Sunday, March 6, 2016

time in Bimini 5 Mar 2016

Day one in Bimini 5 march 2016
We arrived at the Blue Water Marina at 8:00 AM after an easy crossing which required motoring the whole way, but at least we were able to cross. No wind beats a northerly. After "Ship's Master" Reggie made a couple trips to the immigration and customs offices we were legal and I was no longer held captive on Submit. Our yellow quarantine flag came down and our Bahamian courtesy flag is up.

The water is so incredibly beautiful. There is no way to describe it and pictures just don’t do it justice.

I took this picture of Ray taking down his quarantine flag

and waited for him to raise his courtesy flag. And waited. And waited.  Apparently, he could not postpone sleeping one more minute.

I had only slept a few hours also, but I was too excited to sleep. I started by walking the docks and looking at the fish.  I saw a large fish swimming by Gust-O and have seen it several times since. I have since learned it is a Tarpon or Bonefish.  I was tempted to snorkel around the docks. It wouldn’t be great, but it had been so long.

We decided to take a quick tour of Alice Town instead. Good choice. The main road is called Kings’ Highway, of course, and is about as wide and well maintained as an alley in the states. It is lined with small shops and homes.  We also had a walk on the beach. The road we took back to the east side ended at a place that advertised homemade ice cream, guava, soursop and mango.  She only had soursop, so that is what we had. Might not be my favorite, but it was refreshing.

When we returned to the marina Vic and George had just returned from a fishing trip with a very nice Wahoo. They told us to come back around six when they would be feeding the sharks. On cue a bull shark swam by. While I was learning about the fish, Reggie was organizing a BBQ with the other cruisers here.  A swim in the pool was necessary by then and was as refreshing as it should be.

Part of our time Wednesday was spent discussing plans for our travel and our next stops.  We have a short window of weather which would allow us to move on to the Berrys Islands.  However, there is  a weather system coming through which will generate uncomfortably high winds from the east, the direction we wish to go next.  We would find ourselves looking for protected hiding spots to anchor and perhaps be stuck on our boats for days.  Plan B would be to just stay in Bimini and explore and enjoy.  We all opt for an extended stay here in the marina until the next weather window.  We notice most boats stay only long enough to clear customs and immigration and then move on, not taking time to see what Bimini has to offer.  Our goal was to go the Bahamas.  Bimini IS in the Bahamas and is nothing like home.  And we are enjoying it!  Hooray for plan B!

 I was feeling relaxed after my swim in the pool and nap, so it was time for a little excitement… the shark feeding! Apparently you do not swim in the harbor here as bull sharks call this home. I’m told they are very aggressive. Vic had the Wahoo’s head on a rope and hung it over the side of the boat. I guess the plan was to pull it up before a shark could get it. They were going to tease the sharks a bit. Well, the lesson I learned was don’t tease the sharks. One grabbed the head so fast that Vic didn’t have time to do anything. The shark swam away with the head, the rope and almost with Vic. The BBQ was good fun and then we retired to Submit for a good night’s sleep.

Day two was Thursday, the day each week that supplies are shipped in, weather permitting. The containers are unloaded in the parking lot and pickups, cars, wheel barrows and small trucks load up with the supplies they ordered. The street is packed with hauled supplies.

Our first stop was the craft market where I found the perfect hat. It made me want to dance. Since I’m not a hat person, this was quite a find.

Anita also finally found the perfect-shirt for her grandson.   Reggie re-started our Bahamian phone. The only disappointment was the ice cream store was closed today. Better luck next time, Ray. We enjoyed another afternoon by the pool and dinner at the Big Game Club Marina next door for grilled ribs or snapper.

Day three found us off to South Bimini. We decided to take the ferry instead of deploying the dinghy. We explored the nature trail where we were warned by several signs not to touch the poison wood tree. I’m not sure that I could identify it even yet. To be on the safe side, I’m not going to touch any tree except a palm.  

Apparently all creatures great and small deserve protection here. Ray doesn't seem to agree.

Neither does the owner of the house behind them

We either didn’t find the shark lab or what we did find wasn’t so appealing, so we skipped it and chose to have lunch at the Sands Marina. The special was either a boiled dinner or BBQ chicken with garlic mashed potatoes. Since I will eat garlic mashed potatoes at every meal that was my choice. It came with pasta; there were no garlic mashed potatoes. I then wished I had chosen the Angus burger. Since that was the only disappointment of the day, I won’t complain.

Next stop was the fountain of youth.

 I’m sure this one is the real one. When we arrived back to Submit it was very hot, but my eyes wouldn’t stay open. When I finally awoke, Reggie said, “Well that fountain of youth really worked. You slept like a baby!”

The evening was another social around the pool and then dinner of the fresh Wahoo. Delicious.  After dinner, we were too hot in the boat so we sneaked up to the pool for a dip.  It was cool and refreshing and we had it all just for the two of us.  Quick!  Wrap in a towel and skitter back to the boat.  All is good.

Today is Saturday, day four.  We had a slow morning, participating in the dockside conflabs about weather, politics, weather, religion, weather, recipes, weather....

followed by renting a golf cart so the four of us could go exploring.  Ray was the chauffeur and did a commendable job of driving on the “wrong” side of the road.  Our trip was peppered with stops to explore local businesses.  Fresh tomatoes were found in one store, a chart book in another, etc.  We visited the big fancy resort casino where we gambled our selves silly for half an hour, losing $2.00 but gaining 4 nickels.  It took a few moments for some to understand that a return of 10% OF your investment is not the same as a 10% return ON your investment.

We stopped for conch salad at a roadside stand which was supposed, by some, to have the best conch salad on the island.  Small mountains of conch shells gave testament to their time in business.  Ray purchased an order and we all sampled.  Barbara and I had decided previous servings had been less than stellar.  This was really good!

Another stop at a local bakery provided cinnamon rolls, guava rolls and guava duff.  Guava duff is a Bahamian specialty, but each maker follows a different recipe.  This was the best ever, but the half pound serving is worth 10 pounds on the belt line.

Another stop gave us cracked conch.  We decided this is the day of sampling.  Dinner may be skimpy.

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