Friday, May 18, 2012

Tropigirl & Jippy Go To The Bahamas

First Stop Nassau

It's time!  It's FINALLY time!!  A tropical, "sisters only",  vacation that had been years in the dreaming, planning, booking, saving and waiting was finally here. 

My sister (Jippy), widowed mother of 4, employee working 50+ hours a week, helping hand to all in need, was, I have to admit, less enthusiastic about this adventure than I was.  She barely had time to THINK about taking a vacation, let alone actually GO on one.

Debit card in hand, she left all the planning up to me, dished out money when it was time, and told me to just let her know when she needed to get on the plane.

The closer it got to our time to go, the more nervous I was.  I really, REALLY wanted Jippy to have a great (and relaxing) time.

Did I make the right choices?  Did I make the right choices?  Did I make the right choices?

(Heavy sigh)  There's no turning back now.  It's time to go.


Monday, May 7th

Our flight out of Portland, Or. left on time at 11pm (Sunday) and took us to our first stop, Chicago.  Once in Chicago, we learned that our next flight, to Newark was delayed by 30 minutes.  Ok, that would be cutting it close, but, we could still make our connecting flight from there into Nassau.  If nothing else went wrong.  After we were all boarded in Chicago, we proceeded to wait another 30 minutes before taking off.  This meant that as we were landing in Newark our outgoing flight would already be boarding.  Would they wait for us?

If you happened to be on that flight, please accept my apologies.  I'm sure I probably bumped you out of my way in my anxiety to get off that plane.  Once off the plane and in the Newark terminal I ran to the first desk I saw, showed our tickets to the agent, and told her there were about 10 other passengers on this flight who needed to make this connection and asked if we were too late.  She told us that the departing gate had changed (we now needed to get from gate 135 to gate 110) grabbed her phone, and, in mid-conversation, waved her hand at us and said, "HURRY!"

Gate 110 is farther away from gate 135 than it sounds.  Halfway there, huffing and puffing, we passed the defib and I prayed nobody would have to use it on me.
Buckled into our seats, catching our breath, the pilot's voice came on over the loudspeaker,  "Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to thank you for your patience while we waited for our connecting passengers.  This is our last flight into Nassau today."
My sister and I looked at each other wide eyed and thankful.  We made it!

Twelve hours and 3 planes after leaving Portland, followed by a long wait in the customs line, and a crazy taxi ride, we finally arrive at our hotel in Nassau, El Greco.

I had read several reviews both before and after booking our room here.  Those that were good were pretty good.  Those that weren't, were flat out horrible.  We decided for the price we got and the location we'd give it a shot.

I don't think we could have been more pleased with our (my) choice.  We had the presidential suite.  Roomy, clean, HUGE patio, and great view overlooking Junkanoo Beach.

(Bedroom area)
(Sitting area)

(Dining Area)

Of course, one of the first things I noticed as we took in the view from the patio, was a daiquiri shack!  (We'll definitely be visiting there!)

We loved our room, we loved our location, and, most of all, we loved the fact that we were finally here.  As much as we wanted to get out and start exploring, we just couldn't do it.  We needed a nap.  Now.  Oh those beds were cool and comfy.

I woke up first and, not wanting to disturb Jippy, (who probably hadn't had a real nap in years) I left a note and went out to find us something to eat before places started closing for the night.  I stopped in the lobby to chat with the desk clerk and told her that we were pretty wiped out from a long day of travel and would most likely just be spending a quiet evening here at the hotel.  She laughed, then grabbed me by the arm and said, "Oh yes, today was election day, you gonna want to stay off the streets tonight!  It's gonna get CRAZY!"

I walked a short distance and found a McDonald's open and grabbed a couple salads for our dinner, which we enjoyed on our patio.
An hour, or so, later we had a front row seat for viewing some of the "crazy" I'd been told about earlier.

We loved every minute of it.  The Bahamians seemed happy with the election results and we were happy for them.
It had been a long day, and we drifted off to sleep to the soothing sounds of horns honking sometime around midnight.

Tuesday, May 8th

I'm up bright and early (which always happens on vacation, no matter what time zone I'm in) and ready to hit the beach.  (Jippy wants to sleep in, which is fine.  It's probably the first time she's been able to do that for a long time too.)
The beach is quiet this morning-just a handful of locals out for their morning swim.
It's a beautiful morning, and after I splash around in the water awhile, I start searching for shells.  Soon, a local guy, finished with his swim, walks over and checks out the small pile I've collected.  He asks, "Oh, you're searching for shesells this morning?"  (Yes, he said shesells.)   :)
I told him my sister was sleeping in and I wanted to surprise her with some treasure.
A few minutes later he was back and quietly added several shells to my collection.  (Most of which were much better than the ones I'd found so far.)  I thanked him and he smiled and told me to have a fun vacation before going on his way.

Once Jippy was up, we decided to head out and just see where the road took us.
I should have known, all roads seem to lead to the Straw Market.

The new Straw Market is very nice.  I had been worried that being in a shiny new building might cause it to lose some of it's "charm".  I needn't have worried.  It's still row after row of the same souvenirs, from the same foreign countries, sold by vendors who all want to haggle and give us the same "best deal".  
We had a blast!


We'd like to keep shopping for things we don't really need, but, we're hungry and need to refuel.  Next stop Skan's.  Skan's is nothing fancy.  It's a basic diner, with a basic menu, at a basic price.

Our breakfast was great and we ate every bite.

Feet rested and bellies full, we're ready to hit the streets and do some more shopping.

We spent the entire morning buying things we didn't really need.  (Well, except my papaya/mango shower gel....I did need that....and the rum cakes....I needed those too...and the matching rings we got that change color in the sun....heck, we needed it all!)

Loaded with bags, we head back to our hotel, stopping just long enough to spend our last $3 on a cool, refreshing, mango, pineapple, guava shave ice.

Back in our room we dumped our packages on our beds, changed into our swimsuits and just lounged around the pool for an hour or so.

The pool area at El Greco was quiet during our entire stay.  It could be that there were only a couple other guests staying there at the time, it could be that people chose to go to the beach instead, or, it could be that the pool didn't appear to have been cleaned in a while.  The surrounding courtyard was filled with flowers and trees and quite a bit of debris had blown into the pool over time.  We decided that there were a lot of women who paid a lot of money to go to spas and bathe with flower petals and various botanicals and hopped in.

It was cool and refreshing.

After our "spa treatment" and a full dose of sun, it was time to head across the street to Junkanoo Beach, and hit the daiquiri hut.

Barry (the owner) was more than happy to set us up with two daiquiris, one strawberry and one mango.

The beach was beautiful, the day was warm, and the drinks were delicious.
We decided to see what other flavors Barry had on his daiquiri list and this time tried one pineapple and one banana.

 They were good, but, the mango was, by far, the very best.

A quick trip back to our room to clean up, and it was time for dinner.

The fish fry (Arawak Cay) was only a ten minute walk away and, based on reviews I'd read before this trip, I walked us straight to Oh Andros.

Their cracked conch is some of the best I've ever had!  Perfectly breaded, nice and tender.....Yum!

My sister doesn't eat seafood (poor thing) but loved her chicken and all the sides that came with it.

We walked leisurely back to our room where we ended the day doing nothing more than relaxing on our patio.


Wednesday, May 9th

Today we have a day out scheduled with Island World Adventures.
A full day of boating, snorkeling, eating, and exploring the tiny Saddleback Cay in the Exumas out islands.
Our shuttle picks us up right on time and takes us to Paradise Island.  After we've gotten in line and paid, we wander around for a minute, then, get in line.  The tour guide asks everyone to line up in pairs as it will make it easier to get an accurate head count.  He walks down the line counting, then calls out over his shoulder, "Ok, I have 59."
After that we get in line to board the boat.  Before each couple or group boards, a photographer takes everyone's picture.  (Presumably for us to purchase, should we choose, on our return.)  We continue following the line, waiting our turn to board.  Once we get close, I see the side of the boat.  It says Powerboat.  I'm pretty sure it should say Island World. 
 I'm pretty sure this isn't our boat.
I ask the couple behind us if this is Island World.  They say it's the boat that goes to the Exumas.  Yeah, they all go to the Exumas. 
 I'm pretty sure this isn't our boat.  
I ask if their receipt looks like mine.  They don't have a receipt.  
I'm pretty sure this isn't our boat.
We get all the way to the front of the line and, before we board, I show my receipt to the guide.
This isn't our boat.

THIS is our boat.

We make it onboard in plenty of time.  It's not until we're under way that Jippy and I start to wonder what will happen at the end of the day when the guide on the other boat does a head count before they make their return trip and he comes up 2 short.  We further wonder if it will increase their concern when they have one souvenir photo left unclaimed.
We decide we should make it a point to call our parents the next day just in case our pictures are on the news as missing tourists.
 An hour and a half later, we reach beautiful Saddleback Cay.

We spend the morning wandering through all the shacks and decks on the front of the Cay.  They're spread out well enough that it never feels crowded.

Not even the open bar is crowded.

Next up-snorkeling.  This is the part where Jippy gets nervous.  She's not a swimmer, she's never snorkeled, and she has a slight fear of sharks.
I list all the reasons she shouldn't be worried.
The water here makes people so buoyant, one doesn't even need to really swim, you can just lightly tread water, bend over and stick your face in the water.
Also, the sharks here aren't really people eaters.  (I hope)  I try and lighten her fears even more by saying, "Besides, even if a shark DID bite you, just think of the cool story you'd have to tell back home."  Jippy is not amused.

Once we arrive at our snorkel cove, I tell her to at least get in to take a look.  If she doesn't like it, she can get right back on the boat.  It's immediately after this that we hear a mother tell her two young sons, "Just get in the water and take a look, if you don't like it, you can get right back on the boat."  They're both leaning over the edge and claim, "We already looked and we don't like it!"  Jippy looks at me and nods her agreement.

We get in the water together, she gets used to the water, she puts on her mask, treading water, she leans over and takes a look.  She comes up and says, "WOW!  I wasn't expecting that!"
She likes it!  Yea!
The snorkeling lasted about 45 minutes, Jippy stayed in the water about half that, and I have to say I was very proud of her.

 This is truly one of the clearest and most beautiful places I have ever snorkeled.
(Yeah, there really were fish here, they were just a lot faster than I was.....but, look how nice and clear the water is here!)

On our way back to our Cay, we stop at a sandbar and hop out for about a half hour, wading in the warm shallow water searching for seashells.

When we do get back, lunch is ready.  A full buffet of bbq chicken, fish, rolls, and several salads.

There was more than enough for everyone.  (Including the sharks.)

After lunch our guide (Leslie) took us on a short tour of the island giving us a brief history along the way.

Soon after that, it's time to head back.  But, first a quick stop at another tiny island to feed the iguanas.

I assume these guys know the drill well, because as soon as the boat pulled up, they came running.

We made it back to Paradise Island, sunburned, salt sprayed, windblown and very happy.

We had a great day, but, it's not over yet.
Instead of taking our shuttle back to the hotel, we decided to stay on Paradise Island awhile and wait for the Junkanoo show at Marina Village.  I know I'll probably never make it to the Bahamas during the holiday season to see the real Junkanoo shows, so, I'll watch any "let's entertain the tourist" performance that's available. 

We kill some time in the Atlantis casino.  Jippy donates $20 to the slots.  I play a few machines, spending a total of about $15, then, hit a small bonus and cash out at $13.  
(I consider myself a winner and we head out in search of food)

I always plan on eating as much seafood as possible when I'm on vacation, but somehow, whenever I spend the day snorkeling or swimming in the ocean, I crave a hamburger.
And, whenever I'm at Marina Village, somehow, I always seem to end up at
Johnny Rockets.

My bacon, bbq, burger with onion rings is fantastic!

We wandered in and out of a few shops, but, we're pretty tired by now, and ended up just finding a nice bench to rest and wait for the show.

"If you're losing control  'cause of the rhythm in your soul,
if you should be home in bed, but you're on the street instead,

 Finally, we'd had as much fun as we could take for one day, and caught a cab back to our hotel.  The staff greeted us in the lobby and asked if we'd had a great day.
We smiled.  YES!  It had been another great day!

Thursday, May 10th

Once again, I'm up bright and early.  While I wait for Jippy to get up and ready for our new day, I decide to take a walk and check out our neighborhood.  The side streets here are surprisingly quiet.


Today is our last full day in Nassau, and we decide it would be easiest to find souvenirs for her kids while we're here rather than wait until we get to Abaco.  It looks like we're in for another trip to the Straw Market, but first, we're hungry.  We head right back to Skan's and order the exact same breakfast we had the other day.

Oh look!  We could have gone to Captain Vinny's and gotten both souvenirs and breakfast.
And gotten our hair braided too!!  (Maybe next time.)

We're not as strong today as we were on our first day, and a couple of times we actually had to duck outside and take a few deep breaths before going back in for more haggling.

We finally have gifts for everyone on Jippy's list, (and a few more rum cakes for ourselves) and head back to our room to chill.  I made a quick run next door to Babaloo where I ordered a chicken caesar salad and chips & salsa to go and brought them back to enjoy on our patio.

The chicken was peppery and perfectly cooked.
The salsa was fresh made with tomato, onion, cilantro and mango.

Great food with a great view.

Just as we decided to head across the street to enjoy another of Barry's mango daiquiris it started to rain.  Hard.  Awww...rain delay.  In less than an hour, it turned from rain to a mere drizzle so, off we went.

  As soon as we had daiquiris in hand, and our toes in the sand, the rain stopped all together and the sun came out again.  Barry's stereo plays "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone" and all is right with the world.

We enjoyed our dinner at Arawak Cay so much the other night that we decided to walk down again and try another restaurant.  We'd barely had a chance to look around when we encountered a hostess who claimed, "you don't need to look any farther, the very best food at the fish fry is HERE!"

Feeling slightly bullied, we consented and went in.
I ordered the conch salad and conch fritters.  Jippy ordered the steak.
The conch fritters were just average, but, oooohhhh the conch salad was the BEST I'd ever had.  I have no idea in the world what they did differently here, but it was delicious!

 I had barely made it halfway through my salad when I got up and ran outside to compliment the chef.  (He seemed very pleased.)

Jippy let me try her steak and it was delicious too.
We tipped both our waitress and the hostess.  Had it not been for her, we would have walked right by this place.

On our way back to our room we stopped and walked along the beach collecting a few seashells and a few pretty rocks.  It was a lovely evening.

It was hard to believe how fast the last few days went by.  We'd had a wonderful time, in a wonderful hotel, in a wonderful location, staffed by wonderful people.  People who always asked if we needed anything, who always asked if we were having fun, and who even asked if we'd managed to get through to our mom so she wouldn't be worried.

I've had several people tell me, "Oh, I hated Nassau!"  "It's too touristy!"  "It's too crowded!"  "It's so gritty!", and I can't help but feel sorry for them.   Yes, all those things may be true, but if you open your eyes and look around, you'll also see that Nassau has some beautiful beaches, some beautiful architecture, and some of the most beautiful people you'll meet anywhere.
If you open up and embrace all these elements together, what you end up with is a fantastic start to a fantastic vacation!


Let's Go To Abaco!

Friday, May 11th

We're up early, packed and ready to head to the airport by 7:30am.  Time to head to 
Hope Town on Elbow Cay, Abaco.
There's no line at the small security checkpoint, and I pass through along with my carry-on with no problem.  Jippy's carry-on however.....they run it through it through again...."You have rum cake in there, yes?"  We laugh, "yes, we have lots of rum cake!"
"Is it all rum cake, or is there sand in one?"
"Oh, well, it's all rum cake, but, we were planning on collecting some sand later.  Is that not allowed?"
"Oh yes, it's allowed, we just need to know what's in there."
They look again.
"There's still something in there we can't see, we're going to need to open the bag."
Everyone laughs as they rummage through the stuffed carry-on bag.  (A bag which Jippy had to buy at the Straw Market just to hold all her souvenirs)
The security agent emerges with a small baggie of rocks.
"Ah!  this is it!"
"Oh, we're sorry are we not allowed to take rocks?"
"Oh no, it's fine, we just couldn't see what it was.....actually, I've never seen these before."
The rocks get passed around between the three agents and none are able to identify them.
They must be treasure.

Today's travel is pretty easy compared to Monday.
A 30 minute flight to Marsh Harbour--A 15 minute taxi ride from the airport to the ferry dock--A 20 minute ride to Hope Town, and there's the Hope Town Harbour Lodge directly in front of us. 

Check-in was a breeze and we spent the next few minutes just exploring every corner of our cottage.

By now, we're getting pretty hungry.  There's a full notebook in our room with pages of information on Hope Town and of course part of that "need to know" info is a menu for the property's restaurants.  Looking over the lunch menu I decide I'm definitely going to order the seared tuna wrap.  Or, the sliders.  Yes, I'm definitely going to order the sliders.
We head down to the Reef Bar & Grill where I order the tuna wrap.
"I'm sorry we have no tuna today."
No problem, I'll have the sliders.

 These were so yummy, I gobbled one up before I thought to take the picture.

After lunch we explored the property a bit, 

 (you have to love a place that has a china hutch outside)

then we just spent some time lounging around our back porch.

Later, I decide to head back to the Reef B&G for a drink while Jippy stays behind to read her book.  (Yet another thing she hasn't had time to do in years.)

I get pretty excited when I get there to see Gary The Bartender.  I've seen him in so many videos and photos that I feel like I already know him.

When I say I'm glad to finally get to meet him, he says, "I'm glad I finally get to meet you too!"
(Yeah, he's good alright.)

I have a couple drinks, make some new friends, then head back to our cottage.
We spend the evening unpacking & relaxing and fall asleep around 10 pm.
(Without the background music of honking horns.)


Saturday, May 12th

We get up fairly early today,  throw on our swimsuits and head for the beach.  I get in the water first, and eventually coax Jippy in as well.  (I made the mistake last night of telling her how Gary was pointing out the lemon sharks swimming close to shore yesterday while I was enjoying my cold drink.)
We spend some time wave jumping, (we only swallowed a little water) beach combing, and trying to lay out to work on our Bahama tans.  Eventually we got tired of swatting the biting bugs and left the beach to them.

 (View of the cottages from the beach)

After we got cleaned up, we went in to "downtown" (a 2 minute walk away) and started with breakfast at Cap'n Jack's.

 (mmmm....eggs benedict)

With a beautiful view to boot!

We amused ourselves after breakfast by tossing our leftovers to the hungry fish waiting below the dock, then, set out for some Hope Town shopping.

First stop Iggy Biggy.

Shopping here is more expensive than Nassau, but, it's also MUCH more relaxed.

With the exception of Ebb Tide, which was closed, we stopped at every store we saw.
(Including the liquor store.)

We also passed a few places that (having seen so many pictures before this trip) felt like familiar landmarks.

Having shopped sufficiently, we went back to our room and just chilled on our porch,
cold rum drinks in hand.

Once we'd rested a bit, we felt fairly social and headed for Harbour's Edge.

After spending some time looking at all the dollars signed and hung on the walls, I said to Jippy, "I wish I had my sharpie so we could leave a dollar here too."


Almost instantly after the words were out of my mouth, the bartender handed us an assortment of pens and a stapler.  We spent the next few minutes getting creative and leaving our mark.
We met several people this evening, but, our favorite new friend of the evening was Tippy.
Both of us are pug owners, and this little pug mix stole our hearts! 

While we'd been enjoying our drinks and conversations, we'd watched pizza after pizza come out of the kitchen.  A few served in the restaurant, most in boxes (stacks of them) to go.
By the time we'd finished and were ready to go, I couldn't stand it anymore.  I had to have a pizza!

(One slice didn't make the trip back to our was delicious.)

We took our pizza home, ate, and with that, another beautiful, happy day came to an end.

Sunday, May 13th

Jippy sleeps in this morning, while I suit up and hit the beach.  The beach was almost entirely deserted and extremely peaceful.  I took a quick dip, then, spent a good hour on my hands and knees, like a little kid, digging in the sand for tiny shells.
Once I had a nice little collection, I decided to put on my mask and see what there was to see in the sea.
I was barely at waist level when I put my face in the water and saw a school of fish.  They were just plain looking fish, but, there were HUNDREDS of them!
I ran back up on the beach, grabbed my camera and jumped back in to take a video.
Blip.  Dead battery.  WHAT?!?!
I had just charged the battery a few days ago, and, really hadn't used it.  UGH!

I did manage to get this one and only picture.

I don't know what it is with underwater cameras on this trip, but, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.  I stayed in the water and watched them awhile, making a mental note that if they fled suddenly, look around quickly for predators.

Later that morning, Jippy & I took a long, leisurely stroll through town.
We didn't need to do any shopping, we just wanted to explore.

 The roads of Hope Town are the exact opposite of those in Nassau!

 By now we're hungry, and walk back to the lodge to have lunch at the Reef B&G.
Today, Jippy has the sliders and I decide to try something I'd read about several times from folks posting on 
Chicken In A Bag.

Fried chicken & french fries, drenched in ketchup and hot sauce.

  The chicken was nice and juicy, and the skin was super crispy.

We walked back to our cottage after lunch, where we proceeded to do nothing for the rest of the day.
Nothing but lounge.
At some point earlier in the day, I honestly don't remember when, I had gone to the
Sugar Shack

 and purchased sandwiches and macaroni salad.
Then, at some point in the evening, we managed to drag ourselves up long enough to bring that food out to the porch for dinner.

We also managed to make the grueling (one minute) walk from our cottage to Ray's Place for a slice of key lime pie to go.

Now I know, to some, it might sound like we wasted the entire evening.
But, really, when you've had a day of this

  and you're now snuggled down in a bed as big and comfy as this

and you have a piece of key lime pie resting on your belly, waiting to be eaten,
is there anything else you could possibly want?


Monday, May 14th
 Today is our day out with Froggies.  

I scheduled this tour back in January, and at the time, we were the only two on the schedule.  We checked in with them on Friday after we arrived and learned that a wedding party had also scheduled this tour for the same day.  I figured that was probably a good thing as I wasn't sure they would have still been willing to go out with only two passengers. 
We weren't terribly hungry this morning, but since we didn't know what time lunch might be, we thought we should have some breakfast before we left.  (Sure would hate to miss a meal.)
We made a quick trip to the Reef B&G and shared an omelet and side order of sausage.

 When we got to Froggies, checked in, and tried to pay we were told, "Oh, no, there's no charge, everything's already been taken care of by the brides father."  What?  Oh, wait, "No, we're not with the wedding party, we booked separately."
"Oh, that's right, we had two extra."  She was more willing to take our money then.
We got on the boat with about 20 or so others, and tried not to be intrusive.   A few smiles and nods were given in our direction, but, not much else.  We were welcome here, but, we weren't family.  Our boat got under way about 10 am.
Jippy & I were sitting near the rear of the boat and couldn't help but notice the the motor sounded a little "off" and seemed to be putting out an extreme amount of smoke.
(Note-Engine was smokier than appears in photo)
About 30 minutes into our journey we hit some pretty rough water and as the boat rocked back and forth, Jippy & I quietly sang to each other, "the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed....."
In the meantime, the family had been enjoying the rum punch and foamy beers off the pony keg that they had brought along.  Mother of the groom came along and introduced herself and chatted for awhile.  Then we met Step-father of the bride.  After that, Mother of the bride.
The family was starting to warm up to us.
About 45 minutes into our trip, the engine started sputtering and we came to a stop.  Our tour guides, Francis and Scooby, jumped out, made some hammering and clanking noises in various places, and a few minutes later we were back on our way.
Jippy & I continued, "If not for the courage of the fearless crew...."
A short time later, we arrived at our snorkel spot.
The water here was slightly choppy compared to the calm water in the Exumas.  (Though I'm sure it didn't seem that way at all for seasoned snorkelers.)  A life ring on a rope, that was attached to the boat, was tossed into the water for anyone who wanted to use it, and truthfully, Jippy & I were both glad to see how popular it was.  (We didn't want to be the only weenies in front of the family.)  The current was a little strong here.  As much as I love to snorkel and swim in the open ocean, I tend to wear myself out and end up struggling on the swim back to the boat.  (I don't really swim so much as dog-paddle my way to my destination.)
I knew Jippy was a little nervous (this takes me off the hook to go out on my own) so the two of us stayed near the life ring, happy to stick our faces in the water and look around from there.
We weren't in the water very long, when all of a sudden, there was our tour guide, Francis, right next to Jippy, offering her words of comfort and encouragement.
Wow.  I was really impressed.
We were the first two out of the water and back on the boat, but, the rest of the family was close behind.  A few of the younger family members (other than the parents, they all appeared to be in their 20's) asked if we had fun, and a few others offered us drinks.
The family was warming up a little more.

Once everyone was back on the boat, we head out for Little Harbour and lunch at Pete's Pub.
(Jippy & I tried not to notice that the engine still seemed to be smoking badly.)
Hooray!  Pete's Pub!
I'd seen pictures of this place on-line years ago, and even though I had no idea where it was, I knew I needed to go there one day.  I mean, who doesn't want to have lunch and drinks at a shack, in the sand, on a remote island?

For being a tiny place located on a tiny island, it sure was crowded.
Jippy claimed not to be hungry and just ordered a drink.  I had intended to order seafood, but, having been out in the salt water, my burger crave was in full swing.  (I also wanted to order something that Jippy might like just in case she changed her mind and wanted a bite or two.)

I ordered the blue cheese burger, and I have to say,
this was the BEST burger that the two of us have ever shared.  Ever.

After lunch, we wandered through the art gallery.

They had a lot of beautiful, high-end, pieces, but this is the one that amused us the most.

We spent a little time exploring the area, then planted ourselves at a table where we were soon joined by a few family members, (drinks in hand) where we all chatted happily until it was time to leave.
Our new family seems to like us just fine.
It wasn't until we were about to re-board that we noticed the name of our boat.

(We weren't sure whether we should laugh or worry)

Drinks were flowing freely now (though Jippy & I politely declined--rocking boats, full bellies, and alcohol don't mix well) and high-fives were coming our way rapidly.

Yeah, our new family loves us.

A quick stop was made about halfway back home where half the passengers jumped out and dove for sand dollars, while the rest of us stayed on-board, happy to just watch and chat.

Well, the Last One held up just fine and we arrived home safe and sound around 5:30 pm.

Back at our cottage we cleaned up a little then decided to go to Harbour's Edge for dinner.  We were sleepy, and, not terribly hungry, but hated to go to bed this early without any dinner.
I ordered the cracked conch and a cup of conch chowder, Jippy had a chicken caesar salad.

Everything was very good, but we just couldn't finish it all.  (Though we certainly did try.)
By the time dinner was over, we could barely hold our eyes open. 
We made our way back to our room, got into our jammies, and fell asleep to the beautiful sound of the breeze rustling through the palms outside our window.


Tuesday, May 15th

I'm up early this morning, leave Jippy to sleep in, and walk down to the beach to wade in the water, and search for more treasure.  I'm having no luck today finding anything, and decide to walk all the way down to the end of the beach where there's a small, craggy, cliff jutting out into the ocean.   My theory is that over the years, storms must have washed all sorts of treasure up over the top, trapping it in the rocks and bushes.
I find TONS of little purple spiral shells (they're everywhere!) and toss a few in my canister before realizing they're still occupied.  Oops!  Sorry guys, go back home.
 Under the bushes I find a few shells that obviously hadn't been occupied in years and kept them because they looked antique.
I also found a large handful of sea glass which, was beautiful, but, not quite "ripe" yet.  I tossed it back into the crashing waves hoping that the ocean would finish her job and wash it back up when it was done for future beach combers to discover.
The biggest find I made was a small piece of broken plate.
I ran it back to our room and excitedly told Jippy, "Look, I found this shard of plate!  No, it's NOT a piece of a plate from Howard Johnson's!  Look, it has half the Bangor family crest stamped on it!"  (Do you know what movie that line is from?  My sister did.)

Heading out to see where today took us, we started with breakfast from Cap'n Jack's.

Just as we were finishing it started pouring down rain.
It never occurred to us to stay and wait for the rain to stop, we just got up and went shopping anyway.  Now, there was absolutely nothing that we still needed at this point, but, we went into several shops anyway, just to be sure.  We were soaked each time we entered a shop, but, everyone had their air conditioning turned up high, so we were dry (and a little chilly) each time we left.  (It almost felt better being out in the warm rain.)

We were passing the Wyannie Malonie Museum, as the rain stopped, when my sister said, "Should we go in?"  It's only $3, we have nothing but time....sure, why not?

What a wonderful stop!  A 20 minute historical video (it was very interesting, but, please don't quiz me, I forgot most of it as soon as it was over) and then room after room of antiques, old newspaper clippings, family trees, photos, and other assorted treasure.

We'd passed the museum a few times during our stay here, and we were both very glad that we'd decided to actually take the time to finally stop in. 
This was a great place to explore and we both recommend it highly.

After that, a quick stop at the Sugar Shack for ice cream.

As we walked back to our room, it started raining (lightly) again.
Not much left to do but sit on the damp porch and finish off the rum.

Late afternoon found us down at the bar saying good-bye to Gary.  Of course we had a drink while we did.  (It would have been rude not too.)

After that it was time to pack.  It was over.  Our beautiful vacation had gone by so fast.
How on earth did that happen?

Jippy's suitcase had weighed in at 49.5 pounds when we left Nassau, so I put her sand and rocks  in mine to help lighten her load.  I think her carry-on weighed about as much as her suitcase.

We had a long day of travel ahead of us and it was going to start at 3:30 am,
so we went to bed early thinking about all the fun we'd had here.


When I was planning this trip, I'd worried about whether or not I'd made all the right choices, and I promised myself that I wouldn't bug Jippy with a lot of questions like, "Do you like this?", "Are you having fun?", "Are you glad you came?"
It turns out I needn't have worried.
From our first night in Nassau, and throughout the trip, she made happy comments.  "This is the perfect location",  "this is a great view",  "that was a great meal"........
She not only got to sleep in, she got to take naps, and even finish a whole book.
We'd both had a fantastic time.

Wednesday, May 16th

We're up, packed, and on the dock waiting for Stafford Patterson to pick us up 
by 5:30 am.

It had been a long haul getting here.  
After all the saving, planning, booking and saving some more, we then had to fly from Portland, to Chicago, to Newark, to Nassau.
After that, it was back to the airport, then to Marsh Harbour, then to Hope Town.
Now, reverse that and land us back in Portland at 9:30 pm.

(Keep in mind I still need to get Jippy back to the airport the following day and send her on to Idaho.)

When people hear the travel portion of my story, they ask, "Wow, was it worth it?"

To get to spend ten days in paradise,
yes, it was worth it.

To get to spend 10 days, just being goofy, with my sister,
I would gladly do it all over again.


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About Me

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From the time I was in grade school, I knew I wanted to travel to tropical destinations. I grew up loving blue oceans, palm trees, tropical flowers, and anything coconut scented. Finally, at age 34, I managed to take my first tropical trip. (Bahamas) I was hooked! Since then, every spare penny has been saved for the next vacation... every spare moment has been spent planning the next vacation... and the moments after that have been spent talking about and documenting that vacation. To date, I have been to Hawaii 8 times, the Bahamas 4 times, Las Vegas 6 times, New York (right after Sept 11th) Alaska and the Baja Penninsula. I decided to start this blog to document all my continuing adventures....let's hope there are many!