[Note: There are many more photos to come, but they will have to wait until our next internet connection]
December 25 – 30, 2012
After awakening to presents under the tree, and a special Christmas breakfast of homemade cinnamon buns (made by What If), we headed off to snorkel the Thunderball Grotto. We were excited to show Jennifer and Pete the spectacular cave. This time we anchored Full Monty just off the cave, and also brought Simon (Cat) and Derek (What If) along with us for the day.
While at the cave, not only did we see so many of the fish, but also a celebrity. A few of us had come out of the cave, and ended up talking to a dad and his son. As we were talking, I kept looking at the dad and thinking that he looked just like a comedian we enjoy. As soon as we got back to the boat, we hopped online to see if we could find a photo of him. Sure enough, it was Bill Engvall, and he had recently tweeted from Nassau!
We returned to the Big Majors Spot anchorage to start cooking Christmas dinner. Honey baked ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, croissant rolls, and pecan pie. It was truly a special dinner!
Even though we had Jennifer and Pete visiting, the day after Christmas was a day for chores. Our jib was starting to pop at the seams due to thread rot, and the sail was in dire need of some repair. I was able to borrow a heavy duty sewing machine from Kris (What If), and with Jennifer’s help, we went to work. However, the machine was only able to do a few layers for one patch. We ended up having to hand-sew the rest of the torn seams along the sail cover, and it became an all-day project.
This was also the day we ended up saying good-bye to Simon (Cat). Simon was heading back to the States in search of crew. We’ll miss him, but we’re looking forward to seeing him when he’s back home in New Zealand.
While Colin went to spend the day with Derek onboard What If, Jennifer and I took a break from sewing, long enough to help move the boat closer to Staniel Cay. Jennifer and I stayed aboard to keep working on the jib, and the rest of the crew went ashore to go check on Pete’s plane. Once they returned, we picked up anchor again, and moved over to our original anchorage near Fowl Cay on the backside of Big Majors Spot. What If and Good Trade were already there, and Colin was returned to us. Jennifer and I enjoyed a bit of snorkeling near the boat, and found many large starfish.
The next few days were spent in search of fresh seafood. We sailed offshore with What If and Good Trade, all of us spread out, dragging fishing lines. From Fowl Cay to Black Point (Great Guana Cay), we only caught five barracuda which we threw back. Even if we didn’t catch anything worth keeping, it was fun showing Jennifer and Pete the ropes.
With a brief overnight stop in Black Point, we enjoyed time ashore with Jennifer and Pete. They treated us to lunch at Lorraine’s Café. Conch burgers, grilled cheese, and a chicken sandwich were ordered, along with the Bahamas Goombay Punch. We savored every bite!
Sailing offshore from Black Point to Little Farmer’s Cay, we only managed to catch one small jack just big enough to keep. Once we dropped the hook at Little Farmer’s, some local fisherman came along side selling conch. Thinking we needed some extra seafood to have along with the jack, we purchased two conchs. Then, we continued the hunter gathering with a dinghy ride over to the cut for some spear fishing. The kids enjoyed the snorkeling, while Jennifer and I manned the dinghy. Wil managed to get one gray snapper.
At the end of the day, we were able to enjoy grilled jack and snapper with a side of conch salad and rice, complete with fried plantain sprinkled with powdered sugar. It was a perfect Bahamian style meal!
The next day, we bid farewell to What If and Good Trade. Jennifer and Pete’s visit was coming to an end, and we needed to return them to Staniel Cay.
We enjoyed a lazy sail on the bank, with a top cruising speed of maybe 2 knots. When we saw a bunch of coral heads near White Point (Great Guana Cay), we brought in the Genaker and cruised over for a peak. Wil found lots of lion fish present, so we dropped the hook and jumped in for a swim. By the end of the swim, we had 5 lion fish and a lobster for dinner.
Once we were done fishing, we couldn’t resist the beautiful white beach at White Point. We dropped anchor with the stern as close as possible to the beach, and we headed ashore. Some swam, some paddled the SUP, and some rode in the dinghy.
Once ashore and walking the pristine beach, we found countless sand dollars at the water’s edge. We joked that we’d be rich if they were real money! We also found numerous periwinkle snails tucked up along a patch of coral rock. Eventually, we made our way back to the boat, so we could make it to Black Point before sunset.
family time to a close
The next day the winds were about 20-25 knots out of the NE. We were excited to finally have some wind, so we could show Jennifer and Pete how the boat truly sails! For our final leg back to Staniel Cay, we tacked out over the bank for about an hour, and then eventually tacked back towards the cays. It was an exhilarating sail!
We dropped the hook near the Thunderball Grotto. We needed to be closer to the plane and still have enough protection from the strong winds.
That evening, Jennifer and Pete offered to treat us to dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. It would be our last evening together, and it was also an early birthday celebration for me.
There is a standard, Bahamian-style protocol for dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a tradition that was started back in 1956, when the yacht club first opened. You must let the restaurant know your dinner choices by 5:00 p.m. Then, they ring the dinner bell at 7:00 p.m. and show you to your pre-assigned table. The wait staff then brings each meal course to all the tables at the same time. It was an absolutely wonderful meal. The black bean soup and key lime pie were the best we’ve ever had and out-of-this-world delicious!
The next morning, it was time for Jennifer and Pete to start their journey home. We said our good-byes with lots of clinging hugs, and Wil took them ashore. The kids and I stayed on the boat with the handheld ham radio tuned to Staniel Cay’s air traffic control frequency. It was almost too soon when we heard the Mooney being cleared for take-off. We stood on deck waiting for sight of their plane. Soon, the small plane appeared from the island, and we waved our arms in the air. After a good-bye tip with the wing, the plane gradually disappeared out of sight.
We had had a wonderful time with Jennifer and Pete, and we were going to miss them terribly. It’s always fun to have family come visit!