Friday, June 18, 2010

Day Four, Treasure Cay, Bahamas

We REALLY took it easy on the fourth and final day here in Treasure Cay. Thankfully, we had our power on all day which was wonderful. AND, it was the coolest day of the week by far - only in the low to mid-90's with a little breeze. We slept late and then ate lunch on the beach.

The Coco Beach Grill

After lunch, we walked back to our little villa and rested pretty much all afternoon. Lange went to the beach, but I had all the sun I needed. We cleaned up late in the day and went to the only "real" restaurant in Treasure Cay - Spinnaker's. We had no idea you were supposed to have reservations, but we walked right in and got a table. The food was the best we had all week. A perfect way to end our vacation.

After dinner, we walked on the beach one last time. We barely missed the sunset, but the view was still beautiful. We would have stayed longer, but the mosquitos were eating us.

The area of the ocean outside our villa is called the Sea of Abaco because the outer islands around it form a sort of barrier. It is the most peaceful, beautiful beach of all the islands and has won several awards. We videoed the sounds just so we would remember how wonderful it was...About halfway through the video I saw a fish - maybe a dolphin - surface near us. Pardon the interruption.

Lange did an outstanding job planning this trip. In fact, if we ever came back I would do EXACTLY the same things we did all over again. He has always enjoyed "game-planning" - particularly with regard to travel. I think if music ministry didn't pan out that he could be a trip advisor for people. He is the best! This vacation has been a long time coming. The past year has been unbelievably difficult. I was reminded this week that Jesus also took time out to rejuvenate. He also seemed to prefer the sea or water for relaxation. How incredibly thankful I am to have had this opportunity to rest and de-stress. I am SO ready to see my kids, though.

Day Three, Island hopping by boat

We rented a small boat on Thursday and hired a guide to take us island hopping, snorkeling, fishing, shelling, etc. Our guide's name was Joe, and he was a native Bahamian who we thoroughly enjoyed. He took Lange right to the fish and even baited his hooks for him. Lange had great - skill (luck, perhaps?) - and caught a lot right away!

Lange and Joe with one of his fish

A common sight here. The locals are poor, but the American tourists are their livelihood. Many Bahamians make a living cleaning yachts like this and tending to the "American's needs."

We ate lunch here on Guana Cay. We got off the boat, and Joe told us where to walk to get to the restaurant. We started down the path, and along comes Joe with a friend of his on a golf cart. We hopped on the back and took off. There was a multi-level deck overlooking the ocean at the restaurant and a pool to swim in while you waited for your food. When we finished eating, along came Joe's friend on the golf cart to take us back to the boat.

Hope Town - Elbow Reef Lighthouse

The view from the top of the lighthouse

Note the sheer terror in my eyes. The lighthouse would not meet American safety standards...

Lange got a beautiful pic of the lighthouse.

One of the most fascinating islands we visited was Man O' War Cay. Look it up on the internet. Many locals here in Treasure Cay told us that most everyone on Man O' War has the same last name - Albury. There are only about 700 on the island, and there is no alcohol allowed there. It is a sort of commune with very few outsiders living there. Most all the people look alike - short and stocky with blonde hair. We tried to explore a little, but it was SO hot we could hardly stand it. There were very few locals out on the streets. We did hear southern gospel music coming from one house. Our boat guide told us that there are more alcoholics on that island than any other. The people get on their boats and "cruise" around and drink... I wish I had gotten a good picture, but I didn't.

There was a storm off in the distance most of the day - with a water spout! Our guide avoided it all day. We snorkeled, too, which was awesome! It was like being inside an aquarium. We also stopped at a small, empty island to look for seashells. The one drawback was the heat. Many places are not air conditioned. In fact, the islands lose electricity almost daily. We were without power almost every night we were here. It doesn't take long to get hot in "tropical weather". We used plenty of sunscreen, though, and only ended up with minor sunburns.

Lange was determined to try spear fishing while we were out on the boat. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical, but he was amazing! I think Joe was even impressed. I got a little carried away when Lange surfaced with a LOBSTER! We ate it for dinner. -- Warning: Joe and I get pretty loud in the video. You might want to turn the volume down...

Only in Treasure Cay would someone offer to cook your fish for you. This kind, Christian man is the husband of a lady named "Mrs. Florence" who is known all over for her cinnamon rolls. We ate breakfast here two mornings and learned immediately of her love for the Lord. Lange stopped in after we got off the boat to buy some peas and rice (a local dish) to go with our fish, and they insisted on preparing our fish for us, too. What a treat!

Lange eating the fish he caught that very day. They were DELICIOUS!!!

Day Two, Marsh Harbor, Hope Town, and the beach

We decided to rent a car on Wednesday and drive to Marsh Harbor to do some shopping. Treasure Cay - where we stayed - is a bit more remote, and I wanted to get some things for the kids. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the "car" we rented. Let's see if I can describe it appropriately. It was made in the '80's, had no a/c, the speedometer didn't work....Get the picture?

The Bahamian people are so kind, helpful, trustworthy, and for the most part, very religious. Unfortunately, all the rental cars were rented on this day, so a lady at the golf cart rental shop "made a call" for us, and this dude showed up at our door.....What an adventure. The car made it through the day, although we had a pretty major scare about 3:30 that afternoon when it wouldn't crank. Lange finally got it going, thank the Lord.

This is where we ate lunch. The food was WONDERFUL, and we found out later it was a favorite of the locals. They served sweet tea - my favorite - and it was perfect!

These beautiful trees were blooming while we were there.

We encountered this often in the Bahamas. The people are VERY laid back. This was in the door at a souvenir shop in Marsh Harbor.

Palm trees with real coconuts - everywhere here

An example of some of the beautiful houses on the island

Hope Town, Bahamas - we rode a ferry over to this island after lunch

Conch meat is served at nearly every meal here. We tried some. It tastes a little like scallops or squid. Lange videoed this guy pulling the meat out. Interesting, huh?

Hope Town Harbor, Bahamas

Dinner on the water at Captain Jack's - I think I had fish every meal - DELICIOUS!

A sweet end to a beautiful day....

Day One, Flight to Treasure Cay, Bahamas

Yes, in the span of a little over a month, I - who has a GREAT fear of heights - have flown in a hot air balloon, and now a nine-passenger airplane over the WATER of all things. I don't even like going over bridges at night. I think God is teaching me a new form of trust - TOTAL and COMPLETE trust. As it turns out, Lange and I were the only two passengers. Pretty sure they lost money on us since we only paid $79 apiece to get over to the island. It was really neat, as long as I didn't look down...

The boarding process was hysterical. We had to weigh our luggage and then weigh ourselves. Then, the lady said to just be near her desk about twenty minutes before time to go. Sure enough, about ten minutes before takeoff, two pilots walked up to us and said, "Ready to go?"

The view from the sky - Lange took this picture

SOOO happy to be on the ground. I look pretty tired in this picture. We had only gotten a few hours sleep the night before because of the conference.

BEAUTIFUL Treasure Cay. There truly was NOBODY on the beach.

What a paradise...

Sounds in the plane just before takeoff...

SBC Pastor's Conference, June, 2010

After depositing all four kids in NC safely, Lange and I flew to Orlando FL to meet up with the rest of the Highview team for the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor's Conference. It was MUCH work - and MUCH fun!