonous) and I carefully picked up the gelatinous glob and waded him out to deeper water. It seemed happy to be in deeper water and started moving off. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me, so I am including this picture out of my Reef Creature Guide (I have Reef Creature, Reef Fish and Reef Coral guides and a seashell guide on board – would die without those!). Gary was very disappointed he missed it – it’s very difficult to find one of those. We went back to look for it but it had disappeared.
Dick had treated himself to a new GoPro camera for underwater shots, and we were super impressed with the quality of the photos. Gary was so impressed that he bought one for ourselves, so there’s lots more underwater pictures in our future. Here is a great one of a Moray Eel that Gary and Dick came across while diving for lobsters.
On January 5, we said goodbye to Dick and Kay who headed back to a frozen wasteland in Toronto. Ugh. Now we just had to wait for a good weather window to cross to Eleuthera! Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long, but I’ll leave that to the next blog.
A huge thanks to Dick for all the shots he sent me – they are the ones in “frames”.