Friday, April 11, 2014

Resurrection Sunday

On Good Friday, Mum and I read the scriptures promising Jesus coming back from the grave.  (I read; she was hopefully hearing/listening.)  As we face Easter Sunday, we focus on Jesus’ resurrection, His victory over death and the glory He now enjoys in heaven at the right hand of the Father. 

Easter is so pivotal to Christianity; we would have nothing to hold on to without it.  Our faith is pointless unless we have a living Lord to cling to.  Magical thinking is fruitless, but a faith based on solid, historical fact can withstand the toughest testings.

It’s been over a week now that we have been anticipating the end of Mum’s sojourn on earth.  A week of tears, smiles, happy memories and some fear—what a roller coaster of emotions.  Because we know Jesus is alive, has gone to glory to prepare a place for us to be with Him and is waiting to greet Mum on the other side, the fear is unfounded. 
                              *       *      *       *       *
I just found these three paragraphs as I was sorting thru the document files on my computer.  I wrote this two years ago.  Mum, who was born on Christmas Day, died on Easter Monday, 2012.  I grew up seeing Mum reading her bible, praying and invoking the name of Jesus at every opportunity.  I reminded her of those years of faith as she was near the end.  It was a difficult passing, at least for those of us waiting and watching, but when it came at last, it was peaceful.  I have confident assurance that she is with Jesus now, at peace and in glory, her sufferings over.  

We miss you, Mum, and look forward to being reunited On That Day!

He is Risen,
He is Risen Indeed!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Selfies...sort of....

One of the perks of having guests on board, is getting to be in some of the pictures for a change.  We picked up Mike, visiting from New Zealand for three or four weeks, when he landed in Nassau.  He'd never seen the Atlantis Park/Aquarium, and so....

While we're here, I've just got to show you some of my fav things this time round.

A spectacular sculpture of Flying Fish, very much larger than life.

Sawtooths are actually quite harmless, despite their ferocious appearance.  Their long sawtooth is equipped with electro-sensors to detect tiny movements and to dig in the sand for food.  They never attack humans unless provoked or surprised.  They are very rare now, on the endangered/close to extinction list.  These four pups were born in captivity in Atlantis, a world first!  These "sharks" are actually part of the ray family.  Maturity for breeding only comes at 10 to 11 years of age--a slow process.  That is why the species takes such a long time to recover from over-fishing.

The Tiger Shark.  I love the raised ridges along his body length.  Babies look like Leopards, with spots, or more of a stripped look like Tigers, which fades away as they mature.  These "macropredators" are second only to The Great White Shark for human attacks.  These too, are close to joining the endangered list from over fishing world wide.

These two pictures are sooooooooo cool!!!!!
Mike and I are inside a glass tunnel, inside the shark tank.  We could see the world above the water, as well as the fish in the water.  I felt like we were the ones in the fish tank and the fish were looking at us!

Back to the "selfies".  People have asked (no kidding) to see me at my sewing machine.  This "Feather Weight Singer" machine is older than I am.  Probably the best-made machine Singer ever made, all metal, no electronics or computer chips, unbreakable and a work horse forever.  Thank you, Mum, for letting me have it.  :)

Only a visitor would think a picture of me in the Galley would be a keeper!
Man!  Goggle face tan and I didn't even go skiing.

Not to make you hate me, but to share the sun, the beach, the joy of creation.
We will be heading north again soon.  Boohoo!

It's been a wonderful winter in the islands.  GREAT fishing!  Fabulous Guests!  Terrific weather (especially compared to home).  A relaxing rest before the onslaught of mayhem when we get back to reality.  Yes, I am keeping up with my Bible study homework, and have added 22 small squares to my current quilt project.  I know I am a lucky duck to have this privilege and I do not take it for granted.
Happy Trails to you, until we meet again, a la Dale Evans and Roy Rogers.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back of Beyond

Believe it or not, there are still places on the planet where the 21st century has no hold.  No TV.  No radio.  No internet. 

For the past week, Steadfast has languished/relished her stay, in the Pond at Normans Cay.  Up with the sun and to bed by 8 pm, we have had a quiet and restful time out.

The Pond, as opposed to the Cut, where Carlo’s downed airplane still sits from 1979, is the quintessential hurricane hole.  Protected from the raging currents and storms on the Bank or the Sound, this is the perfect hideaway from the demands of Social Media.  We came in, and will leave on a high tide.  With a 4.5 foot draft, Steadfast is just able to make it in the narrow channel and into the haven of the Pond.

Winds have been high and the seas have been turbulent this week, but we are safe and at peace inside.

Our Boating Buddies have been here for more than a month.  Gail adopted one specific beach of the dozens on Normans Cay Sound-side.  She has cleaned up six piles of trash washed ashore to the high water mark--mostly plastic.  One aspect of the 21st century has definitely invaded here.

On our last morning, the wind had died down to 5 knots.  Calm, clear and delightful!  The sea called our names and Gail and I headed out to fish at the 8 am change of tide.

Behold, the conquering heroes return!

After a mere 45 minutes and one quart of gasoline, we had boated two huge bull Dolphin Fish. Here's a hint:  follow the Frigate Birds when you see them.

I cleaned my catch on my knees, on the swim platform of Steadfast.

Deno cleaned Gail's for her, off the tail of his skiff.

We have been happily entertained here, taking turns hosting suppers, or having beach BBQ’s.

Gail shared her kayaks with me.  We paddled to the low tide flats to explore. 

Bentley, the big red dog, comes for the ride.   The sun sparkles on the water.

Baby conch. 

When he thought I was gone and no longer a threat, he poked out his eyes and began searching for food.

A plover, or an Oyster Eater, with a long bill and big feet, was fishing too.

I love this shot with three sets of foot prints:  the bird, a conch and mine.

I have no idea what makes these little mountains of sand with the extruded tubules of hard-packed sand.

Long time readers will remember my hilarious episode with the Picnic Time Sun Shade.  It seems neither Captain B nor I have grown any more “adult” with the passage of time.  After tying it down on the front deck for the past four days, it is now an exploded yellow guest in our forward cabin.  We can NOT get it back in its bag.  We are waiting for internet access to once more be coached by YouTube videos on how to wrestle the monster back into submission.

Well folks, that’s the news to date.  We hope you are surviving winter in the neighbourhoods back home.  Think of us in the sun and feel warm.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Working Hard to Make a Living

I met Mario when he came aboard to wash our boat two weeks ago.

We pulled into Atlantis after a rough crossing from Spanish Wells, saltier than a Soda cracker, encrusted top to bottom, a total mess.  In his quiet and unassuming way, he went to work.  For three hours, Mario rinsed, soaped, scrubbed, dried and polished until Steadfast gleamed as new in the Bahamian sunshine.

For the past three days, I've watched him on several other boats, always hard at work.  His attention to detail puts me to shame, when it's my turn for boat washing duty.  I chatted him up.

Born and bred in Nassau, he finished high school here and went to work for himself.  No partners.  No bosses.  A solo man.  41 years old and single, he lives with, and cares for his 107 year old grandmother.  A non-drinker, vegetarian, clean-living, hard-working man, he has an enviable reputation.

Nathan said -He's the best, Mon!  Been a long time in the game.  Knows a lot of people, Mon.  Does a good job.

When I told Mario what Nathan had said...
-Whoa!  Nathan, Mon, he's big competition.  He's good too.

Evidently, there are 6 regular guys, who turn up every day to vie for the work available when new boats come into the marina.  There are others, who come around once in a while, but the 6 regulars are always in friendly competition.  They back off when they know one or the other usually works a specific boat.

-How much work do you usually get, I asked him?

-From September til now, nothing much at all.  Now we're in high season and I'm getting 3 to 4 boats a day.  That'll last till about August.  I don't push it now, like I used to.  I have 3 vans I rent out and I occasionally get over to Fort Lauderdale.  I buy cars, import them here and sell them.  My dream is to make a decent living without all this physical labour.  My back is know.

He told me about the 160 foot charter boat that comes into the Nassau harbour every couple of months. A "regular" boat will take 3 to 5 hours to clean, top to bottom.  This big one would arrive around 4 in the afternoon.  Mario would begin working it at 4:30 and not stop, all night, all the next day, until 3 the next afternoon.  Non-stop work.  Pushing it.  Three days later, after an outing, the same boat would be back and it would begin all over again.

-I go to work every day.  There are no holidays.  A day off is a day I get no work.  Like I said, I don't do that no more.  Too much.

I asked if he was working to live, or living to work.  He laughed.  He said he and his buddies had just been discussing that very question.  Captain B had asked him to do our stainless and chrome.  A big job.  If he'd asked me, I'd have given it about 2 hours tops.  A slap-dash job.  Mario declined the work, saying it was just too much.  It would be an all day job the way he'd do it.

Captain B recommends him highly, gives rave reviews.  Mario is a hard worker, requiring no supervision.  He is of excellent character and high moral standing.  His work is without fault.  Next time you pull into Atlantis and need your boat washed, ask for Mario.  He's the best!

Saturday, February 15, 2014



So excited!  You have a two week sailing charter in the Bahamas starting this afternoon.  Your taxi drops you off from the airport, at the marina office.  A solemn young man drives you to your slip, never saying a single word.  He shakes his head, shrugs his shoulders and turns away as you gasp and slap your forehead.  Is this a joke?

This is what we saw as we pulled in yesterday...

The charter guests are due today, along with the insurance adjuster and another boat.  They say this is not a total write-off, repairable, but there will definitely be consequences...for somebody.

I spoke with the helmsman who ran into the fixed bridge over Potters Cay.  She says she is lucky to be alive.  When the mast went down and the jib flew off the bow, she was crushed against the steering wheel on the fly bridge of the 45 foot Lagoon Cat.

-So how exactly did it happen that you ran into the bridge?

-Well the mast caught....

-How tall is your mast?

-I have no idea. ( a telling statement)  It's not listed anywhere in the boat documentation....  Google it?  There are three different styles and who knows which one they used?  Nobody answers on the radio when you hail the bridge and there were no signs anywhere about water levels.

Yes, accidents happen.  I'm trying really, really hard here not to be judgemental, but who takes a  honking great mast under bridges without checking first if it'll fit?  hmmm....

On another note,  how was your Valentines Day?  We got in too late to make it to Cafe Martinique, our first choice for dinner.  We had a most enjoyable feast at Virgil's BBQ.  The service was excellent, the wine was good and the food was delicious.  A good time was had by all.

                                                        My happy Valentine, yesterday.
                                                                Not so happy today.
                                                  Something about being over-served.  :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

This 'n That

We've been spoiled with two full weeks of wonderful weather.  Our guests sure appreciated that.  There will be a change this week, and boats are jockeying for position to keep out of the fray.  Captain B is studying his weather charts and making plans.  We will probably head into Highbourne Cay for the worst of it.

Nelson is less than impressed with his "soft-focus" portrait.  I am playing with my new point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera that can do way more than my Canon SLR.  I still have to figure out how to make multiple exposures, and then we're away to the races!

My sister and her husband fell completely in love with the Bahamas, particularly the Exumas.  They spent every chance they got in the water.  Our one fishing excursion was disappointing in that we only hooked into a Barracuda.  Although the locals eat them, we always let them go.  We don't want to risk getting affected with ciguaterra--a debilitating neurotoxin endemic in reef fish.

Our sister left and our son arrived on the same day.  Talk about "hot-bunking" it.  We managed to get the sheets and towels laundered and dry in time.  As we were working on making ready, SonnyBoy got to pilot the small island hopper airplane from Nassau to Staniel Cay.  How is it I never get to do fun stuff like that?????

Today we took the dingy 8.5 miles to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for lunch.  Yummy grouper fingers!

Some locals were cleaning their catch on the beach....
and selling to the tourists/cruisers.
The Bahamian Spiny Lobster.  Delicious and hard to get.

We see that TEAM CANADA is leading in the Olympic medals.  Way to go, Canada!

Blessings on those at home awaiting the birth of Grandchildren, to those digging out yet again from another blanket of snow, and to our friends who still love us and don't hold it against us for leaving them to it.  Stay tuned for more Caribbean adventures onboard Steadfast.