Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finally in a Marina!

We left the mooring field in the north part of the Exumas Land and Sea Park 3 days ago and moved 14 miles to another mooring field in the south part of the park that we heard had some fabulous snorkeling. We met up with the 4 buddy boats we have been traveling with. After getting the mooring ball, we got in our respective dingies and went snorkeling. What a great time we had. The first place we went to had the most amazing number of fish. We learned that the small island across the water from the snorkeling site is owned by Johnny Depp (an actor). Wish he was there! We are not in the following picture. That is the gang from the other boats. Below that is Johnny Depp's island then various pictures of all of us snorkeling the next day. The cave-like structure is actually a cave that you can snorkel into in calm weather. It's quite amazing inside complete with stalagtites and stalagmites and cool fish.
The next day we took the dingy to a very small island that has underwater caves. It was a lot colder with the winds blowing as hard as they were so we donned our wet suits. It was also a very cool place. Above is a picture of Norm coming out of one of the caves.

Rick and I left our buddies to snorkel a couple of other sites and went back to Rickshaw. We had come into the mooring field as the last boat so we were the farthest from land. That meant that we didn't have as much of the land to protect us from the relentless winds. We are sooo tired of these winds. Anyway, a boat closer to the beach left their mooring ball so we decided to move up to their position because we hoped for a smoother place.

It was a good plan but we had a hiccup. With Rick at the helm Lynnie was trying to pick up the mooring ball line. We've done this a dozen times before with no problems. Unfortunately, she got her hand caught between the line and the cleat, the boat lurched backwards because the winds were kicking up the water, and she smooshed her hand pretty badly. Since we were still in the park we called the warden and his wife and we followed them over in our dingy to another island further south with a small marina where a doctor was on his boat. His wife is also a nurse. They were on vacation but took the time to deal with my hand. It isn't as bad as we all thought. I didn't need stitches but I did tear my fingernail from my little finger. So he fixed me up with a splint and I'm washing and dressing it daily. The ride in the dingy across the ocean cut between the islands was quite exciting as the tide was flowing out with opposing easterly winds which kicked up the waves to about 2' - 3' with whitecaps.

Our friends Todd and Brenda, on another boat who had anchored close to this marina heard about what had happened. They came over in their dingy to see if they could help. We tied our dingy to the back of their boat and they brought us back to the anchorage since we couldn't have crossed the cut in our dingy without Lynnie's hand getting wet. When we got back to the anchorage another friend came over on his dingy to our boat and helped us back onto Rickshaw. Then we heard on the radio that 'meals on wheels' was on their way over to our boat. Vicki and Norm, brought us dinner and a few needed hugs. Boy, what would we do without friends. It could have been a lot worse but the finger is almost sealed. there is no sign of infection and the swelling of the hand is going down. Rick is a great nurse but my snorkeling days are over for a while. Such is life!!

We just needed some land time and some time away from the rocking and rolling of the anchorage. So we dropped off the mooring ball at Cambridge Key and headed south for Staniel key which has a well protected marina. It is a funky little town with pastel houses, narrow paved and sand streets where one drives on the left ... the Bahamas was a former British colony. The one-armed harbor master is also the minister, a real estate agent and owns the largest (very small by US standards) grocery store!!! We rented a golf cart with Stephanie and Bob yesterday and toured the island. Boy, talk about island time. Stores that say they are open at 1:30 may or may not open, same with the post office and the library. Just a different way of living. No one is in a hurry here, mon. These nurse sharks hang around the boats in the marina. There are also several rays that swim around here waiting for the fishermen to throw the fish carcases into the water, which is clear as a bathtub.

We have spent the last 3 weeks 'on the hook'...nautical speak for anchoring. We do enjoy that but we also like being at a marina and being able to walk from the boat to the dock. Most especially we like being able to go into a restaurant! I guess we are spoiled. Well, yeah!!! So we are glad to be in the marina at Staniel Cay.

They have internet here but when you log on they give the following funny reminder: "This service uses a satellite uplink for all traffic. On it's best day, it will seem slow compared to any land-based service. It's 22 thousand miles to the satellite, which means it's 44 thousand miles before your request hits the Internet, and 44 thousand for the data to come back. No matter how you slice it, 88 thousand miles may take more than a few seconds for a response. So remember, you're in the Central Exumas with the most beautiful water and Cay's anywhere on the planet. Fast Internet is available at most office buildings and cubicles in the states, would you really want to trade where you are for a cubicle?

The secret to happy surfing on a slow network?

1. Click on the link

2. Take a drink of your Kalik (the local beer)

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above until network appears to have blazing speed."

On Tuesday we got together with the folks from 4 other DeFever boats and 2 SOB's (what DeFever owners call Some Other Boat!) for a group lunch at the marina restaurant. One of the other boats had a DeFever burgee (signature flag of the DeFever association) which was signed by the boat owners and tacked onto the restaurant rafters with about 1000 others from previous days.
We are leaving today to go to the anchorage where the other boats are anchored. There is a cool snorkeling cave where the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed. The cave is called, oddly enough, Thunderball. Rick will be able to snorkel but I'll have to just hear the stories. There is also the pig beach to look forward to. We'll tell you about that later. Heading a bit further south on Friday.
We don't have an underwater camera so we borrowed these pictures from Doug on Gypsies in the Palace. He did a great job. I especially like the one of the Nassau Grouper peaking around the sea grass.