Sunday, June 2, 2013

Last Night In Nassau Before Making North Exuma Islands

  On Friday morning our work was done. We would have liked to leave Nassau and head for the Exumas, but the wind was still up and it rained, and it rained. Not only that, with the exception of our first night in Nassau with Rick and MP, and the following day at Paradise Beach, our time in Nassau was not all that enjoyable, and we wanted to turn the tide in that regard.

  This is the view we had from our cockpit for the week, and this isn't even low tide. The little structure houses trash cans and most of the time they were over flowing and bags of trash were piled around them.
  The harbor on the New Providence side, or the Nassau side, was littered with sunken vessels. Lots and lots of them, with seemingly no intention by anyone to get them removed. The marinas on this side are mostly not sheltered from passing vessels transiting the harbor and boats get rolled and pitched, even behind the government pier where we were. Add to the mix was the continuous rain we were having and you can see why we were anxious to get underway. But like I said, we had plans to have some fun on Friday night.
  On Friday afternoon we donned our rain gear and walked to the shopping area where Rosie found a pair of shoes at a very low price and I bought three pairs of shorts to wear when a ratty swimming suit wouldn't do. Rosie said that they were a good price, but I wouldn't know. I can't remember the last time I bought pants.
  We waited for the rain to subside after getting cleaned up to go to the Atlantis Casino. Finally we put our rain gear on and walked to the security office where we were to find a taxi and the staffer there said we could leave our rain gear in the office until we came back, so we were able to get into the taxi without being dripping wet.

  We didn't waste any time finding a nice bar in a busy area of the hotel where we could have some beers and watch the people. Long pants are required in the fancier restaurants at Atlantis, but I don't know who was going to visit them because most all the men were wearing cutoffs and raggedy t-shirts. I not only had a button down shirt on, I had shoes on that tied for the first time in a year, although they were still boat shoes.
  A quick six pack at this bar was a heady $50, so we went in search of a reasonably priced restaurant where I could be served looking like the bum that I am. We were surprised at how many children there were around, plus the fact that they were allowed throughout the casino. I can only assume that they were not allowed to gamble, but I'm not certain.
  We passed up a couple of restaurants where the posted menus advertised lots of entrees for $50 to $150 and settled on a more casual place where the aquarium surrounds the dining tables. The menu was reasonable and I picked a 16 oz. ribeye for $34 and Rosie had a monster rack of ribs for $30. Our table was right next to the aquarium and we were in awe of the variety of sea life that they had packed in the huge tank that surrounded the whole restaurant. A giant sting ray continuously patrolled his domain that had to be six feet across. It was at that point that we both decided to never enter the ocean again.
  After our dinner we took a taxi back to Yacht Haven as we had no intention of leaving any of our hard earned money at the Atlantic Casino. Some folks on a big yacht near us were having a party and they waved and said hello. At another time we would have probably joined them, but we were done drinking and were full of dinner. We only had sights on seeing Holly and going to bed. A big time Friday night for us.
  On Saturday morning we had plans to take the doctor we had met, John Neely, and his girlfriend Glennis, to breakfast at his uncle's place, Nassau Stadium. We stopped by the marina office on our walk to the restaurant and told them to prepare our bill so it would be ready when we returned. The weather was breaking and we were gonna git.
  Breakfast was enjoyable for the company we had, but I had a traditional Bahamian breakfast of stewed fish, johnny cake and grits. Let's just say that I eyed Rosie's breakfast of scrambled eggs and thick slices of fried bologna, or "sausage" as it's called here in The Bahamas, having lustful designs on her food until she offered me a bite. Our server was apparently overwhelmed at having to wait on four people at one time and we could tell that John was not entirely pleased with the service. He is in by no means a demanding person, be I think we all wanted our breakfast experience to be special, and he more than any of us was disappointed. It was still special though.
   It turned out that Glennis used to work with my cousins' second husband who she met at the Paradise Island Hotel and Casino before it was torn down and rebuilt as The Atlantis. They lived on New Providence for a time. We hadn't seen him since our last visit in the mid 1980's and they got divorced shortly afterwards. It wasn't our fault.
  We said goodbye to John and Glennis and paid our bill at Yacht Haven. We stopped by to say goodbye to Rick and MP and promised to stop in and see them if we passed through Nassau on our way back to the United States. Not sure if they viewed this as a promise or a threat.
  There is an Explorer Chart website that lists current dockage and fuel prices throughout the Bahamas, and it's updated monthly. Hurricane Hole Marina was advertised at having diesel for $5.10 per gallon. I asked around to see if their fuel was "good" and I got good reports so we went across the harbor and found Hurricane Hole between the two tall bridges that cross over to Paradise Island. Not only was it true that they didn't charge extra for using a credit card, but the fuel price had dropped to $4.88 per gallon. We only took on 54.7 gallons, what we used to cruise on plane from Highbourne Cay on the previous Friday afternoon, about 1.5 gallons per mile at 25 m.p.h. This is why we generally travel at 8-9 miles per hour.

  Maybe we had a rough week with all the repairs, and the crappy weather, but the owners of this boat that we passed on our way out of Nassau Harbor had even a worse week. This boat sank on Thursday and the only reason that I think it won't still be there if we come back through here in a few weeks or months, is that it sunk on the ritzy side of the harbor just off the banks of Paradise Island.
  The sky was overcast for our passage over to Allen's Cay in The Exumas, but winds were light and our ride was as pleasant as it could be. I trolled a lure behind the boat at a leisurely 8 miles per hour, but it may have been too fast. If I got a bite I didn't know it, but my line and lure were intact when we entered the Allen's Cay anchorage 34 miles later.

  The sun poked out a bit when we dropped our anchor between Allen's Cay and Leaf Cay. We weren't really where we wanted to anchor but I didn't want to "snuggle in" between other vessels and raise their ire. We found a pure sand bottom in seven feet of gin clear water. I could see the anchor clearly from the boat deck but swam down on it just for the fun.
  I started writing this post yesterday while Rosie roasted our big fat chicken and we both sipped on fresh banana daiquiri's, but the Internet connection was not very good and pictures wouldn't load up.
  Our chicken was joined by red beans and rice and asparagus, not many meals we could have had at any restaurant at Atlantis could have beaten this one. We watched the sun set and both fell asleep reading our books before 9 o'clock.
  The wind blew swells in during the night and it was a little rolly, so after breakfast we noticed that a catamaran had left that was anchored nearer to the beach, so we pulled up anchor and moved over to more sheltered water.

  Look how the dinghy appears to be floating in mid air behind the boat in the crystal clear water! The beach we are anchored off of is famous for having huge iguanas on it. In fact I had used the binoculars to survey the beach this morning and I at first thought I was seeing big raccoons parading around, but realized it was the iguanas. They are reputed to be biters too. We know iguanas can swim, so Holly will be staying safely in the dinghy when we go over there this afternoon. I'm not so sure that Rosie won't be staying in the dinghy too.
  We'll also go see if we can find some folks over on Leaf Cay #1. Our friends from South Carolina, Tom and Abby know these folks who bought the island a while ago for a mere eight million dollars. No one buys an island for eight million dollars to welcome visitors who just drop in unannounced, so we hope Kim and Peter aren't mad if we drop in on them later. (We've been practicing saying, "Hi, we're friends of Tom and Abby. What's for lunch?"
  Rain is in the forecast for all week, but we don't care. We're glad to be away from the squalor of Nassau and the $100 per night it cost us to stay at Yacht Haven. I bet I have a story or two to tell next time. Maybe I'll even have some stories that I can't tell. Even better.

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