Sunday, March 28, 2010

Return to Hopetown

The day greeted our sail with rainy skies but a good wind and we anchored in one of our favorite spots, Hopetown Harbor; where Brad finally was able to secure a local delicacy of fresh conch salad, merely marinated in lime juice and spices, and we all enjoyed one more view of the lighthouse. The Hopetown Lighthouse is one of 3 remaining lighthouses in the world that are still kerosene fueled and cranked by hand.

Man O War Cay

The following day’s sail to Man O War Cay was one of the best yet with sunny skies and a brisk wind which for once was not directly into the face of the direction we wanted to head. On land Jay and Amy continued their tradition of ice cream and bench enjoyment, while Brad enjoyed a Cuban cigar fishing off the back end of the boat at our mooring.

Guana Gifts

Our evening at Guana Cay was filled with a beautiful Grabber sunset and a dinner of local lobster. The next morning we announced our arrival in the area on the cruisers’ net, broadcast on channel 68 vhf every morning at 8am with all the local happenings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sail to Treasure Cay Abacos

The wind gods were against our plan but we finally made it the 15 miles from Marsh Harbor to beautiful Treasure Cay and the Coco Beach Bar, where Cindy and Amy helped with (or was that helped themselves to) the barbeque cooks.Coco Beach is rated one of the top ten most scenic beaches in the world and it lived up to its billing. We also learned that Jay is still capable of sprinting 50 feet in 5 seconds, just barely making it into the group shot with his final leap. Then to top this before our departure in the afternoon, we woke up to the treat of dolphins swimming just off the back of the boat and Brad fished off the end of the pier – no fish (well there was that one small one) just one shark, 2 sting rays, a jellyfish. More to come as we set sail for Guana Cay and will anchor off the Gumelemi Cay reef for lunch.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wades Abaco Arrival

The newest episode of “Lost” took place as Cindy and Jay took a virtual Hawaii Five – O video of the 4pm Marsh Harbor to Hopetown Ferry to capture the very arrival of our friends the Wades from Lowell Michigan; scaring the skipper of the ferry who likely thought he was being pursued by terrorists only to discover that there were but three passengers on the boat and there wasn’t a Wade amongst them. Meanwhile on Elbow Cay surveying coconut trees and curly tail lizards at the Harboredge Bar were Amy and Brad at the dock waiting for US!! Having been dropped off by the 2pm ferry (since their complete airline schedule had deviated from anything resembling the original plan) at the wrong dock at the North End (for those who don’t know about one mile to town); they befriended complete strangers (to those of you who know them this is probably no surprise ) who came to rescue them and delivereth them forth to the somewhat correct location where they were finally united with Cindy and Jay (as seen in the foursome photo). The next day provided some terrific rain-drenched scenery from the top of the Hopetown Lighthouse, and our arrival on the Sunsail boat (that’s A & B in the cockpit of the newly christened yacht “AMBRA” in Marsh Harbor) where we experienced “Fire in de hole erotic rum” with umbrella providing minimal protection from the elements (as seen in photo of large cherry)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Experiencing life in Parrot Paradise

Our first day in Paradise was spent enjoying our cottage and the island, and the second provided calm winds so we ventured south on the Sea of Abaco to Snake Cay with kayaks precariously loaded onto our runabout for a beautiful 3 hour paddle through a marsh area; returning to White Sound and the Abaco Inn for one of our favorite sandwiches the Mantua ( a grouper open faced sandwich with sprinkled parmesan cheese).

Then as day three’s winds picked up again we decided to head into Hopetown for a rented bike tour south to Tahiti Beach stopping for lunch at “On Da Beach” and more fantastic scenery.

Arrival in the Abacos

We spent one night at the Conch Inn finalizing preparations for our second week hear chartering a 36ft Jeanneau with Sunsail in Marsh Harbor, then it was over to Parrot Cay to a bit of heaven on earth. This visit we are staying in the South Cottage rather than the Perch which we enjoyed our first 3 trips here. Pictures are of Cindy on the patio looking out at Lubbers Quarters, the next island south, and Jay in the same spot enjoying breakfast while reading a Clive Cussler novel; our breakfast patio and Cindy on the dock getting ready to board ouir 17ft Boston Whaler at Island Marine. Our first night , the actual date of Cindy’s 60th birthday we were joined by local friends at the cottage (for which photos will be posted at a later date since they were taken on a different camera)for some conch fritters and fried pickles made by Capt. Jack’s owner Lana.

Birthday Bash Bust

Cindy seen in photo with all of the close friends and relatives who took the time out of their lives to help celebrate my 60th birthday with me in Florida. While it literally rained on my parade I was forced to some major introspection about relationships throughout the months long planning process for this event. Many people never responded at all, a trend of casuality that is plaguing our society, depriving us of civility in general. In the end many non-attendees offered explanations for their inability to be there that frankly if the exact situation were reversed, I would not have offered in excuse, and have been there without fail. That led to the introspection about the basis of my value system with friends and relatives versus theirs.

Shortly after this non-event I received an email from Beth Buelow, a lifestyle coach, which contained a rather pertinent message. This was “ Being attached to certain outcomes is different from wanting to achieve a goal. Being attached means that we want nothing less, more or different than our desired outcome. We perceive anything else as failure.Being open to outcomes, however, means that we have a goal in mind while being open to the unpredictability of the journey and how we get there. We are more in line with our intention (how we want to feel) than the finished product”. Wonderfully wise words but difficult to hold onto when you feel hurt by the actions virtually everyone that you felt important in your life, so perhaps I needed to change what I offer in relationships to be more on a par with others abilities to relate.

Particularly disappointing was that I had planned this portion of our trip with the hopeful intention of sharing some childhood experiences of the Beachcomber with my sister Sue, who was one of the no-shows after indicating she would be there, and thus central to the planning at this location.

At the same time I was also finishing reading the book “The Match” about an historic golf match with Ken Venturi, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, and Harvie Ward at Cypress Point, the author proclaimed underlying theme of which is “Friendship, loyalty, the real meaning of pride, and the high price paid for idealism and integrity in the real world.” Toward the end the author is talking about the ends of some of these lives and writes the following: “No four men will ever play such a match again, for the love of the thing itself. The genuine way they lived their lives makes most of today’s fast and frenzied sports and entertainment culture seem like so much packaged goods, a self-conscious, inauthentic hustle. In their best and worst hours alike each one of these four stood his ground, put all he had on the line, and for better or worse lived with the consequences of his actions and moved on. Some green, untested souls might be tempted to wonder why one should still care, but none of us are here forever, we’re not even here for long; and if it’s true that our collective past exists inside all of us, unless we take time to bear witness to the best of those who strived before us, our chance to learn from their lives will be lost forever, and we will be the poorer for it.”

It’s no wonder that I have always loved the game of golf as it rewards a certain purity of heart, and the courses on which it is played predictable in their design’s intent; infinitely more understandable that the idiosyncratic behavior of humans. I guess I just wish my friends and relatives would feel more like I do about them as far as their importance in my life journey. For now I will move on to one of our favorite places in the world and leave further reflection for another time

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the train again, I can't wait to get on the train again

We decided to use another form of transportation to get to the southern reaches of Florida this year and really enjoyed our overnight on Amtrak from Raleigh to Ft. Lauderdale, even though they decided to shortcheck our luggage to Tampa. Most of the photos are a bit blurry due to the constant vibration, but I think in the case of Rab and Charles a bit of fear was evident as this was their first such excursion. Waiting for the train in Raleigh we had an outstanding meal at "Pits" barbeque and another terrific spot Jibarra mexican that we hope to hit on the flipside return.

Jay of course gallantly climbed into the upper bunk.

North Carolina grits

We shared a wonderful two days with Michigan friends Dean and Laura Johnson in Southport, North Carolina. The highlight of the trip had to be the caramel, cashew, chocolate pieces vanilla ice cream we shared on Jay's birthday. But we also took a round trip ferry ride from the new terminal in town to Bald Head Island.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cindy's 60th Birthday Celebration winter trip

We have initiated stage one of the B Vacation Celebration Invitation Itineraries, and Rab and Charles were positioned in the car with sunglasses at the ready position.

On our way to the March 11th birthday celebration at the Beachcomber resort in Pompano Beach, which will be followed by a Bahama Beach bash on March 15th in the Abacos, we stopped first in Indianapolis to visit friends Kitty (bathrobe bathing beauty after a night of Canary Tweeting) and Bob Parrin, Ann and Gary Mills

(that's Jay waving hi and bye to an out of action due to illness Gary's place of employment as we leave town), and Jim and Robbie Cooper.

On the way through Lexington we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants just to get a loaf of their world famous cornbread, wth a side of black bean/cubed roast beef chili with sour cream and chives. Heaven!

That evening found us in Johnson City, Tennessee at the home of Marilyn Wolcott where she surprised us with her homemade cornbread and chilli. What are the odds of that,
and the next day on our way to rendezvousing with Dean and Laura Johnson we pulled over at a rest stop and enjoyed the remaining DeSha chili and a combination of cornbreads. If anyone is counting that's three straight meals of the exact same gas inducing food. It's certainly a new record of repetition for us.