Friday, December 31, 2004

Marsh Harbour Christmas Holidays, December 2004

Dec 20/04 Marsh Harbour We are listening to Carribean Christmas music, trying to get into the Christmas spirit. There are no "chestnuts roasting on the open fire" or "walks in the winter wonderland" but we do having "jingling bells", Christmas lights, decorated trees, and lots of festivals. Here in the Bahamas, the favorite celebration seems to be the Junkanoo. We have been to two of these already. Junkanoo is a Junior Junkanoo, Marsh Harbourmoving dance group, some with elaborate costumes, loads of drum and noise makers and "energy". Saturday evening was Junior Junkanoo, where all the local schools sent their schools team, wearing team T shirts, and making noise with whatever they had. The equivalent to an outdoor Christmas school concert, the streets were lined with smiling parents, grandparents, visitors, and nearly everyone else from the surrounding area. It was a lot of fun, and we understand there will be more elaborate adult versions over the holidays.

But what really is getting us into holiday mode, is the arrival of our three children. Paul and Brenda arrived Friday, and Rhonda came yesterday, Sunday. They all fully enjoyed their trips, having to change planes 2 times in different airports, a new travel experience for all. It was exciting, especially for Paul. Their last plane, West Palm Beach to Marsh Harbor, was on a 19 seat prop plane, with only 6 passengers. They also had to fun of double security, as they flew via Washington. But in the end all arrived safely and happy to be done with school/work and ready to hit the beaches. GettingOur kids, Paul, Rhonda & Brenda enjoying a dinghy ride the family together is our greatest Christmas gift.

A Christmas Family tradition: gingerbread houses

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and the temperature should go back into the 20's by mid week. We have taken the kids to Great Guana to walk the fabulous beaches, explore Baker’s Bay ruins, snorkle and swim with the wildlife. We have been joined by Kathy & Pete on STEELAWAY. Pete and Kathy visited us on RAFT in Annapolis in October. They shipped STEELAWAY to Florida in December and are now in the Bahamas.

Steelaway arrives in Bakers Bay

Watching surfers and flying a kite on the ocean beach

flying a kite on the ocean beach

Anchoring in Bakers Bay

Christmas Eve Day, and we have decided to take advantage of the calm weather to go back through the Whale and visit Green Turtle. As soon as we entered White Sound to anchor, we were greeted by Cardia’s dinghy and the kids went off snorkling on the ocean reefs.
Christmas Day – the winds had picked up, so we walked the beautiful ocean beach before sharing our turkey dinner with the Franklins. roughtime in White Sound Harbour

Boxing Day – the winds are still blowing and blow Larry (Inukshuk) and Bill (Planktos) into White Sound. Larry’s dinghy is overturned and Bill manages to get ropes wrapped around both motors when anchoring. Volunteers in dinghies go out to help Larry get anchored, and move Bill to a mooring ball. We had just settled down for a drink when the radio announced that another boat in the anchorage had decided on its own, it wanted to leave….out go the dinghies again to rescue another one. Planktos in White Sound Harbour

The norther continues to blow strong…so we rent golf carts to go and explore Green Turtle and New Plymouth. The kids get a New Plymouthkick out of driving their cart along the narrow streets.
Pineapples: another rum punch to try

The weather is still hemming us in. Fortunately we are able to get off RAFT at the local marinas, and there are even bars for the kids to go to. Rhonda (our oldest) has to fly out on Dec. 29th from Marsh Harbour and there is no way we can go there on RAFT, so we put her on the water taxi to Treasure Cay, and hire a land taxi to get her to the airport. Not cheap, but its an adventure for her and she makes her plane. Bolo Water Taxi
We were stuck in Green Turtle for New Years, so we went northeast to Manjack (the next Cay) This island is nearly deserted, only 3 homes on it, and the residents are very boat friendly. If the winds/water had been calmer, it would have been a great place to snorkel, pick conch, swim and kayak. But the winds continued to blow, blow, but Brenda and Bev did take a long walk along the ocean beach. The waves were crashing in on the reef. We could have picked conch, but no one in our family likes it so we passed.
New Years Eve, there was a big bonfire on the beach and everyone attended, all the boaters and the residents. Bill & Leslie who live there full time, are fantastic people. They grow most of their own food, fish and conch, use solar power and welcome visitors. They even provide free wireless internet to the boaters -- Paul liked that.