Friday, February 20, 2009

Too much beauty to show it all!

Since our last post we went to Nassau for a couple of days then we sailed South-East along the chain of Islands of the Exumas. Because we are limited in the number of pictures we can show you on this web page I urge you to click on the “Pictures” button at the top of the page and go see the many pictures we took for this post is probably the one I had the most difficulty choosing the pictures to post. Nassau was maybe not as glamorous as we expected but it is still an interesting place to see. Two islands make that city, Providence and Paradise. The first one is shown on this picture and is the city of Nassau as seen while approaching the harbor. Paradise Island is, I believe, a private island owned by the Paradise Hotel and Resort. It is the biggest tourist trap we’ve ever seen so far. They built a little town with stores and restaurants that only another class of the population can afford. As we were hungry, we looked at the prices for the restaurants and unless we were willing to pay $8 USD for a slice of pizza, $20.00 for a cheeseburger or $50.00 USD for a pork chop (with the side vegetables extra at $9.50!), we had to wait until we get to the boat. You bet that we did wait! We went there to see the aquarium but we just looked at the free display they have at the hotel and that was satisfactory enough. For a better sight of fishes we’ll just take our snorkeling gears and go see by ourselves. The city of Nassau itself is a bit ordinary and quite small. People here are not very wealthy and we are still wondering how they can afford the prices for the food as you can easily pay $5 for 2liters of milk. The anchorage in the harbor was quite bumpy so we decided to not stay longer and move further into the Exumas.

Meet Victor, the most known boy in the Bahamas! If you haven’t met Victor yet don’t worry he’s going to come to meet you himself. At 8 years old he goes about in his 6 feet dinghy with a 3Hp motor to meet people on other boats. Very outspoken and mature for his age, he spent the day with us helping Danielle cooking or playing video games on our onboard Playstation 2. Later in the afternoon he was our guide to go see the iguanas that wander on the little islands of Allen’s Cay. However, we found out that Victor didn’t like cold waters. When we jumped in the water to get some conches that lived just under our boat, Danielle screamed when she felt the 76°F water! Well you can imagine that Victor passed this time and decided to wait instead on the boat to catch the conches when I brought them back :-)

The place here, like the rest of the Bahamas, is just plainly beautiful. The sandy bottom makes the crystal clear water flickering in many tints of turquoise and greens. Even doing the laundry is a pleasant task! You can see how much Danielle, helped by Victor, has a hard time hanging the laundry in that scenery, can’t you? Allen’s Cay is one of the rare place in the area you can see wild iguanas as they come to meet you on the beach. Tourists from Nassau come here regularly by tour boats to see them and, we think, to feed them because as soon as you set foot on the small beach you get no less than 15 to 20 iguanas come to see you. Wild animals just don’t do that! One of my favorite activities so far is snorkeling. Danielle likes it too but since the water is “just” 75°F she finds it a bit too cold. I managed to get some pictures and video clips of the underwater wildlife and the many corals growing everywhere. We haven’t posted the videos yet but go see the other pictures. I know I still have to refine my underwater photography skills but this gives you an idea of what it looks like here. We’ve seen all kind of fishes just swimming few feet from us not too worried about our presence. Of course they are the small ones that we cannot fish anyway but the lobsters are a different story. These guys hide very deep in their holes and you have to dive to the bottom and look under the rocks or the coral ledges to see one of their antenna. Then you need to make the kind of contortions you see in the Cirque Du Soleil to manage to get your spear in the hole and try to get to them (we need to say that with the skin that Roger wear to dive, he looks just like a ballerina :-) ). After you win or you lose; for the past two days they are the ones who won!If you follow us regularly, you may find that we are going a bit slow but the fact is that we have to wait for the wind to be in the right direction to keep moving and in the Bahamas you cannot sail at night. The shoals are everywhere and we need to see the bottom during daylight to move about. Therefore we can sail only a few miles per day but so far we are happy with the pace we are moving.