December 28, 2012
As usual, we were working on projects right up to departure time. The good news is that this gave us time to catch up with some more friends. Richard came over from Naples to help with a couple of woodworking projects and to bring us our mail. We were also able to see Doug and Eloise, who have just purchased a house in the area for dinner before we left. On Saturday, Dec. 15th in late afternoon we headed to the fuel dock to top up with over 1000 gallons of diesel fuel. Then we had a nice dinner aboard before a good nap. As the tide rose, we departed the fuel dock at 10pm for the overnight crossing to West End. Our speed was a little slower than normal as we crossed the gulf stream, averaging just under 7 knots. We arrived at West End on Grand Bahama where we stopped long enough to clear into Customs and hoist our Bahamas courtesy flag to signify legal entry into the country. Then it was off again straight to the Exumas. Once again, our speed was slower than normal as winds and current were against us. We made it to Big Majors, our anchoring spot, just before sunset on Monday the 17th. The next morning was spent washing and cleaning the boat before picking up our friends from Colorado, Alan and Kathleen, at the “airport” (actually just a small airstrip with a little hut).
Taylor took off to visit his family for the holidays where they are planning to attend a performance of Shear Madness, the play, in Boston. After three trips to the local Bahamas Telephone Company (Batelco) office, I was finally able to get our local Bahamas sim card working so we have some internet access (limited and slow, but good enough for email – however, blog posts will be a bit shorter with fewer photos and no videos for awhile).
Once Alan and Kathleen were settled in, we began some exploration. First stop was snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, followed by drinks at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, the center of activity here. During the week, we enjoyed wonderful snorkeling, beautiful sunsets, and lots of great discussions, with a few Shear Madness cocktails thrown in. Kathleen was “intrigued” by the local sand sharks, one of whom made its home under Shear Madness – we named her Sandy and she was a frequent visitor, always looking for a treat. We also visited the swimming pigs who still patrol their beach, swimming out to greet all the visitors. We ventured south to Black Point where we visited the famous Lorraine’s Café – a small eatery that manages to provide very good internet access free to customers.
Most days, we packed a lunch, went out in the tender to find a snorkeling spot, found a nice beach to enjoy our lunch, and were back at the boat in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It was nearly perfect – the only thing lacking was our luck in finding fish to spear and lobster to catch. There are plenty of beautiful fish on the reef, just not the large groupers and snappers we like to eat! On Christmas Eve, Alan, Kathleen, and I attended the 10pm service at the local Baptist Church and we decorated our little rosemary Christmas tree, which also provides a great herb for cooking!
On Christmas Day, our friends Linda and Douglass on Aries Too, a Nordhavn 55 arrived at Big Majors and they joined us for Christmas Dinner at the Yacht Club – a fun evening. All too soon, it was time to bid farewell to Alan and Kathleen. We’ll hang our here for a few more days before heading south towards Georgetown on Great Exuma.
We are enjoying being back in cruise mode for now and although we have a few minor technical issues, I’m not going to report on them this time! REPLY to this email to post a comment (it works now!). Happy New Year to all!