“Another Day Above Ground, It’s a Good Day”

Words we heard while watching Gary, make fresh conch salad at Max’s Conch Bar. Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. Today was a good day, another day of exploring.

We started off the morning having a hearty breakfast of ricotta pancakes and delicious coffee. We needed to have an early breakfast to make it to the farmer’s market at 8 a.m.

We arrived at 8:10 a.m. and the market was buzzing. Most of the greens had already been purchased. We didn’t need any more food as we are leaving tomorrow. We did pick up some woven coasters though.

We walked over to the market so on the return trip we snapped a few photos of things we noticed.

We waited out a rain shower, while planning out our morning. It was decided to visit the oldest church on the island, St. Mary, The Virgin.

Mike had read a cruiser’s report about a shrimp grotto behind the church. Of course we had to go  find it.  And we did find it. What an experience. Mike went in while I waited outside of the cave. The trip report he read reported bats, so I was a little leery. We heard them, but didn’t see them. When we return I will go in!

The path was behind the church, easy to see, just follow the beer bottles in the tree.

After that excitement, it was beach time. We turned down Something Harbor Road in Grays. The road was paved, what a treat!  The ocean was very active today.

After a short walk, we turned back and stopped at this little harbor, full of seaweed.

At this point our legs were finished and we skipped walking any more beaches in favor of lunch. We drove to Max’s Conch Bar and enjoyed a laid back lunch, watching Gary make fresh conch salad.

After a  filling lunch of conch fritters and grouper fingers  we were ready to return home to snorkel.

We spent about an hour snorkeling, then called it finished, headed in, cleaned up and started the dreaded task of packing.  Truly I only cared about my shells getting home in one piece.

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Dinner was the “finish everything in the fridge” meal. Something our friends taught us on Staniel Cay.

Tonight’s sunset ends another good day above ground!

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Of Ancient Things

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Another day, another exploration was planned. This time we visited ancient things of nature and man.  Of course the day couldn’t start without  a hearty breakfast of potatoes and eggs with a view.

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The first planned stop was O’Neils Beach on the Atlantic side, south of the Anderson Settlement . The winds were blowing creating for dramatic waves. The beach had great rock perches to climb on and overlook the ocean.

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We worked on another Christmas card photo.

Along the way we spied a termite mound and a portuguese man of war.

After exploring the beach, we returned to the beach road and found a blue hole, that happened to be green due to the shallowness of it.

It appeared at one point someone had plans to develop this area, with nice palms and plants put in with planned roads.

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This island is peppered with churches and we could spend days stopping at all of them. They are all so lovely from new to old. We stopped at one being rebuilt. The original church was from 1903.

We then went in search of a lunch spot. We spied a beach, took the wrong road and ended up this area that seemed to be a fishing port at one point in time.

So we backtracked, but once we went down the correct beach road, a local family was at the beach and we didn’t want to be that intrusive tourist so we retreated.

Our next stop was the Morris Settlement. Stopping at the Morris’ Tomb and Grave Marker. 

Driving past this we encountered another blue hole.

We still haven’t had our lunch we packed and once again we hit that famished point. So we had to find that beach to sit at. Mike picked a random road on Google maps, only to discover it was the Chez Pierre Restaurant road. Down we went, hoping we weren’t going to just end up there and have to turn around to find another spot.  Down the beach road we went, the road turned right to the restaurant and we went straight ahead a few feet to a nice little spot. An old Bahamian house greeted us.

We enjoyed lunch of tuna fish sandwiches on Bahamian bread. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better tuna fish sandwich in my life. After enjoying this fine meal, I went out wading.

On our way home a little lady was selling her woven goods. Ever mindful of packing space, I just picked up two placemats for home. Her work was beautiful and if we could figure out a way to get her table runners home we would. She is located on the east side of Queens Highway, close to the road that leads to Tiny’s Hurricane Hole.

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We actually arrived back home early today, allowing us the first afternoon to really sit and read in the gazebos. Once again the winds were such, we couldn’t snorkel. Of course we didn’t get much reading done, we kept getting distracted by the views and the rain clouds.

Dinner was a broccoli salad, Mike had prepped this morning. We added cooked chicken and it really hit the spot.

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Sunset tonight was greeted by a bigger cloud bank. The day ended with us reminiscing on our  day of visiting the past, created by mother nature and human hands.

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Just Around the Bend

Early morning for me, not sure why? Decided to get up and watch the moon set. Seems to be it is becoming a habit, hopefully only a vacation habit.

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One the sun started to rise, we headed over to the Atlantic side (Martin Jolly Beach) for a pre breakfast hike.  It was a beautiful morning.  I just kept walking, needing to see what was just around the bend, increasing our mileage and ridding ourselves of the notion this was going to be just a short walk.

After a breakfast of toast and yogurt, we took our time figuring out the day. We had hoped for calm water on our bay, but the wind gods were not obliging us. Staying around and snorkeling wasn’t an option. Well, Long Island isn’t lacking in beaches, we decided to do some exploring and WOW, we found two places we need to return to.

First stop turn left on the road at the old grocery store that doesn’t exist anymore, follow that road and you come to Rokers Beach, or some call it Whelk’s Cay Beach.  This was a long road, with lots of twist, never knew what was around the bend as we drove. Thankfully we didn’t encounter any other cars.

Again a short beach walk turned into a long one because I had to keep seeing what was around the bend. This little cove was beautiful once you overlooked all the garbage that washes up.

This beach offered us many treasures, including a sea biscuit larger than my hand. Sadly it was paper-thin and it would be impossible to safely transfer home.

While here I found the house we are going to purchase, when we win powerball. It was small, just the right size for us and overlooking that cove would be a treasure!

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Once again another beach we have to return to when the Atlantic gives us a calm day.

Returning to the Queen’s Highway, we went about 5km south to the next beach in Pinders. This beach was across from Guana Cay.  Another beach to return to on a calm day.  By this time, my calves were screaming, so we didn’t walk as much as we wanted to.

Mike spied a little gazebo up on the hill, abandoned but still in great shape.

Our short excursions of the day turned into a longer one than planned. We needed lunch, so we stopped at Sou Side in Salt Pond for some conch treats. It was good and filling and not fast food at all.

After a restock of grocery food (everything is closed on Good Friday), we made it home. A short float was in order, even if the water was choppy.

Mike even got some laundry done. (yes we travel with paracord and clothes pins to create our clothes line).

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While writing the blog, our dinner consisted of an appetizer platter. We were to dang tired from 5 miles of beach walking today to fix a proper dinner.

We awaited sunset, desperately trying not to fall asleep before it happened. Thankfully it was a shorter sunset than other nights, due to the big bank of clouds that moved in. We could go to bed early!

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We just had to look beyond the next bend for the hidden treasures this island has to offer. What an amazing day!

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Feeling Blue

It was all about feeling the blues of the Bahamas today. The first blue was the moon reflecting over the blue ocean while a dolphin swam in the moon’s path.  It was surreal and romantics write poems about such things I’m sure.

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We had another “early” start to our day due to the morning’s excitement. We made an ambitious plan for the day; beaches, blue holes, caves and lunch. In the end, the caves didn’t happen.

To the south we went with our first stop ended up being not on the plan, but ummm, I needed a bathroom.  We decided to stop at Flying Fish Marina in Clarence Town. The marina is being built up and is very lovely.

Before we departed town we did take a few pictures of the two iconic churches on the island, St. Paul’s Anglican Church and St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church.

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St. Paul’s Anglican Church

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St. Peter’s and Paul’s Catholic Church

Our first planned stop was Lochabar Beach on the Atlantic Ocean side.  We found a road to drive down, think it was Ridge something, parked the car at the beach sign and climbed up the ridge. Words of advice, wear shoes! My legs did get pretty scratched up because the path is overgrown with plants.

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The blues were deep and the sand soft. We didn’t spend much time walking here as we had a few other stops to tick off the list.  While it was beautiful, we both decided, we’ve seen it don’t need to revisit and spend more time here.

Our next stop was the Large Blue hole (or we’ve heard it called Blue Sands), across from Clem’s Cay.  This was a place we had to visit due a name connection. This was our first blue hole we had ever been to.  The sun was so bright it was difficult to capture it while Mike was swimming. I didn’t go in, but he said it was a little eerie swimming in it.

This is where we will return to again and pack a lunch and just hang out.  Plus it had a cul du sac, perfect place to park. Mike was proud he went the correct way, stay to the left!

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On our way out we spotted a church tucked off to the side. Long abandoned, but still standing.

Our next destination was a cove by Compass Rose.  Now the crowds were picking up. Our first two stops were without people, now we had four girls sitting at this cove.

After Mike had a quick dip, we headed out to our final blue scene, Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world, it is reported.  I had really hoped to jump in, but professional free divers were practicing for the big competition coming up at the end of April and I really didn’t want to interfere. The place was packed with people: a grouchy family of four had set up and two others were walking on the beach, plus all the free divers on the platform.  We didn’t stay long, but will return.

We needed lunch at this point and headed towards home, where we hoped Tiny’s Hurricane Hole was open and it was. It is on Thompson Bay and we could see our place from it. Some cruisers had landed, so the wait was long. Living on an island you learn to go with the flow. There were no buns for sandwiches, ok…we will have the grouper with salad then.  After about 45 minutes the owner came and apologized, there was a slight mix up. The kitchen ladies had taken the cut grouper bag home, instead of the bag of fish bones. They might be able to get some fish off the bones, we said it was ok. So we ate conch fritters and had an extra large salad. After we consumed the meal, we started chatting with Tim and Joanne, cruisers from Florida that have holed up in Thompson Bay for the past 2 and half months, they love it here.  Their life story was fascinating, retired from the aerospace industry and just cruising around.  Our quick lunch turned into 2 plus hours.

When we finally made it back, we went for a float, but the water was so clear, we knew we couldn’t miss the chance to snorkel. On the gear went and out we went!

We wore ourselves out after the day, so it was appetizers, leftovers for dinner and sunset viewing. Reflecting on the day, having the blues down here isn’t half bad!

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What Tuesday Taught Us

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See that dark cloud, well at 5:30 a.m. it reminded us of a very important lesson we forgot, take all the laundry in before bedtime. We didn’t care about the bathing suits, but the bathroom towels were soaked. Oh well, life in paradise…

After the morning wake up call, it was a good reason to get going earlier than the previous day.  Breakfast was french toast and we learned coconut rum tastes better in the french toast egg stuff than vanilla does. This is a life altering lesson.

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While we enjoyed our breakfast, we planned out the day. This kind of view can easily make the morning slip away, but with the extra early wake up call, we could linger a bit.

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We decided since we went south yesterday, we should head north today on the Queen’s  Highway. Our end destination would be the Columbus Monument.  After filling up the gas tank ($4.70 a gallon), we headed off. The ride was about 50 minutes to the bumpy road to get the monument.  This taught us another valuable lesson, beat up rental cars are a must on this island.  We probably added a few new scratches to the existing ones.

Winds were blowing out of the north, it was extra breezy at the top of the monument.

Someone placed a gentle reminder to smile inside of a well in the monument. While on this vacation we certainly didn’t need it.

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If this had been a calm day, the cove would have been lovely to snorkel in.

We only spent about 15 minutes exploring and headed off to our next destination, Cape Santa Maria Resort. While the setting was lovely, it wasn’t for us, to upscale.

As we exited the resort, the road kept going across, so following one of our adages, we followed the road we hadn’t taken before. It lead us to some beautiful homes and a little gazebo area, where we stopped to read the sign and soak in the views.

Where to go next? Well we had passed a sign in Stella Maris for Adderley’s Plantation Ruins, so we followed the road. We did not do our homework beforehand so we were stumped as how to actually get to the ruins, once we parked. We later learned we had to walk down the beach and find the conch shell path. Yup another lesson from Tuesday, do your homework before you leave the cottage with wifi!

On our way to find lunch, we noticed the little bakery was open. As we had passed it three other times and it was closed, we decided to stop. Boy are we glad we did, Alfred was inside and explained that the boat had just come in with supplies so nothing was fresh. He told us to return on Thursday and Friday when his wife will bake for the Canadians and Brits. We had to ask why? I know we thought, what American’s can’t buy on those days. Canadians and Brits on this island set either Thursday or Friday as their shopping days.  Great piece of knowledge he shared with us, along with his life story, very delightful Bahamian.

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As we zoomed on the road, we made a quick decision to stop at this little beach by the road, Harvey’s Bay. A little further up the beach Stella Maris Resort has a little beach area, but we stayed north of that.

Famine had started to set in, so we went in search of lunch, first tried Tiny’s Hurricane Hole, no closed. Next drove 20 minutes past our house to go to Kenny’s Seaside, closed.  All of a sudden it dawned us, Tuesday is mailboat day on the north side of the island, hmmm wonder if the smaller lunch places close to get supplies? Did we just learn another new thing?

Back home we headed, where we snacked on munchy food and then lounged around dodging rain showers.

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After trying to find a decent airfare to return (yup that wasn’t in the cards today), we had our appetizers and started on tomorrow’s planning, which could all change by the morning.

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Dinner was leftovers, but we had dessert. Oh yes I made a modified version of a no bake key lime cheesecake. We skipped the whipped cream and put ginger snap cookies on top.

Admiring sunsets is one lesson we don’t need to be reminded of no matter what day of the week.

Our last lesson of the day, sleep well to be prepared for all the extraordinary moments of the following day.

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The view from our bed, yeah we wake up to that view every morning.

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Spirits Called

 

The moon glow beckoned me awake at 6 a.m. and I listened to her song. Her pink glow entranced me and I went to watch her in all her glory as she set this morning.

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As dawn awakened the call of coffee, extremely good coffee had to be consumed, along with a hearty meal of potatoes and eggs.

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Our next adventure awaited just around the corner, going to KCs Liquor store to get Kaliks. Just our luck, he was closed and wouldn’t  open till 9:30, which really meant sometime, whenever, oh well. Where the spirits denying us Kaliks on vacation?

In order to fill our day we decided a drive to the end of the road was called for. Long Island has one main road, The Queen’s Highway. After an hour and half drive we made it to Gordons the end of the road.

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End of the highway on Long Island

Gordon’s beach was “packed”,  three other cars had gotten there before us, forcing us to park further away.  I think the universe liked us because that was the best place to park,  it allowed us to have the wow moment as we crested the little hill.

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This was perhaps one of the most beautiful beaches we have  had the privilege to walk.  We went to the right, while the left was  “crowded” with a few people.

As we walked I gathered angels wings.  I thought of all the people we have lost watching over us.  I placed them gently on a rock alter, taking a moment to remember.

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We decided this was a perfect beach to float and maybe snap that Christmas card photo.

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As we dried off, we drifted back to the car via the beach, soaking up the surreal beauty of this place.

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As we exited the beach, we spied Phil in a pickup truck with two friends. They were surprised to see us so far from “home”.

On our way to find lunch, we stopped at roadside stand that sold a few straw goods. The man who makes them came out and I purchased two, while Mike was being haggled by the man’s sister to give her money to buy milk for her daughter. She looked right at me as I entered the vehicle and told me I was ill, that perhaps I had the flu, then changed it to sinus problems. It was eerie, so I nudged Mike to give her some money. I didn’t want any bad juju on this trip and that woman had a sixth sense.

We stopped for lunch at Max’s Conch Bar, where I happily devoured a conch salad with johnny cake and Mike had grouper fingers with peas and rice.

We had one last stop to make, get some Kaliks and another 5 gallon jug of water so we did! Finally the beer spirits shined their light on us and we got a case!

We had just enough energy left for a late afternoon float at our cottage. Mike pulled me along as he swam around the bay.

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Our little rental cottage on the left, the still in progress gazebos on the right with the owner’s house high above

The float ended and it was time to clean up and create a feast for dinner. Tonight we even made a key lime mango no bake cheesecake for tomorrow’s dinner. While I worked on a heavenly dessert, Mike created a feast of quesadillas and salad.

 

The spirits of the sunset, never disappoint. Maybe tonight’s was a little less dramatic than previous nights, but that is ok by us. No matter what, we know the spirits of nature have granted us the life to witness such beauty.

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