15 June 2012
We are now back in Florida and soon we will fly home to Canada. Its time to complete this season's cruising blog.
1. FRIENDS- OLD AND NEW
"Hey! We know that boat from somewhere!" Years ago, while in Grenada, we met a couple from "Amaryllis", a catamaran registered in the Virgin Islands. 4 years later we are anchored at Long Island, Bahamas and looking at an identical boat with the same name except it is registered in New Zealand- how cool is that???? And how probable is that??? Turns out that our friends from the Virgin Islands had sold their boat to Vaughn and Leslie who then changed the boat registration to their home country. The four of us enjoyed exploring Long Island from a rented car. We hiked up to the Christopher Columbus Monument, beach combed on some pristine and some not so pristine beaches, visited old churches and met many friendly locals.
Sailing from Eleuthera to the Abacos we met another couple, Will and Judy, on their boat Optimystic. In 2008 we met them in Bradenton, Florida while getting Emerald Seas ready for cruising. They were experienced sailors, we were not. This time we sailed right past them, not because we were faster, but because they had just caught a big Mahi-Mahi and were reeling it in. Show-offs!!!
New cruising friends include Leslie and Dave, aboard Vivache and Bill and Anne, aboard Wind Spirit. We met at Rock Sound, Eleuthera, enjoyed a few Happy Hours together and ended up buddy boating with them to the Abacos. One special afternoon was spent at a picture perfect beach on Royal Island. Dave and Leslie set beach chairs at the water's edge, brought a cooler of ice and cocktails and invited the rest of us to join them. Life doesn't get much better.
While at Hopetown, we enjoyed more Happy Hour drinks and a nice dinner ashore with friends, Leslie and Dave. We were advised that if we went to the Abacos Resort, we could enjoy the debut of a new Bahamian band. This sounded like a fine idea to all of us and away we went. The band was excellent. We danced and encouraged by the crowds we really boogied to "Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer, Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Year..." God, we were good!! I twisted down to the ground and up again, threw in a few swirls and twisted back down. Twisted back up. Lost my balance and fell on my ass.
Later, going home from the ball in the back of a pick-up truck, I again, fell to the ground.
While at Cat Island, we stayed at Hawk's Nest Marina, awaiting the passage of some bad weather. A scuba diving charter boat from Nassau arrived. They had a group of divers aboard who planned to dive with pelagic sharks on the Atlantic side of Cat Island. Jim joined them for a day and was able to take photographs of 8- 10 foot White-tipped sharks and one 8 foot Blue Marlin. These dives took place mid-water, with thousands of feet of ocean below and lots of bloody chum floating in the water around you. Jim was told not to wear his white socks as they look like chum to sharks. Jim now uses black socks...
Why didn't I go? Because I was sick...couldn't find my gear...or maybe I was too smart?
Not us, thankfully. While at Allan-Pensacola Cay in the Northern Abacos, we met a couple named Dusty and Melissa aboard their 30 foot sailboat, Miss Adventure. They were from Kansas and had bought their boat in October of 2011. This was their first boat ever and they took boating and sailing courses before heading out to the Bahamas in May of 2012. While talking back and forth, we noticed they had some serious scrapes on one side of their boat. We asked about the damage and they told us that while anchoring in a strong current at Double Breasted Cay, a big squall had hit them and they had dragged onto a reef. This incident had shook them up quite a bit but they wanted to continue with their trip. They were happy to be anchored at a new location with beaches and snorkeling to look forward to.
Late that night the winds picked up. Just before going to bed, Jim heard a distress call on the VHF radio. It was Miss Adventure! They had dragged on to the beach. Next morning, the crew from What's Up and Emerald Seas attempted to pull the sailboat off the beach. After hours of effort, Miss Adventure was still hard aground. Weather was deteriorating fast and a decision was made to move to a safer anchorage. We took the crew of Miss Adventure with us. The crew included their cat, Saint Elmo (named after the Catholic patron of sailors).
It was a very sad and emotional time for the crew of Miss Adventure and we felt very sorry for their troubles. We sailed over to Crab Cay where we were able to weather the storm. Two days later, we returned to Miss Adventure. She was high and dry. There was no way we could hope to pull her off. We took our shipwrecked crew to Foxtown in the hopes that they could make arrangements for a powerful boat to pull them off the beach or failing that, arrange for a return to the USA.
Happily, Dusty and Melissa were able to get their boat floating again and have since made their way back to the USA. They did it in style too! Tow Boat USA, of whom they were members, towed them from West End, Bahamas all the way back to Palm Beach for an extra $500.
5. BACK IN THE USA
The end of our Bahama cruise wasn't as exciting as our friends on Miss Adventure. Instead, we enjoyed a great sail all the way back to Fort Pierce, Florida. The only nasty part was a squall just before we got to Fort Pierce Inlet- just what we needed to wash the decks free of salt and scare the hell out of us!
6. HOLIDAY FROM THE HOLIDAY
Emerald Seas is on the hard at Hinckley's Yacht Marina located in Stuart, Florida. Jim and I will be flying back home on June 20th. In the meantime, we have rewarded ourselves with a holiday from our holiday and have spent 5 days enjoying Disneyworld.
Yesterday we visited the Kennedy Space Center and were awestruck by the exhibits there- especially the IMAX film about the Hubble Telescope. There is a huge universe out there waiting to be explored. Just imagine the trouble we would get into if Jim and I had a Spaceship!
Life is good!