Winter Solstice Brings Rainbows – Day 2

Happy Winter Solstice. We woke before sunrise to make sure we made it to the farmer’s market early. We knew the weather wasn’t prime for beach walks, so we enjoyed coffee by the tree before sunrise and had a lovely breakfast of eggs and veggies as the sun rose.

We have Christmas mugs this year!!

The sky began to lighten and I snapped a few pictures with the great coffee mug.

The wind was still howling and stormy clouds surrounded us, but the dramatic effect was beautiful.

We set out for the farmers market around 7:30 and kept getting delayed due to chasing rainbows as we drove to the middle of the island.

At the market, I dropped off fabric from my stash to Starfish Traders Ladies. Please if you come to the island, support the ladies and purchase a few of their items. Next we loaded up on greens, kale, arugula, and swiss chard. Mike purchased a bucket load of okra and added in some cilantro. We picked up lunch of chicken souse and conch stew. We also picked up another dozen eggs. It was a best haul of goods to date.

Salt Pond Farmer’s Market Haul

After that is was time to hit up all the grocery stores. We exited Hillside to a beautiful rainbow.

Rainbow as seen in the parking lot of Hillside

We continued merrily on our way, stopping at Midway, Kirtlands, Seawinds and even Under the Sun for frozen Wahoo.

Another stop was at the bakery in Clarence Town for bread, but we were 20 minutes early, so we returned to the house. Once at the house, we unloaded all those bags of groceries, made a jumbo salad and prepped other foods. About an hour later we returned to the bakery to get our fresh warm loaf.

We then had lunch of our chicken souse and conch stew, so delicious and you know we will be back for more next Saturday! I really wanted to nap, but knew we should go for a walk. Our ocean side would have sandblasted us, so we headed up south to Fords and Gordons for a bit of time. The clouds created such a dramatic scene for us.

We returned home to more food prep. We don’t mind cooking here because the view out of the kitchen is beautiful.

We puttered away the rest of the afternoon, till cocktail hour and Mike stringing lights on the gazebo. Where, you guessed it, we had another rainbow!

Dinner was wahoo on our salad and it was just perfect!

After dinner and the sun setting, we headed down to the gazebo to see the lights Mike strung. Oh how magical. Hopefully soon we will have a calm evening where we can sit down there and enjoy the lights!

It was lovely spending the first day of winter on an island, that gifted us with rainbows galore and dramatic views. Hopefully it is a sign of a new winter season bringing only good things!

Arrival with Squeals of Delight – Day 1

It’s been a long day, beginning with a 3:30 a.m. wake up call for our first flight. We rolled out of the hotel bed and right into the TSA line. Yikes at 4:30 a.m. lines were gathering, we quickly zoomed through pre check and waited at our gate for our on time departure to Miami. No window seat this trip for me, it was the middle seat and how upsetting to miss a spectacular sunrise.

We landed in Miami and did the airport dash because the next gate was 16 minutes away via foot, tram, elevator and escalator. We didn’t have a long wait to board. And let’s just say good thing this was only a 30 minute flight because the lady next to me was not the ideal seatmate. I became very intimate with her elbow in my side for the flight. We landed to showers and gray clouds, but it was warm so we didn’t care.

After doing our clearing we waited to board Southern Air. As usual we were boarded early and this time I choose the back of the plane that has the three seats. We were informed it was full flight of 19 people, so we knew someone would be between us. Guess what? Passenger 19 didn’t show up and we had the roomy seat. Sadly it was very gray and I missed seeing Staniel and waving to our friends. Mike lucked out on his side and caught a rainbow.

We landed in Stella Maris first, where everyone except us and one other passenger deplaned. We moved up to the first window and I was able to snap a few photos.

Once we landed, our bags were brought off the plane, yipeeeeeee. I looked at Mike and said I can finally breathe. After last year’s Christmas trip and missing luggage for a few days, I still feel traumatized we will have a repeat experience.

Our car was waiting for us, we loaded up and headed off to SeaWinds for food items to get us through dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow. Stopped in next door at Yukon Jack’s for Kaliks and coconut rum. One more stop was at Erica’s Bakery to grab bread. As we pulled up, a woman walked out with a loaf of bread and I quipped to Mike, “there goes the last loaf”. Well that was the last loaf of the day, but do not despair, we picked up cookies and a slice of coffee cake.

Finally we were on the way to the rental house. We arrived and as we opened the door I squealed “We have a Christmas tree” this year. In all our years of traveling at Christmas we’ve never had our own tree in our rental. OH MY, I teared up at the thoughtfulness of this. For Mike, it brought back wonderful memories of his childhood Christmases in Florida.

Yes there are presents under the tree!

We unloaded our groceries, grabbed two cold Kaliks and headed down to the gazebo to watch the surf and just breathe relaxation.

We came in as the rain clouds advanced us. We unpacked and made dinner. Early to bed tonight as it has been an extremely long day.

I feel as if we’ve returned to the place we are meant to be. Having a tree certainly made this long day a delight.

Day 15 – The Leaving

Parting is such sweet sorrow, so true when we leave an island. It is a wee bit easier to leave knowing you are returning in a few months, the parting is less harsh to the emotions.

As usual we were up early, eeeeeeks we had to set an alarm. No time for cloud viewing but we made sure we built in coffee time outside.

I may have gone on a sit down strike that I wasn’t going to leave until I had to officially report to school.

After coffee and johnny cake, it was time to finish packing up, cleaning the apartment and drive to the airport.

The airport

Our plane arrived 9:20 a.m., our 19 seater that was full and off we flew to Nassau, where our plane to JFK was already delayed. It was a great flight over the Exumas and into Nassau.

We sat around the airport for a few hours being entertained by the drummer and people watching.

Our flight home was uneventful into JFK. Note to us, if we do Nassau to JFK again, sit on the left side of the plane, you get a great view of the city. We had a 2+ hour drive home and finally landed at 10:30 p.m., it was a very long day after an amazing vacation full of wonderful experiences and beauty.

Day 14 – Last Full Day

This is our last full day. We just meandered about after my cloud viewing and our breakfast.

Our first stop of the day was the grocery store. I had a tee shirt to pick up from our new friend we met yesterday to support the Mack Knowles Jr. Sail Club and pick up some gingernut cookies for our flight.

We decided to head South today, trying to find a beach by Bahamian Dreamin’ that had a gazebo. First though we hit a traffic detour as they are working on putting water lines in for the island.

Our first stop was the Museum. Sorry no pictures were permitted inside, but it is a tiny little museum and I would recommend going to learn a little more about island life and its history.

After our visit we went in search of that beach and gazebo only to discover we couldn’t legally access it so we drove over to Deans Blue Hole to see how conditions were and if it was prime for snorkeling. The answer was no, seaweed had pushed in, so no snorkel or swim for us.

We continued on to Clarence Town to pick up a thank you gift for friend at Ena L. Major Creations. We try to always stop in and pick something up. We learned Ena is 85 years old, goodness she doesn’t look a day over 65 and has the spirit of a 25 year old.

On our way back North, we stopped at Under the Sun Department Store for some homemade Soursop Ice Cream. It was delicious.

We headed home to have lunch of peanut butter and guava sandwiches. You know having dessert first if the thing to do. After lunch we worked on potential holiday card photos. Here are a few unedited outtakes.

After that excitement and secretly hoping the manatee would photobomb us, we went inside and started the dismissal task of packing and cleaning.

Dinner was leftovers, you know the fridge clean out feast and then onto our last sunset viewing party till our return.

Day 13 – Connections

There is a bad side to social media and also a good side. This trip has been enhanced due to the positive connections we’ve made through social media and the internet.

I did my early morning cloud viewing, followed by a breakfast of french toast sticks topped with dilly, papaya, and star fruit. A plating competition may have ensued.

We planned out the day, hoping that with the wind shift, we might have had a chance at snorkeling at Poseidon, but it was still to rough for safe snorkeling.

Our next destination was a tip given to us on our 2nd or 3rd day here by our host. Connecting with her has been a wonderful experience and let us see things we would haven’t know about. We returned to our favorite snorkel spot, the seas were even rougher over here, but in we went, first doing the 1/4 mile beach walk to the far spot and then the walk back to the closer reef.

The rain clouds were moving in, we decided to not have lunch here and go for a covered spot to lunch. We drove the short distance to Busted Bridge. We knew they weren’t open but had a covered spot we could sit under to lunch. We attempted that until the no seeums were so bad they drove us away.

We meandered home on the one main road,enjoying the views as we went.

Once back at the base camp, we unloaded and were about ready to settle down for our afternoon Kalik and water viewing session, when a message appeared to meet someone at Dean’s Blue Hole.

Who is this someone? A woman who instagrammed that she was a home brewer living here on the island. I struck up a conversation and asked our local home breweries if they had any hops we could bring to her. Assistant Brewer Justin from Firefly Hollow hooked us up. Mel from MelsBells Brewing asked us to join her and her family at Dean’s Blue Hole to share beers and exchange the hops. We lathered up more sunscreen and headed down to Deans.

At Deans we heard this familiar voice say “you guys again!” and we went “oh no, guess it’s time we formally introduce ourselves.” As Mel was coming over to us. This other woman works at the local food store, where we always have a great interaction with her, she ran the sailing races on Saturday and then she was at Deans with her friends and family (including Mel) celebrating her wedding anniversary. Mel had invited us to her friend’s anniversary celebration and in a superficial way we knew her friend. Everyone made us feel welcomed and not as if we were an intrusion or unwanted. We stayed for a while enjoying Mel’s delicious homebrew (that’s coconut milk stout in the milk jug), watching the kids jump and getting to know people. Thank you social meeting for bringing people together.

Once home, it was dinner time of risotto and then sunset viewing. The clouds were very heavy with moisture and obscured the setting sun, but the clouds were great to watch.

We’ve been lucky to meet some awesome people through social media, whether personal friends connect us or just starting a conversation with someone because of shared interests.

Day 12-Tiring Day

When you visit 3 beaches, complete 3 miles of beach walks, swim over a few lots to check out a house for sale and watch kids sail you become so exhausted you can’t think of words to write the blog, so you don’t until the following day.

By now you know the routine, get up, look at morning clouds, make breakfast and plan the day.

After that we dropped in at the farmers market and today it had more than 3 vendors. Of course we are leaving in 3 days so we didn’t need a lot of things. We did pick up some fruit though.

We made a plan to go visit a new area on the Petty Hamilton line. Mike wasn’t sure which of two roads had beach access so we went down the first one. What we discovered both went to beach points, but the second one was paved, we should have taken the paved road.

We cooled off here in a little pool of water, where a fish actually nibbled me.

After that adventure we decided to head over to Compass Rose. The road is in worse shape compared to when we have been there in the past. Choose your driving path wisely, on the way out we didn’t and became a little stuck in a rut.

From here we went to Deans to see if our seabiscuit, carefully hidden, it had started to sun bleach. It had started the process so we took it with us.

We were very hungry at this point,  so across the Queens Highway we went to lunch at Turnbull gazebo.

We headed for home base, but first we had to stop to pick up a passion fruit radler.

Once back at base we put on some fins and swam over a few lots to look at the perfect house for us. You know what they say about timing? It’s all about the timing. If this house is for sale in 8 years it might be the one…and who doesn’t swim by a house that is for sale to get a good view of it?

And it has upside down jellyfishes, that’s a huge bonus for us.

Back from our scouting expedition we watched the Mack Knowles Jr Sailing Club from the beach, after a while we went over to the Cultural site to watch up close.

We had downtime before dinner of leftovers and then we watched the sunset, routines to begin and end our day.  It was a very tiring day and I just couldn’t write yesterday.

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