Tuesday, 4/8/08 Day 66
We spent the whole morning doing laundry. We had all the sheets, towels, and blankets that got wet, as well as the normal clothes, so we had extra to wash. We did all of our schoolwork for the while doing laundry. When schoolwork was done, Josh went back to the boat to work with Dad, while I finished up laundry with Mom. I don't mind folding clothes (mostly underwear and shorts, and sheets with Mom).
We hung out at the pool and on the boat for the rest of the day. In the evening, we met a bunch of kid's from a fishing boat who were going fishing. We asked if we could come and grabbed our stuff. There were 2 nurse sharks in the canal where we were fishing. The kids told us that they come here every year, and every year they see these nurse sharks and try to catch them. The sharks have grabbed their lines before, but the sharks always get away. Two of the younger kids caught a little Mangrove Snapper (also known as a Gray Snapper) and a little barracuda. I helped the kid with his 'cuda and carried it to his parents for him. It was his first barracuda ever and he wanted them to see it, but he didn't want to touch it.
I tried to catch the nurse sharks too. Even after they left, I stayed and continued fishing. Finally, as the sun was setting, the shark bit my squid and ran! If fought that 5ft. shark for around 2 ½ minutes before it broke my line. Though I was using steel leader, I was using only 10lb. test line (some of the weakest) and a little rod and reel. It was a nice fight (though he was mainly just taking my line) because the sun was setting and people were blowing conch horns. I told everybody in the marina that I saw that I caught this 5ft. nurse shark!
I got back just in time for some great tasting Pompano Dolphin for dinner. Afterwards, I went out to the place where I caught the shark to show Dad where we will go tomorrow when we try to catch it again. I'll use a much larger pole and reel, with 20lb. test line, a larger steel leader, and a larger hook. I'll catch this shark!!! Today was awesome.
Wednesday, 4/9/08 Day 67
Today wasn't all too interesting. In the morning, we did more laundry and, at the same time, school. We met a couple named Jim & Astrid on s/v Astridos at the Laundromat. Martin & Agnus are also sailing with them for a few months. They were all nice and Mr. Jim and Mr. Martin wanted to come fish with us this evening. They are leaving for the U.S.A. soon, so we probably won't see them again.
Later in the afternoon, we hung out at the pool for a while. Bro and I played with the torpedoes and carried each other around the pool for fun.
Then, in the evening, after an early dinner, Dad, Josh and I went fishing. Jim and Martin couldn't come with us in the end. I was trying to re-catch the 5ft. nurse shark which was swimming around. Josh and Dad each caught something - Joshua, a Blue-Striped Grunt, Dad, a Tomtate. I did not get my shark. I'll try again tomorrow.
Thursday, 4/10/08 Day 68
Today was pretty good. Josh and I just did school and played in the morning, but the afternoon was fun.
After lunch, we borrowed bikes from the resort (another cool amenity) and biked into the town of West End on Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas. First, we stopped at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church. It is beautiful with its many stained glass windows and high, vaulted ceiling. We will come here on Sunday for worship. From there we went to a bakery. We bought a bag of buns and Josh and I tried one. They were delicious, heavy buns. We were looking for coconut buns, be she didn't have any. In fact, the bakery did not have much - just one type of loaf bread, the buns, and a bunch of pies. From there we stopped at 2 grocery stores and got most of what we needed. And then we headed home.
That's pretty much all we did today. In the late evening, Dad and I went fishing, but caught nothing. That's all for now.
Friday, 4/11/08 Day 69
Today was fun. Starting early in the morning, I played with the dog named Lucy on s/v Antares. I played with her by running up and down the beach with her; throwing her palm nuts, long round seeds, a Frisbee, rocks, a cool stick in a V shape, and a toy I made for her out of a palm nut and 2 palm fronds; playing tug-of-war with the Frisbee; and just jumping around and petting her. I played with her until 1:00pm, lunchtime. We were both exhausted.
For the whole morning, Josh played with a friend named William whom he met today. They fished a little, played at the pool, and went on a Hobie Cat. Bro seemed to have a lot of fun. After lunch, Josh played with William a bit more, Mom and Dad talked all about charts and the Abacos, Bahamas with Will and Muffin on s/v Antares, and I played on Liberty by myself.
For the rest of the day, Mom and Dad worked on spraying my cabin for mildew and Joshua and I helped out. When Mom was done, we all went to the pool with Kevin and Erica on s/v One World. At 3:30pm, we all got out of the pool, met Francis and Harry from s/v Marie, got Dad from his work, and all sat down at the Straw Bar for free hors d'oeuvres (i.e. dinner for us), free cocktails and live music at the Manager's Welcome Party. The bartenders were nice and got Josh and me virgin strawberry daiquiris. We had a really good time to end the day.
Back at the boat, Josh and I played with each other in a Star Wars Battle. Mom and Daddy made up our beds in the middle, but they will sleep in their own bed in the aft cabin tonight. Life's good for me in West End, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.
Saturday, 4/12/08 Day 70
Today was awesome. We spent the day having fun in the sun and hanging out on the boat. Our good day started in the morning when Daddy made Coconut French Toast, a recipe he learned about at the restaurant here at the marina, Bonefish Folleys. He used coconut milk and eggs to make the batter you dip the bread into, instead of just eggs. You are also supposed to dip the bread in shredded coconut, but ours went bad and we had to throw it out. We served it with strawberry jam on top, and it was some of the best French toast I've ever had.
We wanted to go on a Hobie Cat in the morning, but the weather conditions (wind, current, etc.) were wrong for sailing. Instead, we took out glass bottom kayaks. Mom and I went together and made a great team as we paddled around and saw tons of cushion sea stars and sea buns, some coral and sand dollars, a sea anemone, and a Queen Angelfish. It was hard work, but we had a lot of fun. We finished off by taking a quick dip in the pool.
We returned to the boat for lunch and worked on drying out books that got wet on our passage. At around 3:00, when the tide was high, we went back to the beach and borrowed a Hobie Cat. We had a ton on fun as we zoomed around, faster than Liberty. I got a chance to steer and Mom knew I was dying for Dad to ask me if I wanted to. Josh also got a chance to steer. This is the most fun thing I've done here at Old Bahama Bay Marina and Resort.
Later in the evening, we had cocktails on board our boat with Bill and Kathy from s/v Indemnity. While the adults talked all about boats and places to visit or not to visit, I sat and listened and Josh watched Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones, again. Today was great!!
Sunday, 4/13/08 Day 71
Today was pretty cool. We got up in the morning and borrowed bicycles to ride into town and go to church. We went to St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, the same one we visited on 4/10/08. I really liked the service, even though it was 2 hours and 21 minutes long (Josh timed it). All the songs we sang (and there were a lot) were in the bulletin, but without music. Everybody just seemed to know the tunes and we just had to catch on.
The choir was wonderful. They sang loud and strong and with a lot of joy. They sang "I Love to Tell the Story" with so much exuberance that it has stayed with me for the entire day. I have sung this song, many times, but never in this way. The choir split into about four parts, each singing the same song differently, with echoes. And, they sang without accompaniment. It sounded so good!
One of my favorite parts of the service was the Passing of the Peace. It went on for 10-15 minutes, and everybody was out of their seats, walking around saying "hi" and "peace" to everyone else. They talked about everything during that time, just like we used to do after church back at home at Faith Lutheran Church. I thought we used to share a lot of peace at Faith, but at St. Mary Magdalene, they took Passing the Peace to the max.
There were a lot of people who helped with the service. There were about 8 people who performed acolyte-like duties. But they did much more than I used to do at Faith. At Faith, I processed in, lit the candles or carried the cross, then sat and waited for Offering when I handed the plates to the ushers, and then helped with Communion before I processed out. Here, they did all that, plus more. They swung incense around at various points in the service in what looked like a ceremonial pattern. They held special candles over the Bible while the reverend was reading the gospel and also when the Bible was being carried in and out. Lastly, an acolyte went to the pews, bowed, and accompanied the lectors to the pulpit, where another acolyte had already prepared the readings.
There were 7 ladies dressed all in white with peach colored flowers on their jackets and big white hats with white bows on them who were ushers and/or lectors. These are the ladies the acolyte brought to the pulpit at the appointed time. The reverend did everything a pastor would do, plus sang all the liturgy, and there was an assisting minister who helped him by holding the bible for him, said prayers, etc.
There were a few more customs that I found interesting as well. They sang Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to people with a birthday or anniversary after those people each received special blessings from the reverend. At Communion, children who didn't take communion went up after all the adults to get a blessing. One little boy tried to run away from the Communion rail and the reverend reached out and held him back until his blessing was finished. It was funny. All in all, everybody was nice and welcoming this was a great experience.
Back at the marina, we went to the pool and watched the wedding which took place today on the beach. It was a Jewish wedding and there were a lot of special traditions. There was a rabbi and a cantor who they flew in from back home (wherever that is, England we think). After the wedding, I scavenged everything that people had left behind. I found 2 fans that were given out to people because the wedding took place in the heat of the day, 1 program that explained all the traditions, 3 mesh bags that held flower petals, a pin with live orchids that the groomsmen wore, and some other ceremonial things that I wasn't allowed to take (like a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a ceremonial chalice, a smashed glass wrapped in a cloth napkin, and some beautiful conch shells provided by the resort).
I saw a huge spotted eagle ray in the surf while I was scavenging. I stepped knee-high into the water to see how docile it was. I must have accidentally totally spooked it because it jumped half way out of the water and darted away. That was cool to see.
Later, after all the wedding stuff had cleared, I went out in a glass-bottom kayak with Ms. Francis from s/v Marie. She had never kayaked before and Mr. Harry didn't want to go with her. We had fun and saw a couple of bonefish, a cushion sea star or two, and some coral. We were good at the cooperation and communication it takes to successfully kayak.
This evening, Mom and Dad went over to s/v Indemnity (the boat right next to ours) for cocktails. Josh and I played back on the boat. They came back at 8:30pm or so, and we are going to bed soon. Life and today are awesome!!
Monday, 4/14/08 Day 72
This morning was not very eventful. Mom and Dad finished their taxes. Josh and I played. That's all we did until after lunch.
As soon as lunch was over, Mom, Josh and I had to leave the boat so that Daddy could take a conference call on the satellite phone, undisturbed. We decided to get some school books and do school by the pool. We worked for a while until Dad joined us and asked if we wanted to go out on a Hobie Cat because the winds were good. We flew across the water and sailed right back into the spot on the beach from which we had left. It was great!
Dad left for the boat and Josh went to play on the beach while Mom and I went to take pictures of curly-tailed lizards. When we got back to the boat, Dad told us that he had biked to a temporary woodshop where they are building new homes to look for a piece of wood for Independence's centerboard. Independence is Josh and my sailboat/dinghy of which I am the captain. Dad was looking for a piece of plywood, but the foreman gave him a piece of teak and planed it down for him. Teak is very expensive and great for boats, and Dad got it for free. Dad plans to go back tomorrow with a 12 pack of beer to say "Thank-you" and also to ask if he can have a second piece of teak to make Independence a new rudder.
While Dad was working on the new centerboard, he got the idea to make a temporary centerboard out of plywood and launch Independence today so that I could sail it. So we launched Independence from Liberty's deck and Dad towed me into the basin where I single-handed Independence for the first time. I tacked back and forth in the basin, almost crashing only once (not really, but close), and sailed all the way back to Liberty without hitting any other boats and got a standing ovation from about a dozen other people who were watching me from their cockpits. I was very proud of myself. I will use this temporary centerboard until Dad can varnish and complete the new one. Today was great.