Saturday, February 14, 2009

Andy & Annie Visit

Before I start, let me suggest to anyone truly interested in our life in the Bahamas to also connect to any of the blog links to the right of this posting. Our friends Andrew and Vanessa on Tally Ho (the sailboat) have a fabulous map/chart of the Abaco's where we are staying on their blog. Another set of friends, Pat and Ray on Reflections have a great day to day commentary of our lives in the Abaco's. Our good friends Judy & Fred on Amarse and Sue & Paul G. of Odyssey have great photo's and commentary on the fun events that we attend. Also, there is a link to the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club newsletter. It's located under NEWS. Please feel free to enjoy all aspects of this blog. We encourage you to leave comments or send us email (just say in the subject line - Enjoyed your Blog) or something like that.

So Far This Month.

Our friends Annie and Andy came for a visit. Annie can only stay until Sunday morning. We've wasted no time in getting on the water. A small group of Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club RMHYC members went to Great Guana Cay aboard the Sea Ray "Double Trouble" owned by Fred and Sidonia. Andy and Annie on "Double Trouble" heading for Grabbers to have lunch and spend the day.
Kent, Gretchen, Fred R., Judy & Wink (red) enjoy the ride as Fred S. pilots us to our location for the day. Wilma went shelling at the beach side of Grabbers Restaurant while lunch was being ordered. Wink spread out the shells and started checking out the shells and Sea Glass finds while we wait for lunch at Grabbers.
Wink, Wilma, Judy and Fred R. enjoy the beach at Grabbers. After lunch, the group walked over to Nippers for an afternoon beverage and breath taking views. (Check out Amarse's link for Great Guiana Photos). Wilma also collected a few shells.

On Saturday, Annie and Andy went to Elbow Cay (Hopetown) for the day. In the evening, Andy treated all of us to dinner at Wally's - a very nice restaurant in Marsh Harbour. Wink, Andy and Annie at the entrance to Wally's. On Sunday morning, Annie returns to Florida.
Our dear friend Sherry has been staying in Boat Harbour most of the time this winter while her beloved Fred remodels their home in New York City. Together, Fred and Sherry host a Pot Luck for Dock 4 for noon on Sunday. They served Hot Dogs and Beverages while other dock residents brought the side dishes and desserts.
Fred and Sherry on Chipka Fire III preparing Hot Dogs for a Sunday Pot Luck. Wink and Wilma also prepared hot dogs on John Henry. Andy is in the red shirt below. Feeling a little under the weather, he stayed inside except for this appearance.
Ann from Raggedy Ann also prepared hot dogs for the crowd.
Everyone on the dock brought delightful foods and great conversation. From Left to Right: Tony, Ann (foreground), Lois (background), Judy L. (Pink), Sue G. (Blue), Paul G. & Wilma.The docks were so crowded that many offered their boat bows as dining rooms.
Ed (sitting near) with his mate Shirley (standing blue) enjoyed their lunch aboard Gene & Judy K. boat (seated on starboard).
Lois & Carl L. shared their boat Puffin with Gail & Jim E. from m/v Christine.

We had baked beans, potato salad, mac n cheese, cole slaw, brownies, key lime pie, blueberry sour cream cake and lots more wonderful things. After many days of cold temperatures, the day was wonderfully warm. A good time was had by all. Thank you - Sherry & Fred.

The Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club (RMHYC) held their annual meeting on Tuesday, February 10th and Wilma was elected Secretary of the club.
Andy was here for the meeting and won the drawing offer by the Abaco Beach Resort. The drawing was dinner for two at the Valentines Day Ball. Unfortunately for Andy and fortunately for Wink and Wilma - Andy wasn't going to be available as he returns to Florida before Saturday, Valentine's Day. He graciously gave the tickets to us.
Another group of RMHYC members got together and rented a car and drove to Crossing Rocks - a great beach with lots of shells. Wink is in the foreground looking for interesting shells while Wilma is in the background picking just the right shells for a new future necklace.
Below, the car group poses on the beach for a group picture. Sidonia is taking the photo. Many pictures for this blog are generously provided by Sidonia of Double Trouble.
From the left: Judy, Wink, Wilma, Andy and Vanessa in front right at Crossing Rocks Beach.
Traveling by car on the only road south we encountered a brush fire that the Bahamians just leave to resolve on it's own. It had jumped the road as we returned, but danger was clearly not present to the road. On the way back, we also stopped at Pete's Pub for a snack and something to drink.
We were able to get the bartender to take a group snapshot. From the left, Vanessa, Sidonia, Wink, Wilma, Andy and Judy.
We also stopped at Snake Cay and collected a few minerals and then we stopped for one last adventure for Wilma to collect pine needles. Sidonia is teaching several small groups how to make pine needle baskets. Hopefully, we can show the final product in the next blog.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

January 2009 - Abaco, Bahamas

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009! Wink and Wilma stayed awake on John Henry until midnight. They went upstairs to the Boat Deck and watched fireworks in two different locations. The nearest being the Abaco Beach Resort Fireworks display and the other far away out in the Bahama Bank.

Within the next day or so, Wink, Wilma and Josh (Sherry and Fred Sztul's son) went out lobstering. This was Josh's first lobster experience.
with spear in hand, he poses for the historic photo of this event. Josh did not get a lobster on this trip. Josh did see many exciting things under the water including a 5' shark under a rock ledge - shown below.
Wink and Josh hold up the bounty of their predatory day. Five lobsters - what a day! Wink wasted no time getting those delightful creatures cooked and served for dinner.
Later in the week, Motor Vessel Tally Ho, a trawler, sponsored a fishing trip with nine friends.
Ed & Shirley (Tally Ho -Trawler), Wink & Wilma (John Henry - Trawler), Andrew & Vanessa (Tally Ho - Sailboat), Jim & Joan (Christine -Trawler ) and Frank (Sea Smoke - Trawler). We traveled off the bank and into the Atlantic about 2 miles to a depth of 160 feet and drifted, bottom fishing. Wink and Wilma caught five fish and Vanessa caught one (the largest one). The fishing was great, but the seas were rolling and several members of the crew grew sea-sick and we decided to call it a day.
Wink, Vanessa and Wilma caught six fish - Red Heinz Grouper or Strawberry Grouper as some call them.
Vanessa, Frank, Shirley, Wink, Joan, Jim and Ed - cleaning our catch and dividing the goods.
Wink and Wilma dancing the afternoon away (pink shirt - Wilma with Wink).
On January 7th, all the members of the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club were invited to Eastern Shore to Doug Fay's open house. Doug had just purchased this wonderful home in 2008 and generously threw the yacht club a catered celebration. It appeared that no expense was spared. We enjoyed Fresh Fruit, Cheese & Cracker, Conch Salad, Chicken & Beef Kabobs, Stone Crab Claws, Conch Fritters, Shrimp Cocktail, a variety of Desserts including a birthday cake for Paul Graham (39 one more time). He also had three different bars set up, a one man keyboard singer and dancing. The new home consist of one waterfront guest house on the left of the road and another waterfront guest house next to the main house, also waterfront on the right side of the road all having wonderful views. The main house also has a swimming pool, sun deck and boat dock. If you have ever had a waterfront property dream in the Bahamas, you're dreaming about Doug Fay's home.
Wilma (pink shirt) leading the Electric Slide - Wink (black & grey shirt) keep up with the music.
On Thursday, January 9th, we welcome John and Stephanie Thornton (Winks brother and sister-in-law). They live in San Diego, CA. This is their first visit with us in the Bahamas.They arrived at 1:30 pm and we were in the skiff by 2:00 pm - We off to go lobstering.By 4:30 Wink, John and Wilma are holding up the catch of the day - 5 more lobster. You can tell Wink and John are brothers by the way the communicate. Wink told John once how to use the spear and where to shoot and John brought home a lobster on his first try. John also found the beautiful conch that Wilma is holding below. Stephanie is taking all the pictures so far, but you will see her soon.
It doesn't take long before we're dining in style. Wink, John and Wilma pose once again for Stephanie as she documents her exciting Bahamas vacation.
Finally, a picture of Stephanie who's enjoying LOBSTER! This is the way she'd want to be introduced.
Wilma does a lot of walking. Every day Monday-Saturday she walks at least 3 miles and 3 days a week, she walks 8 miles. All of this before 10:00 am. Mondays - Wednesdays - Fridays, she also likes to participate in Water Aerobics. Once or twice a week, she rides her bike to the store and carries back the groceries in her bike box and on her back. It's about a mile to the store. Wilma's working hard to get in shape - good shape that is.
Wilma takes a picture of Steph enjoying the calm waters of Eastern Shore. Steph has as much energy, probably more than Wilma. One day, they walked 11 miles just because they could.
Eastern Shore is a peninsula in Marsh Harbour. Water runs on both sides with houses dotted along both shores. This is one of the routes that the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club walkers enjoy several times a week.
These wrought iron double gates where Wilma and Sue are standing lets you know you've reach the turn around point (2-1/4 miles from Boat Harbour = 4-1/2 miles per trip. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays Wilma and Sue jog the route and then walk it with the walkers. Weather permitting. Wink walks every morning also, but not the same route as Wilma so there's no photographic proof that he walks.
On Saturday night, the Yacht Club sponsored a Full Moon Party. Yes, that's the full moon in the picture at Boat Harbour. We celebrated the full moon at the Tiki Hut on Dock 7 (ocean view). The hut was decorated with party lights and set up with great music and dancing combined with pot luck food made the night rememberable.
Wink and Wilma (red) enjoying the evening along with Steph and John to the right talking with Jim Fenn about the upcoming fishing trip on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, Arise and Shine at Boat Harbour 0600 hours. Today, Jim & Kathy Fenn take us fishing on their boat "Fennders". We're going out 2-5 miles looking for Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi, and whatever will bite our baits.Steph takes a Dreamy photo of John Henry from across the dock before setting out for fishing.
On Motor Vessel Fennders, Front-Red is Judy (a Wahoo woman), left-red is Kathy Fenn, Wink, John, Wilma and Jim Fenn is piloting the vessel. Steph is once again behind the camera.
After baiting and deploying the fishing lines and several fish chants, we finally got a bite. Wilma was the first up for handling the rod. Wilma held the rod and watched as the line continued to go out until she thought it was going to come off the reel. Finally, time to reel in. Wilma reels until her arms are killing her, Wink jumps in and reels while Wilma holds the rod, after another minute or two or three or four, we decide that Steph should have reel it in for us, but after another 5-6 minutes it's decided that John would have the honor of bring that big fish in.
John reels it in right up to the swim platform where Jim gaffs it - Hooray it's a yellow fin tuna.
Once again the baits are set, the fish is hooked and it's Wahoo Judy's turn. This lady knows how to fish. She brings in a wonderful Wahoo! Wink also get a turn and brings in a black tip tuna.
Six person crew: Left front - Judy, Jim, Wink, Wilma, John, Steph & Kathy
Catch: Black Fin Tuna, Yellow Tail Tuna, Wahoo!!!!

Thornton Clan: Wilma with Black Fin Tuna, Steph with Yellow Fin Tuna, John and Wink with Wahoo! Steph and Wilma are more like sisters than In-laws.
This is just a beautiful picture that Steph took while she was here. It just doesn't get better than this. Taken from Dock 7 sea wall looking onto the Bahama Bank. Some people may wonder what is the Bahama Bank. The answer is all the water surrounding the islands that make up the Bahamas. Most of it is under 20 feet deep. Once you leave the bank, you're in the deep, deep ocean.
All the days that Steph and John visited were great. We did have one spectacular day where you could see every detail of the water without a look down bucket. Wilma and Steph were in heaven. We lay on the bow of the skiff just looking down and giggling.
The water was so clear that we saw a turtle sitting on the bottom just enjoying himself. Unfortunately we didn't have an underwater camera that worked with us. We took a picture from on top of the water and it came out foggy. However, a friend of ours went out on the same day snorkeling and they had their underwater camera and they took this picture and have graciously allowed me to use it.
After enjoying the sight seeing for a while, the boys decided it was time to check out the LOBSTERS..... Yes, we did find them. We can't tell you where, but we call it John's Lobster Hole now as he's the one who found them. He got a couple, but Wink with his infinite experience leaped to the rescue and helped capture them. Wilma relayed caught lobsters to the boat and Steph spent her time photographing them before finger printing them (oh sorry) putting them in the cooler.
Wink and John Thornton (brothers) sons of John Henry Thornton who our boat is named after.
Can you guess what we're having for dinner?With all those lobsters, we called in reinforcements for eating. It was tough, but we finally found a few people who were willing to eat LOBSTER! From Left - Paul, Wink, John, Sue, Sherry, Judy,Wilma and Fred.
Of course, this is the same shot, but Steph and Fred changed places behind the camera. In the afternoon, after lobstering and before dinner, Wilma and Steph went to town in their rain coats to do some sourvineer shopping. Suddenly, the heavens opened and we ran into a shop, The Monkey's Uncle. We stayed for an hours while it poured outside. The shop keeper was a treasure and we had lots of fun. Wilma found a Mask and tried it out. What do you think?
Afer a while the rain stopped or slowed down - we continued our walk. We had lots of fun, walking in the rain, playing and just laughing at all the fun stuff. John soon came to find us and make sure we had not drowned. He was just in time to take our photo.
Wilma and Steph walking in the rain in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.
From left - Wink, Ms. Pat, Steph, John & Wilma. This time Mr. Pat is behind the camera.
The days were busy and fun, but soon our friends Pat & Pat arrived in their boat Salty Dawg. We agreed to meet at Matilda's (the best hamburger joint in town).
From Matilda's we walked over for a visit on Salty Dawg. Pat & Pat on their Pilgrim "Salty Dawg". What a classic boat. Beautiful.
That same evening, Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club sponsed an event called: The Chili Cook Off. All the chefs had to be men. Wink had agreed to be a chef and cooked his special chili.
All the chefs were given wonder hats. Wink and Jim had a good laugh and enjoyed the evening.
Wink (now a chinese cook) Judy and her chef Fred share a cold drink in the warm tent. Judy has been teaching Wilma how to make Jewelry. Judy wearing the latest necklace in her collection.
The chili is very tasty, but didn't win the prize. Wink and John don't seem to mind.
Wink is posing with Wilma and Sherry. He's definitely Chinese now. I think he said he had changed his name to Hop-Sing. Sherry is teaching Wilma watercolor painting and Wilma is teaching Sherry (who's from New York, New York) how to be southern. Bless her little ole heart!
The following day was John and Steph last day with us. They went over to Hopetown on the ferry. It was hard to believe that their time was up. We only ate 17 Lobsters while they were here. I didn't even get a photo of the great Wahoo dinner. There are no photo's of the fantastic suzi that Steph prepared several times with the Tuna. We also made Lobster rolls, which didn't last long enough to photograph. Many of our friends knew that Winks brother was here, but many more were delighted to see that my sister came. We are like peas in a pod.
The Sunday after John and Steph left us, it was a great day for going fishing. Wilma convince Wink that we should take the Big Boat - John Henry out for the day. As long as we're going out, let's take a few friends with us. We sent out the word and here they came two by two...
For the record (not in order and you have to find them) Wink & Wilma, John & Gail, Jim E & Joan, Jim & Judy, Ed & Shirley, Paul & Mary, Fred & Sherry, Pat & Pat, Vanessa (Andrew stayed home).
We left the dock approximately at 8:00 a.m. Everyone posing for the camera being handled by Sue Graham.
As we passed Motor Vessel Tourelou's flag, Sherry was inspired and sang America's National Anthem. Wilma felted honored that her boat could be help up as a National Sporting Event.
Sherry singing the National Anthem. Oh say can you see!!!
John Henry pulls out of Boat Harbour with an enthusatic crew of fishing people.
Once again, we're headed through the bank for the Atlantic Ocean hoping to catch Grouper in 150 feet of water - drift fishing on the bottom.
What vessel would dream of going out with it's sun beauties. From left - Judy, Gail, Sherry and Joan (stripes) enjoy the flybridge on the way out to the ocean. Wilma provided coffee, homemade banana bread and homemade fruitcake for the voyage out.
It was a great day, some people caught a lot of fish, some caught no fish, but Wilma caught baby fish. Wilma had to throw hers back. We had 17 friends go fishing with us, 18 if Andrew had gone. We caught 18 fish - Shirley caught the most 6-8, I never did hear the final count.
All the fish caught were Strawberrry Grouper or Red Heinz except one - it was a Queen Trigger Fish. They are hard to clean, but the best of lot. Upon suggestion from Shirley who caught the most, every person took home a fish for dinner. They were delicious. Pan fried, served with grits and corn kisses. Hummmm!
We had a weather forecast that it was turning cold - well cold enough not to go lobstering. Wilma encouraged Wink to get Paul and go out before the cold spell. While they were gone, Wilma was able to do some housekeeping. Just as Wilma finished up the cleaning, the boys came home with THE LIMIT ON LOBSTER. 10, TEN, YES TEN!!!
This was the first time Wink (whether alone or with a friend) every got the limit. He was excited. Wink also had a special surprise for Wilma. Wink spotted and was able to spear a Hogfish! Hogfish is Wilma's most favorite fish.....
1 little, 2 little, 3 little lobsters, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little lobsters, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little lobsters, 10 little lobster and a Hogfish, too. Now, January is over and where did it go?
Wilma has been having internet problems - or computer interfacing with internet problems to be more specific. We think this has been corrected and hopefully it won't take an entire month before she can post again. The real problem is that we're having so much fun, we can't figure out where the time is going.
The weather here has been great, BUT for some unknown reason, it's gotten cold - yes, cold. It's only in the 60's but when you're use to wearing swimsuits, shorts and t-shirts, digging out the long pants, sweaters and jackets is just unheard of. So bye for now.......