Christmas Eve, 2012

It certainly feels strange to be so far away from our boys this Christmas. Stranger still to be sitting in shorts and t-shirts, sipping sundowners under palm trees and exchanging cruising yarns during an informal pot-luck happy hour at the marina. But the same moon and stars shine down on all of us and we are likely listening to the same Christmas music. The lights on our christmas tree in the salon cast a pretty light in our small living space. We have two decorations on our tree – an Exuma shell decoration that Alison bought us, and a little sailboat (with T’ai Chi on the stern). The latter matches those I made for each of our kids – hopefully now hanging on their trees in Toronto.

Our Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree

I will have to catch-up the missed blogs about Staniel and Musha Cays later. Tonight it seems more important to be in the present…sort of.

We came to Emerald Bay last Thursday, taking the Cave Cay Cut through to a somewhat choppy ocean. We did have a good sail down though, despite beating into the wind most of the time. Our friend Alison, whom we picked up in Staniel Cay, enjoyed the trip despite the slight chop. She sailed a lot with her husband when he was alive, so is no stranger to ocean sailing.

Emerald Bay Marina

Emerald Bay Marina

Emerald Bay Marina is part of the nearby Sandals Resort complex, so it is very posh and well-equipped. For the first time in the Bahamas we are on floating docks – no need to be constantly adjusting our lines as the tide changes. We came here partly because we get a very special (cheap) discounted rate because we are members of the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. Also, we have been having problems with our charge system – batteries/alternator/regulator. For some reason our batteries are not charging properly even with the engine running and we were having to run the engine for longer periods each day while on anchor.

The restaurant at Grand Isles where we ate dinner the first night here

The restaurant at Grand Isles

So here we are with shore power, wi-fi, wonderful shower and free laundry facilities. There is also an amazing upper level for our use – a beautiful bar, lounge with huge TV, pool table, DVD collection, library, games, and even a galley. There is a lovely beach nearby at the Grand Isles complex of luxury villas. And a beautiful restaurant close by, where Alison treated us to dinner when we arrived. It is really a great place, but sadly for them, almost empty.

Alison and Liz dancing at the End of the World Survivor's party!

Alison and Liz dancing at the End of the World Survivor’s party!

Our friends and cruising buddies Paul and Mary from Calgary have rented a beach house in nearby Tar Bay, about half way between here and Georgetown. They arrived on Saturday night from Florida. Unfortunately their flights were delayed by hours so they missed the “Survivors Party” which followed the previous night’s “End of the World” (i.e. Mayan calendar) party at another local venue. We went anyway! It was at Catch a Fire, a beach-side restaurant owned/managed by expat Brits. They served a 3 course dinner (either steak or lobster thermidor) and had live music and dancing on their outdoor, lamp lit, waterside terrace. Alison and I were made to wear junkanoo outfits by a local “suitor” who invited us to dance!

Paul and Mary arrive for lunch

Paul and Mary arrive for lunch

Paul and Mary came instead for brunch on the boat yesterday. I baked bread and apple caramel cake, and made papaya/passionfruit smoothies with my home-made yoghurt! I really do enjoy the challenge of cooking in a confined space, and making things from scratch as they are either not easily available or simply too expensive to buy regularly here. I made several Bahama Rum Cakes and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the day before and packaged them up christmassy – a la Martha Stewart – just for fun!

Christmas Baking!

Christmas baking!

Today Paul and Mary picked us up (they have a rented minivan for their stay) and drove us into Georgetown for a major provisioning trip. The market had received their fresh delivery yesterday so it was reasonably well-stocked. Alison was able to wander around some shops, successfully buying gifts for all her family back home. We came back to unpack, prepare food and rest for the afternoon before our happy hour get-together.

Amazing facilities for our use here at Emerald Bay

Amazing facilities for our use here at Emerald Bay

We enjoyed our bevvies and d’oeuvries in our almost “private” lounge and bar area as the sun went down. We made pina coladas and appetizers. The marina being almost empty, only one other cruising couple joined us for the evening. There was plenty to eat and the “boys” took turns playing pool while the rest of us sat chatting, reminiscing and telling stories.

Peaceful Christmas Eve

Peaceful Christmas Eve

Now we are reading and listening to carols. Very peaceful. The incessant wind of the last few days seems to have subsided a little. Tomorrow we are going to have Christmas dinner with Paul and Mary and their family at a beach restaurant near here. In addition to turkey and ham, they have fresh fish and conch fritters on the menu. However we spend our day, you can be sure that our immediate and extended family around the globe will not be far from our thoughts or hearts.

Merry Christmas to all our friends, family, readers and cruising buddies!

View photo journal for Emerald Bay.

The nearby beach

The nearby beach