As Ben said in his post, we are a week away from 6 months on the water. That’s CRAZY! It has flown by. Absolutely flown. And I think here we are, enjoying the Bahamas, hard to believe we have come this far. Then I think back to all we’ve seen. Our first week we took the girls to St. Louis to see the Arch. They are collecting magnets and those were their very first magnets on their magnet boards. Their boards are filling up now. And for a long time their favorite place was Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, KY. We got to see Nashville and Chattanooga and those were both awesome. Those seem like a lifetime ago and yet it was just a few short months ago. And so many more places along the way before we made it all the way south. All of them were special places with special memories. Wonderful visits with friends and family, great discoveries, new experiences for the girls and for us, and countless new friendships made.
We ended up in Great Guana Cay for an extra day. Sunday morning brought high winds and one look out at the Sea of Abaco and the wind and we weren’t going anywhere. So glad we didn’t! Slowly but surely one boat after another came flying into the marina and out of the wind. By Sunday late morning 3 boats that we left West End with had joined us. We left Green Turtle before they did and it was great to see them again. We also met a few new people there that spend time here every year and were full of advice for routes and places to go. We welcome all of it! Monday morning the winds had died down and it was time to go. But first, time with friends. Bill and Kellirae from Ocean Dancer came and hung out on the boat for a bit to visit. They are hoping to go diving and Ben would love to go with them since he needs a buddy to dive with. Sonny and Phyllis from Corkscrew were right next to us. The girls LOVE their dog Marena. We spent some time on their boat Sunday playing with her and visiting with them and Monday morning Phyllis came out and asked if the girls could come over again before we left for Treasure Cay. As soon as they finished their school work they hopped on over. Phyllis makes jewelry. She uses their second bedroom as a bead and jewelry room. The girls made jewelry with her and had such an amazing time. Their jewelry is beautiful! They want to blog about it though so I’ll save the pictures for them to post. Molly also asked Phyllis lots of questions about jewelry making so we’ll post those answers as well.
After saying goodbye to everyone we moved along. We just had to go 10 miles across the Sea of Abaco to the other side. Treasure Cay is on the mainland of Great Abaco island. I’m reminded every time we travel somewhere new that I don’t like the way the ocean rolls. It was sunny and beautiful and no matter what, the ocean has swells and rolls. Even for 10 miles. But we pulled into the well marked channel and this marina is tucked way back behind the island on an inside channel. Such a nice change. Our last two marinas have had no protection and we’ve had a lot of strong winds (it’s winter after all). Finally we are somewhere that’s mostly quiet and still. We planned to stay two days, which has now turned into four again because of a front that moved in this afternoon. Treasure Cay has one of the top beaches in the world. I said to Ben today that this is what I picture when I think of the Bahamas. We’ve seen quite a few neat little towns, exposed the girls to new cultures, seen new things and all has been great….but this is like a postcard.
Monday afternoon we walked to town (which is 10 steps from the marina) and checked out the grocery store. Each little town the stores have gotten a little bigger. We are on the mainland now so we should be able to get better produce and selection. We’ve learned that the store has different things each day. Monday bananas looked decent, romaine horrible and disgusting. Cucumbers have been fine everywhere we’ve gone. Tuesday bananas completely gone from store. Shelves stocked with new romaine. Bell peppers still wrinkly. But got more cucumbers and made a big cucumber salad. Also grabbed romaine – we had run out a few days ago and I like having fresh produce on hand. Today the bananas were back and Ben bought a bunch. But all the romaine was gone…so weird! Tuesday we also walked into the bakery and a couple of other little shops. We promised the girls we’d come back for cinnamon rolls and ice cream. We walked over and checked out the beach. It’s as beautiful as we had been told.
Tuesday after school we hopped in the dinghy. We chatted Monday night with a fellow looper who has been here awhile. He told us some places to explore to find loads of turtles and rays. It was a cloudy and windy day. We ducked into a little cove. Ben saw a couple of turtles but the rest of us missed them. But we stopped so the kids could look in the water. Sea cucumbers, starfish, one big ray…plenty to see. The girls didn’t want to get in the water. It was chillier than they have become used to so instead they snorkeled over the side of the dinghy. Ridiculous but it worked! We got chilly and headed back to the marina. We walked to the bakery and they were OUT of cinnamon rolls! NO! Molly and I had been waiting all day. She settled for a huge blueberry muffin instead and Maddy got Junkanoo ice cream (Superman in the US). Another trip to the store and back to the boat for Taco Tuesday.
Today was one of my favorite days! The girls and I were up shortly after 7 and by 8 we were at the bakery along with a lot of other people. The cinnamon rolls were well worth the wait. SO good. I ate half and saved the other half for Ben. The girls each polished an entire one off. They did eat half and eat the rest a couple of hours later.
As soon as we were done eating we ran down to the beach. I love being out in the morning. The water is so calm and peaceful as is everything else. The breeze was a bit cool since it was early so the kids opted for clothes instead of suits. I should have known better. Two hours later, every inch of clothes covered in sand we headed back to change to suits. I was able to run/walk on the beach while they built a castle in the amazing powdered sugar sand.
Then I got them to walk down the beach with me because I spotted another mom with two girls down the beach. We went and talked to them for a bit. They come down every year for a week or so and she gave me some good tips. One tip was where to find sand dollars! I’ve been waiting to find one! One of my favorite memories from childhood vacations is walking on the beach collecting sand dollars. They are so beautiful. On our way back down the beach I spotted a ray in the water very close to the beach. Then Molly spotted a crab lying on the beach. She touched it and it was still alive and had washed up. She ran back and got shovel to try to scoop it up. I eventually scooped it up with a lot of sand and carefully put it back in the water. We watched for a bit to make sure it didn’t wash up again.
Anyway, back to the boat, swapped our sandy clothes for swim suits and headed back. We took Ben with us. There were storms forecasted for this afternoon through tomorrow morning. Can’t waste the good weather sitting on the boat! We went back to the beach at low tide, i.e. sand dollar time! We walked a least a mile and a half down the beach. Tide was out and we could walk way out in the water. Ben spotted the first sand dollar! Yay! And then after he found that one we found tons of little baby ones. The lady we met on the beach explained that if they are brown and on top of each other they are still alive but if they are white they are dead and ok to take.
Molly also found a starfish in the water and the girls took turns touching it. And then Ben found one washed up on the beach. The girls touched it and moved it around. We are pretty sure it was no longer alive but Maddy insisted on putting it back in the water anyway. Back to the sand – the girls made chairs in the sand and covered every inch of their bodies in sand!
All of this exploring fit so perfectly into our ocean habitats and animals unit. We did school when we got back to the boat. The girls grabbed a laptop and did some research on Starfish and will look up Sand Dollars tomorrow. They learned that starfish eat by having their stomach come out through their mouth to get food. Yuck. Anyway, they were giggly and excited about that.
Storms moved in tonight. Currently we are sitting without power. The whole island appears to be out, as is all WiFi so no blog posting tonight. This happened last week during winds as well. Not much we can do but wait and turn the generator on if we need it. It’s quiet now but more rain is expected. May be a rainy boat day tomorrow but hopefully just for the morning. We will likely move onto Marsh Harbor Friday. Update – it’s sunny and beautiful and this morning and the power was only out for about an hour. So school and then more exploring!
Random closing thought. I blog about what we see and do on our trip. But it’s not all beaches and exploring and swimming. It’s also boring daily life. I get up with the girls in the morning. I make breakfast and we make lunch and dinner most days on the boat. We ate out a lot in FL, not so much here. I have been craving a good meal out. A lot of food here is fried and overpriced and we can eat better on the boat and it’s simpler, so we do. I do a LOT of dishes. Dishes all the time. I do laundry. We clean all the time. I clean inside. Ben cleans outside. The girls help – Molly more than Maddy. The boat breeds dust everywhere. We are constantly cleaning floors and picking up toys and trying to find places for everything. A friend commented last week that he loves that we are always in swimming suits in pictures. I replied back that I don’t much take pictures or blog about time spent on the boat. But we do all the everyday life chores as well. Every day! And then we get to go outside and experience the amazing beauty of where we are. It’s a balance we’re happy to take!