I have had such an awesome day. It was such an incredible rush! I left Marsh Harbor about noon after raising my main sail with 2 reefs on the anchor. I raised the anchor and ran back to the helm. As I was leaving the anchorage two guys on their own boats gave me 2 thumbs up since they saw what I did by myself. I was so proud that I was able to do it.
When I got out of Marsh Harbor I hauled the jib, got on course and shut the engine down. The wind was just under 20 and the seas had calmed down a bit. What an incredible rush and excitement. I was sailing from 5-6.3 kts. on the blue waters of the Bahama's on a georgeous day in March. It doesn't get much better than that-only if I had someone to share it with. I did call some friends here in Guana to tell them-just wasn't the same.
I only had to pick up a few things on the floor that hadn't been battoned down-not bad!
I'll write more later after the pot luck-I'll take my ever popular cheese dip-so easy and always a hit.- Just needed to write this now!
Monday, March 16th
Judy was going to fly out of Marsh Harbor on Tuesday about noon, so we left Guana Cay and sailed to Marsh Harbor-again the wind on the nose, but we were able to go off course and have a great sail, but get there much later than if we had gone straight or on the course set on the charts. We decided we would still get there in time to go snorkeling at another reef we were told about so we enjoyed the sail. Again, I got a slip so it would be easier for Jude to get her stuff off the boat-again at Mango's.
We got ready to go snorkeling in a hurry since it was getting after 3:00 and the light was going to go too low in the sky to see as well. We got in the dingy and went across the harbor to the "Jib Room" restaurant and marina. We parked the dingy and walked up the hill to the street. We walked not too far, until we found the path to the beach-not much of a path. We saw the moorings that we were told about that we could have tied up the boat or dingy to, to swim from there, but it was a long way around to do that. We got in the water and swam out-not too far. What an unbelievable sight we saw. I've never seen so many different kinds of fish with all colors. It was awesome. The reef wasn't big or exciting, but the fish sure were. I can't say enough about it. It is called "Mermaid's Reef". I took some pictures with my throw away underwater camera that I will get developed when I get somewhere! I don't know if that worked at all or not.
We wanted to go out for dinner and wanted to try Curly Tails because we had heard stuff going on there the week before and we wanted to see the happening place! We first went in the restaurant and sat down. It looked expensive. We looked at the menu and decided we didn't want to spend $35-40 on dinner, so we left and went upstairs to the bar and got a drink and a bar menu-good sandwiches, and the ever popular rum punches. Nothing exciting going on so we left. I think we looked at the pictures taken that day and tried to get them on an email for Judy to send-very frustrating using her Comcast on my computer. She said it's different, and I don't know about it so it was tense getting it done. I hadn't taken any more pictures since she was taking them with her camera. So I will download the ones I have from that time.
On Tuesday, Judy got her stuff ready and off the boat pretty quickly. I had to pay for water for unlimited amount for $5.00 so I took advantage of it to wash down the boat and fill the tanks. We wanted to go out for breakfast, but walked back and forth on the street and couldn't find a place. Finally we had to give in to a place that opened in about 15 minutes at 11:00 for lunch. It was ok, but a good view of the harbor.
At noon, Judy got picked up by the taxi and with hugs and kisses she was off. She said she had a really good time and much needed rest and relaxation.
I needed to get off the dock by 1:00 so hurried to get ready and did a great job of backing out with the wind blowing me in a way that wasn't good. I was glad it worked out since I did such and incredibly bad job of docking the week before, I needed to redeem myself! I just went out to the anchorage and found a place to anchor-where I still am-Monday night the 24th. The weather deteriorated right after Judy left the dock. The clouds and wind started. The wind hasn't subsided since. It's been blowing 20-25 ever since. I have to go through an area north of here called the "Whale" which is a route that curves around a few islands and out an opening to the Atlantic and can be rough in windy conditions, so everyday on the radio they have a "Whale report" to ask if anybody has gone thru it to let everyone know the conditions. With this wind, it hasn't been navigable so I've stayed put here. I've kind of veg'd out, but finally today did something useful. I took out the window I replaced last summer and rebedded it. I didn't like how it came out so knew I would redo it, but also knew it would be a long unpleasant job so have put it off. I did replace one other and still have 4 more to do-another day!
So tomorrow-Wednesday, I have decided to go back to Guana. At Grabbers, on Wednesday nights they have a pot luck dinner. I had heard that as many as 125 people were there a couple of weeks ago-all cruisers. Rebecca's mother and brother came the other day and have gone to Treasure Cay and my be at Guana tomorrow and Lee and Barb on Wind Dancer left here today to go to Treasure Cay where they hadn't been to yet, then said they would go to Guana tomorrow, so I said I'd meet them there.
I forgot to say, that when Rebecca's mother and brother came in the other day, IB and Rebecca invited me to go to dinner with them. I thought they would want to be alone since they just got here, but IB said, "I want them to know that we have friends, and we've invited everybody"! So dinner was at Mango's. Lee and Barb, and I came. I didn't know Lee and Barb had gotten here. Then a short while later 2 other couples arrived. Some other people that IB and Rebecca had met along the way. One of the couples have a Hinkley. Apparently the one that the owner had. One of the best. For those who aren't in the know, the Hinkley's are top of the line for sailboats. It was a nice evening.
The next day, I saw people with the same dingy as I have and I went over to their boat to talk to them about it. They were very nice people as sailors go. They were originally from Yugoslavia and emigrated to Canada 20 years ago. They invited me for cocktails later. Which I did. Very enjoyable.
Earlier in the day, I went to the laundromat. What an expensive adventure that was. It was $2.50 per load for the washer and 25 cents for 2 minutes in the dryers. I don't know how many quarters I put in, but it was alot-I had 3 loads. Beach towels, and sheets for Judy.
I haven't been off the boat since. I'm watching the weather to try to get moving. I need to get to Annapolis to start working, although I'm not looking forward to the trip. I never got the enclosure for the cockpit that I wanted to keep me warmer, so hope the weather is warmer so I don't freeze like I did coming south. Everyone was complaining about that-those that came south. I've wanted to get started right after Judy left, but it still looks like it will be awhile. I just hope to get thru the Whale on Thursday or Friday since it looks like the wind will subside a little for a few short hours before it cranks up again. I will go to Green Turtle Cay from Guana Cay. Then I will at least be able to move further north and west to the area where I would leave the Bahama's to go back-that would be Memory Rock-that I came to when we came across as the first destination-although it is only a rock!
So, I'm up to date-Tuesday, March 24th-11 PM
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.