Thursday, February 26, 2009
It was mostly cold, cloudy weather for the time we spent in the Bahamas. Our next stop was Harbor Island.
While we took refuge there from the storms, the weather finally granted us some sun.
Very typical Bahamian housing. Bright, happy colors everywhere.
For a few hours one afternoon, we zipped around the island in island style (in a golf cart). They drive on the "wrong" side of the road here.
Dramatic tides, I guess?
Closeup on the roots of a dead tree that we happened upon. It stood in the middle of nowhere on this empty sand.
Parked the golf cart and headed to check out the Pink Sands beach.
What a lovely place to spend the afternoon. (Unfortunately we had only a half hour or so.)
Our view from the bar. My heart always goes out to the emaciated-looking horses that belong to the typical touristy pony rides. Yes, I would want to ride if it looked like they ever fed them or took care of their feet, but these guys just looked sad after being let loose by their owner for the afternoon. So much for "paradise". Hungry ponies forlornly traveling the beach kind of ruins the illusion.
Chickens! Harbour Island was full of chickens. Everywhere! They'd be darting out of the way everywhere you turned. Insert "chicken crossing road" joke here.
Bright colors on everything.
And hey look, I match!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
A water taxi ride away was Port Lucaya. Like everything in the Bahamas, it was bright and colorful.
But the cheery paint didn't fool me. Run down and empty, it was another ghost town experience.
Half of the stores were closed and out of business despite promises to "Open Soon!"
I went into the drug store and was too afraid of the dodgy shopkeeper who stared at me to take pictures.
For New Year's Eve, we took the water taxi back to Port Lucaya to find some celebration. We found a rather wonderful little restaurant, Agave, serving surprisingly well priced and tasty food. I enjoyed several chocolate martinis and enjoyed the people watching. For once it seemed like a busy place and it wasn't just the locals. Everyone was out to have a good night.
The restaurant passed out party favors and noise makers, encouraging the tourists to partake in the festivities. I was thrilled. It's the little things, right?
Other uses for party hats.
The next morning we took the tender down the shoreline to find a nice beach to spend New Year's Day at.
It was by far the nicest place I had seen on the island.
Once we got the jet skis in the water, we spent our afternoons off exploring the island.
I had a lot of fun driving the jet ski, but man was I sore after the first day!
It was endlessly fascinating to see straight down into the crystal clear water.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
On one particularly hectic day, we rented a car to do a whirlwind provisioning run. This is where the Garmin told us Super Target was located. (After having already visited the site of a Target that had been torn down for rebuilding.)
Dougie Fresh showing off his second helping of Ice Cream Tower while I was playing with my new camera. My old camera finally had enough of being tossed around in my bag and refused to focus anymore, so I bought myself a waterproof, shockproof, pocket sized little point and shoot to beat up. The underwater part was especially exciting since we were headed off to the Bahamas.
On Christmas day we departed for Grand Bahama. We spent the day underway and Hannah made a turkey. Had I not pasted over her face, she probably would have made me take it down. That's what she gets for making faces.
The Grand Bahama Yacht Club, where we docked, was a nice enough place but suffered from the same ghost town feel as the previous location. Much easier on the eyes, though.
We did have a neighbor on a smaller boat for a while. Meet Sad Boy. He would sit there looking so sad, sometimes crying, while he video chatted with someone we assumed to be his girlfriend. Poor, poor kid forced to vacation on a yacht with his parents over the holiday. Actually, I kinda felt for the kid... it was a really lonely place to be.
We spent most of our daylight free time at the pool since you had to take a water taxi ride to get to the beach. Not being high season, the pool and its bar/restaurant was always eerily empty.
One day, we took the "bus" to the grocery store to buy food. It was actually just a van.
I have no idea how the impoverished locals can afford to eat on this island! Everything was easily double, if not triple, the price it would be in the states. And the quality of the goods often left a lot to be desired. They must all eat ramen.
It was cold! Well, to be fair, I tend to get cold when it drops below 75. Here I am sporting a ridiculously fat jacket for a tender ride while the other tourists (all three of them) were in their bathing suits. I didn't feel too bad, though--the locals were all bundled up too.
Sunset from the treadmill on the second deck. This is the view I ran to every night. Not too shabby at all.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
After quite a bit of job searching, I moved onto a new boat in West Palm Beach, Florida.
It was like a ghost town since we were the only boat on the dock.
One Saturday morning we went across the street from the empty dock to find a farmer's market teeming with life to provision.
All of the locally grown produce was incredible. Or maybe I'm just too easily excited by vegetables. Yay!
Great place for people watching, too.
Meet and greet.
These tomatoes became, among other things, one of the best tomato salads I'd ever had. Heck, I snarfed a few of them down with a just sprinkling of salt.
Homemade pasta in colorful variety.
The smell from this stand was delectable. Even with my weak sense of smell, I was amazed by the overwhelming yumminess that was thick in the air. I could taste the fresh pastries just by breathing.
After all of the markets in Europe, it was nice to visit an American version celebrating community and real, honest food. Yum yum yum.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
After my little trip home to Arizona, I flew back to Florida in search of a new boat. The job search was slow, so we took a little day trip out to the Everglades to see what it was all about. Airboats!
And alligators! They boasted that one of these big guys was the star of the Lubriderm commercial. I later googled it and found that for at least one version they used animatronic gators, but I still want so badly to believe.
The captain of our airboat was quite the character.
The airboat glides over the sawgrass in water that is sometimes only a few inches deep.
An absolute master at finding the well camouflaged wildlife, our guide took the boat right up to the alligators for a little meet 'n greet.
This one-armed (well, he was missing a front limb) showoff displaying the eye he lost in a fight. And his pearly whites.
The everglades is not a swamp, but a really really slow flowing river. Merely a half a mile a day. We learned a lot of interesting everglades trivia on our trip... unfortunately most of which I can't remember since it was a while ago, and I'm so far behind in my blogging....
Speaking of behind in my blogging... Here's Florida holiday snow, just in time for Christmas.
Attended the very festive Ft. Lauderdale's Holiday Boat Parade, but the boats didn't cooperate with my camera so I'm just going to tell you that it was very fun.