Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Junkanoo...a Bahamian Tradition

Perhaps some readers have been wondering about my posts being so few and far between this season.  As more and more very big boats are now frequenting the Central Exumas of the Bahamas, and as the wifi bandwidth has not increased even the tiniest bit, web work was next to impossible all winter.  Yes, I got email and FB, but I couldn't follow any links.   The one blog post I did from there was only accomplished when I set the alarm and got up at 4am to do it.

I've made it home to Canada, just in time for the wonderful celebrations of Easter, and things are getting back to normal.  Now I can post all the fun videos and pictures of fish, Atlantis and Junkanoo. Better late than never, right????

But First....

Amazing news:  Since I returned home, I finished the quilted bedspread I began four years ago!!!  It amazes ME more than anyone, as I had started thinking it was "The Never Ending Story".  Here is the photo to document the achievement and so you can all say "oooo" and "ahhhh".  I am so proud of myself!

Okay.  Now down to business.  In early February  (it already seems so long ago)  we hosted my sister and brother-in-law on board Steadfast. We picked them up in Nassau and introduced them to the delights of Atlantis after dark.  

Have you heard of Junkanoo?  

Basically it is a street parade with music, dancing and costumes.  Traditionally, these events happen on Boxing Day, New Years Day and sometimes in mid-summer for the tourists.  In Atlantis, on Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, the Tradition comes in a scaled-down version, every Saturday after dark.  Visitors really get into it, but it's a stretch for the Captain and myself, as we are usually up with the sun and to bed with the birds.  

Supper was done.  It was 9 o'clock already and we were still waiting for the show to begin.  We entertained ourselves with amusements in the village.
We checked out Ben and Jerry's...

We took illegal photos in the basket shop...

we took pictures of each other playing like...

Rum Pirates.

 Then we started dressing up!

and being silly!

 Peter tried making music of his own.  You can see from his expression, he was not impressed.

He sought help from the experts and was encouraged to learn that the toy drums are almost impossible to make a good tone from.  The REAL drums are a totally different story.

 Finally, we heard the parade coming our way.  Goatskin drums, cow bells, horns and whistles.  An ear piercing cacophony!!  but fabulous, body moving rhythms.  I couldn't stand still.

The costumes were spectacular

A great time was had by all.  

Well Folks, that's a snippet of Bahamian culture for you.  Stay tuned for more island fun in coming days.  The days are lengthening and the tulips are trying hard to come up here, in the land of ice and snow.  Happy Spring to you all.

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.