Sunday, February 28, 2010
We sailed into Nassau under perfect conditions. The sun was hot, the wind was 90 degrees to our beam and it was a quick, fun and enjoyable trip from Highborne Cay. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Having said that, we are so glad to be here as another cold front is expected to pass through the area tonight with another one right on it’s tail.
The last three weeks have certainly been a challenge with one front after the other and barely a break in between. It’s not the cold that makes these fronts remarkable, it’s the wind! After all, I haven’t worn shoes or long pants (except for dressing up for Valentines) since I got here so it can’t be that cold. Given that this is our first year here in the Bahamas we wouldn’t know any different if we hadn’t been told that this is “exceptional” being an “El Niño year”.
It is what it is and we are enjoying every minute of it. There’s no need to feel sorry for us….lol. (As if anyone back home would!) Even the rotten days are acceptable. If nothing else it gives us some down time to relax and read a book. Or, if we don't want to do that, there are always jobs to do that we can't get to when we are too busy having fun in the sun.
1. My first attempt at baking bread (made while weathering a storm)
2. A squall going through Norman's Cay.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Some days we have too much wind and others we have too little. Then there are days when the wind is great but coming from the wrong direction. Seldom is the wind perfect but that’s sailing and we have now learned to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Our progress up the Exuma chain of islands has been slow but certainly not boring or uneventful. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be “held up” by weather than the Exumas. We have just spent an amazing week of exploring, hiking, snorkelling, and socializing. Life just doesn’t get better than this. Brent and Alyssa will be here in less than two weeks and we can’t wait to share all this with them.
Today we bid farewell to our new friends Brian and Yvonne who we have been travelling with for the last seven days. Brian and Yvonne are the most fun loving and enthusiastic couple you could ever meet and, naturally, we are going to miss their company. Unfortunately we have come to the “Y” in the road. They are heading north to the Abacos as they need to be back in Canada by April 1st. We, as you may remember, are headed for Nassau. Hopefully someday our paths will cross again.
We’re finding that this is what it’s all about. People come and go into our lives and each brings something special that somehow enriches our existence. We shouldn’t feel sad when they leave but, rather, happy to have had the opportunity to get to know each other. Marg, Steve, George, Kim, Brian, Yvonne…(the list goes on)…. Thanks. It’s been a blast!
1 & 2 snorkelling
4. another beautiful beach
5. Brian on a hammock made from stuff washed in on shore
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Like it or not we have to leave Emerald Bay Marina. It's time to move north towards Nassau and today the conditions are the best they are going to be for a while.
We probably won't have internet for a bit so don't worry if you don't hear from us for a while.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
We're still here at Emerald Bay Marina. The resort ambience is hard to take....not!
Up until recently, marina guests had full use of the facilities at Grand Isle Resort pictured above. That is until some people took advantage of the situation. Now we can hang out here if we buy a drink but we can't swim in the pool. It's too bad that a couple of jerks ruined it for everybody but we can't blame the resort. It's still a good deal for us regardless.
The weather front we were waiting for came through last night but being tucked in here we hardly felt it. Now that that's over I guess we should start thinking about moving on. Darn.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Looking for some exercise, we set out yesterday on a long walk to ‘Big D’s”. Our long walk, however, turned into a short ride. The marina staff offered us a ride to the local shopping centre, which was nice. We thought; why not shorten the 2 ½ mile trip to a 2 mile trip. So we took them up on it and after we got dropped off we started to walk. We didn’t get 200 yards down the road when a local guy stopped and offered us a ride the rest of the way. It’s just another example of the generosity of the Bahamian people. Bob was his name.
Big D’s is a funky little beach bar and, of course; we couldn’t let Bob go without offering him a drink. (He didn’t seem to be expecting anything.) The drink turned out to be three beers and lunch but it was worth it as we thoroughly enjoyed his company and, besides, we did get a ride back.
1. Conch salad prepared by Big D himself
2. Big D cleaning a conch to make conch salad
3. The beach at Big D's
4. Bob, Harley, and George
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
After listening to our trusted weather guru yesterday we decided to pick up our anchor and head over to Emerald Bay Marina to sit out the next weather front. Besides, it was time to leave Georgetown and we are ready for a break from anchoring out.
The sail over was uneventful until we came to the marina entrance where we surfed in on some pretty impressive waves. It wasn't ideal conditions to say the least but we handled it quite well. Once we made it inside of the break-wall all was calm again, but better than that, what lay before us was a beautiful 1st class facility. We were awe struck!
A very nice dock attendant was waiting for us and after helping us with our dock lines he rolled out this beautiful welcome mat. I'm not kidding! I had to take pictures of it.
After settling in we headed up to the showers and washrooms and found bathrooms like something you'd find in a 5 star hotel. Not only were they beautiful but they came complete with complimentary shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, body wash, lotion, mouthwash, sunscreen, Kleenex, cotton balls, and hand towels. Having been out for 6 months this luxury left us feeling like we had died and gone to heaven. We had the most wonderful shower that we have had in a very long time.
Before we went back to the boat we checked out the beautiful and tastefully decorated club house with comfy couches, desks with computers and free wifi. There was also a lounge with tables and chairs set up overlooking the marina and the ocean beyond. They also offer the use of their state of the art laundry facility free of charge......and....you won't believe it........all this for only twenty dollars a day!!!!!!!
I may never leave.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Believe it or not we have been out now for almost 6 months and it’s been quite a ride indeed. On day two of this adventure we met up with two of the most crazy, wonderful, fun, and sincere people you could ever know. Lucky for us we have been travelling together ever since. (Well, almost. We did get separated a couple of times but not for long.)
I knew it was coming. I didn’t want to think about it. Today we said our final good-byes. Early tomorrow morning Marg and Steve will be travelling south to the Jumentos while we stay here in Georgetown waiting for a part to come in via Fedex. By the time they return to the area we will be heading north again to Nassau where we will be meeting our son Brent and his girlfriend Alyssa. After that they are planning an amazing voyage through the Caribbean and beyond.
It’s the end of a chapter but also the beginning of another.
Marg and Steve, if you are reading this, we will miss you very much. Stay safe my friends!
Friday, February 5, 2010
• Don’t sail to weather unless absolutely necessary.
• Don’t follow other boats.
• Plot your own course.
• Don’t enter an anchorage after dark.
• This is our home; DON’T RACE.
Life would be so boring if we always played by the rules, but to break all the rules is another story.
Thank goodness the Georgetown to Long Island Race is over. For me, that was stepping way outside the comfort zone.
If it were not for the race, I don’t think any of the 28 boats would have ventured out to Long Island on day one. It wasn’t that it was a bad weather day. In fact it was a beautiful day, but the wind was strong and coming from the very direction we wanted to go.
The race started at 0800 and it was the longest 35 miles I have ever sailed. It was so long in fact that some of the boats didn’t even make it to the finish line before dark. Thankfully we were not one of them.
The two days spent on Long Island, however, was fun making it all worthwhile. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. And we took a wild bus tour of the north end of the Island. The bus driver drove like a maniac on roads barely suitable for even an ATV. At times the bus was heeled over so much that I’m surprised we didn’t roll over. The excitement stopped there though as the tour was lame to say the least.
The awards party on day three was a lot of fun. It wasn’t until that night that we realized that Blue Blazes was racing in the “A” fleet (the fast boats). We were the only boat in the fleet under 40 feet so our 4th place finish wasn’t too bad. (For our boating friends…we were beat by a J-46, a Passport 46, and a Taswell 43). It’s not that Blue Blazes is all that fast, in fact she is sailing rather like a slug right now with all our gear and 6 months worth of food on board not to mention the forest that is growing on her hull, but Harley made a great tactical decision that put us out front. This became even more evident on the downwind race back yesterday as these fast boats just blew past us like we were standing still. Oh well.
Like I said, I’m glad it’s over; but I am also glad we did it. But from now on there will be no more breaking the rules.
1. Long Island Anchorage at dawn.
2. North end of Long Island
3. North end of Long Island