Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nassau - Disneyland of the Bahamas!

The voyage to Nassau was easy and short. The seas were quite calm and very deep most of the way. At one point we were actually sailing over 10,000 foot deep water of the Atlantic Ocean!  I made a nice breakfast while underway, and did some computer work and some navigating.

We spotted the Atlantis megalith from 17 miles offshore! As we approached the harbor we could see two cruise ships just leaving port and one still there. Cap hailed the harbormaster to announce our intentions and they asked for detailed information about the boat and where we planned to stay. We anchored on the east end of the harbor- past Atlantis and the 2 bridges and in a spot that looked like the “Casey Key “of the Bahamas – Very posh! There were a lot of sailboats anchored there – no trawlers. One sailboat was from France – a steel hulled larger vessel (60 ft?) and we watched as two dinghies arrived with what looked like a mom and a dad and FIVE children! – All boys and one little girl. Richard and I sat on our aft deck “lounge” and watched as the boys all played on the dinghy davits and dived in the harbor. They had such a free spirit swimming and playing – it was fun to watch.  We watched the harbor and all the sights while having a “blue” drink and a delicious dinner. I put my iPhone on our speaker system and hit “Pandora” for some good tunes – but got a message: “Pandora does not broadcast in this country”! And so it goes with connection. Even though we have a Wi-Fi booster – Internet is also unavailable – unless you pay $10/day for it through a local provider or go to a restaurant or café that offers it.

Next morning – after still being unable to get a Wi-Fi connection, we planned to do necessary boat tasks. The water is so clear – we could see our anchor! – So we made water and I did laundry and some cleaning. It took most of the day to do these things, so we just relaxed on our fly bridge later that night and watched the world go by (with binoculars!)

Today we are lowering the dinghy and going into town. We hope to explore and find some things at the marina store and at the market - and do some swimming at the beach. We’ve heard so much about “The Green Parrot” restaurant (from other cruisers) that we want to find it and use the Wi-Fi and free dinghy dock. So we got all our supplies together (remembered money this time!) and toke off in or dinghy to explore our area.

Our new dinghy motor – Tohatsu 20 HP 4 stroke engine – is excellent and the extra 5 HP more than our old one make an amazing difference! We motored all around the harbor –west to east. We went to the beach – the water was a perfect 81 degrees. We went up to the east end – past the 2 large bridges and the downtown harbor front – with the big Mail Boat and all the working ships. We checked out all the restaurants and shore side businesses. We stopped at two fuel stations to enquire on diesel prices (we didn’t need any – just curious). “Browns” was $5.15/gal and Texaco $5.45! We talked to everyone we passed and asked the “Booze Cruise” staff where we could get lobster. They pointed us back to the bridge area and the fishing docks that we’d passed earlier. We continued on….we passed the first anchorage area we stayed in and all the beautiful houses, and ended at the east point –at Fort Montague – complete with cannons!

When we motored back, we stopped at the fishing docks to ask if there were any lobsters. They had plenty of conchs to sell – but Richard – being internationally diplomatic – said: “Not today… Today we are looking for lobster”. So the first boat called to the second boat – then the second boat called out to a third guy - and they had lobster! So we motored over to them. There were 4 people on the boat and they used nets to haul in fish – tons of little snapper and hog snapper that were really big. I wanted the snapper – but our fridge is the size of a TV set – so we had to be single minded – plus we could always go back tomorrow! So they pulled out a lobster and we both gasped! It was the hugest thing I’d ever seen! It was at least two feet long and must have weighed 15 or more pounds!  He wanted $40 – we bargained for $30 and took it right back to Partners to photograph and store! We cut off the tail and cut it in 4 sections and took out all the meat from the body.  I vacuum sealed it and stashed it in the freezer. We saved 1 huge section of tail and 2 feelers and grilled them for dinner that night. Neither of us knew what we were doing with that lobster! The fishermen said we could eat it all – so we will. But there was no internet connection to look up info like I usually do – so we just winged it. I decided we should have Bahamian “Peas and Rice” as a side. It’s kind of famous here – only trouble is – that’s all I know! Again – no clue of a recipe – or how it’s made – so I invented my own  - sautéed onions, tomato sauce and cinnamon and cayenne pepper – cooked  and stirred and stirred then added the rice and peas and mixed it up. Well it was delicious! I can’t wait to find internet connection and find out the REAL recipe!

So we’ve been having fun these past few days in Nassau. It’s nice to stay in one spot for a while. It’s raining today – Thursday the last day of February. We are hoping it will clear to give us a last day to shop and explore. I want to go to the outdoor market and get some fresh fruits and vegetables. Cap is going to get a Cuban cigar at a special store and I’m hoping to visit the Nassau Art Museum. We’ll have one last go at the internet at “The Green Parrot”. It’s a busy day planned, so I hope we can do it all.

We are watching the weather on our SSB and planning to pick up anchor soon and head to the Exuma Islands next. Navigating looks a bit tricky – there are many shallow areas and the Bahamas – getting grounded or bottom scraped is a regular occurrence for many. The water is so clear, it’s hard to tell how deep it is. They have a saying in the cruisers guides: “Water that’s blue is deep and true; as it shades to green, the water gets lean; White or yellow will ground a fellow (sand); If the water is brown, you’ll run hard aground (rocky bar); if the water is black, you’d better turn back! (coral head)”

When I get more internet time, I will post more pictures…for now it’s time to get back in the dinghy and head back to our lady – “Partners” and ready for the next anchorage tomorrow…

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