Monday, January 23, 2006


It was Whisper, our first boat from long ago in Michigan. It was wonderful to see that she was in good shape and had found a new life here in the islands.

Old Friends

From the top of the Hopetown lighthouse we saw a familiar rear end in the trees.

Hopetown Light

The Hopetown light overlooks one of the oldest Loyalist settlements in the Bahama's. It was built in the 1860's despite the protests of locals who salvaged wrecks. It is one of the last hand wound, oil burning light houses.


It was a short passage to Hopetown and we found friends in the anchorage. Here's Ginger of Twice in a Blue Moon, relaxing with crew member Michael. Hey Ramone, you too could be a Captain.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Michael's bread pudding

We had dinner on Amante the other night with Michael and Pat of 'Twice in a Blue Moon' and Gail and Bob of 'Star'. Micheal provided the dessert, Bread Pudding hot from the pressure cooker. The dessert was a hit, especially the rum and sugar sauce.

Violence on the Seas

Life aboard a ship can place the sailor under unpredictable and intense stress, leading to episodes of senseless aggression. On Friday, onlookers at the Marsh Harbor public dock were appalled to observe a man in a dingy strike the female occupant with alarming force. Distant observers, who had read too many cheap novels, imagined he snapped, "Straighten up bitch, or I'll hit you again".
Fortunately, this was not the case. Vinnie was starting the motor with a brisk pull and inadvertantly wallopped Maria a good one. As best we can remmember what he actually said was, "Oh dear, oh dear, are you OK?" No damage done, but Maria has been remarkablely agreeable since.

Tree care on the Neem Farm

Freddy, who has worked on the farm since the ground was broken over 5 years ago, provided information about the trees and demonstrations of harvesting.

Neem Farm

Thursday we went to visit the Neem Plantation. Neem trees, which are related to the Mahagoney tree, are native to Pakistan, and are one of the oldest medicinal plants used in traditional Indian medicine. Nick, a Greek Bahamian, imported the seeds and developed a local business growing the trees and producing a vaiety of products using extracts of the leaves, fruit, and bark We've never met a more talented tree. The soil in this area is only a thin layer, 2 - 20 inches over hard coral, making farming a daunting task. The trees are treasured and even named.

The storm

The worst front in several years hit while we were in Marsh Harbor. 40 knot winds (for most of us that just means pretty darn strong) swept the anchorage for more than a day and a half. People were doing the anchoring dance as they broke loose and became a danger to themselves and others. The big event occured when a 50 - 60 foot steel trawler (names and further identifing features will be omitted to spare the real persons involved) broke free and began dragging across the full anchorage. The couple, who were older than we are, were unable to raise the anchor and the boat was blown wildly as the Captain raced in and out of the engine room. Two sailors roared up in a dingy and helped them get the boat under control. Those of us in the near vacinity prepared to get out of the way. Jan on Te Amor pointed out that we all have these horrifing moments of fame, "Sometimes you watch the show, sometimes you are the show". Thanks to Pat Vance on Twice in a Blue Moon for this storm photograph.

Big News

A momentous event occured last week as we were traveling to Marsh Harbor. In picture one, Vinnie looks like a happy and slightly disheveled himself. Picture two reveals that he has achieved PONYTAIL. Please, somebody call Melanie.

Guana Cay (not Guano)

Even as we enter the harbor of small Bahamian towns it is clear, we're not in Kansas anymore. Every house is a different color and no pastel has been spared. They glow in the sun and sparkle against the blue water and skies.

Traveling south

After Junkanoo we left Marsh Harbor and began traveling South through small islands. We traveled much of the time with friends Pat and Michael on Twice in a Blue Moon. Sailing, snorkling, and exploring the islands filled the days and for rare moments of boredom we could always fall back on our favorite activity, boat work.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Scary Guy

The formal march ended and general dancing began with a visit from the bogeyman, pronounced "the Bunz". Covered in a blanket and fright mask he crawled and jumped down the road. Gradually the children approached, reaching out to touch him and then get quickly out of his reach. The adults found him pretty weird too.

The Waterfront

After a strenuous marching tour of the town, the adults fortified themselves with a beer and the children recharged with a Red Bull. They then proceded to march back through town again.

The break at the docks allowed some aspiring musicians to compare instruments and technique.

Queen of the Dancers

It was hard not to take hundreds of pictures of the beautiful lead dancer. She made it back and forth across the town several times, still dancing and stylish.

She was followed by other dancers in shimmering, sparkling, spangled costumes.

and people playing drums.

Good seats

These kids found a great place to see over the crowd.

The Celebration begins

Green Turtle is a small Bahamian town, but it fills up for Junkanoo with people lining the streets and sometimes blocking the parade route.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Junkanoo backround

Junkanoo is a Bahamian celebration with roots in West Africa. Slaves taken to the USA maintained some of their native music and dance in the Gullah culture of the Carolinas and Georgia. During the American revolution, British loyalists and slaves left the US and settled in the Bahamas where Gullah culture and language can still be found.

White Sound

We found a good anchorage then set off with Pat and Mike of Twice in a Blue Moon and great anticipation for Junkanoo.

Leslie and Bill of Manjack Cay

Goodbye friends. We hope that the year brings you many many good things and that we see you again.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Goodbye to Manjack

We have stayed too long and settled in too much. Occasionally we look around and wonder, how did we get to be a part of this community? It has been wonderful to be here and already it will be hard to leave. Squalls are coming and today we are heading to a nearby island, Green Turtle Cay to anchor in a more secure harbor and go to Junkanoo, a local celebration which is rumored to feature costumes, dancing, druming, and the local beverage - a rum called Fire in the Hole. We will know more soon.

Learning a trade

When we came to Manjack we had heard about catching lobster and cleaning conch, but were functionally illiterate in these skills. Some of our time has been gainfully spent learning from everyone. We've had lessons in using a Hawian Sling, catching lobster, cleaning conch, and catching fish. Thanks to Emily we also have learned about baking bread without an oven. This is Lancy, about to demonstrate conch cleaning. Did you know that those shellfish have faces, sort of?

Flora and Fauna

There are some lovely plants and creatures here. Green herons, curly tailed lizards, and beautiful little birds in green or yellow, Grass quits and Banannaquits. The lizards and birds can be quite friendly. Here Lulu is serving breakfast for two Grassquits.

Morning walk

We have stayed here at Manjack and joined the island lifestyle. Each morning we check the weather and then gather at the house for the morning walk to the beach and beach combing. The other time has been spent sailing, snorkeling, enjoying the water, and of course a little boat work.

Christmas Eve Dinner

We expected to celebrate our first Christmas away from family and friends alone, sharing a cold can of pork and beans. It would have been a suitable penance for running off. Leslie and Bill however invited us to their Christmas Eve celebration and we found ourselves surrounded by wonderful people and great food on a veranda overlooking the harbor. They had met us for the first time only a few hours before.