Monday, January 30, 2017

Cloudy, rainy, cool & a whole lot of fun!

Sunday 1/29/2017 was day 99 of our Great Loop Adventure.  It was also the FIRST day we had disagreeable weather all day long!!  That’s quite a string of good weather days.  But in true Lower Place fashion we continued with our original plans.

According to the guide books there is a “world famous” “must stop” establishment named Nippers.  Not my usual go-to place but a local dive shop Brendal’s offers a guided tour via his boat AND it included a stop at No Name Cay.  Based on the super yucky weather we decided it would be fine to join a group of 8 other strangers, head out in a fast boat to a place we’d never been…after all, it’s about the journey not the destination, right?

The pigs are protected by law - this sign is "official"

First stop was No-Name Cay.  Known for the wild pigs (hogs) and lack of human habitat, visitors are encouraged to bring food scraps to hand feed the piggys.  This whole concept was completely foreign to us…given our efforts over the years to eliminate the wild hog population.  Cultural differences are all around…but we enjoyed seeing Prudi from Rascal’s Retreat in “hog heaven”.  She rehabs wildlife & has worked with feral hogs for years.

Prudi and the Piggy's on No Name Cay

Communication with the public
Of course, we were battling a churning Sea of Abaco and rain but the mood on the boat was positive and Brendal was a fantastic host!  We were off to Nippers…and basically had the place to ourselves!!  And it was NOT lost on me that our first stop was to feed the protected hogs and the second stop was a hog roast at Nipper’s…no kidding!!  I giggled to myself…especially when I heard another guest talking about her vegetarian lifestyle. Do your homework about your travels PRIOR to boarding a boat…just sayin’. LOL!!

Given the declining sea conditions, our departure from Nippers was delayed by an hour.  And the return trip was longer in miles because we stayed “on the inside of the whale” because of the swelling seas.  Never fear…we were safely delivered to the dock by 6:00 pm and after a hot shower felt like new people!
It was a great day and the poor weather gave us another adventure to remember.  The evening weather forecast low’s in the lower 50’s overnight…”you will need your winter gear for the morning commute”.

Bless their hearts!!

Monday is Day 100 of our America’s Great Loop…still having lots of FUN!!

Be Blessed!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bluff House Marina!

Sunrise on Crab Cay, January 27, 2017

Our travel day on Friday 1/27/2017 started a little later around 8:45 am.  We pulled anchor at Crab Cay and cruised to Green Turtle Cay (about 40 miles).  The air temp was upper 60’s/low 70’s and the wind was calm but increased to breezy (15-20 mph) upon arrival to Green Turtle.  The skies were sunny but changed to partly cloudy…predicted weather pattern proved true.  We (Rascal’s Retreat, Moni Jean & The Lower Place) all decided a marina would be a good idea once we heard a weather report.  

A welcomed sight on the waterway!
Bluff House Marina at Green Turtle Bay had room for all three boats! YAY!!  It was a little tricky getting into the channel due to the increasing wind but with a little patience and a lot of prayer The Lower Place, Moni Jean and Rascal’s Retreat was tucked safely into their slips.  And…who was there but Traveling Soul and Eriganta!!  Good to see them again!

The Lower Place snug as a bug
The weather is supposed to be a little dicey over the next few days so we made the decision to stay at Bluff House until Tuesday.  And so the land exploration begins again!

Our wheels for Saturday...remember, we drive on the LEFT side of the road!
Saturday 1/28/2017 we shared a golf cart with Ric & Prudi (Rascal’s Retreat) and toured the northern one-third of Great Abaco!  It was windy and the temp was in the low 70’s but we enjoyed the solitude of our travels.

The peaceful beach at Bluff House Marina

Street signs in New Plymouth

This is a street - not somebody's driveway

One of the three grocery stores-well stocked & priced!

Climbing on the rocky ledges-beautiful incoming tide on Ocean Beach

We have tentative plans for Sunday that include a guided water tour – but if the weather is aggressive that idea will be scrapped.  Stay tuned…

Have a marvelous day and smile at someone you don't know!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thursday 1/26/2017

Underway with a little wind...on Thursday!

Weather conditions: Air temp 70’s – 80’s; winds 15-20mph from the south, south-west;  seas 1-2’ swells; water temp 71.4 (snorkel worthy); 47 miles traveled in 6 ½ hours-thanks to the wind!

My favorite fisherman - trolling underway (we ate ham for dinner)
Great Sale Cay to Crab Cay…a little more rock ‘n roll on the Bahama Bank today but we are at the mouth of the Sea of Abacos!! The wind kept our attention but it also pushed us in the right direction.  Once anchored, we dropped the dinghy (sound familiar?) and headed to shore for shell hunting, snorkeling and exploring!

Center of the World - this rock mass is a waypoint in navigation, what's the story??
Today we were only joined with Rascal’s Retreat & Moni Jean.  The other boats in our flotilla motored or sailed further east for various reasons.  The winds were still blowing when we got back to the boat from our island exploration but we anticipate a decreased breeze by sundown.

What the...SHELLS!!
Not a lot to report on this salt water travel day but a lot of pictures!!  ENJOY!!

My personal Aquaman! Who knew he would LOVE snorkeling!

The recent storms created a cloudy undersea!

Sponges EVERYWHERE! We only harvested one - they're huge!

When you're dressed for snorkeling and find yourself in the jungle

Luckily a well-marked path...

Ric (Rascal's Retreat) & Charlie find coconuts...YUM!! We won't starve...

Friday will bring a short travel day so maybe we can sleep in at least until 8:00!!  Our destination is up for debate since we are monitoring yet another “wind issue” with the weather.  It’s possible we will snag a mooring ball in the Sea of Abacos around Green Turtle Cay.  Stay tuned…

Sunset 1/26/2017 at Crab Key, Bahamas
Keep smiling and hug the person to your right!!

Bahamas Tour 1/25/2017

What a difference a couple days make...Atlantic Ocean..."flat seas"!

During our northern rim tour of Grand Bahama Island we will include travel day weather conditions and the date for a reference point.

Weather conditions: Air temp mid 60’s – mid 70’s, wind calm, seas flat, water temp upper 60’s (brrr!) Approximately 50 miles travelled in 7 ½ hours.

Bypassing Mangrove Cay-NEVER stop early when the sea is flat...ha ha!
It was an early departure at 7:00 am from Old Bahama Bay Marina.  We were ready for a travel day and really ready to pull off the many, many lines holding our boat to the dock.  Once underway, I looked around and saw 5 other boats!  Traveling Soul, Rascal’s Retreat, Moni Jean, Don Quieote and Entreau…it was nice to have company.  The winds settled to a breeze and the water fell flat within the first hour…so we traveled 7.5 hours today, bypassing Mangrove Cay and anchoring at Great Sale Cay.

Taking "The Side Yard" to shore at Great Sale Cay

We discovered other humans on shore!
By 2:30 pm we were anchored and the dinghy was in the water.  We ventured around the Cay, explored a deserted island/beach, found all kinds of shells, sponge & coral and saw the sad sight of a sailboat.  It is registered in Beaufort NC and the owners Robert & Kathleen left a message that they would return soon.  It appears to be recent damage.
Sailboats don't seem to handle wind...sad.
PJ from Rascal's Retreat runs "aground"

Water so clear you can snap a picture from above!

Our plan is to leave in the morning (7:00 am) and head toward Crab Cay.  The wind is supposed to pick up later in the day so the 47 miles to Crab Cay will be better traveled early in the day.  It is a protected harbor so we can ride out the weather in comfort.

Headed over to see our neighbors from Virginia on Traveling Soul
In the early evening Charlie walked to the bow of the boat and was astonished by the millions of stars!!  He said they were so brilliant that it looked like you could reach out and touch them!!  It was 11:30 so he didn’t wake me…I’m hoping we can both stay awake long enough to see it together during our anchoring marathon! Ha ha!

Have a fabulous day!