Read part one of the Bahamas Cruise on MV So Sweet.

Little Harbour, Bahamas

Sunday, May 11, 2003 – Time to get underway!  Yippee, it’s our first venture out on the big boat and time to see some real blue water!  So, after breakfast, we take off for destination, Little Harbor!  We needed to time our journey in accordance with the tides, otherwise we would not have been able to get into our anchorage.  Something I’m learning quickly.  We are taking it slow and admiring the view which we all agree looks a little like the British Virgin Islands, with its rock formations coming straight out of the water.  Maureen suggested we fill our lazy day with Bloody Marys and we all concured!  We turn up the music and dance a little using our Maracas that were bought in Marsh Harbor!  Jim and I are having so much fun, the weather is absolutely beautiful and has been since we arrived!  When we get to Little Harbor we find out that it is a very small place.  This is fine, in fact we like the differences of having a nice marina with all its amenities, and then an island that has almost nothing!  Actually, there is a hut called Pete’s Pub and a Gallery and Foundry.  Once secured on a mooring ball we take the dingy to shore and check out the island.  Pete’s Pub is a little open air hut, but there are special drinks, so we decide to partake!  We walk over the hill and see the magnificent Atlantic Ocean.  Barry reminds me that way east, the next land mass is England, how cool this is to ponder!!  That night we go to shore again and have dinner at Pete’s.  With all the good food we have been eating, it was inevitable to have an off night.  The grilled grouper was pretty good, but not much else to write home about!  We meet and greet some folks that live on the island, it certainly is a different lifestyle.  Everyone seems so relaxed (maybe a little too relaxed as one islander near us falls completely off his bar stool).  That night we went back to the boat, messed around on top of the deck, and when the guys went to bed, Maureen and I stayed up and she introduced me to John Mayer, by way of his new album!  We poured us another one and rocked out to his great tunes!  It was a blast, until … the next morning!

Monday, May 12, 2003 – After attending to our respective headaches, Maureen, Barry, Jim and I went on a little excursion to the island.  This time we walked all over the place … from the beach side where we discovered wonderful fossils that we realized had probably been there for thousands of years!  Maureen and I wandered around the water’s edge and saw all kinds of species of jellyfish and sea urchins!  Maureen even found a blue crab that tried to pinch her!  Also, we found the most beautiful conch shells, yippee, I decided to take one home (with the help of my friends, Barry & Maureen, since they were coming back on the boat)!  Ever since we arrived at Little Harbor we have been greeted on a regular basis by giant turtles, they are so cool!!  They come up for air and we can see them so good, they are probably about 2 and ½ ft. in diameter and 3 to 4 ft. long!  Also, today we had dolphins come up to the boat.  They were so cute, it was a little dolphin family of three, Mom, Dad, and baby dolphin!  Maureen and I have just been awed by the abundance of sea life!  After lunch we went snorkeling to a reef just outside the anchorage.  Not as spectacular as Mermaid’s Reef but we did see a giant ray with a wing span of at least 6 ft. across!  That night we grilled out hamburgers (which were tasty) and watched a DVD, yeah we were roughing it.  And speaking of this, I should say a little something about “So Sweet” … the boat is fabulous!  It is so comfortable and yes, luxurious because we never wanted for ANYTHING!  We had air-conditioning, great meals, great drinks, great music in every part of the boat, a great state room with our own bathroom, which we slept well in for 5 nights!  Anyway, that night we watched the Austin Powers comedy, “The Spy Who Shagged Me”.   What a funny film, Jim and I had never seen it!  Throughout the rest of the trip we used some of the lines from the movie, “Yeah, Baby” and when appropriate, “Shag Me, Baby”!!

That afternoon we were treated to some entertainment from a captain who obvious had not done his homework.  The channel entrance to Little Harbour is 30′ wide,  lined with six markers, three to a side.  The only problem, its 3 1/2′ at MLW (mean low water) – a factor this captain was so blindly ignorant of.  I first noticed him from the fly bridge and remarked to everyone that here comes a reckless guy, producing  wake in a 40′ Sea Ray (or equivalent) just 30 feet from the entrance.  As we all watched, he passed the first two red markers as though he intended to use them to scrub barnacles from his starboard side.  Then to our amazement, he turned right prior to the last marker and made it about 10 feet before the tell-tale sand and debris filled the water surrounding his stern – signs of bent propeller blades, a scraped bottom, and perhaps more.  We were then treated to 10 minutes of “Captain Sea Ray” making every attempt possible to motor off of the shoal.  His attempts finally set him free where he moved to the nearest mooring ball and settled in.

So Sweet Trawler
So Sweet Trawler
Little Harbour
Little Harbour
Little Harbour 2
Flybridge View

Paradise Island, Bahamas

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 – On the road again, or should I say on the water again.  This morning we set off for the big blue water cruise, destination Nassau.  Last night the guys remind us girls that we can sleep in while they get us underway, yeah right, at 6:30am I awake to the anchor chain being recoiled and then a bumpy ride out to the channel, no lady can sleep through this!  However, once we get going, Barry comments that he probably has never been on an open ocean that is this calm.  I’m armed (literally) with my wrist band for seasickness, but there’s no need, things are perfectly smooooooth!  We try our hand at fishing by hanging out the back of the boat with some ballyhoo as bait, but nobody’s biting, darn it!!  Meanwhile, up on deck, somebody yells about something port side in the distance.  Low and behold it is a whale and it is surfacing and blowing air out it’s spout!  How cool, now we’ve seen fish, dolphin, turtles, jellyfish and  whales!  As we get closer to Nassau, passing over 12,000 ft deep waer, we slow down from 10 knots to 4 or 5 knots and try fishing some more, we get so close when Barry gets a bite and we hear the line being taken out to sea!  Yippee, we can taste dinner already, but just as soon as Barry starts to reel the bugger in, he picks the hook clean and gets away!  Oh well, it was still exciting just to get that close!  A couple of miles from Nassau we see this rainstorm over land, so we just kind of slow things down and take her in leisurely, and by the time we get to shore the rain has passed!  That means, so far we have not had rain our entire vacation!!  As we enter Nassau and the Atlantis Harbor we see what a nice place this is, lots of BIG boats, we are talking 180 ft and longer, WOW!  The complex is also very impressive, massive, and ornate!  Oh we love those differences, last night was Pete’s (hut) Pub and tonight was a 5 star hotel and marina with 200 ft boats!!  We think it only appropriate to dress up and go out for a fine seafood dinner, so we do!!  It’s a place called Fathom’s and it has part of the aquarium right in the dining room!  Everybody’s food is delicious from crab appetizers to grouper entrees, we are fat and happy!  While we are eating, Barry and Maureen are pulled into the entertainment show which consists of lighting Barry’s hands on fire and Maureen learning how to do a native dance, ooh la la!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 – Slept in this morning and got packed up.  Jim and I were getting off the boat today because Barry & Maureen were meeting up with some other friends of theirs and it will give us a chance to explore the island too.  After we have a little breakfast at the marina and shop around some, we venture out to our bed and breakfast where we have reservations for our last 2 nights in the Bahamas.  We take a taxi to the Pink House, which is only about ¼ mile from the marina, as it turns out.  The Pink House is a wonderful older beach home that reminds me of an old Key West house, it’s pink and has those cool old wooden shutters that are supposed to keep the house safe from storms.  Our hosts are Minnie Winn and her son, Ralston, who are lovely folks that are originally from Australia.  Once settled in our room, we venture out to Hurricane Hole marina, the marina that Barry & Maureen have stayed in before and where Jim says we will dock when we come through here next year.  We eat lunch at the cute little café there called the Green Parrot.  I forget that the portions here are huge and we have more food than we can possibly eat.  We try to walk off our lunch a little looking at the various boats, which are all sizes unlike at Atlantis where the majority are over 100 feet!  We shop around and buy some things at the Straw Market, which is where many Bahamian folks sell wares that they have made, from straw purses, to clothes, paintings, and more.  I buy some souvenirs and we push on to other shops, trying to get the dog sitter a gift and things like that.  We bought some Bahamian flavored rum that we love and then went over to the market to see what we need from there.  I remember Maureen needed paper plates as we ran out recently so I picked up some of those and turn to the next aisle and we run smack into Barry & Maureen.  Come to find out their friends are not joining them after all (due to a mix up) so we decide to meet later for dinner and continue our fun!  After relaxing in our room awhile we dress for dinner and stroll over to the marina to pick up Barry & Maureen.  We all taxi over to Ichiban’s, which is supposed to have great sushi, oh boy!  We sit at the sushi bar and the fun begins again!  It’s nice having a little sushi show right in front of us and Ralston’s recommendation is correct … it is good sushi!   We taxi back to the marina and say our good nights.  We agree to meet tomorrow and wander around the Atlantis complex and enjoy the many things this wonderful place has to offer.

Thursday, May 15, 2003 –  Around noon we meet up with the Sikes and head toward one of the many pools of Atlantis.  Once settled in our chairs, Barry, Maureen, & I head to the water slides!  Jim declines our pleas and stays with our stuff.  What a blast!  There were 4 slides and we were bold enough for 3 of them (the other one was a straight drop off for 30 ft. or so before it leveled out, ooohhh scary stuff)!!  First we did this curvy slide where you go down on an tube.  It was kind of scary too as the first 10 seconds you can’t see a thing, it’s totally black!  Then you come into lightness a little bit but are still enclosed and going in a downward spiral.  Finally, you slide down through this clear tube where you are surrounded by all these fish.  The fish (and sharks) are on the other side of the clear tube (thank goodness)!  But it is a wild ride and we are laughing all the way!  This is cool, we feel like kids!!  The second slide we try is one that you go down without a tube.  It’s fun too, but fairly tame after the first one.  So, feeling braver than ever, we embark upon the next to the highest and most dangerous slide.  After walking up what seems like 10 stories, we look down, oh no, it’s fear factor time!!  We talk to several people and ask them how it is and we are convinced we should try it (YIKES)!  So, Maureen gets into one side of the slide, and that gives me the courage to get into the other slide, thinking we can go down together, but Maureen is not moving, she’s just laying there! (She actually thought she was moving- so she later told us)  Now people are starting to line up behind us and a line is forming and Barry is getting frustrated and gives Maureen a push, well I see her going and know I have to go too, and then WHOOSH, we’re off!!  It’s a very steep slide with one hump in the middle and by the time we hit the water, we must be going 40 or 50 mph.  In fact, there is a speed meter read out, but we are laughing so hard it changed screens before we could see our actual speed.  I know it is fast because as I hit the water my bathing suit became a thong!  Barry follows us down and we all laugh and call it quits as this last one hurt our middle-age backs!!  We meet back up with Jim and have a round of urchins (rum and lemonade)!  Yum, just what the doctor ordered!  Since we can’t hear the guy to join in on team trivia, we conduct our own contest with each other, asking trivia questions about television shows from as far back as the 50’s, it was fun!  After awhile, Barry & Maureen leave to go back to the boat but invite us aboard for our last night in the islands for Maureen’s special spaghetti dinner!  When we arrive on the boat for dinner, Barry insists we take the dingy out for a last look of Nassau and the harbor!  Maureen agrees and places a drink in our hand for the ride!  What fun, we start out and it is absolutely the most beautiful time of day, the sun is setting but the moon is shining.  In fact, we learned from Minnie that tonight is an eclipse of a Red Moon, something that doesn’t happen but every 3 years!  We are loving this ride as the wind is in our hair, we motor over to Hurricane Hole and see where we will bring the boat in next time.  On our way back to So Sweet we wave at some kids yelling at us from shore and Jim and I toast to this most wonderful vacation!  How thoughtful of Barry and Maureen to send us out on their dingy to say goodbye to the island from the water!  It was so cool!  We get back onboard and have the most delicious dinner, Barry was right, Maureen’s spaghetti is fantastic!  After dinner we go up on the fly bridge and look at the Red Moon with binoculars!  It is spectacular!  It’s getting late and we have to say goodbye, but we are stalling, because we are not sure how to thank these wonderful friends for all their warm hospitality this week!  Barry says we can return the favor by taking them on our boat soon!  So, we shake hands and hugs on that, vowing that maybe New Year’s in Key West would be a good target date, (hear that Jim, you better get to work on Tortuga)!!  As we walk away we have the best feeling, relishing our wonderful week with genuine people who are just “So Sweet”!

Friday, May 16, 2003 – We knew this day would come, but we are not ready to go home just yet!  We’ve had a blast, learned a lot (about cruising from Barry and Maureen), and just relaxed, which is just what one is supposed to do on vacation!  Barry has so much experience in piloting an ocean going vessel, we were just sponges listening to his tips and watching him work!  Maureen can also captain the boat, but mostly leaves that to Barry.  I was in awe of her ability to provision the boat and plan meals!  And I’m not talking canned chili, I’m talking delicious, healthy, hearty meals like chicken, steak, salad, and vegetables!  I hope I can do half as good and she does and we will be fine!  We could not have dreamed up a better host and hostess to take us on our first Bahamas cruise … thanks so much you guys!!

Anyway, after a nice breakfast, we take a picture-taking stroll down to the marina where we catch a taxi.  Minnie (our B&B hostess) suggested we have lunch at the Ocean Club, a beautiful resort and hotel that is owned by the same folks as the Atlantis.  We venture out there and are wonderfully pleased.  Minnie has steered up right!  This place is exquisite!  Fresh flowers everywhere, everything exuding good taste and class.  What a way to bring our vacation to a close!  We dine alfresco by the beach under the cover of a square gazebo restaurant called Dunes.  Jim has a raw tuna salad with tomatoes and a wasabi dressing and I have a steamed shrimp salad over greens with a champagne vinaigrette.  We feel absolutely pampered!  But, hey that’s the way it’s been our entire trip!  We linger as long as possible but then we must dash to the airport and leave this paradise island!  The nicest taxi driver takes us to the airport and as we enter the plane we both look at each other and the area and say our farewells until next time we promise!

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