Dis and Dat

Feb Point- choppers always checking- they know when you are sleeping, they know when you are … oh they know too much!

Ever since we bid farewell to Slacker, our musical selections are limited to our iTunes songs (extensive but not enough) and whatever local Bahamian FM radio stations we can pick up. Slacker doubled the price of using and updating offline stations shortly after we left Florida, plus the required station updating used a bit of data, so we decided to dump it and figure something out when we got back in April.

Picking up a Bahamian station is fairly easy here in George Town or when we were around Marsh Harbour, and probably near Nassau, but not exactly everywhere.

So early on in GT, while tucked in behind Crab Cay we had on 98.3 KISS FM.  A happy beat song caught my ear when I heard the words, “…come from U.S. and Canada”, followed by “SE winds blowin’ down Elizabeth Harbour”.  I mean it’s about Exumas with an obvious focus on George Town area. Using Shazam and then YouTube we figured out the name and artist (Basil Smith, “Exuma Sweet Like Dat” ) but it wasn’t until the day before leaving Elizabeth Harbour that we learned of a possible place in town that sold CDs. Ah, another challenge to acquire music. Click HERE to listen to my new fave. The recorded via iPhones ones on Youtube were awful, but Russ found a website that used the song in a slideshow. You will enjoy the photos too. 🙂

Reading gets a great deal of attention and is Russ’s favorite downtime interest. Paddle boarding might win out but it’s limited to ideal conditions, and day time!

Heading for a dead end behind Crab Cay

So now I’ll tell you how we came to read an excellent book written by Libby Brown; don’t know who she is do you? Hang on then.  Hint: it’s more likely to interest those who have visited the Bahamas.

We are regulars at the George Town library which is staffed by volunteers, most of them cruisers. The rectangular building sits next to the school and across from the straw market; a short walk down from Exuma Market.

A fellow cruiser was there looking for a certain recommended non-fiction book. Not being familiar with the layout, she needed help but she knew it was on the shelf. Turns out the book, “Making Waves” by Libby Brown was one I’d heard of from our friends at TOTW last year but never stuck in my memory to find it.  Nancy said that after she read it, she’d make sure I got it next. Well, not much time passed before I heard from her (always nice to make a new friend in George Town), with a rave review; both she and her husband loved it. Russ called first dibs because I’d just started another book and as of this writing I am 2/3 through it. When done I’ll end the suspense, but for now, just know that I plan to buy our own copy (this one is falling apart and we must return it next winter).

Avocados- I’m not (nor is Russ) an adventurous new/unknown/exotic foods person. But a different type of avocado isn’t all that daring, so I went for it. Staring at empty bins in Exuma Market one day, a local chef (he wore his chef outfit) suggested I try the local, grown on Andros, avocado. I did, it was very good although not quite the full flavor of a Hass.

Hass on left, Green Skinned from Andros on Right

Conch Chowder- back in Ortolan days after we’d had our conch cleaning lesson on the rocky ledge standing in shallow water (remember that?) and took home several conch all sliced and pounded thin, I found a good recipe in a cookbook given as a farewell gift when I left work. Goombay Conch Chowder- with an ingredient list to scare even a landlubber. Most are items you’d have on hand though, so in addition to the conch, I only had to buy a couple of ingredients. I prepared it a few times, then stopped.

As you may recall, in George Town if you want to buy fish, lobster tails or

Conch Chowder with sausage, bacon, celery, pots,carrots…

conch, you go to Tranee’s Salon. Conch is almost always available (frozen) but weather conditions need to be right for lobster or fish and with so many windy days (see, it’s not just me) conch held court day after day. So what’s a galley-slave to do? Buy the darn conch and make the chowder! I like it because it allows me to use celery; that food item I always have either too much of and it goes bad, or I simply don’t have.

Huge swells roll in from the bad nor’easter- all that way! No beach showed at high tide!

By now (end of March) I’ve lost track of all the Nor’easters but there was one whopper that pushed large waves/swells down into the Bahamas. For 4-5 days the waves were significant enough to make entering and exiting even the best of cuts, more than a bit dicey and not for the faint of heart. The relatively gentle breezes were a shame to waste. And those brave souls who were “out there” had more than the usual swell to contend with, more unpleasant at anchor than underway.

My first Boho leather wrap bead bracelet

Jewelry making days were in ample supply and I had hours to practice new techniques and research designs. In mid-Feb the (almost) annual Boaters Booty Beach Benefit took place on …. Yes! Chat n Chill Beach, aka Volleyball Beach. 🙂  On, again you may have already guessed, a too windy day for us to go across the harbour. The proceeds would benefit a local organization that helped disadvantaged young children in various ways. Cruisers made and donated items for a Chinese raffle, arts and crafts and baked goods sale. Used clothing, books and DVDs had a sale table too, resulting in nearly $2,000- the cruiser who organized the BBBB (which could also stand for Best Blue Boat Buddy but doesn’t) reported on the next morning’s Net and you could hear the joy in her voice. We did good.

In the process I learned of a woman who turned out to be an amazingly talented beader/craftsperson and she agreed to meet up and help me with a bracelet that I couldn’t finish thanks to lousy instructions. You can bet I’d be picking her brain plenty. As of today we are still working on meeting up; but that’s the cruising life. Weather, plans, timing all serve to bring us together as well as keep us apart. Fingers crossed for next season; by then I may even be a tiny bit more proficient.

Some define cruising as doing boat repairs in exotic places. I’d like to expand on that to include basic boat maintenance, bottom cleaning, oh and how about cooking, cleaning, laundry ! ,paddling (kayak, SUP) and ever-changing scenery with the possibility of new neighbors every night. Thought I’d end with this so you don’t conclude that we just lounge about staring at the beautiful waters filled with turtles, rays, pretty fish, or walk the pretty white beaches every day….. I wish.

Low tide bottom cleaning at Rolle Cay. Russ stands in 4.5ft of water- much easier this way

The task pictured below must be done in perfectly calm waters. If the space above the waterline gets wet, the acid wash won’t work, so you need dry, dry. Sometimes he does this at a floating dock, or using the dinghy, but the SUP was an excellent platform for the job.

Everything must do double duty – Russ uses SUP to acid wash clean our waterline

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