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Goin' South
Cruising the eastern seaboard from Maine to the Bahamas.
What's that?

Puffin is tied up in Spanish Well and its crew is comfortably and contentedly ruminating on the day ahead. Overhead a buzzing sound has become quite apparent. It looks like a parasail. But a close look shows no towline to a boat below but instead we see a little engine tied to a lawn chair and someone sitting in it, or so it seems. (banner picture). For someone like myself not comfortable with heights, I would ask why anyone would tie a motor to his back, sit on a bucket of gasoline, cling to a little sports parachute and convince himself he's having fun.

In the event that something goes wrong, there is a large likelihood of not being home for supper!

I tried to imagine the takeoff. One runs pell mell across a lawn somewhere, chased by a lawnmower motor with a propeller and hopes for the best? Or does the little seat have wheels under it like a shopping cart and you carom down pavement hoping to be aloft before you tip over or meet one of the area's ubiquitous golf carts.

And the landing.... As you coast in and land, are you running like a hamster on a wheel because you forgot to turn the engine off?

I have several qualifiers for a sport to be truly fun, aside from being safe. And one is that you should look reasonably cool doing it. This doesn't cut it.

I look up and I don't see fun. I see all the things that can go wrong at 500 ft and the pain that inevitably ensues from a fall from there. But I am nonetheless fascinated.

Clean, clear water

It's been nearly two and a half months since Puffin first glided onto the pristine waters of the Bahamas bank and I'm still mesmerized by their azure translucence. Yesterday, in cruising from the Exumas to Spanish Wells at the northern end of Eleuthera, Puffin was off the bank for a couple of hours, cruising over the familiar, darker hues of the open ocean.

As we approached the islands that are Royal Island and Spanish Wells we cruised back onto the bank that rose only gradually at that point. Though a little dim, I could see rocks and coral heads on the bottom. I glanced over at a depth sounder that was reading fifty feet! To those of us who usually cruise the dark and more turbid waters of the North Atlantic and its tributaries, it remains a continuing marvel to witness water in which the bottom is clearly visible at fifty feet - and through a two to three foot wind-driven chop that roiled the surface water.

Of the many things that we've enjoyed in these Bahamian Islands, perhaps the most captivating are the rich cerulean hues lit by a brilliant sun reflecting off these amazingly pellucid waters. So simple, so beautiful.


In a plane like the one in which Nancy and I flew to Staniel Cay, it's easy to shout advice to the pilot right from your seat!


Nancy and I have been in New England for the past two to three weeks due to the very sad and unexpected passing of Nancy's brother Bob McGinnis. Yesterday we flew to Staniel Cay yesterday and returned by water taxi to Puffin, docked nearby at Sampson's Cay Marina during our absence.

We will resume our journey tomorrow and continue the return leg up the Exumas and into the Abacos. We hope to catch up to Alan and Gerri on Civil Twilight in the Abacos before they start their return trip up the coast and back to Maine.

Note on cruising permits: When entering the Bahamas you may obtain necessary papers at any Bahamas Customs office. However in order to secure more than a 30 day (renewable) limit, you must check in with a Bahamian Immigration Office where you will usually receive the requested timespan.

In some locations these two offices are co-located, but not in others. In our few weeks in the Bahamas we originally checked in at Cat Cay and received a 30 day limit (no immigration office there). In the Exumas we went to Gorgetown, the only location in the Exumas with an immigration office (or a customs office), and received an extension for the requested 90 days. After flying home to New England and flying back in, the pilot of our little plane stopped in Andros which only had a customs office so we now are back to a 30 day limit.


Nancy's checkin' out a peddle kayak


Poaching at the Land and Sea Park is a serious problem. The fellow on the left is wearing a sub-machine gun!

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