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!

Day 10 – Just One of Those Days

The day started early, 6 a.m. I was outside doing school work and cloud watching. I had to finish a book for my online kids book club and had been putting it off, today was the perfect morning to work.

While completing my work, Mike so kindly brought me coffee and a slice of johnny cake. He had the task of making another pasta salad and cooking chicken for dinner dishes for the remainder of our time here.

After our chores were completed we headed up south to Cabbage Point, a spot we hadn’t explored yet. On the way south, we visited with the flamingos again.

Cabbage Point was a new place for us and we walked a bit. Mike even swam over the channel to see what the other slice of land held and then swam back,

We spent some time beach walking and hanging out in the water. It was picture perfect.

We did drive around a bit to check out a few houses on this beach. We came across a herd of goats, just handing out.

After that we headed up to Gordons to sit under the gazebo and lunch. Guess our timing was off because a retired couple had claimed the gazebo and didn’t welcome us in. We snapped a few photos and set off to our next lunch gazebo spot, Turnbull beach.

We unpacked our lunch and enjoyed a beautiful spot while eating our pasta salad.

We had to stop for beer and while there discovered that Sands beer makes a passionfruit radler. This is a note to us for our return at Christmas, we just need one case of Kalik and a case of passionfruit radler and we are good to go. Sorry no photo of me enjoying it in the car, living the life…

At the homebase, we grabbed kaliks and walked down to our sitting spot. I even brought a book down to read, but the view had me looking around, when all of sudden I noticed a moving blob in the water. I said to Mike, “I think we have a manatee out there.” We grabbed the camera and off we went. At first we weren’t sure what it was and if necessary we knew we could hop in the boat to avoid any attacks. We didn’t see a shark fin and then we realized it was a manatee. We didn’t want to stress it, but it came right up to us, brushed against us like a cat and followed us around. We snapped a few photos and took a video or two. It was a magical experience.

After that we just hung out till dinner, had leftovers and then did our sunset ritual.

You know today was just one of those days, where magic happens.

You Finish Where You Start – Day 8

Our morning started with a beach walk and you guessed it, it ended the same way.

Up early hoping the day would deliver calmer winds, clear skies, beach walks that didn’t involve waiting for the downpours and shells.

The day delivered and then some.

Morning started with a lovely sunrise that included blue skies!

We went on first morning beach walk of this vacation.  A big reason we rented this house was to walk the beach in the morning. Our last two rentals on Long Island didn’t have expansive beaches to stroll. We had heard there  was some good shelling going south on the beach, so we headed south.  Wow at low tide, shellers delight!

Back at our gazebo, we poured more coffee, wind was still a bit strong and some coffee became airborn as Mike poured!

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We needed food so back up the house we trekked and had egg sandwiches on the bread from the bakery.  Their bread is the best on the island!

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We threw around some thoughts on the day’s adventures and finally settled on going to Gordon’s beach and walking south this time, as far as we could go.  We heard rumors shelling was good going south and we had never walked to the end before.  We gathered our morning’s supplies and headed off.  Gordon’s was very busy, maybe a total of 5 family units by the time we departed, two hours later.

We told Pitbull the other day we would be back. I’m sure he thought we wouldn’t be, but we keep our word and stopped in for a beer.  We learned he sells fish.  Grouper season is over, but the guy has freezers full of grouper he caught in season.  For $20 he gave us a huge bag.  He didn’t have any lobster because the winds have been to strong and he hasn’t had a chance to go check on his pots.

We had two stops to make before we landed at “home”. Wanted to pick up two trivets at the guy who does straw work in Dunmore and ummm, we needed more Kalik so into Petty’s we went.

Once “home” Mike made a fish stew for dinner (actually for all dinners till we leave, it made so much) and we read on the upper deck in the shade.  I did sneak in a little nap too.

A little before 5 p.m. we went for a beach walk.  Mike turned around before I did, I continued on to the shelling spot to find more treasures and I did (sorry no pics of the shells I picked up). Not a bad deal, I shelled while Mike finished cooking dinner our fish stew served over polenta.

Even though we are on sunrise side of the island, sunset was beautiful on our side with the pinks lightly painting the sky.

Our day started on this beach and ended here.  This was the kind of day we have been craving all week.  It was nice that the day delivered!

Island Life As a Visitor – Day 6

Today we have settled into our island life as a visitor.  It shouldn’t have taken us this long to get in our groove, but this time it did.  I think the whole luggage escapade threw us off our game.

Another windy, stormy day greeted us.  Coffee photos were taken quickly, praying the cup wouldn’t be blown away. We didn’t want to waste any of our good coffee that had finally arrived.

This morning I decided to try my hand at making johnny cake.  The owners gifted us with a Bahamian cookbook, so I had to make something. I did add a twist to it, put in coconut rum soaked raisins.  I was so happy when it turned out yummy!.

Next up was breakfast, french toast sticks with local bread.

Over breakfast the plan was made for at least the morning, go up south to the end of the island.  Our first stop was Fords Landing.  One of the first things we learned in the Bahamas was to know when tides were happening.  Our arrival at Fords would happen between low and high tide, so shelling would be better.

We continued on to Gordons, but first we become distracted by the ducks in a pond in Mortimers.

Finally we made it to the end of the road, to Gordons beach.  My favorite beach on this island.  Part of the reason we stayed up south this time was to be closer to this beach.  We also purchased our Suniela canopy for this beach.

We spent a little over an hour here, beach walking, swimming and snacking.  As we left, the gray skies came over and rain dumped on us as we sat in the car.

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Our next stop was PitBull’s place for a beer.  Sadly the only cold beer he had was Guinness, because he was just restocking the fridge, after the liquor stores were closed for a few days due to holidays.  Everyone drank him out of beer.  He did comp us a lovely fresh conch salad.  Funny a year ago we were on the other end of the island and were given conch salad.  Guess Dec. 27 is the day we find free conch salad on this island!

While there we had an interesting conversation with another patron on the state of U.S. politics.  Mike hit me to keep my mouth shut and not inform the man on how really it is.

After Pitbull’s we stopped at an abandoned church, just one of many on this island.  It seemed to be the church where the swallowtails and money moths go to die.

On the way back to the house we encountered more goats and even a pig, true island life.

Once at the house, we had leftovers for lunch. After lunch we headed out to a store to purchase more butter. On our way back we stopped at Dean’s Blue Hole.  We stayed in this area last April.  The winds were the strongest we have ever seen here and you couldn’t even tell there was a blue hole here.

We had one more beach to check out, across from Deans, by Lloyd’s Bar.  Turnbull beach is a lovely little area, but more rain was approaching, so we didn’t stay long.

And the rain came and came and came.  When we arrived back at the rental Mike had to push out the water from the screened porch, island life.

The remainder of our afternoon and evening was watching rain come in, running to shut doors and windows, making pizza for dinner, cleaning shells, playing with my watercolors, opening windows and doors when the rain stopped and having dinner.

We found over the years how to handle island life. It requires flexibility, ingenuity and a go with the flow attitude. It also helps to smile, wave and learn to listen to the locals. Maybe some year we will be lucky enough to be an island resident somewhere, we’ve been practicing island life since 2004.

Day 4 – Seashells and Goats

This island has an abundance of a two things, goats and seashells.  Today we encountered both, we cruised the shell highway in one spot and get held up in a goat traffic jam in another, awww island life.

Our first order of the day, after watching the changing sunrise sky was to make breakfast. We cooked up french toast sticks with local Bahamian bread topped with local pineapple jam and commercial guava fruit jam.  After breakfast we made dessert for the rest of the week, coconut lime bars, yummmm.

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We planned our morning route, knowing it may turn into a full day affair, which it did! Our first stop was gas and in case you were wondering, gas was $5.42 a gallon. On our way from getting gas the door was open to the Hamilton Cave house.  I yelled “stop”, Mike did, pulled in and we arranged a tour to the caves for Wednesday morning with the owner of the caves, Leonard Cartwright. We’ve been waiting to explore the caves since last April, so today we made the appointment.

Our next stop was Ford’s Landing, where in December we found it on a whim and discovered the shelling was fantastic, and the views too are pretty spectacular. Today we loaded up on shells and I felt like I was cruisin’ down a shell highway.

After the walk and a few photos we headed out to Gordon’s, our favorite beach. Today we finally walked to the left of the beach. On our last two trips, we went to the right, but today no one was to the left so off we headed.  Sadly though, someone was at the entrance of the beach burning down the palm trees, not sure why, not sure if it was a controlled burn or just someone being a jerk.

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We strolled to the pines, laid our stuff off and took off walking around the point. As we meandered back we hopped in the water to cool off.  Shelling to the left isn’t anything grand but if we had gone right, the shelling has been good there in the past. I didn’t want to be greedy, so we opted to stay on our side of the beach.

After our brief “swim”, we had our lunch of Max’s conch salad, hummus and chips and an ice cold Kalik.

On our drive out of Gordon’s we stopped at a tiny convenience store for a soda and just to peek inside.

We decided to follow a beach road that lead to a rock cliff, we turned around and took another side road off and came to a lovely little cove, that we spied two boats at. We walked the cove and decided in higher tide, we should return to snorkel.

On our way out we hit our first  goat traffic jam of the day.  They took over the Queen’s highway at this point and we had to wait them out, all the while shaking our heads, laughing at island life.

Our next side road took us to what we believe may be Watermelon Beach.  This is where we encountered goat traffic jam #2 on the way to the beach.  Once here we looked around, but didn’t walk the beach, our legs were tired.

The next adventure had us searching for Dunmore Settlement Plantation Ruins and of course this is where we encountered goat traffic jam #3.  We believe we took the wrong road and didn’t find the ruins. Mike will do more research and hopefully we can find them in the future.

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On our way out of Clarence Town we stopped at Ena L. Majors Creations for some straw products.  We pass by this lovely little shop so often and today we decided to stop. So glad we popped in and picked up a few items.

By this time it was late afternoon and we needed a swim.  On our way home, we made a stop at Dean’s Blue Hole for a snorkel. The current was strong, the water silty, but we snorkeled anyways and were rewarded with three sand dollars.  As we left we ran into the people renting the cottage in front of us. We garnered  a piece of information about a resident living inside of the blue hole, a big ole barracuda that is pretty friendly.  You know with that piece of information, we will be back to make friends with him.

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Once at home, we did the usual clean ourselves up, have dinner (salad with crawfish), read, wrote and waited for the day to turn into the evening. We enjoyed homemade dessert.

 

Our day had an abundance of cruisin’ seashell highways above and below the sea and watching goats cause traffic jams, just another good day of island life.

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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.

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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.

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santa left his hat with our stuff

 

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