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Monday, March 29, 2010

A FLAWLESS WEDDING..........................



Timing was everything..................and timing was perfect. One cold front passed with rain and clouds, and the next one did not arrive until two days after the wedding........ Now that takes some doing............Thus a truly beautiful wedding in full sunshine was held on Saturday afternoon, March 27, 2010, on the ocean side of Elbow Cay in the Bahamas to wed Lauren Anne Reynolds and Tony Alton Shiver, Jr.............. Now, after probably 4000 photos were taken by the guests, it is difficult to choose the appropriate ones for this blogsite.............. But here is a sample............ All the guests stayed at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge in rooms and bungalows with grandiose views and spectacular sunrises. Without even asking for it, Her Highness and I were accommodated in the "Queen's Quarters"................ Word has obviously gotten around.... But this weekend belonged entirely to the Bride and Groom. We congratulate them on this wonderful decision to be united in love and friendship, in joy and harmony, in mind and in body......................to share and to cherish the future together.



Some photos were taken before the wedding, and some after, so you need to suss that out. We even took a boat ride to Nipper's Beach Bar on Guana Cay, where we discovered the secret hideaway for their "Rum Punch" that sneaks up on you without warning......... with severe consequences.




And it would be hard to find a more exotic setting for a wedding. Even this palm tree sent out its orange shoots for the occassion, and this frog who had been hiding in the bushes made his appearance. There was a rumour that he always appears at weddings and that he really is a "Prince" in disguise, but none of the single fair ladies in attendance took the slightest notice of him and as far as we know........ nobody kissed him......................... To find out the 'truth' of the rumour.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HEADING TO THE WEDDING.............................



The wedding is to be held in Hope Town, a small community in the Bahamas, originally made famous for its ability to plunder the wrecked ships that ran aground on its reefs. The British government then erected a lighthouse in 1868, which generally upset the community no end, resulting in an 'economic downturn'............. which was periodically reversed when the lighthouse was made... "not to work".............. Today, Hope Town and its historic lighthouse are thriving, with 70 cents in every dollar coming from tourism, and this wedding should double that. The wedding party and all the guests are flying in and staying almost a week..............sunshine, flowers, blue water.........pink drinks and pink sunsets.......... The early bird arrivals have been sightseeing, including this photo on the right taken from the top of the lighthouse. The iconic lighthouse is even depicted on this mailbox............... The original settlers were "Loyalists", those who did not want the party politics of the American colonies, but rather the order of His English Majesty "King George" ..............Sadly today, for your basic shopping, you still need to go to the "American Colonies" and Walmart...............albeit by plane or boat........ The lighthouse is known as "ELBOW REEF LIGHTHOUSE" and you can clearly see that the island looks like an elbow from the top of the lighthouse...................




Much photographed, painted and embroided, this towering monument is now to be immortalised on the wedding glasses, hand-painted we might add, and a surprise gift for all the guests at Lauren-Anne and Tony's nuptials. ....................... Not that this historic monument is defunct............ Quite the opposite............. Daily, the tanks high up in the structure, are filled with kerosene (paraffin) from jerrycans that are hoisted up with a rope and pulley, and the cable with its counter weights, are manually re-wound to allow the glass dioptic lens structure to rotate all night long, giving a signal beam at least 17 miles out to sea. This should allow the sportsfishermen with their million dollar yachts and their elaborate GPS/Radar/depthsounder/chartplotter electronics to find Hope Town harbour, in relative safety.



You might just have to double-click on the wine glasses to see the little painted lighthouses.....



Those concentric glass lens rings are some four feet in diameter and at least three inches thick, and if you have ever lifted a mirror or some window glass, then you will know this was marvelous engineering, in a place where today it is very, very...... very hard to get a fan belt...... We know......And these humungous lenses are ten stories up in the air.............



So nightly, the little paraffin lamp is lit by hand, and the hand-cut glass prismatic dioptric lenses rotate, casting shadows over the quaint little cottages below. The lenses, together with the steel machinery, was manufactured in England and shipped out to the Colony of the Bahamas ................And most likely on a SAILING SHIP............Think about that while the sun sets..........................Now come up to the balcony at the lighthouse by clicking on the video arrow below...................

video

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SAILING IN THE SKY...............................



The sail fom Eleuthera to the Abacos was great................. Wind, 6-7 knots from the SE, wind on the quarter, sea swell about 6 feet in slow curves............... very, very nice......... and we made Hope Town by the late afternoon. By the next day, the grey and gloom was back again, and the wind had increased to 25 knots from the west. The plan to pick up a mooring buoy in Hope Town turned out to be a bad plan....... There was not a mooring to be had in the whole harbour....... The place was 'chock-a-block' full with boats of all shapes and sizes.......We had left our run too late, and on top of that, we were due to fly out to Florida, the next day, as a surprise visit for Lauren's daughter's bridal shower. By 5pm we had finally scored a mooring, and by 7.30am the next morning, we were on our way to Marsh Harbour. The strength of the wind should have told us that this was no day to fly. This was no day to do "sailing in the sky". .....Even the birds were "hunkered down" in the bushes like this one below, and if we were going to end up in a funeral plot, then at least we hoped it would be one without trees growing in it.............



At the airport near MARSH HARBOUR sat our personal yellow twin-engined Canary...............Somewhat protected from the winds prevailing on the seaward side of the island, and the "Queen of Florida" all worked up and very excited about the planned surprise................. The pilot, whose name was Che Chang (you can call me Darren for short), offered Laurie the co-pilot seat................. This could be fun......... " Maybe he could teach me to fly while we go across the Gulf Stream "



By the time we are half-way across the water, the passengers, all six of us, are having second and third thoughts about this 'Yellow Air Taxi' flight, because the pilot has one hand on the ceiling and his other elbow braced against his side window, while trying to keep the plane level...... We do some incredible contortions in the near darkness at two in the afternoon, with a radar screen that looks like a smudged 'Van Gogh' painting, done in limp green............ "ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?"................


WOW.....................



I have never seen "that" particular look on Laurie's face, and the Pilot isn't exactly smiling either................ and after crossing the Gulf Stream and some pretty wild gyrations, we drop down to 800 feet as we approach the Florida Coastline, and out of the rain we see the runway lights......... The pilot does a great job in trying to bring this 'Baby bright Canary' down, but halfway down the runway he has to abort and go around once more, .....................and then on the second go, touches down to a roaring applause from all of us.........An hour and a half flight that's taken three hours to complete.................and then things really get interesting, as we enter the airport building.... Security rushes up to us with " What are you doing here, and where did you come from?". "Every aircraft has been grounded and all incoming flights have been diverted to Miami... and there is extreme, extreme turbulence up there, and we are under a tornado watch" ............Dah!!!... as if we didn't know that....... They quickly organise airport TSA, Customs and Immigration and we are released.........into the pouring rain, the concrete jungle and traffic at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport............ The ultimate culture shock for sailors......... But in the end, every bit of it is worth the look of " TOTAL SURPRISE " on the Bride-to-be's face, as she bursts into tears upon seeing her mother come around the corner at her bridal shower party, put on in Jacksonville by the wonderful and gracious hostess, Robin Frost...............Laurie's life-long friend........



NOW THAT'S THE KIND OF SURPRISE WE CAN ALL HANDLE

The wedding is sheduled for the 27th March, in Hope Town in the beautiful Bahamas.


And needless to say we are due to fly back on the Yellow Canary two days hence............never mind...............

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RISE AND SHINE,......................................

Time to go sailing, again ........................



SOME MORNINGS ARE PRICELESS AND BEYOND WORDS...............

5 o'clock in the morning, and leaving SPANISH WELLS in Eleuthera,..... Heading for the ABACOS and the northern Bahamas.......................... And yes, the Earth is curved................Amazing that the water doesn't run off the end.

Monday, March 8, 2010

SAILING IS EXHAUSTING WORK.....................


So here is a slightly different format............ Just double click on the photos to enlarge them......................... Bean tree.............. Laurie "on watch"............Spanish Wells fishing trawlers.................... and some actually going out to do some fishing.................... incredibly beautiful beaches........................the $3.00 colander wifi antenna gizmo..........ultra-light (and we are not talking beer and cigarettes here)...................some sunrise bromiliads...............the settlement of 'SPANISH WELLS'............... and other stuff.................and Laurie in discussion with an 82 year-old Frenchman, whose son is flying the ultralight, and here is the funny thing.................... the backpacker pilot's name, we found from his Dad, is Erouge Erich,......... That kind of seems like 'Red' Eric, which could be 'Eric the Red' and thus not French at all, but Scadinavian......... and if you take a good look, perhaps that could even be 'Eric the Orange'........check out the video at the bottom..................'that's like sailing in the sky'................... Oh, and what sort of an Aussie would dare fly a flag like than one............... ( talk about star-less ).................no class at all...........then again, Aussie courtesy flags on the 'far side of the World' are not that easy to get hold of...........



video