#6 03/01/07 through 03/08/07.
Welcome back to the new
Adventures of the trawler AMARSE. At
last update, we had just arrived at Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands of the
THURSDAY ABACO BEACH RESORT
and BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACO, BAHAMAS
There are numerous marinas here in the Marsh Harbour area. Our choice was ABACO BEACH RESORT and BOAT HARBOUR. It is the most upscale and well maintained of any here on the island. It is the place where the rich and famous come to frolic and spend their big bucks.
As members of the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club (RMHYC), we are entitled to a special discount during the winter months. The longer you stay, especially if you stay more than 61 days, the lower the rate. Here’s the catch, the rate only applies in the winter months. Now, many of you may think that the Bahamas are in high season during the winter, it’s not so. By the end of March, the high season gets into full season and runs until September. This is when the big yachts and the large, sport fishing yachts arrive in droves. Rates take a huge jump and prices far exceed the budgets of regular cruisers like us. For now, we will be able to enjoy the high life of champagne taste on our beer budget. (By the way, even beer is $50, or more, a case around here).
At 8:15am, we tuned our VHF radio to channel 68. Every morning at this time, the “Cruiser’s Net” comes on to keep boaters informed of such important issues as weather forecasts, community events, special occasions, trivia, and “invitations” from numerous restaurants and businesses vying for your patronage. The program runs until about 9:30 am. If you remember, they had a “cruiser’s net” program in Little Current, Ontario, Canada. We really loved that one as each boat called in and reported their whereabouts. The Bahamian version is more commercial and only checks in new arrivals each day. We, of course, were proud to be checking in and welcomed this morning.
We are on Bahamas time now when nothing happens too fast. We leisurely strolled around the docks looking at the various boats and admiring the beautiful facilities and lovely landscaping here at the resort. There usually seems to be other cruisers roaming around eager to engage in some sort of conversation.
Curiosity had us wondering who might be over in the other harbor around the corner. It is about a 20-minute walk to inner bay where several marinas are located. There she was, tied to the dock at The Conch Inn, ORINOCO, the 48-foot Tollycraft motor yacht. Patty and Robert Mitchell were nowhere in sight. In as much as it was lunchtime, we guessed that they might be enjoying their noon repast. Sure enough, we were able to surprise them in Curly Tails Restaurant. Robert’s two brothers and their wives are here visiting and in the process of making a crew swap. It was fun to join them for a little while before we wandered on.
One of the more recognizable figures in this small, island community is the conch man, George. He is internationally famous and has been featured in numerous articles and magazines. Almost every day, patrons can find him preparing Conch Salad from a little shanty stand at the harbor’s edge. He has no shortage of loyal customers and frequently runs out of conch each day. It is quite enjoyable to watch the master of his trade slicing and dicing. We must have been entertained for nearly an hour.
If you notice carefully, you’ll know why, in the Bahamas, Mon, they sing “Conch Ain’t Got No Bones”.
HAPPY CLAMZ crew, Doug and Leslie invited us to dinner aboard their 32’ Nordic Tug. These two are just fabulous folks. We have had the pleasure of traveling with them quite a bit over the last year. They are younger than most loopers and, obviously, a lot smarter than most folks, to have taken a year off working to enjoy life and adventure. They are always willing to give you their greatest smiles and to help out in everyway. They exude friendship and love.
Tonight, the master chef prepared a marvelous creation of Bahamian Lobster in Newburg Hollandaise served over steamed rice. Absolutely Wowwwie!!! His side of Bahamian Black Bean and corn salad was beyond remarkable. I’ll have some more of that!
The Maestro Doug, at the 6pm traditional sounding of the conch horns, provided the musical entertainment.
03/02/07 FRIDAY BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS, BAHAMAS
The winds were howling and the forecast was for an unsettled weekend of unfavorable winds. A large number of the RMHYC members were readying to head across the Sea of Abaco to White Sound on Elbow Cay. Converging on the Sea Spray Resort, the cruisers would either secure a slip or anchor out to dinghy in. We had planned to join those anchoring but we changed our plans with the forecast and decided to remain here in Boat Harbour. Neither Judy nor I had any desire to wrestle with the dinghy in the brisk wind and waves. We zipped around the dock area helping others cast off. At times, it was like watching “bumper-boats” as they attempted to maneuver against the breeze. Fortunately, no one sustained any damage.
We enjoyed walking about the area and into town. It is about a mile or so to the Maxwell’s Grocery store. Away from the water, it was quite hot and humid walking along the street. The cars, driving on the opposite side of the roadway, speed along at an altogether too close range. The store is surprisingly well stocked with items, many which strangely bear the labeling of Sam’s Club. Prices are at least 50 to 100% more expensive than stateside. All in all, it is to be expected since everything must be imported by freighter and additional duty paid. We didn’t need much so we only picked up a few items.
The gorgeous pool area was a very inviting treat after the long walk. We enjoyed splashing, wading, swimming and just paddling around. Judy put together a great dinner of salad, meatloaf, and baked potatoes.
03/03/07 SATURDAY BOAT HARBOUR to ELBOW CAY ANCHORAGE
Expecting another windy day, we tuned to the 8:15 am Cruisers’ Net. The first item of discussion is always the weather and forecast. Much to our surprise, the whole forecast had changed prompting us to reassess our plan to stay here today. The improved conditions indicated that perhaps we would be able to join the RMHYC group function at Sea Spray Resort in White Sound, Elbow Cay. Within minutes, we had the twin Lehman engines humming and the lines were being cast off from our dock. I didn’t even get the exact time, however, I bet it wasn’t later that 8:35am. I set a course into the GPS that would keep us clear of the shoals and Porgee Rock.
The special yacht club event this morning was to commence at 10 am. As I navigated, Judy set busily to prepare our contribution to the Pot Luck breakfast being held poolside at the resort. By 9:30 am, we were setting the anchor in 10 feet of turquoise water over sand. Doug from HAPPY CLAMZ came over to assist us with the launching of the dinghy. It is so nice to have friends that are willing to help. Together, we motored our dinghies through the channel into White Sound and pulled up the dock at 10:01 am. Now, how is that for timing?
The group was just assembling to start the “eye-opener” cocktail party. Judy had fixed a special batch of Bloody Mary drinks for me and her choice included an orange juice cocktail. The entire group seemed to be enjoying the opportunity (or excuse) to start celebrating another great day so early. By 10:30 am, the tables were filling up with all kinds of sumptuous breakfast delights including egg soufflés, casseroles, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and various muffins, rolls, and fruits. We were amazed at the huge variety of absolutely delicious offerings. These Yacht Club folks know how to party down.
It was nice to see friends John and Sue Winters of MISS LIBERTY
and Matt, Joyce, and JayCie of TRINITY who are staying here at this resort marina. Had we not been able to get into Boat Harbour, we would have been here too.
About noon, we zipped back to AMARSE for a little rest.
The next event was scheduled for 2pm. After a short nap, we dinghied back for the “White Elephant” gift exchange. The 40 or 50 people all brought some kind of gag gift for the event. Each person was given a ticket with a number on it and the other half was placed in a bag. When your number is called, the person gets to choose from the wrapped gifts and opens it up. They then can choose to either keep the item or go “steal” a previous gift from someone else. The maximum number of times a gift can be stolen is twice.
You know, it never ceases to amaze me at the kinds of junk that is being produced and the kind of junk that people could actually have on their boats. I ended up with a cap and Judy managed to keep an outdated navigation chartbook. The whole process was great fun and everyone had a great time. A swim in the pool was very refreshing as the band warmed up for their evening performance.
I suppose you think that we’ve had enough fun for one day. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! Tonight is Full Moon night and, as an extra added, it is also a lunar eclipse. To celebrate, we would dinghy over to another island, Lubbers Cay. At 5:30pm, a mini-flotilla of dinghies left the anchorage headed for party time. AMARSE, HAPPY CLAMZ, MISS LIBERTY, TRINITY, and LIONHEART were all represented. Numerous other dinghies and launches, including ADIRONDACK, SHADE MOR, and lots more, were also enroute for the Full Moon Party at Cracker P’s Bar and Restaurant.
For cocktail hour, our choice was the local beer, Kalik (often pronounced as “clicks”).
The buffet meal ($22) featured Grilled Wahoo, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Conch marinated in Coconut Milk and Rum, Roast Beef, Caesar Salad, Cole slaw, beans, and various other items and desserts. It was actually quite good. A DJ pumped out tunes for the dancing crowd. In all the commotion, we completely missed seeing the eclipse. Oh, well… Doug and Matt gave a ‘simulated’ eclipse re-enactment as you might guess.
ECLIPSE OF THE MOON:
John and Sue Winters modeled their Cracker P’s Full Moon Party T-shirts. Stunning, aye what?
I thought this was a great picture of good friends and traveling buddies, Doug Folkerth (HAPPY CLAMZ) and Sue Graham (ODYSSEY).
The dinghy ride back was pure delight. The water was passively calm and glistened brightly under the brilliant, lunar light. Could it get any better than this?
POSITION: N26 30.686 W076 58.883
03/04/07 SUNDAY ELBOW CAY ANCHORAGE to BOAT HARBOUR MARINA, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS
About 5:30 am, the wind switched out of the north. This was not supposed to happen until afternoon according to the revised forecast. Obviously, another WAG had gone bad. The added fetch brought waves that would make raising the dinghy problematic. Doug came to the rescue again and helped us hoist the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) up on the sundeck roof. Without his help, it would have been much more difficult and hazardous.
At 8 am, HAPPY CLAMZ got underway while we sat patiently listening to the Cruisers’ Net. They proclaim their mission of “Friendship, Safety, and Message Handling.” The plan was to give a head start to Doug and Leslie who would get secured at the marina and then come over to help us with docking. As agreed, we were underway just 25 minutes later. It was wonderful to have a bunch of friends standing at dockside eager to catch a tossed line or to just help with moral support. At 9:15 am, we were safe and sound in our slip #321. It was now our turns to join the others in helping all those vessels inbound from the bay. THE ROSE, a Great Harbor 37, under the guidance of Paul and Judy, were grateful for our help as were numerous others throughout the morning.
We walked to town to see if our friends on Orinoco had returned, however, their slip was vacant. We had no choice but return to the beautiful grounds of the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour. The cool, crystalline water of the pool beckoned for us to ripple our own reflections.
We really enjoy the company of Doug and Leslie. They graciously accepted our invitation to dinner aboard AMARSE. Judy and I had enjoyed my version of “Enchilasagna” so much recently that I decided to see how well our evening guests would like it. Served with a crisp, green salad and fresh, warm bread that Doug brought, it was a culinary extravaganza enjoyed by all. For dessert, Judy had baked fresh, chocolate chip cookies and Doug had brought some local banana bread squares.
Not having seen the DVD, we played the Rod Stewart Concert for them. The evening had turned a bit cooler (70 or so) and the non-natives were a bit chilly. Wrapped in blankets, they managed to stave off the shivers long enough to sing along with the music.
Our friends, Larry and Wynn Martin (WyLaWay) from St. Paul, Minnesota emailed us telling of all the snow, ice, and cold reported to be the worst in 25 years. I wonder if they would need blankets if they were here?
POSITION: N28 32.733 W077 02.772
03/05/07 MONDAY BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS
Another beautiful day in the paradise of the Bahamas greeted us this morning. We were both feeling good and decided to take a walk in the direction away from town. We walked a long way before coming to the fishing docks. It is here that many of the Abaconians come to sell their catch of the day. A small grocery company shares the warehouses and you can buy a variety of goods. Most of the fish items are frozen and appear to be imports.
Would someone please explain the meaning of this sign? Somehow, I seem to have forgotten.
Further along the road that winds along the Sea of Abaco, we came upon the beach from which many folks go snorkeling. Those that take a few slices of bread with them will be treated to a barrage of small reef fish frenzying to grab the food bits.
We didn’t go in, however, we continued to walk on to the Marsh Harbour Marina. We were invited to sit aboard and visit with Bill and Karen on CANDY DISH. Bill and Ruth Donovan were still aboard too just closing out their last day of visiting.
It was a very enjoyable hour or so just jib-jabbering away, you know, just like cruising loopers do.
Strangely, the long walk back didn’t seem so demanding. I guess it was more downhill in direction. The resort and marina where we are staying is just so beautiful. Everyway you look, it is a feast for the eyes.
I still needed a nap to rest these weary bones and strengthen up my heart muscles.
Every other Monday, the resort hosts a manager’s cocktail party from 5 to 6pm. Tonight, there was a huge attendance for the open bar and hor’dourves of conch fritters and fish egg rolls.
The entertainment was “rake and scrape” island music to the styling of “Brown-Tip”. This fellow is much more than a DJ even though he plays recorded music. He adds the live sound of maracas, bongos, and the unique sound of “rake and scrape” on a hand saw. He really makes the event a lot of fun and the audience is eager to join in. Interestingly, this enterprising fellow works all day at the boat repair yard and then exudes enough energy at night to power a small city.
Following the party, Brown-Tip was appearing at the pool bar here at the resort. Those “wild-child” Folkerth’s invited us to join them for more island sound.
Judy and I danced a lot more tonight than we have in a long time.
Brown-Tip commented several times about the gal in the white slacks having all the right moves. He said that “when she moves like that, everybody knows she’s the Boss…”
Sometime around cruiser’s midnight, we returned to the boat all tuckered out from “dance fever”. Getting back on the boat requires us to walk around the stern ledge from the short finger pier.
03/06/07 TUESDAY BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS
A breezy yet beautiful morning started out with a breakfast of egg, cheese, and sausage English muffins. After the Cruisers’ Net program on VHF 68, Patty and Robert Mitchell from ORINOCO came over to visit. We helped them get signed up for the RMHYC (Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club). This called for a celebration and Robert was simply famished. The poolside restaurant at the Abaco Beach Resort puts out several lunch specials every day for about $10. Judy and Patty chose the Chicken Caesar Wrap with a side salad. Robert and I found the Pasta Carbonara with ham and peas in a cream sauce much to our liking.
Judy and I returned to relaxation mode for the afternoon. I worked a bit on the logs and updates, we visited about the docks, and even managed enough time to lay in the sun at the pool. These unusual berries are part of a beautiful plant here. Anybody know what it is?
Before you know it, its dinner time. Judy slaved away in the galley making Farfelle in a butter, parmesan sauce, meatballs, and toasted Bahamian bread. Appearing tonight on AMARSE’s version of the “big screen”, Ben Affleck and Samuel Jackson starred in “Changing Lanes.”
03/07/07 WEDNESDAY BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS
Some of our friends had invited us to join them for breakfast out. Ten of us pulled tables together at Curly Tails Restaurant at the Conch Inn. Doug/Leslie, Frank/Cindy, Richard/Sue, Robert/Patty, and, of course, Fred/Judy, all found the morning get-together very enjoyable.
Leslie was the only one to choose from the two Bahamian special breakfast offerings. She enjoyed the Corned Beef with Grits (shredded in seasoned tomato sauce). No one seemed to have a hankering for the Boiled Grouper and grits special.
Doug Folkerth offered to help us with a little boat project. We certainly appreciate the generosity and helpfulness of this terrific guy.
I spent the rest of the afternoon slumming and Judy managed to find time to touchup her coiffure. It really looks nice. After a couple of hours of mess-making in the galley, I had a big pot of Cajun Jambalaya ready for dinner.
For movie madness tonight, we slipped the DVD of “Spiderman” in the player. It was fun and now we will have to plan a night for the sequel.
03/08/07 THURSDAY BOAT HARBOUR, MARSH HARBOUR, ABACOS
Waffles for me, Cheerios for Judy started the day off right. Under partly cloudy skies, the temperatures have been a bit cooler than normal, however, I must say that I like it very much. The evenings have been cool and the humidity has been relatively low and that has enhanced the sleeping experience tremendously. We have only had to turn the air-conditioner on once for about two hours since we arrived. With the high cost of electricity here ($.50/kwh metered or $15/day unlimited), we attempt to conserve as much as possible. Water is another item to ambitiously conserve. (At $.15/gallon or $3/day unlimited, we have one of the lowest rates around. Some places are over $.40/gallon.) Where ever they use the RO (reverse osmosis) process to purify water, you can expect big prices. Many of the islands collect rainwater in cisterns and then supplement the supply with RO. This island city has a pretty good supply of ground water that keeps prices more reasonable than the outer islands.
We walked over to the Conch Inn Marina and visited a while with ORINOCO. They were casting off for White Sound, Elbow Cay to visit with their friends on CLOUD NINE. Although they promise to return, the wanderlust may drive them on to new and varied locations.
Do you know what the second most widely spoken language is in the Caribbean? We are told it is “Haitian Creole”. In commemoration, I prepared a Creole style soup for lunch served with Bahamian toast.
For the afternoon, we wandered among the boats chatting with other members of the RMHYC and just generally goofing off. George and Miriam on TIME OUT invited us aboard and we had a delightful time yakking about a bit of everything and a little of nothing. Cruising people are wonderful folks that seem to understand that just hangin’ out is the preferred way of life.
Last night Judy had a dream that she was cooking a special meal. Although she said that was quite unusual, she decided that this is the islands and the land where dreams can come true. So, guess what? She prepared Chicken Breast in a creamy sauce with mushrooms, whole kernel corn, and fresh baked biscuits. Yes, yes, that meal tonight was sooo dreamy….. Perhaps tonight, if I’m lucky, she will dream something else. Yoo-hoo!!
Our plan is to enjoy this resort marina for the
entire month of March. We hope to
take some side trips to other cays and islands while maintaining this as our
home base. Please let us know if
you have any special suggestions and thoughts.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy these email
UPDATES. We thank those of you who
have contacted us recently and we are looking forward to hearing from each of
you in the near future. Thanks for
allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.
The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.
You can review any of the 2006 or 2007 logs and learn more about the crew
and our plans. Enjoy.
While we are in the Bahamas, we will not have any telephone service. If you would like to contact us, you can send us emails. The marina has Wi-Fi connections that are pretty good but drop off frequently. It is certainly better than we expected. Of course, when we travel to the off islands, we probably will not have much contact if any. That shouldn’t be too much though.
Please email us if you like, we’d really like to
hear from you.
is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is: www.amarse.net
it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email
We would like to hear more about what is happening
in your lives. Let us know as we
very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family. Please
call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too. Thanks
Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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