Sunday, December 28, 2014

Voyage Cut Short

Forget the's calm and time to go exploring! Right after we arrived here this season, we visited some new friends on the south end of Tilloo Cay and spotted a boat wreck off in the distance on mainland Abaco. We have been waiting for the opportunity to go check it out and sure enough we found it south of Snake Cay.

We learned that it was a sailboat that had been smuggling Haitians into the Bahamas. They almost made it, but the mail boat spotted it and called in the Bahamas Defense Force and the police. At this point neither one of these law enforcement agencies had a boat they could go out to investigate, which is a bit ironic. Eventually they did round up a boat and took the illegal immigrants off the sailboat. Then the hull was just left abandoned up on the rocks.

We tied up to it, and of course Dave couldn't resist checking it both inside and out....and underneath! He said the snorkeling was excellent in the area, but it was creepy to see shoes and other possessions floating around. The fish liked it though, making it an artificial reef.

Definitely a fun day at sea...something we haven't done in a long time. We felt like we were cruising again!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Christmas is over and it's time to get back to projects. Dave and Bill D. have been working on the Abaco Rage's storage container.

All new metal roofing was put on it so that it won't leak when it rains anymore. 

The moldy sails, rusty tools and other items inside will all have to be sorted through and most likely disposed of. At least the dumpster roll off is right next to it...this stuff is heavy!

There's still much to do, but at least everything can dry out now.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Bahamas Christmas Dinner

What an unexpected pleasure we had today when our lighthouse keeper invited us to join his family for Christmas dinner. Elvis grabbed me and set me in the kitchen to watch, so that I could learn about what their traditional meal was all about. I couldn't just sit there watching so I helped Elvis and his girlfriend Mika, serve up the delicious food. Mika is about 7 1/2 months pregnant with a little girl they will call Ejah.

Dave and Elvis' daughter Tiqua.  I may have mentioned already that Elvis has 32, soon to be 33 children!

Dave brought the rum and cokes to help celebrate this festive occasion.

And what a feast we had with a whole ham, BBQ and fried chicken wings, potato salad, peas 'n' rice, and two huge pans of spicy macaroni and of which was given to us!

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this, but both Elvis and his Uncle Henry entertained us with their awesome singing and guitar playing after we ate, rounding out this very special afternoon.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night...until next year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Memories

It has been a year of changes and a year to celebrate. We couldn't think of a better way to enjoy the season than to put up the first Christmas tree we have had in about 15 years! What fun it was to go through all my old ornaments and decorations, some dating back to when I was a child. Most have dates on them from when Dave and I first started our lives together and built our house. What adventures and memories we have had since then! It may be a small tree, but it's perfect for our apartment.

 Wherever you are and however you celebrate, Dave and I wish everyone a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Santa's Sled

Although all of this isn't ours, Santa's sled delivered the goods a bit early this year. Our wish list was fulfilled!
One of the items I received was a hummingbird feeder. I immediately filled it up, and within 24 hours we had bananaquits and hummingbirds fighting it out for a spot at the feeder. The 'quits' (pronounced keets) have tiny little beaks that fit in the holes.
 They must be getting high on the super-charged sugar water meant for the hummers. We really feel right at home now, as obviously they do too!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Back To Christmas

When I wrote the post about me coming down with the flu, I mentioned that it all began at the Christmas play. It was ALMOST worth being sick to see this show (talk about the cost of admission?!). This year's St. James Players children's play was the best I have ever seen, and many people around the community are saying the same thing. The title was "The Night Shift Before Christmas." I thought it would be a hospital theme, but it was all about a restaurant in Bethlehem, and the night visitors and patrons, including the wise men, shepherds, three kings, and even a camel!
The older kids are so talented and are great singers. Now that we have been here for so many winters, we know quite a few of them from the Hope Town Junior Sailing Program, and it's fun to see them grow up.

The younger kids are really cute and even had some solos of their own.

Right at the end of the program they bring out the toddlers as angels and are so adorable. They all know their parts and the songs, but you could really tell it was past their bedtime with lots of yawning, making it even sweeter.

What a way to to start the Christmas season. Thanks go our to all the cast and crew for this monumental show. So many weeks and months of hard work are put into this and it was well worth their efforts. The proceeds go to the missionaries' work and the orphanage. Thanks also to Carol D. for the photos!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Belated Victory

We just read in our Abaconian newspaper that the Rat Sass won third place in the Box Cart Derby slalom course! They must have re-tallied the scores, and although it was actually our friend K. that did it, they gave credit to the "Commodore". Here is the link for the article:

Congratulations Dave and K.! Not bad for the first time out. Wait until next year when the cart is perfected.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bush Medicine

I have the flu. Over half the island has it. It started with the kids in the Christmas play (a future post), spread to the adults, and has run rampant ever since. Our lighthouse keeper Elvis was concerned when Dave, who isn't afflicted with it yet, told him how sick I was. He immediately brought me some Bahamian bush medicine, which I believe is Madeira bark. It had to boiled into a tea-like drink.

He warned me it would be bitter, but yikes, it was beyond bitter! I added some sugar and got about a third of it down. At midnight my fever broke and yesterday I was up and about. It worked! I'm still congested and a slight fever that goes up and down, but am hopefully on the road to recovery. What a shame because this whole week has been super calm!

It's not a good photo because of the back lighting, but here is Dave and his 'brother' Elvis...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dandy Is Home!

"What a long strange trip it's been!" Our 14 ft. Abaco Dinghy arrived on the dock this afternoon and drew much attention from everyone walking or riding by. They all said that we certainly did the right thing by bringing Dandy back to where she was built. The owner of what we think is the twin sister of the dinghy has already come over to check her out, and he is pretty sure it is the mate of the boat that was made along with his.

Next step is getting the builder, Winer Malone, to come over and share his expertise and knowledge, along with hopefully filling us in on it's lineage. Then it's time for the work to begin!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dave to the Rescue

The freight boat comes into the marina's dock almost daily to unload supplies, but today it lingered and then suddenly shut off its engines. Dave went down to see what was happening and he came running in, grabbed his tools and headed back out the door. Apparently the crane's lifting wire broke and then melted on the hot exhaust. There were no tools on board to even look at the problem so Dave loaned what he could and his expertise. Unfortunately he couldn't do anything and they had to call in mechanics from Man-O-War Cay. Dave got to go in the engine room and also talked to the captain. This problem happens occasionally and if it can't be repaired on the spot, all they can do is to go back to old times and unload what they can by hand and bucket brigade. Then it's back to their home base for repairs and try again the next day!

For Dave's help, maybe the charge for delivering our Abaco Dinghy 'Dandy' TOMORROW will be lowered. Even if they don't adjust the cost, it was well worth the experience.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work

The O'Day Daysailer that we have been graciously given part owner in, spent the summer on the lawn at Seahorse Marine (thanks Stafford & Eric!). So that it didn't fill with water it was stored upside down, so when we went to launch it the other day it had to be flipped over again. It's a heavy boat so we gathered up several of our faithful volunteers and got it done and carried down to the launch ramp. We tried PVC pipe as rollers, but it was easier just to carry it with that many people.

Suja is now sitting pretty on the sailing club beach all rigged up and ready for a season of fun sailing!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting in the Spirit

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." The marina has started to decorate for the holidays, so we joined in and brightened up our porch. There are still plenty of lights and blow-up decorations that they will put out (hopefully more on the trees), but at least our apartment will fit in to the multi-colored light theme.

We are still waiting for the light strands that decorate the lighthouse to arrive. They are have been 'stuck' on a boat in Green Turtle Cay, because of a rage going on in the Whale Cay Channel. Arrangements have just been made to have them picked up by an electric company crew who have been working at Green Turtle Cay and are returning to mainland Abaco by ferry. The ferry lands in Treasure Cay and the crew and the lights will take their truck the 30 miles into Marsh Harbor and drop them off at the other ferry landing. Then the lights will cross the Sea of Abaco and the ferry driver will drop them off here at Lighthouse 9:20 AM! As we say here, "It takes and island..." or in this case a few islands to get it all done! That's one of the wonderful things about living in such a close knit community.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Re-purposing, Bahamas Style

Dave has been perplexed as to what to do with all the tools, power tools, fasteners, etc. that he uses for all of his projects. We were taking precious space in the marina's storage lockers that they normally rent out, but let us have for free, so they were missing out on some income. The apartment has limited space and even under the beds is taken up with household items we don't often use. Plus Dave certainly won't want to be running up to the second floor every time he needs something. What to do? Be creative...would you expect anything less from Dave? While walking around the boatyard we came across the old ice machine that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Ah ha! What a perfect spot to store things! It can even be locked. The marina managers know how much Dave does for the lighthouse and community (and I'm sure wanted their storage lockers back) so they were happy to give it to him, since they wouldn't have to dispose of it. It was moved to a corner by the generator room and very well lit, as you can see. Dave added shelves and an area to open up his plastic bins. I guess you could call it a rat rod toolbox!

That's not the end of the story though. We went to a garage sale at a home that was being sold and found a large Rubbermaid storage unit under the house that Dave bought. Now the challenge was to get it from the other end of the island, and over to the our side of the harbor! Luckily the owner's nephew volunteered to load it up on his homemade PVC boat trailer and bring it down to the dock with his golf cart. We were surprised it actually made it with its tiny wheels splaying apart.

Then Bill and Dave loaded it onto our skiff and brought it over to the Abaco Rage's storage container in the boatyard, where we can put all non-essential items. The guys are always a sight!
Just cleaning out the Rage's container packed with moldy old sails and parts no longer used will make a blog post at a later date, when the guys get around to this much needed project. For now though, storage problems solved by re-purposing...Bahamas style!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Everything Is 'Beachy'

The beach and ocean have been wild with all the northeast wind that has been blowing. It's good for beachcombing at low tide and I recently found these pieces of seaglass. The one that looks black is actually a rare dark purple shard.

Dave holds a hermit crab friend that is getting too big for its shell.

We call this a beachtree. It keeps everything from getting too sandy. We picked a hearty bush for this so that we wouldn't break any of its branches. 
These bushes, vines, and sea oats are imperative to help hold the sand dunes together. You can see from the drop off that the waves have been washing part of the embankment away. Erosion in all the wind and waves is an ongoing problem. Sometimes the sand gets washed away and deposited on a different part of the beach, but unfortunately it also gets deposited on the reefs just offshore. We never know what Mother Nature has in store each year we come back here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More Carts

The Box Cart Derby certainly isn't your average Soap Box Derby. Here are some other carts besides Dave's Rat Sass:

I'm sure you have already guessed that the cart above was the winner of both the downhill and the slalom course. The question did he see?!