Tag Archives: Bahamas

Sights, if not sounds, in Nassau

I had a great day yesterday wandering around Nassau from our marina to tourist area where the cruise ships dock as well as an area where the locals hang out to play checkers and dominoes.    Nassau is an area of great contrast from the run down to the glitzy.  First, this is a much better shot of The Abby.  What a nice boat.  Very powerful machine.

As I walked the two or so miles into town I passed Potters Cove where locals have put up shacks to serve food and sell conch.  The area, locals and their wares are very colorful.

The small shacks are lined up cheek to jowl accompanied by the din of small generators humming away to keep the lights on.  Quite a sight and plenty aromatic.

They aren’t too concerned about putting fenders out to keep their boats from bumping into each other.
A favorite pastime is dominoes which is more of a contact sport given the way that they slap the tiles down. They are very enthusiastic.
Conch are everywhere, stacked up on counters waiting to be carved up into dinner.

Some vendors clean up the empty ones and they are very nice. I need to get one of these to take home.  They are bigger than they look, with some measuring a foot across.

Some of the “items” for sale are not quite as appetizing though, like these land crabs. Imagine that they are nearly a foot across. They would be a great prop for an Indiana Jones movie.  Imagine yourself in a cave, in the dark, claws clicking away… You get the picture.

I tried hard to imagine what sort of recipe these would go into.   Cook’s Illustrated, help!!!For dinner we had grouper and picked it up at a road side stand where local fisherman displayed their wares.  For an extra $5 they will clean if for you.  It was a bit unsettling to watch how aggressively they went at the fish with a machete.  Scales  flying everywhere accompanied by a constant dialogue from his buddies dissecting his skills.  I was impressed.

A bit further down where the cruise ships dock, the environment is much different with high end fashion the norm. No dried fish here.

Well, that was yesterday and now it’s Thursday morning and raining steadily.  I am told that this is not normal weather at all according to Bob, the owner of The Abbey.  In the 8 seasons that they have spent here they have had more rain this winter than the total of their last seven years visiting the Bahamas.

With regards to our departure, we had expected to leave here on Friday or Saturday but now its looking more like Sunday. as there is a low and unsettled weather that just won’t budge.   For the short term, I just hope that the rain stops so we can do a bit more exploring later today.

A trail of breadcrumbs for Pandora

As we prepare for our trip south next fall, a key need is for our family to be able to follow us and our position along the way.  In the past sharing such information required equipment that was expensive or, at the very least, complicated.   However, with the advent of more sophisticated satellite technology, it appears that there are now systems available that enable us to set things up in a way so that our friends (and random blog readers) to follow us as we make our way south.  To say that we are in Charleston is nice, but for me it would be totally choice for someone to be able to look at a map online and see exactly where we are any day or any time of day, for that matter.  And as we move along the map will display a trail of bread crumbs to show where we have been.

Yesterday I called Henry Marx the owner at Landfall Navigation, a group that sells all sorts of boating safety equipment.  Henry is very knowledgeable and I expected that he would have something to say about this topic.  Yes, he’s never shy about saying what he thinks.  Today he responded with a note suggesting that the DeLorme inReach unit might do what we are looking for.   As a side note, Henry doesn’t stock the product as he specializes in safety products and does not want to take the chance that his customers will confuse this product with an EPIRB which is a critical safety device for the sort of sailing that we are planning.  Yes Henry, Pandora has one of those units aboard and happily, we have never had to activate it.  And yes, the batteries are up to date and it is properly registered.

The system works off of the Irdidium system of geosynchronous orbit satellites.  (I’ll bet you didn’t think that I could spell geosynchronous.   No, I can’t but that’s what spell check is for.)  I have always thought of anything associated with Iridium as being terribly expensive but this one isn’t at all.   The inReach unit itself retails for about $250 and the communication plans run anywhere from $9.95 to $49.95 a month with a year commitment.  The variables in these plans are related to the number of position fixes and text messages allowed per month.

The plan for us will likely be the $24.95 one as it allows unlimited position fixes and a reasonable number of text messages.  A text might say something like “headed to Andros on Friday”.  I understand that it also ties in with Twitter and Facebook but I don’t know exactly how that works.

In any event, in a day when we want to tell the world what we are doing every waking moment, including our trips to the bathroom, this is a great option.

This is an interesting video, sale pitch though it is, about the product.

I NEED one of these.  What’s great about this is that when someone asks my mother “It’s 10:00.   Do you know where your children are?”.  At the very least, she will know where Pandora is and I am never far away.  However, I will be sure to never take this particuar piece of equipment into the bathroom.   I guess I am just not in the right generation for that.

Oh, to be young…



So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?

As we prepare Pandora for our trip south I am reminded once again of the adage, “when Momma be happy, EVERYBODY be happy!” As I have said many times, it’s all about keeping Brenda happy and aboard with me.  These words are particularly true today as it’s her birthday.  Yes, January 15th is a day that you too should have in your calendar.  However, that’s another story and this post is about the cost of water.

More importantly, just how much would you pay for a gallon of water?    That question certainly has many answers all of which depend on your state of mind.   Questions such as… how thirsty are you, do you need a bath, or would it be a good idea if the person you are with down below took a bath?  Need to wash dishes?  Clothes? Each of these weighty concerns relate heavily to keeping Brenda, and to a lesser extent me happy aboard Pandora.

As we prepare Pandora for our upcoming strip to the Bahamas a big issue for us is one of having adequate water aboard.  Perhaps better put, the value of a gallon of water depends on how much you carry aboard and in our case, it’s about 125 gallons.  This seems like a lot but if you have to work hard, or travel great distances, to get more it’s a big deal.

Aboard Pandora we have two water tanks and we have documented that we tend to use about 15 gallons of water per day.  That means with reasonable usage we can fill up about once every 8-10 days, perhaps every two weeks if we were to really conserve.

A great solution to the water supply problem is to install an RO unit, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.  As I noted in a past post, we chose a Spectra unit and I will begin installing it in the next few weeks.   Setting aside cost, this is one complex unit.  Besides the obvious technology that makes the system work,  there are a LOT OF PARTS.  This sucker is complicated.   The instructions that came with it urged me to do a complete inventory upon delivery.  Here you go, a complete inventory…

Yes, it does look like it would be expensive.  But, more importantly,  back to the question about cost.  When you purchase a 12oz bottle of “designer” water for $2.00, that translates to roughly $20.00 per gallon.   Put it that way and it makes a $4.00 per gallon gasoline seem like a bargain and perhaps it is.

So, how much is a gallon of water worth?  In the Bahamas you can purchase water for about $.25/gal but that assumes that you can bring the boat to the dock or are willing to schlep the water by the bucket full from shore in your dink, something that I did last summer in Maine multiple times per week.   Given the cost of the unit I purchased it will take nearly 25,000 gallons of water to break even on making verses purchasing water.  At 15 gal per day it will take 1,600 days to use that much water.   Since we will be aboard Pandora for about 180 days in 2012, that means that we will break even on the purchase in about 10 years.  But wait, there’s more…

These calculations don’t even count the cost of maintenance of the unit or the cost of the energy to run it, not an insignificant amount.

So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?  If you compare the RO unit and the cost of those bottled waters that you get, I will actually break even on the unit in 3,000 gallons.  However, I find it hard to imagine pouring countless 12oz bottles of water over my head to rinse off after a hot day.  Decadent you say?

Perhaps better put is to repeat J.P. Morgan’s quip when asked how much it cost to maintain his yacht when he said,  “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”  Can I afford to use RO water aboard Pandora?   Who knows, but it’s safe to say “when Momma be happy…”

The value of a happy wife with that “just showered feeling”?  Bring it on.