We’ve been cruising in The Bahamas for just over two months and, to use an old expression, it really doesn’t get much better than this! Take crystal clear waters, amazing marine life, stunningly beautiful remote, quiet anchorages and combine with great friends and there you have it, paradise!
Gin-like water :
Hunting for coconuts :
Indescribable colours :
Peaceful anchorages :
It is special when you can share some of this with friends and family so we were lucky my sister, Anne, could join us for a few weeks visiting Eleuthera and The Abacos.
Beautiful architecture :
Great mates :
We are presently at West End which is our last stop before jumping across The Gulf Stream to Florida. We have truly loved The Bahamas and now look forward to the next stage of our adventure. Here we come US of A!
We needed to refuel but the fuel dock on Mayaguana is no more so locals, Marissa and Dalton, drove us to Pirate’s Well to pick up fuel in two 15-gallon drums. We talked, laughed and sang and generally hit it off! We discussed all things island, and it came up that we hadn’t ever tried conch salad. Ok, says Dalton, today is your lucky day!
OK, out to KK to refuel whilst Dalton and Marissa go fishing, or is that conching?
We’ve never refueled like this before! Boy, those drums are heavy!
Four hours later, we’d finished refueling and Marissa and Dalton arrived with all the ingredients to make a conch salad and with two fabulous dog snapper for our din-dins!
Chop, chop, chop and dice, dice, dice very finely! Intersperse with jokes and a little rum and soda!
Add some salt, goat pepper (wow, it sure packs a punch!), ground black pepper, capsicum, red and brown onion, and heaps, I mean heaps, of lime juice!
It was sooooo good! Dalton’s THE MAN! It went down very nicely with an ice cold beer!
Then he prepared our snapper; first he created a rub with salt, garlic, that fiery little goat pepper and a touch of black pepper.
He made an incision on the outside and placed in the cut along with inside the fish itself.
Then he placed sliced capsicum and onions over and inside the fish and wrapped in foil. We refrigerated it for a few hours and then placed on the grill and hmm! Need I say more!
What a day! Thanks Marissa and Dalton for giving us a taste of island life Mayaguana-style!
Still having a blast, Sue and Mal xx
PS: Conch are everywhere throughout the Caribbean and The Bahamas and is also known as Lambi. We’ve tried it a few times in a stew-style dish but it’s always been a little rubbery. This is what a conch looks like alive….
It is with mixed feelings that we have listed our beautiful home, Kool Kat I, for sale! Anyone who knows us or has followed our blog since we commenced this incredible journey, living aboard and cruising the Caribbean was always going to be a three-year adventure! Those three years are now coming to an end and it’s time to head home, back to Australia.
Kool Kat I is a 2003 Leopard 47 built by South Africans Robertson & Caine. I really didn’t know what to expect in our first year and was a little anxious but I was totally blown away by how wonderful the boat was. She gave me confidence in her ability to handle anything we threw at her and, best of all, I didn’t get seasick! 🙂
She’s strong, sails really well and has been our home away from home with all the mod-cons. She’s totally self-sufficient so we’ve been privileged to be able to visit some awesome places and see some amazing things! She has met every need we have had, and some more!
It’s been a long time between drinks, well blog posts anyway and we’ve got a bit of catching up to do.
We’ve been busy with festive season celebrations, guests and generally just hangin’!
Christmas was in St Barths with friends aboard Kool Kat and we had a blast!
New Year was in Sint Maarten with friends and Aussie guests, Jo and Bob, who had just flown in for their second tour on Kool Kat! Another blast!
Then it was off to the Virgin Islands, British, US and Spanish, with Jo and Bob, for three weeks of fun. We snorkelled The Indians, Long Bay, Anegada, Christmas Cove just to name a few; hiked Virgin Gorda; drank Painkillers at Saba Rock, Foxy’s, Pusser’s, The Soggy Dollar, The Greenhouse and many more; played Rummy Tiles ad infinitum and basically had a ball.
We had an awesome time together and felt more homesick than usual as we waved them goodbye at Culebra airport on our last time together on Kool Kat. Hang on, did Jo yell something about The Bahamas…..?
We spent a few more days in Culebra before heading to Puerto Rico where we stayed in the Palmas del Mar Marina – a bit of luxe whilst we provision for The Bahamas but that’s a whole other story….
We are sending you much love and best wishes for a truly wonderful Christmas wherever you may be. We will be on the island of St Barths and it’s highly likely we won’t have wi-fi so we have decided to post this now in the event that we are incommunicado!
We find being so far away from family the hardest part of our cruising life and thereby missing out on family celebrations. But, this is our last Christmas away and we are lucky enough to be celebrating with good friends, Gwen & Guillaume from s/v Slow Waltz and Alex and Dave from s/v Banyan (in pic above creating, in Alex-speak, much shenanigans!).
It’s very much a joint affair and will be held on Kool Kat. The cockpit lights are up, the menu is sorted including eggnog and other delights, and kris kringle/secret santa has been allocated. Where will you be celebrating Christmas 2015?
Wherever it is, best wishes for a fabulous Christmas and we hope you enjoy lots of treasured moments with loved ones.
This has always been a 3-year project for us and it is with mixed feelings that we head into our final season of Caribbean cruising. We will miss so many things: the amazing, fabulous, awesome friends we have met along the way; the friendly, relaxed islanders and their enviable way of life; the incredible diversity and adventures each island offers; the warm seas; fresh, cheap coconut water; amazing chicken (jerk, roti or a la St Pierre); rum punches that knock your socks off; and, the memorable sunrises, sunsets, sundowners, green flashes and rainbows all viewed from ours or other boats! I could go on and on but there’s still fun to be had and one more season to do it!
This post is a pictorial representation of our journey over the last few months and covers Grenada to Martinique.
And more friends….
And friends saying farewell to cruising….
Mal and I enjoying the Underwater Sculpture Park at Moliniere Point, Grenada….
The best Jerk Chicken Shop in Grenada….
Leaving Grenada behind and heading north….
And somewhere in between we fitted in a birthday celebration….
Some of our underwater friends between Grenada and Martinique….
Sunrise and sunset….
And, we’ve now made it to the French island of Martinique. Hmmmm, Lorraine beer, baguettes, cheese, wine, pate and so it goes…
Of course, it’s not all beer and skittles. There’s been the odd boat job, like replacing the dodger….
But, even when things don’t go the way you think they will, it’s all still fun and we are excited to still be living this life! Well, for a few more months anyway! 🙂
We hope you follow our last journey through the Eastern Caribbean. So until next time, safe sailing, Sue and Mal xx
We arrived in Sint Maarten at 7am after an overnight passage from Cooper Island in the British Virgin Islands (BVIs). You may recall that Sint Maarten/St Martin is an island divided into two countries: The Netherlands and France. In the past we have stayed on the Dutch side in Simpson Bay outside the lagoon and dinghied in for shopping, restaurants and to access the French side but the swell and winds were pretty uncomfortable on this occasion, even for a cat! The upside of staying in the bay is the water is cleaner allowing for swimming and water-making. So, while everything was going up and down including my tummy, we spent the day making water and swimming whilst planning to enter the lagoon the next day at the 9.30am opening for inward-bound boats.
It’s funny to watch everyone ‘queueing’ beforehand. At 9.10am we lifted the hook and prepared to get in the queue. They appear to keep the bridge open until everyone is through but you want to make sure you’re in line, ready and waiting so you don’t miss the boat, I mean bridge! We motored over near or thereabouts to what looked like other boots jostling for position. Everyone is waiting, circling, waiting, but, as you can imagine, it’s hard to stay in a queue when everything is moving: the water, the wind, the boats! There was a large French Customs (Douane) boat wanting to go through and he was reversing and going forward whilst other smaller boats circled. The queue looked like a dog’s breakfast! I took three short videos if you are interested and you can check it out here.
Being in the lagoon was good; windy but no swell and easier accessibility to shops, buses, restaurants. And, as mentioned above, we couldn’t swim or make water so we were just as keen to get out of there when we finally left for Nevis a week later.
During the week we caught up with old friends Izzy R and Wild Cat and met new ones, including some Aussies. George from Wild Cat organised a dinghy-drift where we met Annie and Cam (s/v Annacam) from Horsham in our home State, Victoria, and Frances and John (s/v Kia Ora) from Margaret River, Western Australia. We also met Canadians Catherine and Henry (s/v Mowzer) and Americans Janice and David (s/v Livin’ Life). Janice and David have been following our blogs and Facebook for about six months and it was lovely to meet them. A dinghy drift is normally done close to a full moon where dinghies tie up to a lead dinghy and cruisers share food, drinks and lots of stories whilst drifting along. As this one was in the lagoon and as the evening wore on we looked like side-swiping some moored boats, George and Jan tied up to a vacant mooring ball and we all hung off them just bobbing along. A very nice way to while away the evening 🙂 Photos courtesy of s/v Distant Shores.
We were lucky enough to be in Sint Maarten for Carnival this year and it was fabulous fun. Each island seems to celebrate it slightly differently but it is always a mass of colour, costumes, loud music and super-friendly people. This Carnival was the Dutch-side celebration and held in Phillipsburg which plays host to 4-5 large cruise ships nearly every day but, the port was closed for Carnival thereby enabling all locals to attend. A group of 10 of us took a bus over and had a great day. If you’d like to see some short video clips of the carnival click here.
The last time we were in Sint Maarten we purchased a piece of beef tenderloin or, as we Aussies know it, fillet steak. We loved it so much we bought another one this time and using our FoodSaver vacuum system, we portioned it out and have several meals ready in the freezer. It’s such a great meal for the boat: quick to defrost, quick to bbq and delicious to eat with a salad or veggies. 🙂
After a week of shopping for boat supplies, waiting for parts, provisioning, socialising and just having fun, a weather window opened and we left Sint Maarten for Nevis.
Until next time, cheers, Sue and Mal xox
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.