Well, as some of you have mentioned, I have been delinquent in continuing my blog entries, so I'll try to remember what was been happening in the past week or so.
I ended off with cocktails on my boat and making plans with IB and Rebecca to snorkel and Nippers the next day. Well we did both. We walked up to Nippers and then walked down the long stairs to the beach-pictures of that somewhere.
Sunday, March 15th?
We got our snorkeling gear on and headed out to the reef. The water was again beautiful. The reef was a bit disappointing. Not a lot to see, but a nice swim never the less.
When we got out, we walked back up to Nippers and got ourselves several Rum Punches-IB, Rebecca, Judy and I. We sat by the pool-Judy and Rebecca eventually jumped in. I was trying to dry off. Rebecca asked me if I was going to be here on the 7th of April since it was going to be IB's birthday. I said no, but I'd like to get him something for it, so I went in the store. Big mistake! I spent way too much money for a Nippers, kind of, mini skirt. Looks pretty good and matches my bathing suit, but-----.
We were a bit buzzed and decided to go to Grabbers. Don't think there were any more rum punches, but we had had enough already. The sunset was beautiful, and it got kind of crazy. Rebecca and another girl we had met at Nippers, on another boat with her husband, jumped into that pool and got me to go too. Very crazy time. Judy sat and chatted with the husband of the girl in the pool. It was fun. Good day overall.
I made corn muffin pancakes for breakfast while Judy lounged in bed. We had breakfast and I said it's probably time to head out. We got ready, I thought secured everything and expected the wind to be as stated-17 kts, but out of the south east-of course right in the direction that we were going. We got out of the harbor at Treasure Cay and yes, the wind was on the nose of course, but I put the sails up thinking we could be a bit off course to be able to sail-not. The wind was 17-25 or so. I decided to motor sail since we couldn't get anywhere sailing. I tried to tack, but we were just going sideways-no forward momentum. After we got past the 3.3 foot area, I was able to head to port and got a lot of speed then-about 4.5 to 5 kts. That was great. As we tacked, everything went flying. You always find out what you forgot to secure! Just as we got to Fisher's Bay/Great Guana to anchor, i took the sails down. As we were going in to find a space to anchor, we passed by "Passport" and waved to IB and Rebecca. Seems they have been there quite awhile doing their teak-almost done! There are many boats anchored here-I was surprised.
I found water on the floor in front of the stove and didn't understand where it was coming from-never had water there before. Turns out Judy's port/window on the hull side was open and lots of water came in. All of her bedding was wet. She stripped it all out, and we put the matteress etc, on deck and took short naps, and she woke up and said it's raining. So we had to hurry to get everything in. Well, it only rained for 5 minutes or so! Right after that, IB and Rebecca came by to visit. The boat was a mess with all that stuff around. They didn't mind. IB came with his own rum punch and I made more for Judy and I and more for IB. Rebecca didn't want any today. We had a nice visit, and decided to go snorkling and to Nippers tomorrow. Looking forward to that. I barbequed chicken on my new grill. I burned it/cooked it too long again-as always I'm cooking in the dark. I have to do better.
I found that the bottom of my freezer section in the fridge doesn't get to freezing temperature, so all the wonderful steaks and ribs were bad. I was really looking forward to a great steak on my new grill, but they all had to be thrown away. What a bummer.
Judy decided to sleep in the cockpit tonight since her bedding is till wet. I thought she would rather sleep on the settee inside, but she said she wanted to sleep outside.
The wind is still blowing pretty hard, we're rocking and rolling.
I'd like to write about the history of the Bahama's so you can learn more about them as I have. So the following is something that was written in my chartbook that I thought was a good commenetary.
Whether you first approach these islands from the air or from the sea, you will find the breathtaking scenery majestic. You'll instantly see why the Spanish named the shallow area jutting out of the ocean "Bajamar" or low tide. The varied colors of the water will catch and hold your eye--a graduated spectrum from the pale aquas of the shallow banks through the deeper teals and on to the midnight blues of the ocean depths. The water colors, combined with sparkling beaches, swaying palms and azure skies give the Bahamas a unique stamp. An archipelago of abvout 7000 islands and nearly 2400 cays and rocks., the island nation stretches for almost 750 miles off the southeast coast of Florida. Its estimated 2005 population was of Nassau. About 85 percent of these people are decendants of West African slaves, with the remaining progeny coming from the first English settlers by way of Bermuca and the Loyalist expatriate Americans. This islanfd nation is a special one, bobbing in the sea and affected by whatever political, social, and economic streams flow its way. Like an anchored ship, it has ridden out many storms.
The Arawak Indians were the first of many currents affecting the islands. They arrived from present-day South American via the Antilles, then they were forced northward by the canibalistic Carib tribes. In the last tide of their migration, the "island people" (Lukku-cairi) or Lucayans came to the southern and central Bahamas in the 6th and 7th centuries.
A thousand years later, the next stream of influence in the formation of the peoples of the Bahamas was the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the 15th and 16th centuries. The gentile, peace-loving Lucayan Arawaks were overpowered by the Conquistadors, who were greedy for cold and supposed spices.
The landfall of the first exploring Spaniard, Christopher Columbus, is the object of some debate. Though the Bahamian government celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus' October 12th 1492, arrival in the New World in present-day San Salador, there is convgincing evidence that Samana Cay was actually the spot. Even so, residents of Cat Island and Rum Cay will tell you that he landed on their islands. first.
Any, Columbus voyage introduced a wave of colonization that led to the establishment of a large Spanish Empire in the New World. However, as Michael Cration's History of the Bahamas indicates,...."There is no evidence that the Spaniards ever made a permanent settlement in the Bahamas" Though the Spanish ruled the islands for more than a century, the main result of their visitations was the decimation fo the Lucayan population. By 1520, those Indians who had not succumbed to disease and starvation were taken to other Caribbean islands as slaaves to work the plantations and mines. Their cigvilization virtually vanished. Though Columbus' personal motives were, by all accounts, pure, the long-range effect of his trips to the islands devastated an entire culture.
THE ENGLISH INFLUENCE
In the wake of the Spaniards came the English wave, which washed over the Bahamas beginning in the late 16th century, with interest sparked by trade in brazil wood, ambergris, and salt. Yet, it was not until 1647 that the first permanent settlement (also the first republic in the New World) was made on Eleuthera by Puritans escaping a religious squabble in Bermuda. Another group, the lords Proprietor of South Carolina, goverened the Bahamas beginning in 1670, in 1695 a fort was built on New Providence to protect the growing town of Nassau from the marauding Spanish.
Meanwhile, bucaneers, privateers and pilates provided considerable influence through the period. At one time there were reportedly 1,000 pirates in Nassauu alone. The infamous Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, and Annie Bonney dominated the area for almost a century, but the tide was stemmed by the 1718 arrival of Govenor Woodes Rogers, whom the British sent in to assume direct control, bolster the locals, develop a plan to defend Nassau, and restore civil law. His administration did much to calm the turbulent seas and steer the Bahamas to the calmer waters of English rule with its system of parliamementary law still in effect today. In fact, though the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, English influence remains evident in the stately architecture, starched policemen, governmental pomp and ceremony, and sculpted shrubbery.
Storms in other areas washed up on Bahamian shores-the American Revolution brought blockade and gun running and even capture of Fort Montagu for a short period of time. Its aftermath saw a flood of those loyal to the British attempt to transplant the plantation economy to the Bahamas. Unfortunately the poor soil and shortfall of raid doomed that to failure. The Loyalsist decendants and their slaves remain as boatbuilders, fishermen and pothole farmers today. Far a long period of time, many generations survived from "wrecking" as booty came to their shores in the form of ships that foundered in the uncharterd waters. It wasn't until the mid 1800's that the Imperial Board of Trade began placing lighthouses to warn of these reefs and shoals, thereby putting an end to wrecking.
Slavery was halted with the Emancipation Act of 1834. After an apprenticeship, slaves were completely freed by 1838. Many were given land, but their problems were not over as they had no resources or training to prepare them for the personal freedom of supporting theselves.
A brief wave of prosperity came to Nassau during the Americal Civil War. The city's location was ideal as a Confederate suupply base. but as the tide of war receded, Nassau's economy went into a half-century slump, further weakened by poverty, epidemics and hurricanes.
It took the successive tidal waves of two World Wars, with the highly profitable rum-running days of the Prohibition era, to bring the Bahamas truly into the twentieth century. Strides in communication and transportation coupled to bring the economic salvation of tourism to the inviting palm-lined beaches of these emerald isles. All other courses of livelihood-fishing, farming, sponging, salt mining, privateering, bucccanering, pirating, wrecking, and shipbuilding-have been surpassed by the success of the tourism industry, which brings in over half of the gross national product today. The twenty-first century is making its mark with huge development by foreign interests.
An enormous political wave affecting the country's direction came with Bahamian independence from Great Britian. Unfortunately, the bright prospects were marred by 25 years of rule by the corrupt Pinding government. It fell to the second Prime Minister, Hubert Ingraham, and the Free National Movement party to attempt to lift the country into prosperity of the 21st century through electrification fo most islands, better roads, and telephone service. In 2002 the PLP took over again with Perry Christie as the new Prime Minister. the PLP's focus is on extensive development to shore up the Bahamian treasury. All of this not only aids the tourism industry but also brings in more revenue to the country from foreign development dollars. Favorable tax laws have allowed the country to become an international banking center as well.
As you trace the marks on the various waves on the island nation, you can have a better understand of where it stands today and what makes it and its people so distinctive.
Man-O-War Cay to Treasure Cay
March 11, 2009
We checked the tide schedule and found we needed to leave Man-O-War Cay by 10 AM to be able to go thru the channel so we did. There was only about 2-6 kt.s of wind, but I put the sails up and tried to sail. We did motor sail since we hardly had any wind-sometimes there wasn't any wind, but it was good to be sailing or trying. Eventually it came up to about 6-8 and we got a little push.
Again the entrance was a weird one. We hung out on the boat for the day and I made a pizza and of course rum punch. It's fun deciding which ingredients we'll pick each day.
March 12, 2009
We finally got our act together after I make egg sandwiches for us at about 11 AM. I didn't feel well,
I rested a little then we went ashore. We checked in with the marina office as the sign said to do. I was surprised to find I had to pay $10.00 for mooring, but we were able to use all the facilies-pool, showers etc.
We walked to the beach as the marina manager had given us directions to. Not far-only a 5-10 minute walk. What a sight-wait till you see the pictues-they don't do it justice. The sand was so fine and beautiful, the water was turquoise, there were yellow umbrella's and an open air restaurant/bar. We couldn't believe it. Judy said it was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen.
At the gate of the beach area we saw a sign that said no loafing or coolers. We got a kick out of that. As we walked, 4 people came by with beach stuff-they definately seemed like sailors, so I said to them that the sign said there would be no loafing an that I hoped they weren't planning that. They laughed and we got to joking about it. After we walked the beach a bit we went to the bar for a rum punch on the deck-there were those folks. We sat next to them and talked. They were a fun group and said they had parked their boat 2 slips away from me in Marsh Harbor and I remembered giving them a thumbs up when she so professionally put the line over the piling like she knew what she was doing. They told us that the loafing police had already gone by and it was now ok for us to loaf. The owners of the boat are from Beaufort, NC. I said I had worked there at West Marine and she said she thought she remembered me from there!!
We came back to the boat and got ready to go snorkling. IB had given me secret coordinates to a really good reef to check out here, so I put them in my hand held GPS and we headed out on a quest to find some good snorkling. It was a 2 mile dingy ride-a bit bumpy. We finally found it-it didn't seem like it was going to be that good from the area we saw. Judy was uncomfortable with both of us getting out of the dingy out in the middle of the Bay to swim and she was a bit afraid of it. So I said I would go in and check it out, and that if it was good, we could go one at a time. She was ok with that. I finally found the area. It wasn't big, but there were lots of pretty fish and I saw a turtle about 15-18" big. She thought she was a cannonball. I told her to pick it up and take it!! She said, no, I'm not going down there! It was a lot of fun. We, with great difficulty got back in the dingy, had some snacks and started to head back. Judy said, can you imagine me at almost 70 and you at almost 59, going out in the ocean by ourselves doing this? What would people think? I said they would think we were pretty cool and that we got the interest and ambition from Mom who would have been so proud of us and would have wanted to be there with us.
We got back to the boat and decided to go to shore to use the showers. It is college break week, so there are lots of college kids and elementary age kids here. The showers weren't very private with all of them in and out. The restaurant was having pizza night-which is every Thursday with live music and it was packed. We didn't bring any money in and had planned to eat on the boat, but decided it would be more fun to have pizza there. I took the dingy back to the boat with our shower stuff and got some money and went back. We had fun-lots of people. I was still feeling kind of funky/not well, so came back and went right to bed.
Friday, March 13, 2009
This morning the wind is about 25 kts. Was forcast to be 15. Many boats are pouring into the anchorage. Judy is checking it all out from the cockpit with her bathing suit on. We were planning on going to spend a few hours at the beach, but I wanted to get this done, so I'm still in bed finishing. It is cloudy now and I think Judy is napping in the cockpit We'll see what the next plan will be.
So I'm finally up to date again. Judy is here until Tuesday, so we'll have to be back in Marsh Harbor that morning. I think tomorrow-weather permitting we'll go to Guana Cay.
I now need to figure out how to get this cut and pasted from "Document-Word Pad" to the blog and download the phhoto's. Several people have urged me to continue my blog. Sorry, as I said, I had a few days of typing only to have it deleted and didn't want to start again.
March 10, 2009
We headed out of Marsh Harbor about 10:30 so we could get thru the entrance before low tide. I decided we would go to Man-O-War Cay first. I enjoyed it so much and wanted to share it with Jude. There wasn't much wind and it wasn't far so we motored. We picked up a mooring, made some sandwiches, got our bathing suits on and headed to shore. I paid for the mooring and we walked. I enjoyed sharing it with Judy. We eventually found the way to the beach and walked for awhile on the sand and coral. We found a patch without too much seaweed, put our stuff down and went for a swim-sooooo wonderful. Then we had our picnic on the beach. We walked back to the marina and went back to the boat. We decided to go back to shore and have dinner at the outside restaurant on the dock. We had sandwiches-unusually reasonally priced and good. Back home to look at pictures taken that day and try to send them to people-what a pain in the neck these things can be sometimes.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Guana Cay to Marsh Harbor
It was tricky getting to Marsh Harbor from Guana with the coordinates provided by the charts. You couldn't just go straight due to the shallow areas and islands. I got into Marsh Harbor about 9:30. The harbor entrance was a bit hard to understand. I finally saw the marina after the guy told me he was waving at me. I said am I pointed in the right direction and he said yes, but I wasn't, he was 90 degrees to starboard of me, so as much as I looked and looked for him, I couldn't see him. Anyway, I attempted to get into the slip. It was one of the worst one's I've ever done. It bothered me to no end, since I now pride myself of getting into a slip. But part of the problem was that they had a different idea about what I was going to do than I thought I was going to do. They grabbed my lines and I thought would walk it up and tie it off, instead they dropped me back and I hit the piling. Apparently they wanted me to put a line on the piling-I hadn't expected that. I finally told them I wasn't going to use that piling-only put lines on the bow-port and starboard, one on the stern and a spring line. That has worked most of the time for me before. They finally agreed. I had fenders and a fender board to hold me off the dock. I still can't believe what a bad landing it was. It really bothers me!
As promised, Judy arrived at about 1:15. I had been waiting at the office so she wouldn't be concerned about where she was or I was. She came in winter clothes from Massachusetts where they were having 1-3 inches of snow when she left. I told her to get those clothes off and get shorts on and have a rum punch on the deck. We did a few pictures then sat down to relax. I had met a couple of the neighbors on the dock who especially liked my flowers.
I needed to get to the store to get some groceries, and we had to walk and the stores close early so about 2:30 or so, I got my cart and we headed out on a hike to find the store. Marsh Harbor is where people do their restocking since the prices are better, the stores have a good stock. It was a warm day, so it was a hot walk. We got all the groceries we needed and had fun picking out all the possible ingredients of out own concoctions for our rum punches.
When we got back, one of the neighbors I had met earlier came over to invite us to the dock for a little get together she was putting together. She was providing the rum punches and all we had to bring was our own glasses. I got some carrots and dip to bring too. Good thing, there wasn't much food there, The carrots were a hit as well at the rum punch. A good time was had by all-about 7 other people.