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Saturday, March 16, 2013

1 in 16,964 they say and it's anchors away!

 Docked at: Nassau Harbour Club and Marina

We finally made it off the dock in Georgetown on Tuesday March 5th.  We had a beautiful ride all the way to Lee Stocking Island. Stayed on a mooring ball there for a few nights. During the day we walked over to the ocean side and went beaning!! What a haul - actually the haul came from the Adderly Cut but none the less it was an impressive haul. Garth found his first purse bean!  Lee Stocking was home to the Perry Institute for Marine Studies. It stopped operating about a year ago and since then everything has just been left. We watched a barge pull up and load four boats, tables, chairs, mattresses  etc etc - no such thing as island time when this was happening. They had the barge loaded to the gills and off the dock within forty minutes. Garth was taking pics the whole time and I half expected one of them to come over to the boat and ask for the camera at gunpoint. Did not happen!  Pictures to follow.
From here we moved up to Black Point and dropped the anchor in Little Bay. It had yet another beautiful beach to our starboard and a castle to port.  The second day we were there we walked two miles into Black Point. Thanks to Dan and Judy our days are filled with walking the wrack looking for sea beans and we are now full time beaners. On the list of "Desirable Sea Beans of Florida" the probability of finding a Yellow Nickerbean is 1 in 16,964. So, as we are walking along the dirt road - aka the Kings Highway, Garth found a yellow nickerbean. Seriously, NO SERIOUSLY - it was on the road. Within 50 meters he had pocketed  fifteen yellow nickerbeans and you should have seen the smile on his face. We were both in shock!
Now, lets backtrack to GeorgeTown - we were talking to the dock master, Clevon,  about sea-beans. We showed him the grey nickerbean, (1 in 6 ) and he said " these are from a bush down by the Fish Fry", "I'll stop on my way home and see if there are any on it" Well, he did and the bush was gone. Apparently what they are commonly used for is torture - boys rub them really hard against concrete for several minutes, they become hot and then they burn each other with them....sounds like fun to me!!   The last weekend we were there we rented a car with Dan and Judy, while driving around we spotted a tree with pods hanging down and stopped the car. Some locals came to see what we were doing and I asked them about the beans that they used to burn each other with. "Reverse the car" - so back we went , he went into the bushes and came out with green nickerbeans. So, we think the green ones become the grey ones after being in the sun and salt water. The plant was nowhere near the water. But, we now know what the plant and pod look like. So, back to my story. Finding yellow nickerbeans, on the road must mean that there is a yellow nickerbean plant nearby. We continue to town. Once there I showed them to some young boys and they all said " Oh, those are fun - "we get them really hot and burn each other"!  "Do you want us to show you where the bush is?"  We did not want to walk all the way back at that point so said maybe if you are here on our way back. We walked around Black Point and were stopped by Jean. She had seen Zeke that morning and commented on how he walked off the tender and right onto the big boat. Turns out Jean lives in the castle and as we sometimes do, she looks out through her binoculars every morning to see whats new. Jean invited us to a cook out at the school but we wanted to try the infamous Lorraines Cafe and also buy some of Lorraines Moms coconut bread so we declined the invitation.  The coconut bread was the best we have had the whole time in the Bahamas. We walked over to the town beach and found a few sea hearts then started the trek back to Little Bay. Sure enough we found the yellow nickerbean bush and the brown nickerbean bush!!! What a haul, we must have fifty of them. Can't wait to get back to Florida and drop a few on the beach then wait for the first beaner to go by! They are probably so rare because the bushes are no where near the water and it would take a hurricane to blow a few into the ocean.  It was an exciting bean day to say the least. After all it's the small things in life !
We stayed in Little Bay for three nights and then moved up to Hawksbill Cay. We both really like it there, it is an uninhabited island with beautiful beaches on both sides and these unbelievable sand dune flats at the south end. Hawksbill is in the Exuma Land and Sea park so it is a no take zone. As we walked around the flats we saw several large live conch and several beautiful shells. The shells were huge and had been totally bleached white by the sun. Mangroves surrounded the banks and there were little streams, about a  foot deep running through it. Strange sight - we walked around it for about forty five minutes just in awe. We now have over a hundred sea hearts, about 35 hamburgers, four purses and well you know about the nickers!! After five days and  a huge blow through two nights we decided to move on to Nassau. The seas coming here were a little rougher than planned,actually we had planned on going to an anchorage on the west side of Nassau but plans change and we entered the Nassau Harbour about 3:30. Dan had called earlier in the day, just as we had changed course and Garth asked him to check and see if there was room at the inn for us! So, although Dan & Judy were last seen headed east they arrived in Nassau the night before and their plans have totally changed from when we all left George Town two weeks ago.  We went to the Poop Deck for dinner and I am sure all slept well knowing we were tied securely to a dock.
This morning we all walked down to the Straw Market, Dan & Judy decided to leave today for Bimini and we decided to spend the day in Nassau. We walked back to the boat after touring the cruise ship area and then did the Kathy and Garth local bus tour of the island. We had asked a local guide how much his tour of the island would be for three hours and the quoted, non negotiable price was $275.00  A little steep for the area we thought, the local bus tour cost us $1.25 each and it was fun. The ladies who were our guides could not believe that we did not want to get off and see the shopping mall!
After spending an hour at Starbucks on the internet we got a pizza and returned to the boat. Some boaters we meet in George Town stopped by and we all shot the breeze for a few hours. They are moving "Getaway" up to the Abaco.
So, the plan tomorrow is to get up at OH DARK THIRTY, get permission to leave the Harbour from Harbour Control and run eight hours to the middle of the Bahama Banks, drop the anchor and spend the night. No land in sight but the good news is if the anchor lets go we just drift and drift and drift.  The next day head to Bimini, drop the anchor and Tuesday make the big run across the Gulf Stream to Florida! You know what they say about the best laid plans ..... you can always check the "Where are we know" link on the blog to watch us on Spot and see exactly where the boat is.
Our small camera has decided that it no longer wants to work so we really do not have very many pictures but we do have some and as soon as I get a decent connection I will post some pics. If we end up staying here longer I will go over to Starbucks, yes Starbucks, and use the internet there.