It’s a Christmas Miracle – Day 4

We have a Christmas miracle and a Christmas Angel, Vern.  Vern found our luggage and will be getting it to us on Boxing day.  More on that later…

Our early morning wake up was to stormy weather, which  means coffee inside and food prep for a few days.


Breakfast was a potato, veggie, egg scramble with a slice of Bahamian bread and guava jam.


After our chores were completed for the morning, we headed out to the airport, leaving the rainy weather at the house, hoping for a Christmas miracle.

On our way there, the homeowner texted us Merry Christmas wishes and I explained our woes.  He helped us out and phoned the airport and told us to talk with Vern.  Once at the airport, Vern became our Christmas angel. She had a photo of our bag that was sitting all alone at Stella Maris airport on the island.  Somehow the tracking tags were removed and it couldn’t find us.  We hugged her (me multiple times) and yes I cried.  The airport where the bag was at was closed, but she  said she would retrieve it for us and bring it to Deadman’s airport on Boxing Day.  We love you Vern!

Yesterday when we were told, someone might have taken it and given the runaround, I told Mike just book us a ticket home asap.  As the words were spilling out I realized, I am home, where ever Mike is, is home, so flying back to CT would be pointless.  Glad he knew to ignore my request.

From the airport, we went to Ford’s beach for a little walk and some shelling.  On the way to the beach, the goat crew populated the road for a bit.

Ford’s beach is perhaps one of the best shelling beaches we have discovered here.  We arrived at high tide, so pickings were slim, but really we were on a high knowing we would be reunited with our clothes tomorrow, so we didn’t care.  The views here are just beautiful.

As we departed the clouds let loose and rain dumped.  At home we made our standard island lunch of peanut butter and guava jam on local bread.  We were able to go down to the gazebo for 10 minutes before the rain reached us.

And it rained and rained. This is a perfect napping house for rainy afternoons, so of course I did just that, while Mike read.  After the nap, I tried my hand at watercolors, I am not an artist by any means, but hey it was fun.


While I was playing around, Mike went out and decorated the tree with lights.  Yes yesterday’s bag had all our decorations, so we are a bit behind in getting the lights up.

As he was finishing, a magical rainbow appeared oceanside.  It hovered over the water and was stunning.

The skies cleared and were finally able to go for a long beach walk.

Following our walk, it was appetizer time, island style.


Time to have dinner after snacking, delicious grilled wahoo with the salads we made this morning.


After our delicious we had our tree lighting ceremony, followed by yahtzee.

Thanks to our Christmas Angel, Vern we got our island groove back.


Delays, Diversions and Departures – Day 1

Saturday the plan was fly DC to Nassau, catch a 2 p.m. flight to Long Island and be at our rental house by 3:30 p.m.  The plan didn’t happen, but a new plan was devised and that plan was achieved.


Our flight from DC was delayed, the incoming plane was having mechanical issues so another plane was routed our way, which arrived later than original departure time.  We realized early on in the day that making the 2 p.m. flight was not going to happen.  I put a call out to island friends on FB looking for hotel and dinner suggestions in Nassau, knowing we would have to have spend the night and try to get out on Sunday to Long Island.  Friends responded with hotel and food suggestions.  We rebooked out Saturday flight to Sunday and booked a hotel room in Nassau.

When all of a sudden friends on Staniel told us of a 4:30 p.m. flight to Staniel with a returning flight to Nassau on Sunday morning, that would get us back to Nassau in time to catch the 2p.m. flight to Long Island.  Well the crazy kids that we are, we decided to book a flight to Staniel Cay for the night and stay with friends. Meanwhile…the homeowners of the Long Island rental, found us a 5 p.m. to Long Island and there was a chance we could get on that.  We had become excited to see our Staniel friends, so we remained with the Staniel plan.

Our flight left DC a bit later than expected and the 2 hour and 6 minute flight, took much longer, There was a flow control heading into the south airspace, we sat on the runaway for a bit in DC.  Then we entered Bahamian airspace and we had to wait to land, we were detoured over the Exuma Chain, circled a bit and finally landed at 2:40.

We didn’t deplane for another 15 minutes and had to clear Customs and Immigration before we could check in to our next flight, which by the way we had to be checked in by 3:15 p.m.  At 3:10 we made it to the check in counter and were told to immediately get to the gate.  I had to use the restroom and was told I had a few minutes.  While in the stall they called our flight, of course that happened.

Good thing I did get to use the bathroom, we sat on the 15 seater for over an hour.  We watched our luggage sit in a truck next to us.  Finally we got to move and as the door shut, we said to the co pilot, “ummm our luggage is still on the truck.” His reply, “no worries, it will come on the next plane.”  We shrugged knowing full well, the next plane was probably Sunday morning.  Planes were lined up everywhere waiting to take off, come to find out Bahamian air traffic controllers are striking and have created a go slow condition.


We landed after sunset.  Our friends were waiting, but our luggage was not. Talking with Sam from Flamingo Air, she told us our luggage would arrive in the morning, and I said when we fly it out.  She was stunned we were only here for one night, but when I explained it was a chance to spend time with Terri & Mal, she understood.  We had our first Kalik of the trip and I marveled at the view from their home, a view I never tire of.


We started with Mal’s smoked salmon to munch on while waiting for dinner of fresh caught cracked conch and crawfish, sweet potatoes and tomato onion salad.  It was a delicious meal and being with our friends felt like a homecoming.  After dinner, we admired the full moon and called it an early night.

So what? we were delayed, we created a diversion to Staniel Cay with the help of friends and departed Nassau for a great overnight trip.  There were some anxious moments, but we took it all in stride and realized why get upset, we were lucky enough to have a chance to see our friends!

And as for our luggage, stay turned for the adventures of day 2!

Being Us

Today was us being us; explorers, awkward tourists, adventurers, and admirers of nature.

The day had our typical start, morning walk on the path way overlooking the ocean, a big breakfast and figuring out the day.


Our plan was to revisit the Columbus Monument down North, maybe get a snorkel in the bay by it and then just meander back. Last April when we visited here, the winds were blowing and there was no chance of getting a snorkel in.  The two mile beach road in was just as bumpy and crazy as we remembered.  Good thing our rental car has been seasoned with lots of Long Island scratches before we rented it, today we added a few more. The drive is worth the view.

After our walk about, we headed down to check out the water conditions. It was a little choppy, but we knew we didn’t want to make this drive again this trip, so into the water we went.


After drying off, Mike and I decided to drive to the end of the road. Last time we didn’t because we hadn’t done our research, well Mike researches, I just say “sure”.  He had looked on Google Maps for this trip and noticed that at the end of the road, you could park and walk over a busted bridge to a Newton Cay Beach.

What we didn’t expect was a bar at the end of the highway. The flaps were down when we stopped, but we decided after our adventure if the flaps were up we were stopping in.


We could see three men cleaning conch as they waved at us as we crossed the busted bridge to walk Newton Cay Beach.


We walked the bay and then Mike explored further on to the Atlantic side.  The place was beautiful, minus the piles of trash that had washed ashore.


Once we returned the flaps were up on the bar.  Mustering up our courage, we went up to the bar and one of the men asked what we wanted, we of course knew only to reply “two Kaliks, please”.


At this point, after drinking most of the beer, we became that awkward tourist, do we ask for food or not? People are eating plates of food, people are smiling at us, the kids running about are talking to me, one guy’s shirt reads” Busted Bridge Bar and Grill.”  We do an internet search, but nothing comes up (yes we had 3G service).  I muster up the courage and ask if food is available, I get a reply of a smile and a woman runs to get food of two plates. She plates up the rice, fish and coleslaw and apologetically says “island style”, to which I replied ” the only way and thank you.”


We were asked a few times if we enjoyed it and I think our smile conveyed we loved every bite of the fish, coleslaw and rice.  When our plates were clean, minus the bones, one of the ladies approached and told us that the bar just serves drinks.  This was a family picnic and would we like to try the conch salad.  Well it became awkward for us, but if they offered us salad, I guess they liked us?  It was the best conch salad we have ever had.


We thanked them many times over and asked for our bill, $10.00. They let us crash a family picnic, served us food, beer and it was 10.00?  We couldn’t stop smiling for having this amazing experience and then we frowned for being that awkward tourist.  We’ve read Long Island has the nicest people and today proved it.

Our plan was to find Adderly Plantation Ruins, but we were very tired from the walking, the snorkeling, the people watching, we skipped the ruins and instead drove around Stella Maris Resort Club, to see if any of the rental homes were appealing.  And none were, there was no beach to walk on, so that knocked that place out of the running.

We thought we could handle one more short beach exploration walk and stopped at “Cruisers” beach. “Cruisers” beach is a beach we see every day from our screened in porch on the other side of Thompson Bay.  The path to the beach is marked by buoys and there is even a fresh water well on the trail to the beach.

At home, we quickly unpacked the car and jumped into the water to cool off, after our five hour adventure.  I had to have a nap after all that and Mike lounged about.

Sunset was subtle, dinner was leftovers and it was a quiet night in the cottage by the bay. The quietness allowed us to reflect on our explorations, adventures and experiences of being awkward tourists, us just being us.


All I Want For Christmas is…

All I wanted for Christmas is ocean blue at Gordons Beach.  I decided last April, when we re-booked was to have lunch on Gordons Beach on the southern tip of Long Island.  My Christmas wish came true, but first we had to start Christmas morning with ricotta pancakes with guava jam and bananas.

After our hearty breakfast and some holiday cheer photos we gathered up our beach gear and headed out to Gordon’s Beach.

I will say this is one of my favorite beaches we have ever visited. All I have wanted for Christmas day was to sit here.

We also worked on next year’s Christmas card photo, nothing like planning in advance.


After our selfie photo shoot, a walk and a float it was time to enjoy lunch.  We had Max’s Conch Bar conch salad for lunch.

We stopped to take photos at the end of the highway, after leaving Gordons Beach.

On the return trip to our cottage, we decided to make a few stops. First stop were two churches that looked interesting.

Our second stop was the Diamond Crystal & Salt Flats in Hard Bargain. The flats have been abandoned and we found the old runway that serviced this area. Nothing really to see here, nothing of note.

We had one final stop in The Bight, the new sign since April. We wanted to read it and then decided to adventure down the road by it.  What we discovered is a conch and sponge area.

We came home and the plan was to nap, but the water looked so inviting at the house, we decided to go in for a snorkel.  The water wasn’t clear and visibility was poor so the snorkel turned into a short swim.

We prepped dinner of salad with chicken, waiting for the sun to set.  Sunset was obscured by a bank of clouds, put nevertheless it was pretty in its own way.

After our dinner we enjoyed an altered dessert recipe of frozen bananas and other goodness over Bahamian sweet rolls (should have been sponge cake, but we couldn’t find any).

We finished the night playing cards and realizing Christmas wishes do come true.

santa left his hat with our stuff


A Crabby Christmas Eve

It didn’t start out crabby, it started out stormy, our Christmas Eve Day.

Rain plus sun rising on the other side means only one thing, rainbow creamer for my coffee!


While I wrote the Saturday blog post Mike cooked up sweet potatoes home fries, fried egg, yogurt with passionfruit and more coffee.  Our travels to Mexico in the Mayan Jungle, taught us the value of slow leisurely breakfasts full of good eats while on vacation.


Such a hearty breakfast demanded a long leisurely beach stroll. So over to the Atlantic side we went, about a mile from the house.

The one thing that bothered us was all the garbage washed up on shore. We saw hundreds of these clear bags here and at Dean’s Hole.  Finally we could make out the writing, “Caribbean Drinking Water, Product of Haiti”. Sad that our ocean creatures are consuming these.  Mike wanted to remove the rope, but it would need a truck to drag it out of the sand, it weighed a few hundred pounds.

After our two-mile stroll, we returned to the cottage to make lunch for our late morning, early afternoon adventuring.  The thing I have been looking forward to the most is eating our pb and jelly sandwiches with a beer on a beach.  You know it is the simple things.

Our first stop was to explore the tip of Thompson Bay.  From our cottage we can see the tip of it and what appears to be a sandy beach way out.  Well it was quite the adventure, especially driving the last part of the “road”.


Once we made it to the end of the “road” the beach was NOT what we expected.  From our viewpoint across the way, it looks really sandy and soft, well it wasn’t that at all, it was coral, tiny jagged pieces of coral.

Trust me, don’t fall on that stuff, it rips you to shreds, I learned the hard way.  I did find this interesting grouping of shells.

This was not the lunch spot we had hoped for, so on to our next beach. We went down North to lunch at Harvey’s Bay.  The place was empty, perfect spot to eat and have a swim.

And this is when it happened, the crabbiness of the day set in.  As Mike was heading in, he was attacked twice by a crab, thing pinched him twice.

The perp!

While recovering from the attack, he found a starfish just hanging out.

Our final beach of the day to explore was Alligator Bay.  We tried to visit here in April, but a local family had pulled up and we didn’t want to be “that tourist”, so we left.  Today the beach was deserted, so we could do a short stroll. We thought about going in for a dip, but crabs were everywhere in the water, on attack mode, so we didn’t venture in.

Walking three beaches today, tuckered us out, so we returned to the cottage late afternoon.  We cleaned up and had appetizers.


Mike made dinner while I edited photos.  He found a recipe for Bahamian pumpkin rice and decided he would attempt that. Our cottage doesn’t have an oven, so all our cooked meals have to be stovetop.

Before we devoured our meal it was the appointed hour of sunset watching.

After sunsetand dinner, we decided to go visit the money moth shrub, to see them all with eyes aglow, feeding.  On our way out the door, Mike was attacked by another crab, this time a blue land crab. Yikes, this guy was huge…

We cautiously avoided him on our way to the shrub with the moths on it. Tonight there weren’t as many moths flying around, but enough to snap a few photos.

We retired to the screen porch and played a few games of cards before calling it a night. Even though we experienced some crabbiness during Christmas Eve day and night, it was still a fantastic day living the island life.


A “hole” lot of fun

Dean’s Blue Hole

Today we had a whole lot of fun, but first we had to get up to experience it.  The question we asked ourselves this morning was why do the roosters find us on islands?  We have about three roosters that decided an early wake up call was the way to go.  Maybe they were summoning me to go for a short walk.  Glad I listened to them, the views and the visitor were both lovely as the sun rose.

Breakfast was easy, just eggs and toast, keeping it simple this morning, didn’t want to be late to the farmer’s market.


We made sure this trip we were at the farmer’s market a little before 8 a.m. Last April we arrived a bit after 8 a.m. and all the greens were gone.  We learned our lesson. We scored okra, kale, a Bahamian pumpkin and sweet potatoes, green onions, passionfruit, homemade jam and some bread.

The walk to the market had a holiday  attraction to see and the view from the parking lot wasn’t bad either.

Once back at the cottage, we unloaded the small haul and headed out to finish the shopping for a few days. After our two “must do” stops were done, we headed off to have a whole afternoon of fun.  First stop was Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world.  We first visited here in April, but didn’t go in the water, because professional divers were practicing for the big contest that was approaching.

Two families were there, jumping in to the hole.  We beached walked for a bit and then got into the water to swim over the hole.  I was dismayed at all the garbage that littered the beach.  Mike picked up some to see where it originated, seemed to be from Haiti.

I was so excited I was brave enough to swim over the deep hole and we will return with our snorkel gear to further explore this treasure.  Advantage of coming in December over April, we don’t have to stand by and watch professionals train, we can get in the water!

Our next stop was one of our favorite watering holes, Max’s Conch Bar by the airport.  We love to watch Gary orchestrate the making of his conch salad. This time we were smart enough to get a bowl to go! We prefer to sit at the bar with locals and listen to their banter (which we rarely can decipher the slang).  Our lunch was fantastic, grouper fingers, peas and rice, crawfish quesadilla and johnny cake.

After lunch required an afternoon float, this time complete with Christmas music. Mike purchased a waterproof speaker to float with us, put the ipod in a waterproof bag and away we floated to Christmas tunes.

After we cleaned ourselves up it was food prep and download/edit a million pictures of the day.  As the sun set, we decorated our Christmas tree.  This is the first time in 16 Christmases away vacations we have brought items to decorate something.  We still have to go beachcombing to get some shells to add to our little tree.

By the light of our little tree we watched the sun set, reflecting on all the fun we had today.

As dinner finished cooking, I went outside to stand among the money moths, hoping one would land on me.  We had dozens fluttering about. Bahamian folklore says if one lands on you, you will come into money.  I am standing outside every night, waiting.


The sun sank, the glow was serene, the tree twinkled and we reminisced on our day full of a “hole” lot of fun and then some.


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