“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


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Chapter 7: Lee Stocking Island

Lee Stocking Island may be our favorite stop that we made in the Bahamas.  There is enough to do that we could stay for weeks, which we did! But, we had to pile Smitty up with 30 gallons of extra water in a bladder and as much extra gas as we could, because there are no stores or other means of getting water or fuel on this island.

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The island marker and the cut (entry/exit) for Lee Stocking

The Abandoned Institute

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In order to pursue his interest in marine research and renewable energy, the 600-acre Lee Stocking Island was purchased for $70,000 by John Perry in 1957. He developed the island as a scientific field station and tried to make it self-supporting by incorporating working models of new technologies.

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Wind Turbine – the cables were used to pull the blades to the top of the post (which looks like a mast of a boat on land)

The Perry Institute for Marine Science included laboratories, housing, an airstrip, a dock, boats, and dive support facilities.  Up until SCUBA technology became more advanced, the field station featured shallow-depth submersibles.

From the institute’s website: 

The Perry Institute for Marine Science is dedicated to making a difference by protecting our oceans. We do this through ocean research and education that informs the public and encourages action. We operate a tropical marine laboratory on Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Scientists, students and educational groups visit our facility from around the world to conduct ocean research in this remote, pristine stretch of the Caribbean. In the areas on and around our island, we study things like coral reefs, fisheries, ecosystems and the biodiversity of undersea life.”

After the death of Perry in 2006, research funding dried up and the institute was closed. However, the Institute was not cleaned up; tons of garbage (including hazardous materials), buildings and equipment remain on the island. 

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A couple of the many abandoned buildings and a pick-up truck

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Live-wells used for research

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Airstrip

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Hazardous chemicals and the remnants of a decompression chamber

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The tanker trucks were used to hold fuel for the generators that supported the island

Hunting

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Where the conch live

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Conch:  Before                                      Conch:  After

Beautiful Beaches and clear water in every shade of blue

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Hiking

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Summer leads the way on the trail hike

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Snorkeling

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Anchorage with spectacular sunset

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Farewell & Following Seas

One of the saddest days of of our trip so far was parting ways with Deborah & Keith and their pup, Kai on sv Wrightaway.  Thank you so much for the pleasure of your company, sharing the hunting and snorkeling spots with us, showing Jesse how to clean conch, and especially for sharing all of the super yummy fish & conch meals. 🙂

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As I suspect that this island (or at least a portion) will be sold and developed into some sort of luxury resort over the next couple of years,  I am glad that we had the opportunity to explore this island now, especially in its current state (which, we found to be quite interesting and fun).


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Chapter 6 – Cat Island

Cat Island is located on the outer reaches of the Eastern Bahamas (also known as the Far Bahamas); a well-worth sail from the Exumas.  We anchored in Old Bight, off of a 3-mile long, perfect sand beach, that we shared with two other buddy-boats:  sv Wrightway and sv The Lucky One.  This area has one small bar to the north and a large creek that is the home of lots of turtles to the south.

We traveled to North Bight in order to check out the local shops and the Hermitage.  Father Jerome (John Cecil Hawes), an architect and Catholic Priest, known throughout the Bahamas for his work, built the Hermitage (along with many other churches on various Bahamian islands). The Hermitage, located on Mt. Alvernia, the highest hill in the Bahamas, is amazing.  When you first see it from the water, you would think that you are about to embark on an epic journey to get to the top of the mountain where it is located.  In reality, nothing is very tall in the Bahamas. Having hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail; the tallest point in the Bahamas would be comparative to hiking to the base of any of New England’s mountains.  The trail begins as you walk through the archway at the Hermitage’s entrance at the base of the hill.  As you ascend the hill you will see the Stations of the Cross and the replica of Jesus’ tomb.  Once at the top of the hill, you arrive at the beautiful, yet humble Hermitage. The tallest part of the building, the bell tower, is only about 15 feet tall.  This is where Father Jerome prayed and lived in his retirement years.  On the back side of the hermitage, you can see the cave that Father Jerome lived in for several years while he was building the Hermitage.

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View of the Hermitage from the town below

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Debbie & Keith (sv Wrightaway) and Stacey (sv Smitty) hiking up the hill to the Hermitage

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Left to right:  Crews of sv Wrightawy and sv Smitty

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New Bight area – snack & beer shacks

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Fire & weenie roast on Old Bight Beach.  The L Dock koozie is enjoying the Bahamas as well

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Great sail  to Cat Island with our buddy-boat sv Wrightaway


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The Painkiller

To start posting about some more fun things (it can’t be all upgrades and repairs) I thought I would add some cocktail recipes.  While this one is tagged in the category “Sundowner” it’s actually more of a “Sunupper”.  The perfect morning drink for having friends over for breakfast before going for a sail.

So this Sunday I made a pitcher of Painkillers.  A great tropical fruity drink that is claimed to have been invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.  My Bride and I were first introduced to this drink on a cruise from St. Thomas to the BVIs shortly after we were married in April of 2002.  Since then we have enjoyed them in many places, including the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Enjoying some Painkillers in the waters of White Bay in front of the Soggy Dollar Bar with some newly acquired friends

Enjoying some Painkillers in the waters of White Bay in front of the Soggy Dollar Bar with some newly acquired friends

But don’t be mistaken by this sweat mix, these can creep up on you very quick.

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Our friend Chris after at least 7 Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar

For the ingredients you will need some orange juice, pineapple juice, cream de coconut, rum, nutmeg (fresh, whole nutmeg that you grate yourself is preferred) and ice.  The ratios for the mix are a bit disputed.  Pusser’s Rum, a great rum for making painkillers and staple of the BVIs, claims you put 2 ounces of rum, 4 ounces of pineapple juice, 1 ounce of orange juice and 1 ounce of cream de coconut.  The founder of Pusser’s, Chales Tobias, claims to have stolen this from Daphne Henderson, owner of the Soggy Dollar and inventor of the painkiller.  However I think the 4-1-1 ratio is off.  Others claim a 1-1-1 ratio is correct.  It took me a lot of experimenting to get my ratio down (I know, such tough, unrewarding work) but I think I have it just about perfect.

I prefer to make the non-alcoholic portion of the mix separate from the rum.  I do this in the ratio of 2 parts pineapple juice, 1 part cream de coconut and 2 parts orange juice.  Then you can decide how strong you want to make your painkillers for each person.  My Bride prefers hers with about one and half ounces of rum while I like mine with about 4 ounces of rum.  But to me, rum choice makes a big difference.  My first choice is Pusser’s, but I don’t like this rum for other cocktails so I don’t typically have this one on the boat.  Other good choices include Captain Morgan Black (I only use about 2 ounces of this rum) or Cruzan Spiced Rum.  Once you are mixed, top it off with some nutmeg and you have a perfect cocktail for a warm day on the water.

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Two painkillers made to start off Sunday morning this week. These are made with about 1.5 ounces of Cruzan Spiced Rum

Now go sailing!

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I took this photo while letting the autopilot steer in light wind with the panorama feature on my iPhone

 

Enjoy!