Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fours Company

Fours Company
By, Cindy Sundborg

We started our trip in Nassau. Best decision #1: Choosing to stay at a quaint beach get-away called Coral Harbour Villa. 

Best Decision #2 Rent a car for our 3-day stay in Nassau.
It is beautiful here – we can hardly believe the color and clarity of the water. We have our own personal chef at the small restaurant there, and we nearly eat the entire menu during our stay – conch salsa, putine, chicken wings, conch fritters and fish tacos. Oh, and of course our favorite local beer – Sands or Kalik (FYI – Conch is pronounced like ‘honk’, but with ‘c’ J).
Blue waters at Crooked Island
Pitts Town on Crooked Island
Our stay in Nassau was an adventure in and of itself. Over 3 days we pretty much drove around the entire island (multiple times), tried to knock down coconuts (unsuccessfully!), survived a tornado (no joke, one actually hit land while we stayed there), explored Paradise Island, drank pina coladas & daiquiris on the whitest, white sand made in real coconuts and swam in the most brilliant blue-ish shades of water.

Mike & Matt pulling Tonic onto the beach
After getting our fill of the capital, we hop on a plane and head southeast to our first “out island,” Acklins (via Crooked Island).  Hook up a ride from Napi and meet up with two beach bums on the east end of the island – Mike and Sara!!  They look great – bleach blonde hair and sun bronzed bodies.   We jump into our new friend, Tonic (the dingy) and head out to our home for the next 12 days – Tanqueray!
Cindy & Matt on Tonic at Atwood Harbor, Acklins Island
Sushi dinner
Lighthouse at Landrail Point, Crooked Island 
Matt & Mike with tuna
Narrow entrance into Rum Cay marina
Sara & Cindy snorkeling
Matt underwater

Spearfishing adventure with the locals at Landrail Point
And in no time, we’re sailing.  Sailing!!  What a way to travel.  Cutting across the water powered only by the wind – no engine, no mechanized noise to yell over, hardly a wake, just us, Mike, Sara, and the indomitable Nelly.  And what better place to travel than in The Bahamas??  We see more shades of natural blue than I’ve ever seen.  You lose words to describe the hues – royal, aqua, teal, navy; we flash through each of them with every new anchorage and crossing.  And they never lose their luster.  How many times can you say wow in a trip?  Ahh, this is vacation.

First Tuna catch
Cindy & Sara with good size yellowfin tuna

Matt & Mike with the mahi mahi
But sailing’s not just pina colada’s and sunblock…  Wizzzzzzz - Fish on!!  Cindy, grab the reel! Sara, take the helm! Matt, pull in the jib (and try not to fall off the boat!), Mike grab the gaff hook!  Woohoo, we’re pulling in a tuna – and it’s a yellow fin!  Hardly a better meal in the ocean.  And we quickly discover that this isn’t going to be a vacation of snack bars and warm water.  No, we eat like royalty.  Would you like the seared tuna with soy and ginger, or would you prefer a three cheese mushroom rizzoto?  Pizza? – check. 

Strawberry grouper catch of the day
Sara & Cindy on the beach at Conception Island
Matt & Cindy on the beach at Conception Island
Lemon shark under the boat
Another beautiful sunset

Like your sweets for breakfast? – no problem, cinnamon rolls it is.  Need a break from fish? – freshly baked wheat bread just coming out of the oven!  Did I mention wow??

But back to the fishing – We turn out to be expert trollers.  Or at least very lucky.  Black fin tuna, mahi mahi, yellow fin tuna, and a couple that just got away – but they were big!  Not many places you can travel where you get the bulk of your food from the environment.  The fish are brilliant, too.  As mahi glide through the water it’s gold, and blue, and silver, and green, and a whole rainbow of other colors – until you kill it.  Then the colors drain out of it like water til all that’s left is a drab grey.  Almost creepy.

Besides our trolling booty, we “catch” conch, lobster, grouper, and pick up some hogfish from our adventure with our local Crooked Island friends.
Seared tuna dinner
Tanqueray docked at Rum Cay
Beach at Rum Cay
Snorkel time
Matt & Cindy with Mahi Mahi catch
Of course living on a boat has its drawbacks, too.  The casual warning – “watch your head” – is ominous foreshadowing.  I’ve discovered new ways to run my head into things.  On the boat, inanimate objects seem to jump out with just the intention of banging my head.  Top of the head, side of the head, forehead, in the nose – I’ve managed to whack ‘em all.  And just when I’ve mastered my body contortions to get around each obstacle, the sea throws in a big swell to throw off my balance and SMACK, a new lump.

We can both say that this trip was one of the most unexpected experiences. Before we left Portland, I remember asking eachother, “What do you think Sara and Mike do all day?” We decided to pack 3 books, of which neither of us finished one! We sailed to 5 islands, caught a variety of fish, lobster, conch, we spear-fished, explored the white sand beaches, rode not always the most reliable dingy (“tonic”), met some of the most friendly and welcoming natives and fellow travelers, and we even went on a scavenger hunt – finding a pirates booty! 

We mastered (well almost!) the art of crossing a large channel in the middle of the night, saw the moon set and the sun rise over the brilliant blue waters, saw more sharks than we ever dreamed of seeing, snorkeled amongst a variety of fish and coral, and we experience what it’s like to prepare food (or even stand) in a boat that’s heeled at a 45 degree angle!

Portlander's For Life - Go BLAZERS!
Now that we’re here back in Portland, we want to say “THANK YOU” to the most incredible, adventurist hosts – Thank you Sara and Mike! We LOOOOVED the trip we were able to experience together. Can’t wait until the next one! ;)
The Gang at Landrail Point, Crooked Island


  1. Such a great entry! Love the idea of all of you getting along so well in such a tiny environment. Now you can do ANYTHING! Sky is the limit.

  2. Cindy, That was a great log entry. You told the story with such flair that I was transported back to my own adventure with the adventurers. It doesn't get any better than cruising with those two + Nelly. They know how to show you a good time.

  3. Wow! Looks like fun time with Sara and Mike :)

  4. This was an amazign trip! thanks for posting sara/mike - WE MISS YOU!!! --cindy

  5. Wow, you guys sure know how to make us working folk wish were were there again!! Keep it up. Cheers!