The End to 2017

At 4 a.m. the moon woke me up to say goodbye to us and farewell to 2017.

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We formally awoke at 5:30 to begin the process of leaving this little cottage by the bay.  But first we needed coffee!

We finished the packing, last bits of cleanup and headed out around 7:15 a.m. for the airport.  I said my goodbyes to this lovely place and the minnows that hung out in the little cove.

It was a bit chilly this morning, it did drop to 60 on our way to the airport. Though 60, 62 was nothing compared to what we returned home to.

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We were the first to arrive at the airport. Our plane to return to Nassau was a bit bigger this trip (we took a 9 seater over held by duct tape), I think this was a 19 seater.

Once we landed in Nassau we had plenty of time to eat an early lunch and I had to purchase a long sleeve shirt, to wear under my lightweight hoody to have an extra layer on for when we landed in Boston.

The sunset as we flew was a vibrant color, followed by twinkling lights over cities.

We landed to a chilly 10 degrees in Boston and once we arrived home it was down to 4.  Hopefully our memories will keep us warm over the remainder of winter.  I think our favorite memories are all the new beaches we explored this trip.

Wishing everyone a happy and adventure filled 2018.

Carry a Spider Stick

We went adventuring today and remembered a little to late to always carry a spider stick when adventuring in the Bahamas. So if you are walking a path overgrown, carry a stick to clear the way of spider webs because some of those webs have very big owners! More on that later.

My morning started at 2 a.m. with a wake up call from the moon.  He decided to shine on only my side of the bed and boy did I spring out of bed, not realizing at first what the bright light was.  I got up and closed the shades, hoping to fall back asleep before Stu, the rooster woke us.  Yes, we call him Stu, because I am threatening him to put him in a stew pot very soon.

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Morning started with the stroll, coffee with the minnows and breakfast of eggs and potatoes.

Our first stop of the day was finding Adderley’s Plantation Ruins. In April  we tried, but didn’t succeed. It helped this time because it was low tide, Easy to find the path into the ruins at the end of the beach at low tide.

We were impressed by the signage and the trail leading up to the ruins, but once at the ruins, it was very overgrown and this is where we realized we should have been carrying our spider stick, but more on that guy later. This is not a place for flip flops, had to have water/hiking shoes that handled the terrain.  We then walked over to Adderley’s Dock and walked back to the car via the beach.

After our jaunt back to the car the next adventure had us finding the Old Millerton School Beach. We knew to stop at the old yellow school and go to the right of the school to find the hidden path.  Well better directions would inform one to pull in at the Bunches/Millerton Settlement sign and go to the right of the dilly tree.

Once we found the path, first thing we did, was pick up a spider stick to lead the way, clearing the path of spider webs and their owners.  The path was about a quarter of mile to the beach and it was filled with unflowering bromeliads.

The beach and water were stunning, well worth the little walk to get to it.  The best part was no one was there! We had lunch, went for a snorkel and walked the beach.

We decided we had one more stop left in us, just decided to pick a road and go down it Atlantic side.  We ended up at Kings Bay Resort.

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If you can’t tell by the above photo, it is abandoned, well sort of.  After walking the beach, a car pulled up, the owner of the now defunct resort. He wanted to know if were investors and were looking to buy his property.  We disappointed him by telling him no, we were just out exploring.  We told him he had a beautiful spot, but hurricanes and mother nature claim it back so quickly. His place was destroyed in Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. He let us know the sea rose to the height of the palm trees, yikes.

After that encounter, we left, as we were on private property and not investors.  Once home we did our usual, go for a float, clean up, download pictures and nap.

Sunset arrived and we admired our second to last one, till next year.

And if you are still wondering about the title, well this is a Golden Orb Spider we ran into at the Adderley’s Plantation Ruins. I almost walked right into him, Mike did catch a corner of his web. Luckily Mike was able to grab a stick and remove the part of web that he was entangled in, before it upset the spider.  So remember when walking on a path, carry a spider stick!

 

House Hunting

Umm yup, we decided today would be a good day to go house hunting, well rental house hunting for next December break.  I wish it was house hunting to purchase, but it’s good to have dreams.  We love where we stay, but are thinking maybe another side of the island might be nice also.

Before we had breakfast, a morning stroll along our coastal walkway was had.

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Breakfast was held down at our gazebos landing, french toast sticks with guava jam and you guessed it bananas.

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We plotted out our day, three beaches that had houses for rent on them, two of them on the Atlantic side, one on our side.  We are now on the Caribbean sea side, waters are calmer here.  First stop was Lochabar Beach that had two houses on it for rent. The houses have direct beach access, we didn’t have an easy direct access to the get to the beach today. We had to follow a narrow ungroomed path to get to the beach (wear shoes, flip flops don’t cut it).

This is a great walking beach, not an everyday swimming area, conditions would have to be calm to do that. The advantage to staying here,  no driving to a walkable beach, we would have it every morning and every evening right out our door.

After exploring this area our next stop was Galloway Beach on the Caribbean side, a wow beach, but we never made it out to the house we wanted to look at, why…because after much talking we realized it didn’t have the one thing we needed, internet. Our current rental doesn’t have an oven, but we can make do for a week or so without one.  However if we had to drive into town daily to find a free slow wifi spot would be a pain.  This beach though is beautiful and I do want to return to lounge and lunch here.

After this exploration we were famished and headed into Clarence Town for lunch and were hoping to hit up the Boxing Day Bazaar afterwards.  We lunched at Rowdy Boys Bar and Grill.  We were the only people in the place, the town was very quiet. I had the fresh fish burger and Mike had the conch burger, both were excellent.

We left to find the Church Bazaar that was to be on the Bazaar grounds. We drove by the church, no cars, we drove around to find the Bazaar grounds, but didn’t. Guess this time we should have asked the waitress before we left Rowdy Boys where to find the grounds.  So we didn’t find the Boxing Day Bazaar, oh well.

Our last stop before heading home was to re look at a house on Whelk Cay.  We love that is in Salt Pond (our current location), has a walkable beach that is beautiful, the little cove is swimmable, but….the drive out to it is 8 minutes one lane beach road that has two way traffic.  If we rented here we would stay put most days and not go exploring. Today we didn’t walk the beach, we were tired, but will return again before we leave to walk some morning.

We returned home, wondering if we could handle sunrise views over sunsets, is a walkable beach better than having an everyday swim or snorkel spot, is our seclusion prefered over having a few houses surrounding us, hmmm all things we are debating.

Once back at our cottage, I was going to take a nap while Mike did a float. However that changed with a text telling us a favorite family uncle on Mike’s side passed away. Knowing Uncle Will he would tell me to get in the water, the nap could wait.  So to honor that fun-loving guy I got in the water.  Visibility was better today, but still not stellar clear.

After our land and sea adventures, we cleaned up and I finally took that nap. I woke up in time for sunset and the most spectacular sight, three dolphins swimming by.

 

After watching nature’s best show of sunset and dolphins we headed in to have a light super of salad with chicken (lunch was that filling) and gingernut cookies for dessert.  It was an early evening, we were worn out from the house hunting.

So did we make a decision return to Baywatch on the Caribbean side or go over to the Atlantic side for next December break? hmmmm I think the dolphins were a sign.

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!

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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A “hole” lot of fun

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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.

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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.

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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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A 3:30 a.m. wake up for a 6 a.m. flight out means a breakfast of champions starts our day.

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We arrived to our terminal in no time, caught our first of three flights and landed a bit late in Atlanta. Our next flight was delayed and we worried we wouldn’t make our 1 p.m. check in time for the small outbound flight in Nassau.  Well we cut it close and were checking in at 12:45 p.m. for our final leg of the trip.  We boarded our 2 p.m. flight early but sat for a bit waiting for one passenger to fill our 9 seater aircraft to capacity. Love these little flights over the islands. We were able to spot Staniel Cay and waved to our friends on that island.

 

We landed, waited for our rental car lady to hand over the keys and took off. First stop was Yukon Jack’s liquor store for beer, this year we decided to branch out and buy a case of Sands, adding some variety to our beer drinking this trip.

Next stop were the two local grocery stores. Mail boats must have recently arrived, because people were busily putting items on the shelves and the markets were hoping, as only they can in the Bahamas.  Our brains were a bit fuzzy, so even with a grocery list, we forgot half the items we needed or wanted.  We did get two essentials besides the beer, Bahamian bread and gingernuts cookies.

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Arriving at the cottage around 4:15, we unloaded the car, put groceries away and discovered a cold beer in the fridge. Well with that beer, we decided unpacking clothes could wait till after sunset and we needed to walk the property and watch the sunset.

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The sunset was spectacular. Perhaps one of the best we have ever had the privilege of viewing.

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After the stunning sunset, we headed in to make a quick dinner and unpack.  While doing both, we noticed the afterglow that continued on long after the sunset.

 

It was an early night for us; due to being up in the wee hours of dawn, riding three planes, doing the airport sprint in Nassau, and remembering to drive on the left side of the road.  All of that just wore us out. Glad to finally have arrived for our holiday break.

 

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