Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still in Green Turtle Cay

January 2 - 14, 2010
Yep, we're still in Green Turtle Cay... And yep, we've been having Wi-Fi problems ever since our last blog post (literally). Rene tried to upload the picture link in our Junkanoo post but his laptop battery died before the upload could be completed. Later that day we turned on the gen and tried again. A few choice words later, it became clear that something was seriously wrong with Rene's laptop. He's done all sorts of troubleshooting, including trying to re-install the Wi-Fi driver. No luck. Ten days later, we still don't know whether it's a hardware or software issue. Either way, we're back to having NO internet access unless we borrow a friend's land-line. We've said it before: Green Turtle is our favorite spot in the Bahamas so far, but it's got seriously bad internet karma! (It can't possibly be us, right?)

Other than that, our big news has been the weather. Most of you have figured out by now that the weather has become an integral part of our lives. Stacy listens to Chris Parker's Bahamas report every morning on the single side band (SSB) radio, and we check three different weather sites online (when we can actually get online). We've been having a terrific time in GTC with friends Babette, Nicki, and Larry, but we're ready to get back across Whale Cay Passage to explore Man-O-War Cay, Hope Town, Little Harbor, etc. Mother Nature, unfortunately, has had other plans for us. The weather turned ugly in the Abacos about a week ago, and it's just beginning to show signs of improvement. Granted, it's been nothing like the weather in the States (what the heck is up with snow in Tampa and Orlando and ice on Clear Lake??). Still, 54 degrees in the Bahamas just isn't normal! We've had a number of days with 20-30 knot winds, and a few rainy days to boot. Every time one front moves through the area, another one shows up before the Whale has a chance to calm down. Rumor has it things are supposed to get better - and stay that way for a few days - sometime around the 18th or 19th. If it really happens, we may be able to get out of here. In the meantime, we're taking advantage of a temporary break in the weather to go on another dive/picnic excursion with Brendal and the Dutchies (or the "Twisted Sisters", as Brendal affectionately calls them).

Check-in at the dive shop is at 8:45am, and we're out at the reef by 10am. We'll do a one-tank dive, followed by a grilled lobster and grouper lunch. The girls have let us in on a great idea - instead of drinking Brendal's killer 151-rum punch, we're bringing a bottle of white wine. It goes much better with the seafood, and we really don't need a repeat performance of the last picnic! Brendal, Jack, and Tasha let us in on some bad news en route to the reef: the water temp is less than 70 degrees thanks to the recent bout of cold weather. Stacy has a 3-mil wetsuit, and Rene's heavier stuff is still in the stern. He's diving with a 3-mil shorty over a half-mil microprene...definitely not thick enough for such cold water. Oh, well...fingers crossed that we don't get hypothermia. :-) Brendal leads our dive this time, spear gun in hand. When we talk about a grilled lobster lunch, we're talking fresh! Visitors to the Bahamas aren't allowed to use SCUBA gear when hunting lobsters, although a Hawaiian sling with snorkel gear is fine. Bahamians can get a special permit to hunt lobster with a spear and SCUBA equipment, which makes finding the little suckers a whole lot easier. Lobster tend to hang out in coral crevasses or under rocks, and it can be difficult spotting them. Brendal manages to get four during our 45-minute dive, and goes in search of more after the rest of us return to the boat. We just can't stay with him - we're all shivering from the cold water, and our fingers and toes are completely numb. It's so bad that Rene gives up taking pictures of an 8-10' bull shark that has been circling under the boat. He comes up with 1300psi of air, which is unheard of for him. Time to get the warmer wetsuits out of the stern!

Lunch is back on the north side of Munjack Cay, where Jack gets the fire going while Brendal and Tasha prepare lunch. Having foregone the rum punch (well, maybe just one to warm ourselves up from the inside), Stacy keeps a close eye on the prep work. Lunch was so good this time that she's really trying to get the recipe to try at home. Without telling too many of Brendal's secrets, we can say that it involves Mojo marinade, lemon juice, sour orange juice, habanero pepper sauce, and some locally-grown herbs and spices. The grouper is topped with veggies and placed in a dutch oven on the fire, and the lobster tails are cut in half and put in another pot to steam in the marinade over the fire. Brendal makes a sour orange-based butter sauce to drizzle over the cooked tails (not to mention over the fresh coconut bread from Sid's grocery). What a feast! We head back home in time to clean up and get to Sundowner's for a happy hour game of pool, followed by a late dinner with Babette, Nicki, and Larry. It's been a great day, even if Rene still has cold bumps on certain body parts!

We'll cut this blog short for now. Nicki has graciously let us use their internet land-line at the house, and we want to post the blog while we have access. We'll add pictures once we get them uploaded and cleaned up.

On a separate note, our thoughts are with all of the earthquake victims in Haiti. We had a few tense moments ourselves on Tuesday night when we heard on the VHF that we were under a tsunami watch due to the quake. Not having internet access, we weren't able to get any details and ended up on Larry and Nicki's doorstep looking for news. The Abacos are too far away to have felt any effects, but Haiti has obviously been devastated.

Love to all,
Stacy & Rene

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