Sunday, March 25, 2007

Three Weeks, Three Vacations - (2)

I took a LOT of pictures in the Bahamas. So to get the most out of them I uploaded them to Picasa. Click on the albums within the posts for a big set of pictures from that particular day of the trip!

On Saturday afternoon we made our way to the Bahamas. We had a flight from Tampa to Miami and then from Miami to Nassau. All was fine on the way to Tampa, but we had a scare in Miami when after everyone was seated on the plane and it looked like we were set to go the captain came on and said, "I'm sorry folks, but one of our baggage handlers noticed a problem with the aircraft. WE are going to check it out and we'll get back to you." He comes back a few minutes later and says something like, "Well we have found that it's a major fuel leak so you all will have to go back to the terminal and wait till it gets fixed OR we find another plane". My question at this point was why was a baggage handler noticing fuel would think that would be part of their pre - flight routine. Anyways, we took off about 2 hours late, but in the end it was a problem. We jumped in a cab to go to the Nassau Yacht Haven where my dad and stepmom were waiting with cold beers and dinner.
Bahamas 2007 : Day 1
The first day we made our way from Nassau to Allen's Cay (Cay in the Bahamas is pronouced Key). This sail would be the longest of the trip at about 30 miles. Jason and I have tended to get sick on the boat in the past and so we took some "not so drowsy" dramamine. We were in fact not so drowsy and not sick at all which was nice. During the sail we even saw some dolphins jumping in front of the boat! They were quick little buggers though and so we didn't get a good look at them or any photos.

Once at Allen's Cay we immediatly headed out for some snorkling which is my favorite thing to do in the islands. Unfortunatly the seas were a mess and we ended up with more water than air down our snorkle tubes so it wasn't all that much fun. Allen's Cay also has a beach there that is loaded with iguanas. Nothing else is there except these big giant lizards that come running AT you when you arrive. I guess they are used to the humans feeding them and so are expecting some kind of grub from all that arrive.

That was just about all that we did that day. After a yummy dinner made with the pressure cooker it was off to bed for the sailing clan.

Bahamas 2007 : Day 2
The next day we headed to Hawksbill Cay which was about 20 miles from where we were. We had another great day sailing. Enee Marie is a great sail boat! She's fat and tubby and not too rocky and rolly. At Hawksbill we had our traditional setting the ancor beer and then headed ashore. Here the beach was truely unbelievable! There was a hill that you could climb on shore which gave great views of the surrounding area. On the walk up there was a mailbox in which you could leave a picture or a story or whatever and the name of your boat. It was crazy interesting to look through the book and see what people had left for you to read. At the top of the hill there is this little stand of stones all piled up nice and neat. I guess when Dad and Sue had been here a couple of weeks earlier there was a big lizard on the top of the pile, but no luck for us.

After our hike we went for a bit of a walk around the island although there wasn't terribly much to see. Then we went for our daily snorkling where although there wasn't much to see, I did see some schools of fish along with a tiny brown sting ray type thing. Back to the boat for snacks dinner and a wonderful sunset closed out the day at this amazing location. Tomorrow it would be off to what ended up being my favorite place that we saw.

Bahamas 2007 : Day 3&4

The next day we left at about 8:30am and headed about 10 -15 miles to Warderick Wells. This island and area of the Bahamas has been a nation park for a long time so there is no fishing and so on when you are in the waters that the park encompasses. As you sailed into the park, you call ahead to get a mooring ball and so we were lucky enough to get what ended up being the best ball in the area. You navigate down this channel type thing where there are shallows all in the middle of a 'C' shape. We happended to be right by the beach and so we had a short dingy ride into shore. On shore you could check your e-mail and there was a little book shop. They also had kyacks your could rent along with this beach bike thing that looked fun.

The first day that we were there, we headed ashore and took one of the trails to check out The Sound or the giant deep part of the Atlantic (all of the Bahamas are super in the 5-10 meter depths). It was a beautiful hike and at the end there is this big pile of wood that has a lot of boat names on there and the date. We didn't drop any piece of wood, but we did use the pile to hold our camera so we could take a picture of the two of us.

After the hike we headed back to the boat and this is where the funniest part of the trip happened. I happened to see some kind of big ass fish in the water, so I grabbed my snorkle gear and jumped in to check out the scene. Hanging out under our boat was a group of fish, I would say maybe about 25 of them. They were BIG fish with yellow tails and I was doing totally fine until they turned and started coming at me. I got my ass out of the water so fast! I told Jason, "get in there and see if they bite!" and he said, "Kay" and he jumped in! He also had the fish turn on him so he jumped out of the water before the big giant fish came at him....of course in the end they ended up just being yellow tailed whatever and weren't dangerous or anything....but damn were they scary looking.
Warderick Wells Hike

On the second day Jason and I took a long hike around the island and met Dad and Sue at one of the Beaches where the trail let out. It was amazing out and the landscapes were so cool. I took a lot of pictures on this trip so that is why there is a separate album here. Along the path of the trail there was a cave type hole in the ground with a ladder heading down into it, so we were able to climb down and check it out. It was called someone's hideaway or something like that. Once we got to the beach we met up with Dad and Sue who had sandwiches and beer to give us. We hung out on the beach and were lazy. While Jason and I were in the water Dad was making friends with some of the local lizards. I came back ashore and was able to get some good pictures of the little guy who ended up eating out of our hands. It was one of these curly-cue tailed guys who's tail had been cut off. Make sure you check out the photo album for pictures of that little guy.
Bahamas 2007 : Day 5

After Warderick Wells we headed to Compass Cay. We had a bit of an issue ancoring that day, but we got it on attempt number 3. After we ancored we were wondering if we should go snorkling. I said, why not even though I was a bit tired. So we got in the digny and headed out. It was a REALLY long dingy ride and I was starting to think that it wasn't going to be worth it once we got there. But boy was I wrong!!! We saw an amazing assortment of fish. I got a bit worried at one point because the current is really strong and I got pulled a bit farther away that I would have liked too. I am a fairly strong swimmer so I made it back without any issue. I went around where Jason was and we just a huge assortment of fish. 50 of this kind and 50 of that kind. It was looking inside an aquarium! All of a sudden Dad goes, Leah Jason there's a sting ray over here. So we headed over to where he was and saw the most amazing thing. A big giant sting ray just flying through the water. They are so graceful when there are swimming. We watched him until he tucked himself away. Really really amazing!
Bahamas 2007 : Day 6&7

From Compass Cay we headed to Staniel Cay which would be the end our journy. We weren't leaving yet for a few days, but we were going to stay at Staniel as we had a flight from here back to Nassau where our flight to Chicago was leaving from. For those of you James Bond fans, this is where the movie Thunderball was filmed.

We had some more problems ancoring on this day.....and maybe just everyone should shut up :-) I kid. The very first thing we did was head to Thunerball Cave to go snorkling. My dad kept telling me how wonderful it was and there are a lot of fish and yadda yadda yadda. You can feed the fish as well and so we brought a little bag of bread to give them. I could not believe how many fish there were! You stick your face in the water and they are all over you like white on rice. It looked like when you were swimming as if you would be pushing them out of your way. You swim into this cave which has sunlight coming in through the top of it and it's absolutly breath taking! The best snork of the trip was saved for last and just as good as when they were trying to describe it to me over the phone.

That night before we went to bed we were noticing some lighting way off in the distance and haha isn't that kinda cool. At about 2am my dad came and told us to close all the hatches as it was starting to pour (I am a VERY hard sleeper!) Everyone gets up to check out the weather and it is BEYOND crazy! It's so so windy and the boat has turned itself around (I don't understand how the ancor didn't pull up since were behind where we put it in the first place....luck I guess). We turned on the radio and listened to people talking about some powerboat that had gone blowing through a field of boats. It is very very rocky and rolly and I head back to bed to lay down. I think I was starting to fall back asleep around 4am at which point there was some big giant loud banging on the hull right in our cabin. That snapped me right back up as I thought...I don't know something had hit it so hard that there was now a hole in it. We figured out the chain to the ancore must have gone under the boat henc causing the loudness in our cabin. I finally fall back asleep a bit later. Needless to say everyone was very tired the next day and naps were taken by all.

The winds were still up the next day and so didn't go snorkling. We did go check on our flight and have a beer and watched some basketball in the bar that was there. That evening we had a nice dinner at the Yacht Club.

And then we departed. We left Staniel Cay on this super tiny airplane. 6 people could fit on it....two of which are the people flying the plane. The flight ended up being early, but no early flight to Chicago so we had about 8 hours in the Nassau airport. We had a cramped flight back to Chicago....but it was so so nice to be home.

I miss my dad. I really do. But man this retirement thing that he chose to do, is really amazing. It's such an amazing place and the freedom to just go and see whatever the hell he wants to is understandably desireable. Plus, this getting to go to the Bahamas and only pay for my pretty nice :-) A big thanks to Dad and Sue for housing us for the week. Can't wait till BVI!

I love you Dad!


Bob said...

Wow, Simply awsome. I love sailing in the low lattitudes. Welcome back to reality. :)

Firefly's Running said...

Wow, Jason and Leah! Amazing pics...lots involving BEER. Sounds like you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing with us!!

Susanne Hinson-Rieger said...

I am loving your trip reports and photos!! Leah, you look so much like your dad!

LeahC said...

thanks susanne!

when i look at baby pictures of my dad it's creepy how much alike we look. When I look at pictures of my dad and his dad and how much they look alike it's even scarier :-)