MARCH 4, 2015:
In January, we spent the night with Alan and Judy at their house in south Texas on the way back to Nancy Lu.
Alan is Captain Mark’s brother and Judy is his wife of 25 years. As we said our good-byes in January, I joked that we were off to get their cruising vacation all set up. In a way, that was true. Their visit with us was in the back of my mind as I provisioned in Brunswick, as we planned routes, and as we looked forward to the near future in general. Our plan was to meet them in George Town, the biggest town on Great Exuma Island, on Saturday, February 21. The Cruiser’s Regatta takes place around that time every year, and there are hundreds of boats in Elizabeth Harbour! On the evening Judy and Alan arrived, there were 373 boats in the harbor as reported earlier that morning on VHF channel 72 on the 8:00am “net” (a cruiser’s daily informational call-in “program”). At that time, we were anchored in Kidd’s Cove on the side of Elizabeth harbour closest to George Town. That night, as we looked across the big harbor towards Stocking Island where most of the sailboats are anchored (and there is no town), all the anchor lights looked like a city skyline! It’s quite a sight to see!
Of course, we want the weather to be good when we have guests. As Alan and Judy’s arrival date got closer, we were worried about the high winds that were predicted for their arrival date! A dinghy ride loaded down with luggage, high winds, and the rough harbor that those winds create is not the best welcome to a weeklong vacation on a sailboat! We considered using a water taxi to ferry them to Nancy Lu, but in the end, we opted for Captain Mark to pick up our guests in the dinghy. He brought trash bags to put their luggage in to keep it dry, foul weather gear for them to put on to keep their bodies and clothes dry, and water proof socks and crocs for their feet . They were troopers, and everything worked out fine. Alan did mention something about a bucking bronco! The next morning, they said they slept better that first night than they had in a while. I; however, hardly got any sleep from worrying about how they were sleeping up in the V-berth! I almost convinced myself that I was seasick from the motion, and all the sounds that are usually like white noise to me got on my last nerve!
As Alan and Judy’s “cruise director”, I would like to share their vacation itinerary, photos of various off-boat excursions, happenings aboard Nancy Lu, daily menus, and a little commentary. If you like what you see and read, a “Nancy Lu-Vacation” might be for you!! I’m sorry to report that our vacation-cruise season is over for this year, and our time in the Bahamas is coming to an end for the foreseeable future. We’re on to new adventures further east and south in the Caribbean!
ARRIVAL DAY—SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21,2015
DINNER: Shepherd’s Pie
Alan and Judy quickly got situated on Nancy Lu, stowed their stuff, and got the skinny on how certain things are done on a boat. I think the hardest thing for Judy to get used to was that
she couldn’t help in the kitchen as much as she normally does, due to its small size!! Learning how to handle potty and showering procedure might have been a tad intimidating to both of them, but we had no problems all week.
DAY 1— SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015
BREAKFAST: Egg-n-Cheese-In-A-Ham-Cup; LUNCH: Pig Roast provided by Chat-n-Chill; DINNER: Chicken Salad
After breakfast and announcing Alan and Judy’s arrival on the 8:00 “net”, we braved another bumpy dinghy ride into Volleyball beach on Stocking Island for Beach Church. The winds were still pretty high, but predicted to calm later on that day. It was a nice service, as always, and Timmy was well behaved in my arms. After Beach Church, we mixed and mingled with the congregation of about 75 for a while
and then took a short dinghy ride across a lagoon and short hike over the hill to the ocean side of Stocking Island. It’s very different from the tranquil harbor side with its gently lapping waters on the Casuarina Pines-shaded beach. In contrast, the ocean side offers a vista of crashing waves and pinkish-white beach as far as you can see.
When we got back over to Volleyball beach, it was about time for the weekly Sunday pig-roast hosted by Chat-n-Chill that we planned to attend. As we were exiting our dinghy, we saw A.J. Rolle for the first time this year. He’s a young man who we befriended 3 years ago; he waved and called out a welcome to us from the water taxi that he was piloting across to Stocking Island with a few passengers and some supplies for Chat-n-Chill. As soon as he was through with his business, he came over to say hello and get a hug from me and give a little pet to his favorite one of our group, Timmy! I always wonder if he would recognize me if I didn’t have Timmy with me.
Alan and Judy got their first lesson in “island time” as we waited for the pig-roast to begin, but we weren’t in a hurry. We just enjoyed our time together at the picnic tables under the Casuarina Pines as we waited!
After a typical Bahamian feast of pork ribs, baked mac-n-cheese, coleslaw (the chat-n-chill coleslaw is the BEST, in my opinion, because of the garlic!!!), peas-n-rice, and cracklins, we dinghied back to Nancy Lu for some relaxation before we upped our anchor and motored over to “drop the hook” at Sand Dollar Beach on the other side of the Harbor off of Stocking Island.
That evening, huddled around the computer, we started a movie enjoying a double batch of popped-on-the-stove popcorn, but due to the poor quality of the DVD, Mark and Judy opted to enjoy the night air in the cockpit. Alan and I konked out in our beds! …It was about 8:30pm.
DAY 2—MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel or Oatmeal; LUNCH: Hot Dogs-on-a-flour-tortilla and Baked Beans; DINNER: Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops with Grilled Plaintains and Roasted Asparagus
After a leisurely morning, we decided to go snorkeling. We went to 3 different sites. The best snorkeling of the day was at the first site.
Judy got some good pictures with the underwater camera that she brought. The last snorkeling spot was pretty murky, plus we were getting chilled so we didn’t stay long. Since this site was in the middle of the harbor near where Nancy Lu was anchored, Judy and I decided to swim back to the boat escorted by Captain Mark and Alan in the dinghy. We made it with no problems. I took the opportunity to check the anchor and found that we were dug in great! Back on board Nancy Lu, I went below to get Timmy from his cage, where we had left him while we were gone, so he could be on deck with us while we rinsed ourselves and our snorkel gear off, but more importantly so he could do his “business”. Judy heard a splash and hollered that Timmy fell in the water! I jumped in to save him; although, he was swimming just fine along the hull of the boat. The old man would not have lasted long! This incident called for a change in the immediate agenda. Timmy got a quick bath before dinner to wash off the sticky salt! The incident also confirmed the nececcessity of the practice that we had been following—always walking him around the deck with his harness and leash—we haven’t broken procedure since! We spent the rest of the day relaxing and visiting. Ann from s/v Krazy Lady, who was part of the group that we went with to the Jumentos islands last year, came by before dinner to visit a little and say good-bye since she was leaving in the morning. We were so glad to see her, and she entertained Alan and Judy with her fun personality! The evening activity aboard Nancy Lu was a rematch of the game of Sequence that we had played earlier in the afternoon and a little Rummikub.
Let me just suffice it to say that pretty much any game we played throughout Alan and Judy’s “Nancy Lu-Vacation” ended up being won by Alan or Alan’s team.
DAY 3—TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel or Oatmeal; LUNCH: Loaded Sweet Potatoes; DINNER: Leftovers
It was a beautifully calm day in the morning, perfect for a dinghy ride northwest along pretty much the whole length of Stoking Island
where we tied up to a pier and hiked up Monument Hill!
The views all around from up there are beautiful, and we got some good photos. The wind was the perfect direction for us to visit a small beach that is not often accessible making it good for shelling.
The short dinghy ride there had beautiful views everywhere we looked!
Judy was able to find some good beach treasures at the off-the-beaten-path-beach—that’s always fun! After that, we went to two snorkeling spots.
The second spot was the last spot we went to the day before, and it ended up being great this time with crystal clear water and perfect light!
After lunch, we rested and then went to town for an ice cream, fuel and a few groceries. We were greeted by A.J. again when we saw him coming out of a store in town. We had taken Timmy to town with us so I still didn’t know if he would recognize me without him. After dinner that night, it was popcorn and another movie!
DAY 4—WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel, or Oatmeal; LUNCH: Ham roll up; DINNER: Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles
After breakfast in the cockpit with Judy,
Captain Mark dinghied us to a snorkeling-for-sand dollars spot that we’d been told about from some acquaintances who stopped by the boat. Judy and I were on a mission!
Mission accomplished! I enjoyed finding other creatures to show Alan and Judy including a baby queen conch,
a helmet conch and a giant live sea biscuit. We put all the live creatures back and kept the sand dollars. Captain Mark dropped me off at Nancy Lu before he took Alan and Judy to do a little more snorkeling while I fixed lunch. That afternoon since the harbor was nice and calm,
I dinghied Judy across the harbor to town to do a little souvenir shopping—just the girls. I still got “dinghy butt” (wet shorts)even though it was calm. I should have worn my foul weather gear as I almost always do!! We had our 3rd encounter with A.J. at the open air bar of Two Turtles Inn, where Judy and I got a couple of cokes. This time I didn’t have Timmy so it is confirmed that A.J. does recognize me without my dog. I don’t know why I wondered; I am his facebook friend, after all. Our night time activity that night was another round of Scattergories, but before that, Alan and Judy enjoyed a little star-gazing. This was prompted by someone coming on the VHF and announcing that the International Space Station was passing over the harbor! It was quite a sight traveling at 18, 000 miles an hour!! That night, Judy discovered a “Nancy Lu-Vacation” amenity, the ipad app., Star Charts. She enjoyed picking out various constellations.
DAY 5—THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel, or Oatmeal ; LUNCH: Rice and Beans with Sausage and Cornbread; DINNER: Bahamian Fare at the hotel, Peace and Plenty
This was our SAILING DAY!! We had perfect winds, about 18 knots, to sail out of the harbor, east for a couple hours with lunch served under sail, and back again. I think Alan and Judy enjoyed it, but probably not as much as Captain Mark! The sailing excursion was capped off with Captain Mark (and crew ) showing off the skill of anchoring under sail-power alone in Kidd’s Cove that afternoon! After a nap,
we all went for a night out at Peace and Plenty to their weekly BBQ and Rake-n-Scrape (local band playing Bahamian music). A.J. showed up here, as well, helping to set up the buffet.
Of course, we enjoyed dancing with our hubbies,
but we also enjoyed dancing with the same man I’ve danced with every other time I’ve been to the Peace and Plenty Rake-n-Scrape. When I was at The Corner Laundry after Alan and Judy left, my dance partner of Thursday night came in to use the phone. I told him that I enjoyed dancing with him, to which he gave a humble, “Thank you.” When he left, I asked Ms. Lee, the laundromat owner, about him and told her I wondered if Peace and Plenty hired him to show all the ladies a good time. She laughed and told me no; he just really loves to dance! Ms. Lee also told me that his name is Bush and everyone calls him “The Ambassador”! He really deserves that title, especially if you’re a lady who likes to dance!!
After a pretty calm dinghy ride home (I still wore my foul weather gear—no “dinghy butt” for me!), we capped off the night with another game of Sequence. Judy and I actually tied the guys that night, but they broke the tie the next night!
DAY 6—FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel or Oatmeal; LUNCH: Tuna Salad Crescentwiches; DINNER: Leftovers and popcorn
We relaxed most of the morning and then went up to Volleyball beach for a meeting of folks planning to go south to the Caribbean this spring. Alan and Judy relaxed on hammocks while Mark and I met around the picnic tables. After the meeting, we joined Alan and Judy in petting the stingrays that come up to the beach by the conch salad bar. (I hate to say it, but a couple of days after Alan and Judy went back home, dolphins were swimming up to the beach there! I wish I’d had my swimsuit on then so I could have swum with them; I was able to do that last year in Kidd’s Cove!)
We had another successful snorkeling excursion with Alan and Judy after lunch! That night, after our rematch of Sequence, we topped the whole vacation off with Mark’s “favorite” movie, Captain Ron! It’s worth the watch just to witness Mark’s laughter!
DEPARTURE DAY—SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2015
BREAKFAST: Choice of English Muffin, Bagel or Oatmeal; LUNCH: Hamburgers at Exuma Yacht Club
On the last morning of Alan and Judy’s “Nancy Lu-Vacation” we regretfully announced their upcoming departure on the 8:00 “net”. While Alan and Judy gathered all of their stuff, I stripped our bed and gathered laundry to do in town after we saw Alan and Judy off. When we got into town, we did a little bit of last minute souvenir shopping and enjoyed scrumptious hamburgers at Exuma Yacht Club! We experienced a little bit of “island-time” which was a bit concerning since they had a taxi to catch, but it worked out perfectly. We had a really nice last-visit on the deck of EYC! We were sad to see our guests go, and we hope that they had as much fun with us as we did with them!
ALAN AND JUDY’S “NANCY LU-VACATION”, 2015—SUCCESS!!!
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