Eleuthera II: Spanish Wells

spanish shutters

This bridge used to be a natural one.  Amazing what those waves can do!

This bridge used to be a natural one. Amazing what those waves can do!

May 20-23, 2013

0930: We stopped off at Glass Window on our way to Spanish Wells.  Glass Window is a bridge that connects the northern and southern parts of Eleuthera.  It used to be a natural bridge but has since been replaced by a manmade one.  The island is only a few yards wide at this part of the island.  The draw here is that you can experience the turquoise blue of the calm sound to the west while inches away boils the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean in all its dark, mysterious, and magnificent glory.  Must see, right?  It was definitely worth the “hassle” of getting there.  You see, you don’t just “stop off” places on a sailboat…

checking out the Glass Window

checking out the Glass Window with Anything Goes and Patronus in the background

Anchoring isn’t like swinging your car into the 7-11 parking lot.  Anchoring has taken us up to 2 hours in difficult conditions and it’s not the kind of thing that can be rushed.  Your car doesn’t float away if you park it kind of crooked (good thing Silverman, right?)  So we carefully anchored the boats, launched the dinghies, forgot cameras, dinghied back, etc, etc, and found a clear spot to land.  We now had to beach and secure the dinghies before trekking up a steep incline to the road.  The road was actually a bit busy, so we had to keep a close eye on the six children, especially since they hadn’t seen roads or cars in quite some time.  Funny how quickly we get used to a certain way of life.  Imagine not remembering that it’s super important to look for cars when walking up a street?glass window

Guess which side is the ocean?

Guess which side is the ocean?

We all loved the view from the bridge.  Wendy and I climbed all over the rocks looking for cool angles to take pictures of both the ocean and the sound at the same time.  It really is amazing how a piece of land can create enough of a barrier that it tames the fury of the ocean.  On the east side of the island, the dark gray ocean crashed into the jagged rocks.  On the west side of the island, the flat water lapped up onto the sand, calm as can be and clear as a glass of water.

The ocean waves, unrelenting....

The ocean waves, unrelenting….

glass window dinghiesWatching everyone getting back in the dinghies made me stop for a second and take pause.  I looked at the nine people on the beach, all laughing and splashing and flopping themselves into the little boats.  This is how we go places.  In and out of the dinghies every day.  I love living life this way.  I love that we take a little inflatable boat to get from our home on the water to the mainland.  I love that my children are so comfortable hopping in and out of Fire Bolt, our trusty little dinghy.

Current Cut

Current Cut

Our little detour could only last an hour.  It was a clear and sunny day (about the 147th sunny day in a row, I think….), with 15 knot winds coming from the Southeast.  But we had a 23 mile sail in front of us, and there would be some interesting navigation, including something called Current Cut.  Yikes.  Could they name it something scarier?  According to our calculations, we had to get through the cut by 1200.  Otherwise, the current would be against us.  Didn’t see that one coming, huh?

Snuggle time while underway.  Reese loves her brother.

Snuggle time while underway. Reese loves her brother.

bac main sail

We made it through just fine and only growled a little bit at Anything Goes when they were able to take a short cut (their catamaran draws much less than we do).  We arrived in Spanish Wells, at the northwestern tip of Eleuthera, at 1400.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect of Spanish Wells.  We had heard conflicting reports.  Actually, we had heard mostly negative reports, but it is pretty much the only jumping off point for going to Harbor Island, which was our next destination.  We had to at least stop off there to pick up a captain, who would take Patronus through Devil’s Backbone (I’d really like to know who was in charge of naming stuff on this island).  But I’m getting ahead of myself…patronus underway

Some people ask if our kids get bored.  Um, no.

Some people ask if our kids get bored. Um, no.

spanish boatsAs we pulled into the harbor, we noticed a line of commercial fishing boats filling the docks.  I leaned against the forestay and admired the well-kept boats and the brightly colored buildings along the shoreline.  I got a really nice vibe and had a feeling we would enjoy this town.  I was right, and looking back, we enjoyed it in a way that was very different from the many other places we had been.


Coming into Spanish Wells.  Ready to grab the mooring.

Coming into Spanish Wells. Ready to grab the mooring.

Porter and Olivia playing in the main cabin of AG

Porter and Olivia playing in the main cabin of AG

We took a mooring and made an acquaintance with Bandit (yes, Bandit).  He is the Captain who would help us get to Harbor Island in a few days.  We took a dinghy ride with Wendy and Craig to check out the scene while the kids stayed back and did schoolwork.  We motored slowly past the fishing boats again, which lined the harbor between Spanish Wells and Russell Island.  We found the marina that supposedly had a laundry room, but were told that it was strictly for customers of the marina.  The people in the marina office were helpful, though, and gave us a map of the town, pointing out the other Laundromat (don’t make the same mistake we did and get all excited.  We didn’t take a picture of the “other” Laundromat but it was NOT.  GOOD.  And consider that we had become entirely unpicky when it came to Laundromats by this point.)

Luckily, Norma’s Take Away took our minds off our dirty laundry.  We ordered cracked conch and french fries and munched on them while we dinghied back to the boats.  I don’t remember the exact conversation we had while waiting for our food, but I remember that I enjoyed sitting with Chris, Wendy, and Craig and talking about things that mattered to us.  We were in no rush.  We were truly enjoying our time together.  No one was looking at their phone (we had none).  No one had anything better to do than to be with one another.  I felt loved and accepted and interesting and important.  Maybe that’s why I love this picture of Wendy and I so much.spanish take out

spanish raindrops_edited-3The next morning, we woke to thunder and lightning and heavy rain.  Wait.  What?  Thunder?  Lightning?  Rain!!!!!!!!!  This was the first thunder and lightning we had since Hurricane Sandy.  And while we had experienced a few “Caribbean sun showers”, this was our first real serious downpour in forever.  I love rain.  I love thunder. And I love lightning.  I love all weather.  I just sat in the cockpit and stared at it for hours.

Dodger and Bimini up.  Cushions in.  The cockpit is a cozy little spot in the rain.

Dodger and Bimini up. Cushions in. The cockpit is a cozy little spot in the rain.

Reese takes a bath in the dinghy.

Reese takes a bath in the dinghy. Check out the water line against the transom.  It’s up to the Soggy Dollar sticker!

Although I was happy to just sit and ponder the raindrops, the rest of our crews were getting stir crazy after lunch.  So we made a run for it in the dinghies between passing downpours and took a walk through town to see what we could see.  It ended up being quite an adventure.  We found a very cool store that was kind of like a Five and Dime.  We ended up getting very well acquainted with this store, since it started raining torrentially while we were inside and there was no chance of leaving.  Some of the kids took the opportunity to look for birthday gifts for Porter.

Kate and Porter walking through town.

Kate and Porter walking through town.

Love this picture of Kate and Porter.

Love this picture of Kate and Porter.

spanish yellow house


Splash FM!

Splash FM!

We also visited a craft shop, which was located in someone’s garage; a quilt store in a barn, which was apparently out of business; a souvenir shop; and a tackle shop.  The best stop of all was an impromptu visit to the Splash FM radio headquarters.  We marched in, unannounced, all ten of us, classic AGP-style, and politely requested a tour of the radio station.  One of Porter’s Cub Scout requirements involved visiting a radio or tv station and learning about communications.  Our host, the owner of Splash FM, was a colorful character, who had lots of opinions he wanted to communicate, so we were in luck!

Porter gets to record an announcement of the radio slogan.

Porter gets to record an announcement of the radio slogan.

We were all rapt with attention as he showed us around the radio station that he had built with his own two hands.  We heard about how he managed to single-handedly run the station 24/7 with just the help of his wife.  It was wonderful to introduce the children to someone who had built his business up from the ground and who clearly had dedication, ambition, and a passion for his work.  No matter what our children choose to pursue, I would be so happy for them if they end up with the same level of enthusiasm that our Splash FM host has.

One of my favorite houses in Spanish Wells

One of my favorite houses in Spanish Wells

We pumped the rain water from the dinghy into our bucket so that we had fresh water for cleaning the boat.

We pumped the rain water from the dinghy into our bucket so that we had fresh water for cleaning the boat.

Once back at the dinghies, we patted ourselves on the backs for being prepared and bringing our hand pumps.  The dinghies were full of water from the rain.  For those who follow the blog of Anything Goes, you know that the events that follow did not bring any amusement at all to our group.  A porthole on their boat had leaked and everything in one of their cabins was soaked, all the way to the engine compartment.  Things like this happen, and all we could do was sigh as they started the work of trying to dry things out in the 100% humidity of the thunder storm.

Not sure who is taking this more seriously...

Not sure who is taking this more seriously…

To cheer everyone up, we played a rousing game of Pictionary, complete with all the drama that comes with having 4 girls and 2 boys, ranging in ages from 6 to 13.  It had been quite a day, and we were glad to be together.  As we settled in for the night, we noted that several of our hatches were leaking as well.

Kate is interested in learning more about acupressure.  It's amazing how in tune children are to their bodies.

Kate is interested in learning more about acupressure. It’s amazing how in tune children are to their bodies.

game night

waking up on a boat...

waking up on a boat…

The next morning, we woke at 0900 to more thunder and lightning.  Sleeping on a boat in the rain is one of life’s sweetest pleasures.  The dark mornings, the gentle rocking, and the patter of rain just inches above your head is so comforting.  There is a stillness to the boat that invites you to have a quiet, slow day.  To add to the yumminess of the day, Chris made Wendy’s scone recipe.  The kids did schoolwork while Chris took advantage of the FREE FRESH WATER (aka rain) to clean the decks.  I gathered all the soaking wet towels and other clothing and hung them up to “dry” between downpours.  We were all beginning to be a little stunned at how long the rain was lasting.spanish rain

My My My Poker Face.  My My Poker Face.

My My My Poker Face. My My Poker Face.

Kate came over to play while Porter and Bryson went to Anything Goes to play poker.  As the afternoon lazed on, I looked forward to getting a massage-my first in months, and very much needed after sleeping half sideways on a boat mattress for 10 months.  After dinner, AG came over for another night of fun and we took one more look at the charts.  For tomorrow was the day.  Patronus and Anything Goes would take on….The Devil’s Backbone……rain rod

Elusive Eleuthera I


what matters...

what matters…

Eleuthera, Part I: The Inside Coast

May 17, 2013  (Norwegian Independence Day)

What better way to celebrate the day of Norway’s independence than by sailing 60 miles in the clear Bahamas water while catching Mahi Mahi and Cero?  It was a long day of sailing and, in addition to hitting 700 miles on our engine, we learned something new…

Enjoying the beautiful day together, sailing towards Eleuthera

Enjoying the beautiful day together, sailing towards Eleuthera

A little background…The Bahamas are known for gorgeous coral reefs and shallow water.  Sailboats like ours draw 5’8” (the distance between our waterline and the bottom), so we need to carefully plan our routes using charts.  In addition, we need to keep a sharp lookout for random shallow spots, just in case.  One way to do this is to look at the color of the water.  The water is crystal clear in the Bahamas, but appears darker over the reefs or shallow areas of grass. Ok, got that?  We did, because we had been avoiding dark areas by sailing to the port or starboard of them for a few weeks.  So what’s so new today?

Porter remains unconcerned about the serious navigational situation.  Cereal trumps all when you are 6.

Porter remains unconcerned about the serious navigational situation. Cereal trumps all when you are 6.

As we approached Cape Eleuthera, we knew that there was a narrow and unmarked channel in which to enter this part of the island.  Chris was down below, taking a rest and making some lunch while Bryson and I drove the boat.  Bryson would shout to me to go to the port (left) or starboard (right) if we approached an area of darker water.  We took our job very seriously.  You don’t want to be the one responsible for running the boat aground while the captain is down below!  We were following the charts in addition to what we saw with our eyes and it wasn’t really making sense.  There were so many dark patches cropping up as we made our way slowly but surely through the channel.  The chart didn’t make it look THAT shallow, but we didn’t want to take any chances.  The water appeared REALLY dark and that could only mean one thing…DANGER….!!!!

After a while, Chris came up and took a look at our path on the chartplotter.  Apparently, it looked like two drunk people were driving the boat.  We were swerving all over the place for miles.  I pointed to all the dark areas up ahead and told him that we really didn’t have much choice.  It was then that Bryson walked back slowly from the bow and said, “Um.  Mommy?”

“What, Bryson?  Why aren’t you keeping an eye out for shallow patches?!”

“Yeah.  Well, I just realized something.”

“What’s that Bryson?”

“I’ve been noticing that the dark patches are moving around a little.  Then I looked up and realized that the dark patches are just the shadows from the clouds above us.  The water isn’t shallow at all.”

“Oh.  Okay.  Thanks, Buddy.  Um, you can go play now.”  Chris just looked at me and laughed.  Oops.  Don’t you wish you were one of those clouds, darting around the sky, playing tricks on me all day and laughing hysterically?

I decided to go down below and make bread.  My work up there was done.

See Eleuthera there towards the east?  We were coming from the tiny islands of the Exumas, which you can barely see on this map, halfway between New Providence and Eleuthera.  Maybe there will be a grocery store!!!!

See Eleuthera there towards the east? We were coming from the tiny islands of the Exumas, which you can barely see on this map, halfway between New Providence and Eleuthera. Maybe there will be a grocery store!!!!

1505: By afternoon, the bread was made, our route was straightened out, and Chris pulled us into Governor’s Harbor.  Wendy, Craig, and I went into town to check on things.  We found the bakery and grocery store, and talked to some local fishermen.  Chris stayed back on Patronus to do some generator troubleshooting.  Our Fisher Panda generator didn’t sound good.  He found an oil leak, a crack in the elbow joint, and clogged filters.  Chris fixed it all, which continues to amaze me.  You can’t just say, “Uh-oh.  It’s broken,” and call in the professionals down here.  Every captain has to be a well-rounded handyman, plumber, electrician, and mechanic.  Having a middle name of MacGyver doesn’t hurt, either.

We had a late dinner, because in order to get to the generator, everything had to be pulled out of Reese’s cabin, which meant that the galley and saloon were full of homeschooling books, clothing, and engine parts.  The late dinner didn’t stop me from catching up on our website.  It was the first Internet service we had had in over a week.  The people of Eleuthera are probably still talking about the “Internet Blackout of May 17th”…

Pink Sand....

Pink Sand….

May 18th, Break out the Whomper!

After school in the morning, we walked to the Pink Beach for which Eleuthera is so famous.  The sand was truly spectacular.  Where the waves washed across the sand, streaks of pink were left behind.  We all played in the water, walked along the beach, and just soaked up the beauty.

Floating in a million shades of blue...

Floating in a million shades of blue…

Kate and Reese in pink paradise

Kate and Reese in pink paradise

...and performing some sort of synchronized swimming act...

…and performing some sort of synchronized swimming act…

Bryson slows down for a millisecond while playing in the water...

Bryson slows down for a millisecond while playing in the water…

Porter and Wendy deep in conversation...

Porter and Wendy deep in conversation…



pink beach houseOn the way back, Wendy and I enjoyed the local architecture and Reese took notice of the native flowers for her Flowers Badge in Girl Scouts.  Don’t ask me how we have managed to do work for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts this year…


The kids are up for walking anywhere.  It's always an adventure.

The kids are up for walking anywhere. It’s always an adventure.

We stopped in at a few more stores, but it wasn’t a tourist town, so the grocery store was the most exciting spot on our radar.  We noticed a road side barbecue chicken stand and, of course, had to get some to go.  We love supporting the locals in such a direct way and you seriously can’t get more bang for your Bahamas Buck.  You get an insane amount of food at these road side stands, in addition to some local flavor by talking to the interesting folks who run them.

After our BBQ lunch, Chris and Craig went to town to check out the tackle shop.  I took on the fabulously glamorous job of removing rust stains from all the towels.  After all that work, I floated around in the water with Wendy for a bit while Reese and Kate did a science project for Girl Scouts by making scented bath beads and Bryson and Porter went to Anything Goes to play poker.  Wait.  Does any of that sound like slightly irresponsible parenting?  Oh well.  Tough!

After Chris’ amazing dinner of breaded cero, we went to Anything Goes to watch the quintessential sailboat racing movie of all time….That’s right.  WIND.  Break out the Whomper!

Movie night, dark and stormies, and a guide to the Bahamas.  But most important, our friends.

Chris and Wendy on movie night with dark and stormies and a guide to the Bahamas. What else is there?


Eleuthera II: Annie Bight/Mutton Fish Point

The boys playing Legos together

The boys playing Legos together

May 19, 2013

The inside coast of Eleuthera would prove to be pretty, but elusive.  We had a really hard time finding an acceptable anchorage.  At least we had a great time getting there!  Patronus flew her spinnaker for a few hours on the sail north from Governor’s Harbor.  We had some isolated showers while Reese and Porter played their survival imagination game, inspired by the novel series My Side of the Mountain.

Bryson and Porter making dinner.  Working together as a family has become a joy and a source of pride for our children.

Bryson and Porter making dinner. Working together as a family has become a joy and a source of pride for our children.

We attempted to anchor in Annie Bight, but it was windy and there were big waves coming in from the south on top of reverb waves from the north shore of the bight.  Not only would it be uncomfortable, but there was no room for Anything Goes.  We radioed AG and they sailed past, heading north, looking for a better spot.  They settled in at Mutton Fish Point, 3 miles north, then called us to let us know that it was a good spot.  It’s nice having a buddy boat!

We found a spot nearby them, but further than we usually anchor from one another.  After diving on our anchor to make sure it was secure in the sand, I decided to take the long swim over to AG.  Months later, I can still remember that swim.  It was the farthest that I had gone at that point.  I was a little nervous.  It was REALLY far.  The water was clear and the bottom was sandy, but every once in a while, there were patches of grass and some weird shell/animal things that were making me a little nervous.  I rarely get nervous in the water.  (The times that stand out were when I saw sharks in Great Inagua and when I was on my SCUBA test and saw giant tarpon, which stare at you in a freaky way.)  Also, the water was choppy due to the strong winds and the reverb off the shore.  Chris and Bryson came by in the dinghy to check on me.  I had the opportunity to climb in and get a ride the rest of the way, but I waved them on.  I could do this.

I focused on relaxing my shoulders and tried to remember to kick.  I forget to do that sometimes.  And yet, despite my amateur technique, I felt once again like I belonged in the water.  I thought about swimming with the dolphins in Les Saintes and how I could emulate their grace under water by imagining I was a dolphin, too.  I pushed my collarbone down and felt like I was swimming “down” instead of forward.  Breathing became easier as I let go of the panic that I wouldn’t make it all the way there.  When I reached the swim platform at AG, I was all smiles….but I did accept a ride back home on the dinghy!

the universe shares its beauty with us...

the universe shares its beauty with us…

Exumas Part 5: Warderick Wells

Welcome to the Exumas Land and Sea Park!looking glass

May 13-16th, Warderick Wells

Patronus under way

Patronus under way

From our logbook:

  • Depart: 1145, Cambridge Cay, Exumas
  • Arrive: 1550, Warderick Wells, Exumas
  • Distance: 27.1 miles
  • Log: 6236.5-6263.6
  • Engine Hours: 692.7-696.9
  • Weather: Fair, Clear
  • Wind: light and variable out of the SE
  • Crew: Porter sails with Anything Goes.  Kate joins Patronus
  • Fishing Report: 1330 Mahi Mahi.  40”
    Porter in the captain's seat on Anything Goes

    Porter in the captain’s seat on Anything Goes

    Olivia under way

    Olivia under way


We arrived in beautiful Warderick Wells at 1550 and took a park mooring, E22, as per the instructions from the Park Warden over the VHF.  It was hot and still.  We hung out on Patronus with Wendy and Craig, discussing the next two weeks of our Bahamas Tour.  For dinner, we had…..wait for it…..Mahi Mahi.  With fried plantains.  The kids did origami, Chris practiced guitar, and I worked on our blog.  Life is good….

Warderick Wells, Exumas

Warderick Wells, Exumas

AGP together

the peaceful harbor (not our boats)

“I am munching on bacon while stirring the vanilla pudding that is to be my dessert.  I love my life.” –Erica Conway

Reese doing schoolwork in the saloon

Reese doing schoolwork in the saloon

Overnight, the wind picked up.  The winds of change were not kind to Patronus.  When day broke, Porter was not in a happy mood.  We had a rough morning trying to get him to do his schoolwork.  The kids were generally so great about getting their schooling done each day.  Early risers, they were typically half way through by the time I woke up and got my act together.  We had an efficient and uncomplicated routine for the work they had to do each day (spelling, vocabulary, math, and reading).  They could generally get through this work independently, asking questions and getting help from me as needed.  Special trips, projects, discussions, and experiments were done outside of school hours and almost never felt like “learning”.  But every once in awhile, one or more of the kids would wake up on the wrong side of the keel and give us a hard time.  We knew it was understandable for a child to just simply not be in the mood to work every once in a while, so we tried to be flexible.  At this point, it helped that we had long since finished the required curriculum and were just enriching their subjects with the work they were doing.  But it is still hard to deal with a crankpot 6-year-old first thing in the morning!

At least we got to see some cool sharks and remoras.

At least we got to see some cool sharks and remoras. Notice the pink origami whale intimidating the shark….

Uh oh.  The winds weren’t done with us.  A few hours later, my back and neck went out.  By mid-afternoon, Bryson and Reese must have been thrilled to go to AG for a sleepover.  Chris and Porter ate dinner and watched Rocky 2 while I went to bed early to sleep through the pain.  May 14th was a rare dud.remora

Happy Birthday Hazel!

Happy Birthday Hazel!

May 15th: Bryson and Reese came back to Patronus and everyone did their schoolwork like industrious little students.  We were back in business.  Yes!  We took a break to call our niece and cousin Hazel for her birthday.  The satellite phone worked!  We did not typically have luck getting through to our relatives and friends on their special days this year.  Hazel was one of the few people we actually got through to ON her birthday.

Our families snorkeling together

Our families snorkeling together




We took a break and set off to snorkel near the Exumas Land and Sea Park headquarters.  We saw GIANT lobsters, grouper, angelfish, and triggerfish.  The water was choppy but we felt like we were snorkeling in a fancy fish tank that had been tricked out with every brightly-colored plant decoration they could find in Petco.

Lobsters! (sorry, it's a Park.  No fishing or lobstering allowed!)

Lobsters! (sorry, it’s a Park. No fishing or lobstering allowed!)

angel fish

angel fish

Craig bravely gets close to the giant lobsters

Craig bravely gets close to the giant lobsters

Our little snorkeler Bryson.  Taken with the Lifeproof case for our iphone.  So cool.

Our little snorkeler Bryson. Taken with the Lifeproof case for our iphone. So cool.

After lunch and a bit more schoolwork, we worked on making our sign for Boo Boo Hill.  Boo Boo Hill is a short hike away from the Park Headquarters.  The hill overlooks the sea and is a special spot for cruisers to leave their mark.  Yachts passing through carve a wooden sign with their boat name to let others know: “We were here”.

hutia_02We spent some time visiting the headquarters and chatting with the Park Warden, who lives on this small island all alone (along with thousands of hutias, a nocturnal animal that is apparently decimating the flora of the island).  I thought about what it might be like to live on this island all by myself for months at a time.  Never seeing a store.  Never being in a building other than the one I was standing in.  It wouldn’t be lonely.  Sailors come visit every day.  It would be interesting to meet the wide variety of personalities that make up the cruising community.  It obviously takes someone with a deep commitment to preserving the environment.  And perhaps a flair for adventure, roughing it, and living off the grid.

The kids pose next to the sperm whale

The kids pose next to the sperm whale

We left HQ and walked across the beach, investigating the remains of a 52’ sperm whale that was found in July of 1995.  This is the type of science lesson that you simply can’t get from reading a textbook or googling “sperm whale”.  None of us will forget the amazing size and presence of such a large animal.

Peek a Boo Boo Hill...

Peek a Boo Boo Hill…

Hi Ho.  Hi Ho.  It's up the hill we go...

Hi Ho. Hi Ho. It’s up the hill we go…

We continued on, across a barren field.  Apparently the hutias have been here.  All told, the hike was not more than a mile away, but we must have passed 10 signs on the way.  That was fine with us.  The signs were very colorful and cute.  Up the hill we went and we found the very cool pile of driftwood boat name signs.  We poked around, looking for boats that we have met and finding a spot to plant our own signs.  We liked the idea that our signs would be there for a long time, but eventually would be swept away by the power of nature.  Perhaps our sign is already floating across the sea…

almost there...

almost there…

hill top

sign pile

Bryson staring down the blow hole

Bryson staring down the blow hole

We looked next for the blow holes that we read about.  The landscape was rocky and windswept.  Bryson found a blow hole and waited patiently, but nothing happened.  Patience paid off, and the blow hole was pretty impressive.

found it.

found it.

bac blow

We raced our dinghies back to the anchorage and I worked on sharing pictures with Maggie that afternoon.  I tried my hand at making rotis from scratch.  They were delicious.  Originated in Trinidad, think calzone or empanadas with traditional Caribbean filling.  Here is an authentic recipe if you want a little taste of the Caribbean as the temperatures plummet here in the northern latitudes…

rotiStuffed Roti

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ c oil
  • 1 c water
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 3-4 c filling

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add oil and water while mixing and kneading.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 4-6 balls.  Flatten each slightly and roll out into 8 inch squares.  Fill the middle of each square with about ½ c filling.  Wrap the dough around the mixture to seal the filling inside.

To cook, place butter in a skillet over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and fry the rotis 2-3 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.  Turn and cook on other side.  Serve immediately.


  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 ¼ c water
  • 1 ½ T curry powder
  • 1 t red hot sauce
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 16 oz can chickpeas, drained

Place butter garlic, and onion in a skillet and sauté 3-4 minutes over medium heat.  Add potato, water, curry, hot sauce, and salt and cook 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft and mushy.  Add chickpeas and cook 5-10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Serves 4-6

The half way point for our swimming practice each morning.

The half way point for our swimming practice each morning.

The next morning, we all slept late and Chris made scones for breakfast.  The kids did their schoolwork while Chris and I swam to the beach to explore. (Kids doing school while mom sleeps and swims.  You MIGHT be getting the wrong idea of homeschooling.  I promise it isn’t always like this.)  Next thing we knew, it was 1330 and it was time to move.  We sailed over to Emerald Rock, near the Park Headquarters.  This mooring field was close to the cut between the islands.  We were leaving at first light the next morning and wanted to be as close to the cut as possible, since it was better to navigate the shallow Bahamian waters with the sun directly overhead.  But we were sailing 57 miles the next day and couldn’t very well leave Warderick Wells AND arrive 57 miles later all during bright sunlight! (refresher course: we travel at an average of 7 knots per hour)

R/V Coral Reef

R/V Coral Reef

Wendy and Craig came over for a post-sail beer (that 4.8 miles really took it out of us…).  Once we were ready to motivate again, we hopped in our dinghies with the kids to go ambush the crew of the R/V Coral Reef.  R/V means Research Vessel, as opposed to S/V Patronus which is a Sailing Vessel.

Reese takes notes for our science journal.

Reese takes notes for our science journal and earns extra-cute points from the crew of the Coral Reef.  Notice that none of us wear shoes anymore unless we absolutely have to!


The Coral Reef is a large ship that takes students and scientists all over the Bahamas for research studies, data collection, and other explorations.  The captain welcomed our small circus aboard, gave us a tour, and introduced us to the crew.  There was a group of college students aboard.  They were on a two week research trip and had spent the night before looking for hutias.  The kids were shy, but eventually asked questions and we all learned a lot.  Another big old DONE stamp for science class…

The crew and students aboard r/v Coral Reef

The crew and students aboard r/v Coral Reef

yuck!  And no washing machine in sight.

yuck! And no washing machine in sight.


At 1800 hours, we headed back to Patronus for a dinner of chicken and rice.  As we stepped aboard, a large black bird flew out of the companionway.  Uh oh.  What are the chances that the bird would choose our bed to go to the bathroom THREE TIMES?  We went to bed early after cleaning up the mess so that we could be ready for our early departure.  Our time in the Exumas had ended and it took just 5 “short” posts for me to tell you about it!  Believe it or not, we hadn’t even scratched the surface of this beautiful chain of islands!

P.S. I need ideas on which stories to include in my book, so leave a comment below or email us at conwaysailors@gmail.com  if you particularly enjoyed reading about any of our Exuma adventures! boo boosbooboosign  boo boo yellow boo boo signs boo boo signboo beach landscape