Monthly Archives: May 2012

Paradise found here in Nassau Bahamas

Well, I am sure that there are places that are more wonderful here in the Bahamas than downtown Nassau but compared to “normal life” it’s pretty nice here.  I arrived yesterday ia a flight from Hartford to help my friend Bob return his boat from Nassau to Norwalk CT.  Bob and his wife Ginny were kind enough to let me arrive a few days early to enjoy the sights prior to leaving on Saturday.  We are at a marina between Nassau and Paradise Island, home of the Atlantis hotel complex.  While this is the largest city in the Bahamas, it has a semi-third-world atmosphere.   What’s interesting about this is that in spite of this being a quite built up area, the water is really clear and blue.

Flying in yesterday from Miami was amazing as we scooted above the impossibly clear water that ranged in color from nearly white in the shallow areas to dark blue as it dropped off to several thousand feet deep in the ocean.  I am told that you navigate here by the color of the water as there are no markers.

It’s still early and it’s not very bright out but later I will take some pictures and include them in the post.  For now you will have to be happy with a shot of The Abbey in her slip.  Interestingly, the link that I put in my last post of a boat like Bob’s is actually his boat and it’s the listing from when he purchased her back in 2001.  That was the year that Bob and Ginny first came to the Bahamas, a voyage that they have repeated each year since.

The Abby was built in South Africa in 2001 and is just a great boat.  Here are some shots of down below.  There is a terrific master cabin aft and 4 pilot berths forward.  I actually have my own bed and don’t have to “hot bunk” on this trip.

A view forward in the main salon.

A shot from forward facing aft of the main salon.

What a great galley.  This boat is about twice the size of Pandora.

And, of course, the “crew quarters”  Mine bunk is to port up top.  It’s been a while since I slept in a bunk bed.  Not a lot of headroom up there but after getting up at 3:00 yesterday, I slept, as Brenda would say, “like a bowling ball”.  Toss me onto the bed, I roll to the middle and don’t move till morning.  Actually, the “rental” on the Kalik was up about 5am today so with nature calling, I was up briefly.

Today I will spend some time downtown Nassau and see the sights.   On Thursday we plan a snorkeling trip on one of the local guide boats.

When Bob picked me up at the airport yesterday he had to drive through a massive tropical downpour that left the roads underwater with really deep puddles everywhere.   As the rain cleared we stopped at one of the local eateries, really more of a colorful roadside shack, that served beer and simple food.   Bob insisted that I try a local treat, conch salad, which is basically raw conch meat cut into little cubes and marinated along with chopped vegetables and some spices.  IT WAS GREAT!!!  Conch is a large mollusk that is very common here in the Bahamas and is on nearly every menu.  Not to miss out, last night I tried fried conch for dinner.  Great too but not as amazing as the salad.  Oh yea, the local Kalik beer is great too.

For our trip to Norwalk we will have a total of 4 crew and hope to leave on Saturday.  The weather is looking a bit unsettled with lots of squalls between here and Cape  Hatteras so the weather will be a bit uncertain for the next few days prior to our planned departure on Saturday.

Well, I smell the coffee in the galley so I’ll sign off for now.

More to come later today.

Where’s Pandora? Perhaps better to say where’s Bob?

For some months I have been looking for a service that will allow me to provide real time location information here on where Pandora is at any given point.  This will be particularly valuable when Brenda and I head south in the fall so that family and friends can follow us as we make our way south for the winter.   Of course, the natural question that some to mind is “why would we want to follow your trip?”.  Well, that’s simple, because you can…

There are a number of services available that will track progress and I settled on a unit called SPOT.  This is a nifty device that’s just a few inches long and sends a signal to low orbiting satellites to keep tabs on where the unit is at any given time.  With an update every 10 minutes when it’s turned on, it’s an amazingly simple way to keep in touch.  This is an amazingly affordable service and you can click here to learn more about this remarkable device.  Even more interesting is this overview of how the unit works.  As simple as the device looks, it’s part of a system that looks REALLY COMPLICATED and EXPENSIVE.

This video gives a good overview of the tracking function.  What an awesome gadget!!!

“Spot” will be aboard Pandora most of the time but for now it will be with me as I head this coming week for Nassau Bahamas to help my friend Bob bring back his South African Islander 56′The Abby, to Norwalk CT.  At least, that’s where I think we are going.  Not sure as the boat spends a lot of time in Newport.  Well, I guess that will learn more when I head there on Tuesday.  I know Bob from my years as a member of the Norwalk Yacht Club and also as member of The Corinthians.

There will be a total of four of us on this trip and we expect to leave on the 18th or 19th of May and will arrive at some point late the following week.   As I understand it, we will head out into the Gulf Stream and ride it north.  This will allow us to make the trip as quickly as possible given the fact that the “stream” moves north at several knots which will give us a boost in speed as we head up the coast.

Anyway, back to the issue of tracking our progress.  With SPOT aboard, there will be a real time record of our progress as we head north.   I won’t turn the unit on until we leave the harbor except briefly when I get to Nassau to post an initial position on my SPOT page.  You will have to pan out on the map to get a better feel for where we are as the link defaults to a close up view.

It should be fun and I hope that you will enjoy “ride” with me.

More to come.

The wild life aboard Pandora and a Mother’s day greeting.

Even though Pandora is still on the hard in Norwalk CT, she’s still a hopping place for some.   In this case, the feathered kind.  When I went forward the other day to check out the anchor windlass I was surprised by a Ground Dove that had built her nest under the cover.  I was loath to interfere but had to attend to the anchor so unfortunately, disturbed her.   It was amazing just how brave she was and only flew away when I carefully prodded her with my outstretched finger on her back.   However, I did have to give her a poke as I really needed to lower the anchor to the ground for some work I was doing.  Most important is that the windless makes quite a racket, something that would surely have sent her “over the edge”.  I wanted her to fly away but not forever.She did make a run for it and I quickly snapped a photo of the egg while she was away.   I came back a few days later and she was still there but this time I kept a respectful distance.

With Mother’s day less than a week away I certainly don’t’ want to be accused of being tough on mothers.  Besides,  my own mom might get the wrong idea about me.

Pandora has proven to be a great home for me and Brenda and it seems fitting to have another family living aboard while she is on the hard.

Let’s hope that the chicks fly the coop by early June when Pandora gets launched.   So, how fast to doves grow?  For their sake, they had better be quick about it.

While life goes on aboard Pandora, I am headed to Freeport Bahamas this coming Tuesday to help a friend bring his boat back to CT.  It should be a great trip and I am sure that some fun posts will come from the journey.

More to come and soon I hope.