Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Around the tree Christmas morning

We are celebrating Christmas in Marsh Harbour.  Missing our families but thank goodness we can stay in touch via Skype.  We have good quality voice connections and sometimes video when the Wifi is speedy.  Christmas was low key with small gifts.  Not a lot of room for big gifts anyway.  We want to wish all of our family, friends, co-workers a very Happy and prosperous New Year.


Another week in paradise

Again a week has passed with no entries.  It seems the days are so packed with relaxation there is scarcely time to write.  I was saying to Matt last night that at home when we would go to bed, I would so look forward to sleep as relief from the day and I would often dread the chaos that the next day would hold.  I noticed last night that I am now wishing that we could skip sleep because I so look forward to the adventures that each new day holds.

Last week we enjoyed a bikeride to a faraway beach.  It was beautiful.  We played Bingo for cash at the local watering hole – it was so fun!  We went to the local Christmas Pageant in Hopetown where 52 kids practice every day for 10 weeks.  It was fabulous.  The proceeds send an orphanage full of kids from Nassau to camp for the summer.  I can’t say enough about what a spectacular show it was.  We made friends with a lovely couple from Connecticut who came to Hopetown on their sailboat and then decided to buy a house here.  We went for a boatride with them and collected shells on the beach and ran with their beautiful golden retriever, Clyde.  They let us use their cottage to fix our wind generator blades.  We also climbed to the top of the Hope Town (Elbow Reef) Lighthouse for the best view yet.  This is the lighthouse that is now the header picture on our blog with Troubadour in the foreground.

The entrance to the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

Hope Town Harbour panorama from the top of the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

We have finally set up our DVD player and have been having family movie nights which have been so enjoyable.  As Christmas approaches we are looking forward to cooking on the boat, just the 3 of us, and homemade gifts from the heart as everything sent from the States has a 150% customs tax on it.

When Matt and I were in the dinghy yesterday in Hopetown Harbour a HUGE (8 foot) dolphin swam right under the dinghy – it was such a thrill to see!  Then we came into Manowar Cay and while I was up on the bow checking for shallows I kept seeing stingrays everywhere – very exciting stuff.

Love and blessings to you all during this holiday season,

Amy, Matt and Graham

Now we are in Hope Town!

I haven’t updated since before we went to the Christmas Festival in Marsh Harbour — ten days ago!  The festival was lovely.  We went with our friends from Green Turtle Cay, Lana, Roger and Nicole Parks.  Nicole is in 7th grade and is doing the Calvert Homeschool program as well.  There was singing and dancing and crafts and facepainting and delicious food.  I had one bite of Lana’s coconut dessert and fell in love.  I was determined the following week to find it in a bakery; I even commissioned a bakery to make me a “coconut jimmy” which is what they came up with after I described it.  There was no joy in Mudville but I am still on the lookout.  We ended up staying in Marsh Harbour for another week — till Friday, December 9th waiting for packages and sailboat repair stuff.  Finally, we motored about four miles away to Hopetown which is so beautiful.  It reminds me of Chatham in Cape Cod.  They have a red and white striped lighthouse which is decorated like a Christmas Tree.  It is called the Elbow Reef Lighthouse and was built in 1864.  It is hand-wound, not automatic.  All of the marinas and restaurants are lit up as well with multi colored lights.  It is so beautiful at night as we are anchored out in the harbor with other boats and lights all around.  The Atlantic Ocean is just over the hill — about two blocks so you can hear the waves crashing on the shore at all hours.  So peaceful.  On Saturday we walked all around town, had a delicious meal and then took a break from school work and working on the boat and we just all went to the beach for the day.  It was fabulous.  It was sunny and about 80 degrees but the breeze made it so that we were never hot.

Hope Town Beach just over the hill

Then we went to the fresh fish market (a man’s backyard where he has a little shack with a fridge with his catch of the day and a cash register.)  Matt prepared a delicious snapper.  This morning we are going to church in the playground — there is no Catholic Church here but the priest travels from island to island on the ferry conducting mass.  But first we are going to have brunch ourside in a resort by their fresh water pool and 30 feet away from their live coral reef.  Tomorrow we will go to Captain Jack’s for Bingo!

Brunch at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge's oceanside grille.

Margo Wagner’s poem about our adventure

This probably should have been our first blog.  It was a gift to us from our family friend, Margo Wagner, age 11.

The Journey of a Lifetime

A family sets sail, with memories in mind, memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.  On shore a family waves goodbye, bearing the same memories and wishes of a safe journey.  Many days and nights, a family remembers their friends, and memories they share.  Many miles away, on a boat bobbing in the ocean, a family thinks of friends waiting on shore.  They fish and they swim, they laugh and they cry, and they live their lives.  Sometime later the families meet with so much to tell, and so many new memories to be made.

Now we are in Marsh Harbour

On Wednesday we traveled from Green Turtle Cay to Marsh Harbour (a city of 5,000).  We are staying at the Conch Inn marina while we fix some boat stuff, catch up on school work and cable TV and stock up on inexpensive groceries.  Before we left Green Turtle Cay, Matt and Graham went diving with the dolphins.  Unfortunately they didn’t find any dolphins but Graham speared a fish and they caught some lobster which Matt prepared for dinner — curried lobster with rice with a recipe we got from an Embarrassment of Mangoes.  And tonight he made Cheesy Chicken with Avocado and Tomato Salsa with huge avocados from the Dominican Republic.  Tomorrow is the Annual Christmas Festival in Marsh Harbour with music, food, crafts and more.  It goes till 11 pm.  But a cruiser’s midnight is more like 7:30 pm.