Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sandy Point Cove, Great Inagua, Bahamas

After all the excitement of the "half fish", we tried to find an anchorage at Molasses Reef....but the skies were overcast and we actually hit some coral with the boat!  First time for that - Duane was on lookout and I was at the helm, probably going a little too fast for conditions.  I trusted the 3 different chartplotters I had in front of me showing no coral.  Learned my lesson, backed away from the coral and got out of there! 

So, we all decided to continue back to Sandy Point Cove where we know there is a good anchorage about an hour further.

Had to go thru a good rain shower to get here.

Some local fishermen stopped by our boat to say hello.  We had seen them yesterday on the north end of the island.  Chatted with them a bit - they were proud of their lobster/conch catch.  The guy in the yellow asked to bum a cigarette....we told him that we didn't smoke.  Together we and the other two guys agreed that he should stop that habit!  Nice fellows.

But soon the skies cleared a bit and we had a nice calm evening.

Everyone was a bit mellow from the sail and rain....and for once, we decided to skip the dinner hour!  We'll pick that back up tomorrow.   Was a good time to eat some leftovers and enjoy a quiet evening.

Sandy Point Cove, Great Inagua, Bahamas

While sailing south we got a big hit on the fishing pole - I slowed the boat down and Duane worked at reeling it in.  The pole was bent more than usual, so we expected it was going to be a big fish.  Towards the end it did seem to get a bit easier, like the fish had "given up".  Still a bit of work, but no darting down or sideways like usual.

Now we understand why!  A shark (or a bigger fish) took the back half of this nice wahoo!!

We got out the scale and weighed it - 31.2 pounds....if we had landed it whole - that would have been a big fish!!

I had to take some bread out of the freezer to make room for the vacuum packages.  (luckily, we have a salt water washdown hose right at the trampoline, so the mess was easily cleaned.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Man O War Bay, Great Inagua, Bahamas

Pretty sunrise this  morning!

Spent a good amount of time snorkeling.  Nothing spectacular but pleasant.

Lots of blue tangs!!

Ended the snorkeling day when a big shark came my way - I swam back to the boat and Duane helped me scurry back into the dinghy.   No photos were taken because I was too busy getting back to the dinghy!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Man O War Bay, Great Inagua, Bahamas

We started the day with a little bike ride to Bahamas Immigration to get our visa's renewed.  When we arrived in November, they gave us 120 days on our visa.   We're not  close to that expiration, but we don't know where we'd be at the 120 day mark.  So, we asked the Immigration agent if he would go on and renew early - and he very nicely obliged.  Now we have until June 21st to leave the country (or renew) - so we've got that chore taken care of.

Then it was time to get some fuel.  But there is no fuel at the we arranged for the local gas guy to bring it to us!

First we all had to move over to the government dock so the fuel truck could drive up to us.

We all got settled and waited for the fuel guy.

He arrived and quickly got busy pumping both diesel and gasoline (his truck has two tanks/pumps).

Fueling Sojourn

And What If.

Then we had a great 10 mile sail to the northern anchorage - here What If is sailing past the Morton Salt barge being loaded.

We're anchored at Man O War Bay - near an abandoned little settlement. 

Anchored just inside a large coral reef - should be spectacular snorkeling tomorrow!!

Dinner was on Sojourn - What If brought a warm spinach dip and fresh warm french bread from their bread machine for appetizer, I made a really, really spicy fish curry made with the wahoo we'd caught earlier for a one dish dinner served over Jasmine rice and Now & Zen brought brownies with a spray can of whipped cream for desert!!  Wow, I'll need to snorkel and swim for hours tomorrow to work some of those calories off!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas

The Bahamas Defense Force came into the small basin at sunrise - big boat!

We had made the appointment for Mr. Nixon to meet us at the dock at 9AM for an island tour.  This island is 50 miles long, so we couldn't reasonably tour it on bikes.  We all got really cozy in the crew cab pickup.

To get to the Iguana National Park, we had to drive through the Morton Salt factory salt ponds....more on that later.

As we got onto the cart path/road into the preserve, we stopped on the side of the road and plucked a piece of cotton growing wild on the side of the road.

The plants grow wild, leftover from failed attempts long ago to grow cotton in the poor soil.

After about a half hour of extremely bumpy riding in the truck, we made it to the edge of the park.  We couldn't go much further because the path had been washed out in a hurricane and has not been repaired.

 But we did see some birds!  These look like flamingos, but they're actually rosy spoonbills. 

Beautiful birds!!  You can almost make out the spoon - shaped bill on this photo.  Pretty weird looking!

And we did see a few flamingos....not as many as we'd hoped.  But good to see them.

On our way back we stopped by the Morton Salt plant where Leslie had called about a tour.  

We stopped at the gatehouse and got our passes.

Note the "glass free zone" - there is no glass allowed apparently because it is impossible to distinguish from salt crystals and they can't afford any contamination.

 This is the canal that carries the salt water that is pumped in from the sea to the vast salt evaporation ponds.

 Huge mountains of finished sand waiting to be loaded onto a cargo ship.

Here is a crystal from one of the salt mountains.

Then we drove out through the salt ponds.  There are 3 stages of evaporation.  The various ponds had different shades of pink.

This pond is almost ready for extraction.

 And here they are simply scooping up the sand and hauling it away.

And then it's loaded by conveyor into the cargo ship for final delivery for consumption and for things like road-salt. 

Beautiful place for a cargo ship!

And just after sunset, the Defense Force boat departed.

Lovely dinner "Taco Tuesday" was on board Now & Zen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas

Thought I'd include this photo from Leslie and Ralph since we don't have that many photos of the two of us - this was in the mangroves a couple of days ago.

Since we're on a dock for the first time in a long time, we all got our bikes out to do some exploring.  Always takes a little while after they've been stored - adjusting and pumping up tires.

Off we went - past the ever-present colorful regatta point buildings.

First destination is the lighthouse in the background.  Duane was several lengths ahead of the rest of the group - a fellow on a bike flagged him down for a chat.

He was stopping Duane to encourage us to visit a new bone-fishing lodge that they're opening down the street.  Very friendly fellow chatting with our gaggle of bikers.

On to the lighthouse - I believe this is one of just a few operating light houses in the Bahamas.  It was built in 1870.  Unlike most lighthouses in the US, the door is open and there is just a sign saying no one under 18 should enter.

Fun to climb all the stairs....there are a few rotten or missing so you have to be careful!

The old kersosene pumps that used to power the rotating beacon for the lighthouse.  (It now has  solor powered flashing light that appears to be L.E.D.)

Ed and Cathy on the way up.

The last 30 or so steps are narrow treads that are more like a ladder, very steep!

Leslie coming into the upper area.

The view from the top is nothing short of spectacular!

I'm inside the glass enclosed circular room at the top.  Cathy is on the catwalk outside in the wind peering in.

And so is Duane!

Looking back at Matthew Town from the windy railing.

Done with the lighthouse, we took a meandering ride into town.  The fact that Morton Salt employs a large portion of the population makes this town look a little more "upscale" than most of the Bahamas we've visited.

But there are still plenty of houses in disrepair, maybe abandoned after a storm.

We stopped at a small grocery and found a surprising stock of fresh vegetables.  Couldn't resist a 3 for $10 ice cold Kalik to be shared between the 6 of us.....the girls resting under a tree.

Someone at the store told us that their favorite restaurant was "Shanya's" just up the street....we finally found it with the help of Google -- since there was no sign or marking on the building.  I guess the locals know where it is....

The guys spotted a fuel truck and struck up a conversation about getting fuel delivered to us at the dock (there is no fuel station at the port).

Had a wonderful meal at Shanya's.  Our friendly server, Raquel even called Mr. Nixon, the park ranger for us to arrange a island tour tomorrow.  He met with us before or meals were served - arranged to pick us up at the dock at 9AM tomorrow morning.  It's a small world on an island!

We biked around and found another small grocery store.  Always fun to see what interesting things they have in stock.

(We had previously gotten some fresh carrots, romaine lettuce and some staples earlier in the day).  At this store, I found some lovely frozen fresh vegetables that look locally manufactured.  The middle bag is "hot" peppers.  We'll let you know how hot they are!  Glad to have some fresh stuff in the fridge again.   The green bag is something called Milo - which is a malt beverage mix.  I got it to add to my coffee - I love the creamers like French Vanilla - but they don't have it here.   I thought I'd give this a try to add some flavor.

Back to the boats - after a nice afternoon nap for most everyone.  Gathering on decks to see if there is a "green flash" at sunset.

As the sun peeks below the horizon - I thought I saw just a little bit of green.  A fun day.