15 March 2010 | Georgetown Bahamas
Gail Bermel/Sunny/80 degrees/Wind NW15
It has been a challenging year for sailers in the Bahamas. While we were in Nassau, two cold fronts (high winds typically requiring staying put in a protected area) came through within 7 days. We were anxious to get out of the marina, we set out on Thursday (?), March 5. The day was mild, the sail was wonderful to Shroud Cay. The wind was supposed to pick up some that night, but not until it clocked around to North. We were protected from the North at Shroud. We should have had a smooth ride overnight. However, the wind picked up before it came over land. Instead, it came over the water where there was no protection against the waves. It wasn't necessarily very high wind, but the current was working against it and the boat rocked from, what seemed, all directions all night. I couldn't sleep all night. The next morning, we took off without even taking Keesi to shore. It was more comfortable sailing than anchored, so we headed out early. It was not a bad sail. We pulled into Cambridge Cay at about 11:30, where we met Frank's brother, Pete on the sailing vessel Gull Wing. Pete came over in his dinghy and immediately took Keesi to shore, since she was a couple hours past due for pottying. We continued to secure the boat.
BACK STORY: Frank and his brother, Pete, had planned to retire and cruise together for many years. The first year Frank bought the Big Easy, I had not yet retired, so Pete & Clare set out cruising through the Bahamas and down to the Dominican Republic and back. I don't remember what happened the next year, but we couldn't go yet, so Pete & Clare went again. The following year, November 2007 I believe, we were getting both boats ready to go. We pulled both out of the water, cleaned the bottom, repainted the bottom, pinstriped and waxed the hull, like cleaning up the kids to go on an airplane ride. We were within days of leaving, when they had a unexpected emergency that changed their plans for the next two years. In the 2008 and 2009 cruising season, Frank and I cruised the Bahamas without Pete & Clare. This year, we had both boats ready to go, provisioned and ready to take off from the dock in Niceville, when we had an emergency that delayed us being able to leave. We did leave, however, approximately 6 weeks later than Pete. If you have followed the blog, you can see the weather has made it slow going. So, meeting Pete and Clare at Cambridge Cay was the culmination of many years planning to fulfill a dream. (I could have sworn I heard Mozart playing when we finally saw Pete & Clare's boat.)
Clare had a lovely lunch ready when we arrived. Because we had not slept the night before, we slept in the afternoon and she, again, fixed a delicious chicken, fresh broccoli, and mashed potatoes and gravy dinner. Words escape me to describe that evening.
Cambridge Cay is the southernmost island in the Exuma Park, an area abundant in gorgeous coral reefs. The next day we set out exploring the reefs. They were breathtaking. There were several, many looked like little neighborhoods, different kinds of coral acting as houses for the bright-colored, tropical fish. It was an appropriate, almost reverent, experience for that day.
Then on March 8, we sailed to Black Point, a Cay known for the best coin laundry in the Exumas. There was a problem with the water when we first arrived, so we did not do laundry. Instead, on the sail to Black Point, Pete caught a black fin tuna. We had fresh tuna, red cabbage and saffron rice, another King's meal with great friends.
The next day, we sailed to Georgetown. Georgetown is a large sailing community similar, I imagine, to a large RV park that coordinates activities to attract Rvers. There are hundreds of sailboats anchored, volleyball, cards, dominos, pig roasts, beaches, etc., something for everyone.
While we were there, another "blow" was scheduled. We moved our boat to a better anchorage for the west wind. We were all talking to each other on the VHF, keeping updated on how far away the front was, how many more minutes, batton down the hatches, black sky approaching......then it hit. Hard rain, winds 35-40 mph for what seemed like one minute. As was said, better to prepare for 100 nonevents than not prepare for the one nasty storm.
When the winds settled down and clocked back, we moved back over to Volleyball beach. Here we get internet, coordinated activities, and tonight is Texas Hold 'em poker. If you read my blog last year, you know I like poker nights.
So, that's where we are now. Leaving tomorrow for Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas (might find if googled). Next report when I get internet again.
Wish you were here!!