Back to Nassau and then the US
31 July 2012 | Brunswick then Newnan, GA
Sylvia - lovely in the air conditioning!!
6/15 - 6/28/2012 - Nassau Harbor Club Marina We ended up staying in Nassau longer than planned because of the low in the Gulf of Mexico that eventually turned into Tropical Storm Debby which then eventually crossed FL and the route we were taking back to Brunswick. And so we just settled in at the marina with several other sailors and waited. We had some thunderstorms during the wait but no real weather from Debby. We were south and east of the track she finally took.
On the 16th we went out to eat with Paul and Donna from Cavalier II who returned to Nassau the day after we did - sadly we never did connect with them in the Exumas. It was Bill's 77th birthday. How lucky we are to be able to do what we are doing at our ages. We are so enjoying it (in spite of the things that crop up to be fixed or taken care of) and have been some great places and met some wonderful people and that is what cruising is all about.
Some of the cruisers we met were on a trawler and others on sailboats. Hans and Gail on BadJaw were still there awaiting an engine part from England but it finally came and they were able to take off a day or two before we did. John and Missy on Tenacious and Terri and Joe on Gale Rider were in slips next to and across from us. John and Missy moved over to the marina at Atlantis on Paradise Island when their family came in for a visit but their plans were to head from Nassau directly to Brunswick just we planned to do. Terri and Joe were originally from Chicago and are now living near Fort Pierce. We enjoyed chatting with them - cockpit to cockpit and Joe was a real help to us when a strong wind came from the aft and our anchors were hitting the cement dock. We got Eos pulled off and retied and then John came over and told us our power cord was in the water. Out we went again. That was a 3 times out in the pouring rain in 20 minutes. Lots of clothes changes! Hans and Gail and John and Missy ended up at BLM so we reconnected with them in Brunswick. We have kept in contact with Terri and Joe and hope we reconnect with them somewhere along the line.
Because of the terrible heat and humidity we often spent time at the Starbuck's across the street from the marina. Bill and I would read or Donna and I would go over and play backgammon for several hours. She is one fine player but very lucky in her rolls as well. It soon became a masochistic thing to ask her to go play but I did and we had fun even though she always beat me in our "best out of ten games matches".
One day when I was there alone I got to talking to a local fellow. It turned out he was an artist, freelance writer and photojournalist as well as very musical and he was building a boat in his yard. He was very interested in our travels and our boat so I invited him down to meet Bill and see Eos. The next day he did come down and thus began a new friendship with Otis. He was very interested in writing about our experiences and the building of Eos so he spent afternoons with us, asking Bill questions and recording their conversations. I don't know what form his writing will take if he decides to do something with it all but it did give us a chance to meet and really get to know a native Bahamian. We spent quite some time with him and he joined us and Paul and Donna for dinner one evening. It was very interesting to get his perspective on the politics, history, government, and economics of The Bahamas - especially the funding and building of the resort Atlantis. We have heard from him a couple of times since we returned to the States and look forward to keeping in touch and seeing him when we get back to Nassau next season.
One day Paul and Donna and we went over to Atlantis for lunch. Paul was the only one who had been there before. It is certainly an over the top resort but it was one of those places one should see at least once. This was the first Atlantis resort and they then built on in Dubai. I can't imagine what it is like. There were some great photo ops there, though.
6/29- 7/1/2012 - Finally, Debby finished doing her thing in FL and moved off into the Atlantic and the wind and seas settled down so a passage from Nassau to Brunswick was doable as were passages to the US East coast. Everyone had or were leaving except Donna and Paul who had had to have their boat worked on and needed a couple more days before leaving. We took off at 0840 on June 29th from Nassau and three days and two nights later at 2005 on July 1st we tied up on the end of Dock 2 - our slip from last year. Duffy and Steve from Kit were there sitting in their deck chairs waiting to take our lines. How great to see them again and we were very happy to have arrived and to have them take our lines. We could certainly have tied up by ourselves as we have done before but we were definitely tired and loved the fact that they were there to help. It was get Eos all settled in, off for a nice shower and then to bed.
About 2300 there was quite a thunderstorm that came up very suddenly with lots of wind (some over 50 knot gusts) and rain. We were so glad we were securely tied up at BLM. We had previously decided that if we didn't make it in before dark we would just hang out off shore until day break. Luckily, we didn't have to do that because we would have been out there when the storm came through - with some sail up I am sure. It didn't last that long at Brunswick but it stayed near offshore for several hours. We learned the next day that Missy and John on Tenacious had in fact taken off from Nassau the same day we had and were about 4 hours behind us. They were off shore when the storm hit and had several very uncomfortable hours.
Our passage was mostly a motor sail but the second night Bill got about 6 hours of lovely sailing - about 10 knots as we moved north with the Gulf Stream push. There were no storms for us but also little wind most of the time hence the motor sailing. The winds were initially from the north when we entered the Gulf Stream. They weren't predicted and north winds are not what you want in the Stream. You end up with wind against current - a very uncomfortable situation. But the winds kept clocking around and we soon had winds what little there were (except for that one lovely night) from the west and southwest. When we passed the river outlet for the St. Mary's river at Fernandina Beach we sailed through a huge area of brown silt and vegetation floating on the water. It was obviously the river run-off from all of the rain and the resultant flooding from Debby's direct passage over that area. In fact, there was considerable damage at the St. Mary's marina - docks and boats and closed roads in Jacksonville from the flooding. The run-off was a true indicator of how bad they had had it. We had never seen anything like that at any of the inlets during our travels.
Spanker has turned into quite the little sailor. She doesn't like the sound of the engine down below so comes right up into the cockpit when it starts. Except for the few hours of quiet time when it was only the sails she spent the entire three days and two nights in the cockpit with whomever was there. So far she has never been sea sick and she is quite used to having her harness and leash on. In fact, if the leash is on but not even attached to anything she stays in the cockpit. It is kind of like the horses that are trained to stay when their reins are dropped to the ground. I am sure she thinks she is attached so doesn't try to go anywhere else which is a good thing since when we are sitting relatively still at a dock or an anchorage she loves walking along the boom to get on top of the bimini - a great kitty look-out spot. This is not something we want her to start doing when we are moving.
7/2 - 7/31/2012 - And so we made it back to Brunswick for hurricane season and will be here at least until November. We were happy to see previous friends from BLM like Ann, Sherri, Cindy, Wayne, George and Bob and Renee and several others. And then there were folks like Hans and Gail on BadJaw and Missy and John on Tenacious from Nassau and Bob and Betsy on Belair from West End. And a week later here came Paul and Donna on Cavalier II. I know I have probably over stated this but it is such fun to reconnect with folks we have met along the way! We had arrived in time for the July 4th potluck and so saw and met more folks right away. The lovely fireworks were set off directly across from us on the island so we had the best seat in the house. It was truly a lovely 4th.
The classic movie series is on at the Ritz theater in downtown Brunswick and every Thursday for $5 you get a ticket to the show, a discount on your bill at Fox's Pizza and a free draft beer at Tipsy McSway's Neighborhood Bar and Grill - all within walking distance of the marina. The first showing was a Grease sing-along and 8 of us went. I was probably the only one who could sing-along with the Grease songs but also the background songs at the dances and all. They were all from my high school era. But what a kick with the sing-along and the costume contest before hand. The next Thursday ten of us went to see Jaws. Neither Bill nor I remember having seen it before and it really was well-done and the effects were quite good. Not very dated at all. Fun time!!
Paul and Donna were only there a short time since they needed to get back to Canada. His father is not doing well after some surgery. But we did get to celebrate Paul's birthday at Duffy and Steve's the evening before they flew out to Buffalo to be picked up and then driven into Canada. Hopefully, it was easier for Donna to get back into Canada then it had been to get back into the States.
After putting up with the heat and humidity in Brunswick last summer and in Nassau this summer we are joining the ranks of the other southern cruisers. Out goes the non-functioning washer/dryer and we are installing air conditioning. Don Hall who we met last year at BLM helped us remove the washer/dryer and is going to help us with the air conditioning installation. There was a little nick Bill had to make in a rib in order to get the washer/dryer out but the hole it left is great for an air conditioner that will blow into both the saloon and the galley without having to run ducts - which we have no way to run anyway. We are also putting a small unit in our aft stateroom. It seems so strange to be talking about air conditioning when we never had to consider it when we were up north. But we decided that if we were staying south it is necessary. It is so hard to keep the boat up when just doing the dishes one breaks out in a sweat. So it is not only a matter of comfort but necessary to preserve our investment and time in finishing Eos. The units are now on order and should be delivered at the end of the week. You know, you look for a good place to be during hurricane season that is protected from heavy winds and waves but that means it is also protected from any cooling breezes that could bring some relief. Can't wait for the first cool night's sleep on Eos.
While we were sweating and working to take out the washer/dryer and clean up the boat some, we got a call from our niece Tami who asked us if we wanted to house and pet sit IN THE AIR CONDITIONING at their place just south of Atlanta while they went on an Alaskan cruise with some of the family. That was a no brainer, as they say. And so we have been here since 7/20 enjoying the air and land living - a bath tub to soak in, all the water we want, baking without heating up the place, and 2 TVS to watch. I have watched many of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot programs on one while Bill has watched a variety of movies and yesterday discovered a Stephen Hawking series on the other. It has been a marvelous time not feeling guilty about not working on the boat because it is so hot and humid.
Tami, Steve and Blane came back last evening. They had a good time but like all vacations they were glad to get home. We will be staying a couple of more days and then it is back to Brunswick to await the arrival of the air conditioners and begin that installation.