“We came for two weeks and stayed for fifteen years” Pam on SV Dejarlo

Almost every morning for the 27 days Elizabeth Jean rested and played in Elizabeth Harbor, Pam on Dejarlo would moderate the 8:00 cruisers’ net, the forum for sharing news and information for the Harbor and the greater George Town area.  Almost every day she would note the magnetic hold that the harbor held on her and her husband, Oliver.  It was easy to see why.  The cruisers’ net provided a menu of activities from beach volleyball, to water aerobics.  Painting sunset scenes on coconuts? Yep, you could do that too.  Bonfire socials and snorkeling with the resident reef expert?  Roger, roger.   Just listen to the cruisers’ net and then sample from the cruiser friendly smorgasbord.  During our time in Elizabeth Harbor, Elizabeth Jean rested safely through gale force winds at a dock and on a mooring.  In calmer weather, Elizabeth Jean enjoyed an array of pleasant anchorages that provided ready access to stunning beach walks, excellent snorkeling, free reverse osmosis water and restaurants, stores and shops.  The George Town International Airport provided easy access for daughter Jean and her fiancé, Max’s visit.  As a cruising cross roads, we also ran into Adam Hauck, one of Lal’s fellow captains in Seattle and Jupiter’s Smile, a sailboat we met our first season in Mexico and who we had not seen or heard from in more than three years.  As  Elizabeth Jean, headed north up the Exuma chain towards Nassau, only the encouragement of excellent sailing on the protected Exuma Bank, eased Elizabeth Harbor’s enticing embrace.

Elizabeth Harbor, home to Georgetown, is in the lower right hand corner.

Albatross-eye-view of Elizabeth Harbor.  Elizabeth Jean spent time at the marina in the upper left hand corner of the photo and at anchorages throughout the Harbor.  At the height of the season as many as 400 boats were anchored in the Harbor.

Elizabeth Jean is secure at the third dock from the left.  She is the brown masted vessel just right of center obscured by a sailboat with a blue sail cover.  We arrived in Elizabeth Harbor just ahead of a gale and weathered the storm at the dock.

AJ making conch salad at the Peace and Plenty, a very cruiser friendly hotel and restaurant.  He is dicing a piece of conch and another piece is to the right of his hand.  Citrus juices, onions and peppers complete the simple dish.

Just one of the beautiful beaches on the harbor side.

A beach walk on the more turbulent Exuma Sound side.

The mooring field where we left Elizabeth Jean for a short visit to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Jean and Max joined us for a week.

Max goes up to help restring our courtesy flag halyard which had frayed in the heavy winds.

Photo credit: SV Spiraserpula.  Elizabeth Harbor has an abundance of good snorkeling sites.  The numbers on this picture were provided by Gayle on SV Spiraserpula.  Gayle and her husband, Bill, are retired marine biologists who live on their catamaran, named for a marine worm named for Gayle.  One morning on the cruisers’ net Gayle announced she would be snorkeling at a reef near our location.  She invited anyone who wanted a reef ecosystem tour to swim on over.  Eric was the only taker and enjoyed one on one instruction with the local expert.  For more about Spiraserpula and local snorkeling see:


Anchor lights in Elizabeth Harbor the night before Elizabeth Jean departs for Nassau.

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Third Treasure: Warderick Wells Sperm Whale Skeleton

This sperm whale died from ingesting a plastic bag, as Marion Vokey correctly answered.  The skeleton is at Powerful Beach on Warderick Wells, the Island Headquarters for the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  The park is a no catch zone and the snorkeling is particularly good as a result.  Many of the reefs are in less than fifteen feet of water and have abundant and varied fish species.

Albatross-eye-view of Warderick Wells.  The park has mooring balls that make accessing the park for hiking and snorkeling particularly easy.

Thanks to those intrepid treasure hunters who participated in our Exuma exploration!

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Exuma Islands Treasure Hunt: Bones

Fearless treasure hunters, here is your last clue.  A complete answer will explain the Haiku’s last five syllables.

Bones: A Haiku

On Powerful Beach.

Fifty-three feet of bleached bones.

Plastic tragedy.

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Our second Exuma treasure

We found our musical treasure “taking five” in a small bay off of Rudder Cay.  We had passed through the Dotham Cut into Exuma Sound and sailed south west to Rudder Cay Cut where we passed back on to the bank side.  After anchoring Elizabeth Jean and inflating Sensei, we paddled to a quiet spot for viewing the pianist.  “Who is Sensei,” you ask.  Stay tuned to a future post for your introduction.

The clear water cannot hide this stunning treasure.

A penny for your thoughts, pretty mermaid?

Wish I knew who to credit for this and the following fine images.

Dotham Cut is near Staniel Cay on the above chart and Rudder Cay Cut is near Big Farmer’s Cay.  The seas in Exuma Sound has mellowed sufficiently for our sail down to the pianist’s hiding spot.

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Exuma Treasure: Something Musical

Musical Treasure: A Haiku

In shallow clearness,

She tickles the ivories

Off of Rudder Cay

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Exuma Treasure Hunt: We have a winner (actually 2)

Two treasure hunters correctly guessed our first Exuma treasure.  As one of them commented, “pigs don’t fly, but they do swim.”  Stay tuned for the clue to treasure number 2.


Big Major Island, the pigs’ home is just north of Staniel Cay, shown on the above chart.  We arrived at Staniel after pleasant nights at Highborne and Shroud Cays.

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Exuma Treasure: Porcine Pulchritude

Treasure hunters, here is your first clue.

Porcine Pulchritude: A Haiku

On Big Major’s shores,

Hearty shipwreck survivors.

Porcine pulchritude.

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Exuma Islands Treasure Hunt

From March 16 to April 21, Elizabeth Jean searched the Bahamas’ Exuma Islands for their fabled treasures.  The next three posts will include clues to the treasures we found and their locations.  Guess the treasure and Elizabeth Jean will buy you a round of your favorite libation.  Remember that “all that is gold does not glitter.”  For a bit of treasure lore see:


Albatross-eye-view of the Exumas.  The photo captures the difference between the deep water of Exuma Sound east of the islands (upper right corner of picture) and the shallower banks on the islands’ west side.  We made our way south from Nassau protected on the bank side, hurried along by 15-20 knots of north east winds.

This old style chart places the Exumas in context to the east and south of Andros, the Bahamas’ largest island.  Florida’s south coast is visible to the chart’s far left.

Our Exumas treasure hunt extended along the Exumas to and from George Town, our most southern destination.

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Eight Bells: “He’s off in the wilds again” Julie Coppen

Less than a week ago, our good friend Ken Leghorn ended his adventure on this earth.  In recounting his last day, and the beginning of “his next adventure,” his wife Julie Coppen commented that “He’s off in the wilds again, where he will know exactly where to go and what to do.”  Her words are fitting given Ken’s ease in Alaska’s wilderness and his commitments to introducing people to Alaska wilds as a guide and to protecting these areas as a civic leader.  Ken remains present with us as we travel in and through nature’s beauty.

Southeast Alaska peaks and glaciers, as seen from my departing plane window winging me back to the Exumas.  Ken is off in these wilds again.

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“Shaken not stirred” Bond, James Bond

As is the.case with many red blooded American boys, I remember my first.  My first James Bond movie that is.  It was 1965, so I must have been ten.  My father had whisked my brothers and me off to Florida for some sun.  My mother, who had not yet embraced air travel, stayed at home and enjoyed time off from her four boys and husband.  Meanwhile, the Laschever boys enjoyed the pool at Miami’s Norham Shorham Hotel, hamburgers and pizzas, and on one memorable night “Thunderball,” the fourth Bond movie.

We arrived at the theater late and missed the starting sequence (always memorable).  So, we sat through the beginning a second time and then just watched the whole thing again.  For a preteen, the combination of action, sex, and underwater photography (scuba scenes comprised a quarter of the film) was heady stuff.  Bahamian cruising presented several reminders of my Florida Bond bonding.  To start Sean Connery has a home in Lyford Cay where we dined during our stay in Nassau.  The plot thickened at Staniel Cay, where the Thunderball Grotto, a domed cavern filled with fish and other attractions, all but commanded us to take Schooner for a snorkel visit.  To cap it off, Bond himself made an appearance at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club in an advertisement for a Bond-themed party.

Thunderball Grotto, Staniel Cay Photo credit: Sacha Kalis (see http://www.sachakalis.com/blog/).

Oh yes, there were also fish in the grotto.  Photo credit:S/V Spiraserpula.  For more photos and information on the Grotto see: http://cruisingbiologists.com/a-quick-tour-of-thunderball-grott/

The grotto’s dome creates a cathedral like space and an opportunity for meditation.  Photo credit: S/V Spiraserpula.

We arrived about a week too soon for the party.  With regrets, we left our casino attire stowed in Elizabeth Jean and ambled further down the Exumas for our George Town rendezvous with daughter Jean and her fiance Max.

Bond, James Bond.

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